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The following article consists of an explanation on harmony.
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Harmony, in music theory, refers to the vertical relationship between tones that is to say, how two tones played together simultaneously relate to each other. The relationship between any two given pitches or notes is referred to as an interval, whereas the relationship between more than two pitches is called a chord. Typically, harmonies are described using the word tertian. This means that each note in a chord is a third away from its neighbor. Thus, a root-position triad (a three-note chord starting from the lowest pitch) will contain a root note, the note a third above it, and a note one further third (a fifth) above the root. Seventh chords add a further third, incorporating a third note a seventh above the root note. While this has typically been the approach taken by composers, many 20th century classical composers have taken different tacks to creating harmony, using different intervals. Typically, Roman numerals are used to refer to harmony in classical music. Jazz and other types of modern music use a set of chord symbols, and more complex and esoteric systems come into play in modern post-tonal music.
Harmony can often create a sense of overarching or dominant pitch, which is determined by how each individual pitch within the harmony interacts with the others, as well as other factors including cultural predisposition and preexisting familiarity with the music. It is important to distinguish music theory’s use of the term harmony to describe without value judgment any notes occurring simultaneously from the colloquial use of the word to mean coexisting peacefully. This colloquial definition would be better expressed in music theory by the term consonance.
Harmony can also interact with melody to create different sets of voices. Monophony refers to a melody played by itself, without accompaniment. Homophony consists of melodies accompanied by chords whose harmonies echo and accentuate the melody. Polyphony consists of several different melodies played simultaneously.