The Science of Harmony: Definition, Theory, Types, and Elements

Harmony is – When talking about art, it can be said as a person’s expertise or ability to create a work that is full of meaning. The work that is made, besides having meaning also has beauty. In this case, art is very broad, such as dance, painting, sculpture, and music.

Almost every work of art that has been produced by someone is not far from the activities or activities of the creator of the work of art itself. Therefore, sometimes art is also referred to as a person’s imagination or an expression of one’s emotions

As already mentioned that one form of art is the art of music. The art of music itself can be interpreted as an art form that produces a sound which ultimately produces harmony, tone, and up to the song. All of that certainly goes through a process or you could say through various stages to finally produce a work of art that is full of beauty.

One thing that cannot be separated from the art of music is harmony. That’s right, with harmony, it can produce a very beautiful tone to hear. However, sometimes not many people know exactly what harmony is.

On this occasion we will discuss more about harmony. So, read this article until it’s finished, Sinaumed’s.

Definition of Harmony

Harmony is a science that studies the harmony of sounds in a musical form and consists of various theories which are then applied in a piece of music. Apart from that, harmony is also a way of constructing chords, so that one chord with another can follow one another.

Chords can be thought of as a combination of three or more different tones played simultaneously. In addition, in a broad sense and referring to western music, harmony is a science that studies how to combine and combine tones simultaneously until it finally becomes a chord.

By learning to use it sequentially, you can create chords that match a series of melodies in a song. That way, the song can also sound like harmonious and beautiful music.

In western music, harmony is often associated with vertical aspects of music. That means, harmony becomes a combination of several notes that occur in one count or beat simultaneously. So, it can be said that harmony is very important and is one of the elements that must exist in music. In addition, harmony can be scientifically researched or it can be studied in more depth.

Meanwhile, viewed from the perspective of musical aesthetics, harmony can be an idea or ideas related to human life, such as peace, serenity, heroism, courage, and so on. Harmony cannot be separated from beauty or aesthetics, so harmony is usually symbolized as a way to create something beautiful. Even so, to make harmony is not easy because it has to go through various processes or rather it must be carefully thought out.

Understanding Harmony According to Experts

The meaning of harmony according to experts includes:

According to Bonoe “2003:180”

Bonoe said that the notion of harmony is a branch of music science which then discusses and also talks about the beauty of musical composition.

According to Malm “1996:15”

Malm said that harmony also consists of three or more notes which are then sounded together or generally also called chords.

Theory of Harmony Science

There are some basic things you need to know that in the science of harmony there are several theories. The main harmony theory is the tri sound or triad tonal system. Then, if we arrange three notes, then each of them will be spaced apart. In this case, there are major thirds (major third/m3) and minor thirds (minor third/m3). In addition, the basic tone is often known as the bass tone. That way, it will produce chords that are often referred to as triads.

In classical harmony, the trivoice concept is often used as a chord concept formation process. Therefore, usually a composer will be able to make a combination even if it is not based on the arrangement of the listed intervals. In addition, a contemporary composer is usually able to form a structure of the arrangement of notes in his tone system, namely at quart intervals ( perfect fourth /P4 and augmented fourth /A4), quint intervals ( perfect fifth /P5 and diminished fifth /d5), second intervals ( major second /M2 and minor second /m2), and so on.

As a basis in music that has been inherited from western music, chords in the diatonic scale or major scale will be arranged based on the triad or triad tonal system which will form major chords, minor chords, and augmented chords and diminished chords. Each of these chords already has a function according to its type. In addition, its position is on the diatonic scale or major scale.

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When talking about harmony theory, you can say that it starts with a triad formation or on a three-tone chord, either in a major scale or a minor scale. As for the chords in question, such as tonic chords, sub-dominant, and dominant chords. The three chords are a form of harmony between tones which are then arranged vertically based on scales.

It is from these chords that have a very central role in all musical works. This is because these chords already have a function or can give a very strong, firm and wide influence. Even these chords have a very calm nature, so the chords will be used as a basis for creating harmony.

Chord Type

The main types of chords include the tonic, sub-dominant and dominant chords. The types of each of these principal chords include the following:

Tonic chord

A tonic chord is a level I chord in the major scale and a level I chord in the minor scale.

Sub-Dominant Chord

The two sub-dominant chords are the level IV chord in the major scale, the level iv chord in the minor scale.

Dominant Chord

The dominant chords are the V major, v minor chords.

Of the three chords, harmony has a very important role as a basis for knowledge and skills in playing music which is accompanied by serious training and practice in playing music and singing. That way, it can generate knowledge, pleasure, appreciation, and musical skills.

Chords/ Tritones/ Triads

The chord itself can be interpreted as a composition of tones consisting of three notes or triads that are sounded at the same time. The chords that have been made from these scales are given names and the following names.

  1. Grade I is also known as a tonic chord .
  2. Grade II is also known as a super tonic chord
  3. Grade III is also known as the median chord
  4. Level IV is also known as a sub dominant chord
  5. The V level is also known as the dominant chord
  6. Grade VI is also known as a sub median chord
  7. Level VII is also known as a chord loading note or guide or sub tonic.

The presentation of this music or texture itself can be in the form of: unison, homophony, polyphony, canon, and disc. Songs that often change the basic tone either in the middle or at the end of the song, the movement of the basic tone of the song is also known as modulation. Modulation can be level IV, V, namesake major or minor, and namesake major or minor. These four kinds of modulation are also called family scales.

Then, so that songs can be sung by many people from various backgrounds, adjustments or changes are sometimes needed. Usually this is often referred to as transposition. While the transposition consists of musical notes to numbers, numeric notes to keys, musical notes to other musical notes, and musical notes to music with the same key.

Song Structure And Expression

The form or structure of a song is an arrangement and relationship between musical elements in a song so as to produce a composition or song which is then meaningful. Meanwhile, what is meant by composition is creating songs (Atan Hamdju, 1989).

Meanwhile, to understand the structure of the song can be compared with the structure of sentences in the language. In the following, the song structure is compared to the sentence structure.

  • letters are notes
  • word is motive
  • phrase is a phrase
  • sentences are sentences
  • verse music is a paragraph
  • song is work (example: poetry)

Song Structure Elements


A motif is a form of rhythmic pattern as well as a short melody that usually has a meaning. In addition, a motif is also useful in giving a certain direction to a melody, so that it can give life or meaning to a composition.


Phrases can be said to be part of musical sentences as well as parts of sentences in language. In the lyrics of the song, the phrase can indicate the provisions are pronounced in one breath, so try not to take a breath in the middle of the phrase.

Music Sentence

The musical sentence is part of the song which usually consists of 4-8 measures. This musical sentence is formed from a pair of phrases and two or more musical sentences will then form a song.


Expression is an expression of thoughts and feelings that includes all the nuances of tempo, dynamics and timbre of the main elements of music in groupings of phrases (phrasing) that can be realized by musical artists or singers or conveyed to listeners.

Elements of Tempo Expression

Tempo can be said as a speed of the song and changes in the speed of the song. To describe and use signs or terms of tempo.


Dynamics is a sign that serves to indicate the level of hardness and changes in hardness. Then, the dynamic sign itself is divided into four, including:

Dynamic sign for loud statement

  • F : forte (forto), a song that is sung aloud
  • Ff : fortissimo, a song that is sung or sounded very loudly
  • Fff : fortississimo, sung loudly
  • Ffff : fortississimo possible, then it is sung like
  • fff Mf : mezzoforte, sung at a moderate volume
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Dynamic sign for soft statement

  • p: piano, then sung for soft voice statement
  • pp: pianissimo, then sung very softly
  • ppp: pianississimo, then sung in the most gentle way possible
  • pppp: pianissimo possible, then sing like ppp
  • mp: mezzo piano, then sung in a soft voice.

Hard and soft mix:

  • Crescendo from soft to hard with markings
  • Decrescendo : then from hard to soft with a sign
  • Combination of cressendo and decressendo by using sign.

Dynamic sign for pressure statement:

  • Staccato: As The dots above or below the note are also known as staccato which means it is pressed intermittently.
  • Staccatissimo (staccatissimo) means to be pressed firmly in a intermittent manner.
  • Portato: are the points above or below the note with a curved line (arc) on it then it is called portato which means half staccato.
  • Marcato or marcando: means to be highlighted in parts that should sound more real.

Related Books

Music Psychology

Psychology and musicology are two branches of old science, one studying human behavior and the other explaining the results/products of that behavior. The two elements are in principle inseparable because there have been many interdisciplinary studies whose results have made a positive contribution to everyday life. Therefore, the author seeks to disseminate music psychology as a relatively new knowledge in Indonesia to various groups.

The author does not intend to describe the entire field of music psychology in detail because the discussion of each topic requires its own deepening. Therefore, this book only summarizes some of the main and actual topics in the field of music psychology. In addition, the author specifically pays attention to psychological and musical issues which are very relevant to be studied and benefited from.

This Music Psychology book is an initial discourse with the aim of providing standard information as well as a stimulant for readers, whether lecturers, students, researchers, or anyone who has an interest in studying and conducting further research. Apart from being a reference book for psychology and music experts, this book can be a basis for knowledge of music psychology with various theoretical approaches towards applicative practicum. The author hopes that in the future the field of music psychology in Indonesia with material objects based on archipelago philosophy can complement broader sociohumanities knowledge.

FS The Influence of Indonesian Music on 20th Century French Music

The Influence of Indonesian Music on 20th Century French Music – The 1889 WORLD EXHIBITION in Paris was the first European encounter with Javanese music. Their fascination with the East had existed for a long time and the great exhibitions, which were held repeatedly throughout the 19th century, accentuated that passionate interest. People can finally see, hear, feel, touch the East World which so far has seemed to be a myth.

It is generally accepted that Debussy was heavily influenced by the Javanese music he heard at the 1889 exhibition. In order to understand how Debussy came to experience Javanese music at the 1889 World’s Fair, we will consider some audience reactions that will help us to identify the mentality of people at the end of the 19th century.

Then we will examine his work to show various aspects that we think are related to Javanese music. This analysis will show the undeniable influence of the gamelan on the way in which musical phenomena are defined.

The Playset Band in the Middle of the Indonesian Music Industry

“Performing with The Playsets Band which he formed 5 years ago, he found a “playground” that kept him alive and excited. … Not only has he been more productive in sharing his knowledge and experience through the books he has written about aerospace issues, Mr Chappy is getting serious about music!” ( Addie MS , songwriter, pianist, composer, arranger, music producer, and conductor of the Twilight Orchestra )

“More than a year ago, I saw that The Playset’s uniqueness lies in the wide open appearance of selected “guest stars” to grace the Qi Lounge stage. The guest stars are usually individuals who are known for their seniority as entertainers—for example Dali Taher, or if it’s an instrumentalist, then the choice could fall on a senior guitarist like Jopie Item.” ( Bens Leo , journalist, music and entertainment observer)


As in most fields of art, the science of harmony should then be studied in a holistic and intuitive way of thinking. With a holistic way of thinking, the effort to produce music in writing will become an imaginary form, because this intuitive process also produces an imaginative work of art.

With harmony, it will give birth to a tone that is very beautiful and pleasant to hear. Not only tone, but harmony can also produce a song full of touching meaning.

If you want to explore things related to music, then you can look for books about music at . Reading lots of books and articles will never hurt you, because Sinaumed’s will get #MoreWithReading information and knowledge .

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