Harmony

DEFINITION

Agreement; accord. A union or blend of aesthetically compatible components. A composition is harmonious when the interrelationships between its parts fulfill aesthetic requisites or are mutually beneficial. As a principle of design, harmony refers to a way of combining elements of art to accent their similarities and bind the picture parts into a whole. It is often achieved through the use of repetition and simplicity.Excessive harmony leads to monotony, boredom. Relieving this may be elements of contrast; even of dissonance.In music harmony occurs when sounds complement each another when they come together.Harmony found its way into English from Greek and Latin, via French. The Latin harmonia, meaning agreement, joining together, as do the joints of an arm. This became Old French armonie, which emerged by the 14th century in English as armonye.(pr. HAHR-mə-nee)Quote: "Harmony consists of opposing tension, like that of the bow and the lyre." Heraclitus (flourished in 500 BCE), Greek philosopher, On the Universe. "Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul." Plato (427?-327? BCE), Greek philosopher, The Republic, Book III, 40 "Do you not know that our soul is composed of harmony and that harmony is only produced when proportions of things are seen or heard simultaneously?." Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Italian Renaissance painter, engineer, anatomist, inventor. Notebooks, edited by I. A. Richter, Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 201. See proportion and Renaissance. "If I could make musicians of you all, it would be to your advantage as painters. All is harmony in nature, a little too much, or a little less, disturbs the scale and strikes a discordant note. One has to learn to sing true with the pencil or brush, just as with the voice; correct form is like correct sound." Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867), French painter, advising his students in 1864. Walter Pach, Ingres, 1939. See Neoclassicism. "The secret of drawing and modeling resides in the contrasts and relationships of tone." Paul C?zanne (1839-1906), French Post-Impressionist painter, in a letter to Emile Bernard. Paul C?zanne, Letters, edited by John Rewald, 1984. See Post-Impressionism. "Art is harmony. Harmony is the analogy of contrary and similar elements of tone, of color, and of line, considered according to their dominants, and under the influence of a particular light, in gay, calm, or sad combinations . . . . Gaiety of tone is given by the luminous dominant; of color, by the warm dominant; of line, by lines above the horizontal." Georges Seurat (1859-1891), French Neo-Impressionist painter, in a letter to Maurice Beaubourg, August 28, 1890. Artists on Art: From the Fourteenth to the Twentieth Century, edited by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves, 1945. See Neo-Impressionism. Also see chado, compare, eurythmy, feng shui, harmonic sequence, juxtaposition, music, pattern, rhythm, sublime, tension, unity, and variety.

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