Harmonics (. AltGr from Latin - harmonia, assembled, line ') is a comprehensive term used in music theory and practice; he stands for the harmony of sounds which is also called the vertical component of the music in relation to the horizontal component of the rhythm in the usual notation.

In ancient times, the harmony covers the whole of the theory of tone systems (see Philolaus and Aristoxenus ). Since the development of polyphonic music, the importance of harmony concentrated more and more on a simultaneous harmony of different voices. In this narrower sense harmony prevalent today covers all stylistic forms of communal sound of music, starting from the early polyphony of the European Middle Ages to the sound structures of the avant-garde. As the polyphony is the harmony, therefore, a primary occidental European development.

In harmony, however, the systematic recording of the chord shapes and tonal sound space is understood as connected with methodological instructions for error-free handling of sound combinations in terms of the traditional requirements of the Music within the major -minor tonal era ( 1600 to the present ).

The term " harmony " is based on Jean -Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) Traité de l'Harmonie (1722 ), a treatise, which still uses the findings of the fundamental bass theory to a more analytically oriented theory during the time of the figured bass. The Jacob Gottfried Weber (1779-1839) and later developed by Simon Sechter (1788-1867) and Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) developed stage theory was towards the end of the 19th century by Hugo Riemann ( 1849-1919 ) founded theory of functions supplemented. Both systems have survived to the present day, with modifications and extensions. Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935) combines in its harmony, the counterpoint teaching with the chord teaching: the vocal line is now defined as favorable horizontal (vertical) understood harmonics (also called Ursatz in substantiated by the reduction analysis ).

With harmony, however, is only one aspect of the history of music - namely the harmony - recorded under sales technical and analytical aspects. Harmony means above all to convey from a pedagogical intention out a craft lesson to lead to certain abstractions and simplifications, as a stylistic evolution of over 300 years is taken into account. However, the harmony comes today a central role, as they look at stylistic - are fundamental issues of Music 1600-1900 - and thus interpretive. In addition, basic knowledge of harmony are essential for the understanding of the so-called popular music or jazz.