In this module, you will learn about intervals, triads, and seventh chords.

What makes harmony? Listen to the Emory Alma Mater.


  • Do you hear two or more parts sounding together? This vertical dimension of music is harmony.
  • While melody and harmony interact and rely on each other in music, indeed, the two elements form a fundamental musical partnership, we must separate them to understand their distinct music features.
  • Sometimes you will hear harmony supporting a fluid melody, where it plays the role of an accompaniment.
  • Other times you will hear harmony simply as a succession of vertical blocks of sound, called chords, where the highest note may stand out as the melody, like in a hymn.

In the Overview of the elements of music, we defined harmony as the vertical dimension of music, and we discussed how harmony and melody interact form a fundamental musical partnership. While there are many ways to use the term harmony in relation to a vertical sonority, musicians often talk about harmony in parts – usually two, three, four, or even five parts. So, for example, a barbershop quartet sings in four-part harmony, and your a capella group or singers in your own band most likely sing in two or more parts. In this module, we will first study harmony in terms of intervals, triads, and seventh chords. Then we will explore how harmony can support, or accompany, a fluid melody, and how it can progress as a succession of chords, where the highest note may stand out as the melody.


1. Intervals Intervals1.doc

2. Chords