Definition of harmonic in English:

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Pronunciation: /härˈmänik/


1Relating to or characterized by musical harmony: a basic four-chord harmonic sequence
More example sentences
  • You knew how to find just the right dreamlike quality for the music, whose harmonic language is neither tonal, nor modal, nor truly chromatic, but a little of all three at the same time.
  • Debussy's supple rhythms and rich harmonic language, influenced in part by the ancient music of the Far East, became the ideal vehicle for painting a mood, no matter how complex or ephemeral.
  • Like Michael Brecker, he's absorbed a lot of Coltrane but his harmonic language draws as much from funk and soul as much as jazz.
1.1 Music Relating to or denoting a harmonic or harmonics.
Example sentences
  • Their music, generally set for unaccompanied four-voice chorus, lacks the melodic and harmonic suavity of European music of the time.
  • However, Koeluh is many steps behind Haydn in harmonic invention and melodic inspiration.
  • In both the first and third movements I was often reminded of the toccata-like sections of Prokofiev's sonatas and concertos, though Lees' melodic and harmonic approaches are quite different.
2 Mathematics Relating to a harmonic progression.
Example sentences
  • In addition to his work on set theory, Cohen has worked on differential equations and harmonic analysis.
  • It was not just to these areas that he contributed but, even more importantly, his work brought out fundamental relationships between the areas when he studied harmonic analysis on topological groups and characteristic classes.
  • Beurling worked on the theory of generalized functions, differential equations, harmonic analysis, Dirichlet series and potential theory.
2.1 Physics Relating to component frequencies of a complex oscillation or wave.
Example sentences
  • Electromagnetic homing system using MWD and current having a fundamental wave component and an even harmonic wave component being injected at a target well
  • According to classical electromagnetic theory, a charge rotating with a simple harmonic frequency should emit electromagnetic radiation of the same frequency.
  • The experiments confirmed that the upper harmonic components appear and exhibit distinct resonant peaks.
2.2 Astrology Using or produced by the application of a harmonic: harmonic charts
More example sentences
  • In your own 5th harmonic chart you have two very close conjunctions, and some fairly close oppositions.
  • The fourth harmonic chart, indicating how he will manifest in worldly affairs, shows a striking T-square: Pluto in opposition to a Venus-Neptune conjunction, squared by Mars.
  • Even the untrained eye can easily discern the remarkable pattern in this chart, which is being called the harmonic concordance.


1 Music An overtone accompanying a fundamental tone at a fixed interval, produced by vibration of a string, column of air, etc., in an exact fraction of its length.
Example sentences
  • In the concert hall and the recording studio the utmost accuracy is required; with a shorter tube, the same pitches are produced as lower numbers of the harmonic series, where the intervals between harmonics are greater.
  • The wavelength of the second harmonic is the length of the string.
  • Freya's long, slow theme in the central movement was sensual and pure, ending first with harmonics above low chords in the orchestra, then with a long high note, held by the soloist and taken up by the orchestra.
1.1A note produced on a musical instrument as an overtone, e.g., by lightly touching a string while sounding it.
Example sentences
  • In György Ligeti's concerto, completed in 1992, the brass are asked to play in natural harmonics, thereby producing notes not included in the equal-tempered scale.
  • Daughter In The House Of Fools and Mikazuki relying on a more rhythmic and harmonic propulsion utilising a disjointed funk and Eastern sounding harmonics respectively.
  • A key change to D major heralds solo passages for wind and piano, the Stravinskian texture of which is accentuated by the accompanying violin harmonics.
2 Physics A component frequency of an oscillation or wave.
Example sentences
  • By integrating this source with a delay line and a broadband, grazing-incidence toroidal mirror, the researchers generated odd phase-locked harmonics of the laser frequency up to very high orders.
  • The square wave represents a sum of sinusoidal frequencies at odd harmonics of the base frequency, the amplitude of which is highest for the base frequency and decreases as the frequency increases.
  • They may not be able to handle the higher frequency harmonics present in the sharply truncated sine wave output from a lamp module or wall switch.
2.1 Astrology A division of the zodiacal circle by a specified number, used in the interpretation of a birth chart.
Example sentences
  • Are you suggesting that harmonics, or any other astrological technique, is a life-denying fiction?
  • If you look at a chart and think: ‘Oh, yes, the traditional method shows… but then midpoints and harmonics show… and then Vedic shows…,’ you will not get very far.
  • The idea that our list of aspects can be extended to include such angles is not new, although the modern technique of harmonics has formalized it.



Pronunciation: /härˈmänək(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • They seem like the simplest melodies in the world, but they're really complex harmonically; there are endless possibilities.
  • So I can say that Led Zeppelin's music, while often (but not always) harmonically simple, is frequently rhythmically complex, and often wildly experimental.
  • Alongside other white musicians such as Stan Getz and Chet Baker, Brubeck had brought harmonically complex jazz into the living rooms of white, middle class America largely thanks to the mainstream success of Take Five.


Late 16th century (in the sense 'relating to music, musical'): via Latin from Greek harmonikos, from harmonia (see harmony).

Words that rhyme with harmonic

anachronic, animatronic, bionic, Brythonic, bubonic, Byronic, canonic, carbonic, catatonic, chalcedonic, chronic, colonic, conic, cyclonic, daemonic, demonic, diatonic, draconic, electronic, embryonic, euphonic, hegemonic, histrionic, homophonic, hypersonic, iconic, ionic, ironic, isotonic, laconic, macaronic, Masonic, Miltonic, mnemonic, monotonic, moronic, Napoleonic, philharmonic, phonic, Platonic, Plutonic, polyphonic, quadraphonic, sardonic, saxophonic, siphonic, Slavonic, sonic, stereophonic, subsonic, subtonic, symphonic, tectonic, Teutonic, thermionic, tonic, transonic, ultrasonic

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: har·mon·ic

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