What Harmonik is not

Harmonics that we mean here is having a hard time getting it right. Already in the article „What is harmonics?“ it was pointed out that harmonics should not be confused with the music theory taught in musicology. Harmonics is not in the broader sense a „harmony“, according to which in the end our world should always dissolve or dissolve in harmony. Harmony cannot and should not be that easy in our understanding. Before we go deeper, we have to deal with the multi-faceted term harmony. First, the word harmony comes from the ancient Greek ἁρμονία, harmonía.

If you look at Wikipedia under „Harmony“ comes, at least in the chapter „conceptual history“ our concept of harmony already closer. It pays off for us to carefully study this chapter. So there is inter alia. The harmony of the ancient world has two sources:

  1. The mathematical proportions of the ancient Pythagoreans and the resulting developing theoretical music of the theory of harmonic proportions.
    2. the dialectical philosophy of nature, which after the mediation of the fundamental opposites sought and harmony as mediation everything Opposite looked.

Both aspects are important for our topic. To be sure, our reference to Pythagoras and his doctrine of the connections between number and sound are historically of primary importance for our understanding of harmony. But the second aspect at least points to the ever-clearer idea that harmonics must be understood more generally as a way of overcoming the contradictions between objective perception and subjective feeling.

It must now be clarified what harmony is not in principle and should not be.


flammarion woodcut

Harmonics does not provide an objective description of what we can know about the world and life. But it presupposes, and refers to, knowledge founded on the state of science, and only to it. It does not provide any explanations for processes or experiences that we can not understand with the state of our objectively secured experience. It also offers no pseudo-knowledge about worlds hidden from our senses.


In this context, reference is made to a sub-page: What we turn to.

The exclusive aim of harmony is to find a correspondence in our interior for the objective description of the world that surrounds us, according to the state of science, that gives us as a person value in this world and for our life in this world gives.



Der Mensch - immer gegenüber

But, most importantly, the harmony does not explain what happens inside of us. At least not as an objective description of how we use it for the outside world. Because with that we would make an outside from our inside. Then we would stand in turn strangers. Thus we stayed alien to ourselves.  

Harmony offers us correspondences with which we can reconcile our subjective feelings with our objective knowledge of the world in which we live. These correspondences can, indeed must not, establish any causal-logical connections between our objective external knowledge and our subjective inner-feeling.

Werner Schulze has suggested [1] to use the term analogical contexts. For example, the connection between the division of a monochord string in 1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5 etc. and the tone intervals fundamental, octave, fifth, octave, third not causally-logical, but analogical to understand. The term harmony is e.g. not limited to hearing sounds when assigning numerical ratios.

Harmony means rather an inner resonance with the structures and orders found in the outer world. It is always about a correspondence between a rational description of the world and the life around us and an emotional participation of this world and this life in us. This is the only way to create a personal experience – in the sense of the Latin word „personare“, to „shine through“. So it’s about the people living in the world who are toned up. That’s what Hans Kayser meant when he spoke of the „hearing man“. It can also be said abstractly: through this „hearing“ understood in this way, the individual person can qualitatively evaluate the surrounding world, which can only be described quantitatively, in terms of quality.

Thus it becomes a personal value, „All-in“ in the big picture of world and life.