Volume 2: 1771 Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica!


Harmony, in music, the agreeable result or union of several musical sounds heard at one and the same time; or the mixture of divers sounds, which together have an effect agreeable to the ear.

Harmony of the spheres, or Celestial Harmony, a sort of music much talked of by many of the ancient philosophers and fathers, supposed to be produced by the sweetly tuned motions of the stars and planets.  This harmony they attributed to the various proportionate impressions of the heavenly globes upon one another, acting at proper intervals.  It is impossible, according to them, that such prodigious large bodies, moving with so much rapidity, should be silent; on the contrary,  the atmosphere continually impelled by them, must yield a set of sounds proportionate to the impression it receives; consequently, as they do not all run the same circuit, nor with one and the same velocity, the different tones arising from the diversity of motions, directed by the hand of the Almighty, must form an admirable symphony, or concert.

    They therefore supposed, that the moon, as being the lowest of the planets, corresponded to mi; mercury, to fa; venus, to sol; the sun, to la; mars, to si; jupiter, to ut; saturn, to re; and the orb of the fixed stars, as being the highest of all, to mi, or the octave.

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