Definition of harmonize in English:


(also harmonise)


  • 1Add notes to (a melody) to produce harmony.

    ‘we harmonize a scale using only the notes from that particular key’
    • ‘I work on polishing it and harmonising it, but the melodies just are there, they just sort of pop in to my mind.’
    • ‘Theodorakis spent his childhood on the island of Kefalonia, where there was a local tradition of harmonising the melodies of the orthodox liturgy.’
    • ‘Those Antipodeans had the same understanding of rhythmic lyrics, chord progressions and harmonising melodies as Ezio.’
    • ‘Through active listening and discovery, they learn how to harmonize melodic patterns.’
    • ‘At the next lesson Milhaud essentially approved the work after a few comments and suggestions, then requested that Trimble harmonize the melody for the next lesson.’
    • ‘Many folk songs have been harmonized or used in compositions by modern composers.’
    • ‘Ken and Percy Muller used to harmonise the song about the municipal nightcart way back in the '50s and '60s.’
    • ‘It was to Bach's advantage that this chorale was harmonised at the end of Cantata 60 (a dialogue between Hope and Fear commented on by Christ) with a daring remarkable even for Bach.’
    • ‘He rounded the corner and a trio of violins began to harmonize a classical tune.’
    • ‘I danced with Danny and harmonized Jack Johnson songs with Lucy, who had showed up late with her kid brother.’
    • ‘For instance, the second bar of the opening phrase is harmonised with a single D minor chord, while all the other versions have a first-inversion dominant chord on the second beat at that point.’
    • ‘The song lays out a physical funk beat, interlaying a richly harmonized chorus with Pharrell Williams' saucy rap.’
    • ‘She wrote the tune and harmonized the first verse of ‘To Echo.’’
    • ‘These melodies were harmonized accordingly and subsequently subjected to extensive thematic development in the paradigm of Western-European nineteenth-century compositional procedures.’
    • ‘Although it was a nice change musically that less of the choruses were harmonized, to be honest, this change made the group lose a lot of what made them unique.’
    • ‘I suspect that many more organ chorales were accompaniments for hymn-singing than we now appreciate: hymn books with melody were rare, and somehow the organist had to play and harmonise the tune.’
    • ‘If Insomnia was indeed his creation, he deserves recognition for assembling and harmonizing its separate parts.’
    • ‘So I stepped back from it and thought, how would someone like Stravinsky harmonize this?’
    • ‘From the untamed poetry of D's seemingly unscripted rants, or the simplistic shower-ditties that he haphazardly harmonizes throughout, I can't help but feel this.’
    • ‘They broke into ‘their song’ which was very badly harmonised.’
    1. 1.1[no object]Sing or play in harmony.
      • ‘It sounded like a million angels singing, their voices harmonizing together.’
      • ‘‘Getting a female voice in there and harmonizing, that is stuff we have never done,’ Mullane says.’
      • ‘Singing in the bath is less fun if there is a cat sat outside the bathroom door, harmonising with you.’
      • ‘The thumping, Morse code like bass-line harmonizes with the psychedelic guitars flawlessly to provide the right atmosphere to let loose and have a good time.’
      • ‘My mom would sing to us in Spanish and have us harmonise.’
      • ‘When not harmonizing in delicately woven, acoustic guitar-based balladry, Rogue's vocals levitate above pedal steel, Moog and upright bass.’
      • ‘They harmonized beautifully when singing ‘Bosom Buddies‘.’
      • ‘Black Horse And The Cherry Tree was better still, Tunstall harmonising with herself with relish.’
      • ‘She had just been going to support her sister but Jo immediately sang a lower part, harmonising.’
      • ‘Guitars jangling and voices harmonizing, they playfully exchange jabs like two prize fighters sizing each other up, but afraid to commit to the first blow.’
      • ‘He started singing Broken, and she harmonized, then they switched parts as the song progressed.’
      • ‘Rather than singing lyrics, they simply harmonize in tones that seem to alternate between accompanying and leading the music.’
      • ‘They will teach aspiring entertainers how to sing, harmonize and to work with other people toward putting on a concert in a single day.’
      • ‘A lone tenor's voice began to sing, harmonizing with the women in their hymns.’
      • ‘We harmonize together, singing, ‘If ever I had a friend, you've been that friend to me.’’
      • ‘They were singing a well-known song and were really good, harmonizing and everything.’
      • ‘The singers simply could not sing, much less harmonize, and not once on the entire record did the drummer manage to bang a drum on beat.’
      • ‘Born in Galveston, Texas, he was a young boy when his mother taught him how to sing and harmonize.’
      • ‘Tom Petty harmonizes to great effect on the latter, and Springsteen unleashes his most jaw-droppingly savage lead guitar on the former.’
      • ‘Mark's brassy, bass howl countered Raine's and they harmonized as they sang.’
  • 2[no object] Produce a pleasing visual combination.

    ‘steeply pitched roofs which harmonize with the form of the main roof’
    • ‘Commercial aluminium window frames have been chosen so that they will eventually harmonize with the silver grey of the weathered shingles.’
    • ‘The postmodern feeling for style harmonises with the pictures, which would be classified as pop-art, and the furniture of the fifties and sixties.’
    • ‘On this front-hall staircase, wood posts topped with graceful finials were painted black to harmonize with the metal railings and ironwork on the home's front exterior.’
    • ‘Seen from a distance across the fields and fruit trees, its pitched roofs and white walls harmonize with the traditional rural buildings.’
    • ‘On many health care campuses, brick is the traditional building skin; renovations, additions and new buildings must harmonize with existing facilities.’
    • ‘Only when the sky started opening up did the water change, smoothing out and harmonizing in blue hues.’
    • ‘The face or figure is enlarged or reduced to scale and the color is adjusted to harmonize with the tones of the painting.’
    • ‘After the sculpture's completion, the original owners designed a house to harmonize with its lines, colors, and atmosphere.’
    • ‘The installations were not barrier-like, but seemed to exist primarily to subtly harmonize with the architecture of the gallery.’
    • ‘Below ground and inside, in architectural terms, while slickly postmodern in its use of form and materials, the building harmonises perfectly with its surroundings.’
    • ‘The president said it was significant that this substation had been built to harmonize with its natural surroundings, in contrast with other functional structures that have clashed with the landscape.’
    • ‘Make sure they grow shorter than the anchor plant, share its cultural requirements, and harmonize with its colors and textures.’
    • ‘Again, a fresh coat of paint, and new drawer pulls, can transform it, and you can paint it to harmonize with the wall color and with the new sofa bed.’
    • ‘All of the colors seemed to harmonize with each other - perfectly arranged around each other.’
    • ‘Oriental rugs with their mellowed tones will harmonize with almost any color.’
    • ‘A wooden kitchen chair that no longer matches can easily be spray-painted in a color that will harmonize with the new tablecloth and drapes.’
    • ‘The wall colors are designed to harmonize with one another.’
    • ‘It complements and harmonises with the historic landscape and backdrop, and draws inspiration from many classical elements such as the Bothy Garden's Formal Terrace.’
    • ‘There will also be an award for the sign which best focuses on the activity carried on within the building and harmonises with the design and construction materials used in the building.’
    • ‘But don't stop there; remember that any lighting fixtures must also harmonize with the rest of the room's furnishings.’
    coordinate, go together, match, fit together, blend, mix, balance, tone in
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  • 3Make consistent or compatible.

    ‘plans to harmonize the railways of Europe’
    ‘the need to harmonize British practice with the new European standards’
    • ‘The National Strategy on Environment has been worked out as a response to the changed situation in the country - environment laws which are almost fully harmonized with EU legislation and the advanced privatization process.’
    • ‘National unity must be harmonized with multinational partners and the community of international organizations and nongovernmental organizations.’
    • ‘Ultimately, in a perfect world, the regulatory schemes for devices would be harmonized worldwide, with consistent review and inspection practices across national lines.’
    • ‘Participants also discussed global issues such as revising the Patent Cooperation Treaty to simplify patent application procedures, as well as ways to harmonize the different patent systems.’
    • ‘It is important to address these problems in a coherent and a global way, which requires co-ordination between different government and calls for harmonising and synchronising our approaches.’
    • ‘It is, indeed, true that Americans derive from so many racial currents that it is a sine qua non that ways must be found to harmonize them without a loss of their uniqueness.’
    • ‘An additional purpose, or at least effect, of some international environmental agreements is to harmonize national laws, either globally or regionally.’
    • ‘Council wants to implement the new user fees this year, at the same time as it harmonizes commercial pickup service throughout the six former municipalities.’
    • ‘Framers may do their best to harmonize new and existing legislation, but there will inevitably be clashes.’
    • ‘Understanding these dynamics help a person gain insight and harmonize all their life activities.’
    • ‘She recommended that both systems should harmonise their methods, disclose more details of hospital performance on the internet, and be held more fully accountable at federal level for their performance in reviewing hospitals.’
    • ‘The European Commission last week announced a plan to harmonise car manufacturer prices and dealership arrangements in a bid to cut prices for the consumer.’
    • ‘The UK is determined to stop majority voting being introduced for steps towards harmonising European common law systems.’
    • ‘When all parts of our society are matured and harmonized, our education system will be recovered from ill health.’
    • ‘Ideals of the good enable us to take up the standpoint of the prudent and foresighted individual, concerned to harmonize current desires with one another and with the self's future needs and interests.’
    • ‘In the first place, it may be seen to reflect a clear political wish on the part of the Member States and the Council not to co-ordinate or harmonize domestic rules in this respect.’
    • ‘The main priority will be harmonising Bulgarian and European laws, as well as accepting changes to the constitution.’
    • ‘The development plan would harmonise the activities of the ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the agriculture consultative forum and other stakeholders.’
    • ‘If greater integration were going to harmonize the two countries' social policies, the direction seemed more likely to flow from North to South, rather than the reverse.’
    • ‘We need visions of and struggles for a Postcapitalist Green World that rebuilds political and economic institutions for participatory democracy, as it harmonizes social and natural evolution.’
    • ‘It will also mount a massive lobbying campaign in Brussels to harmonise European copyright with US law, arguing that in an MP3 world rights protection must be universal.’
    coordinate, systematize, correlate, match, integrate, synchronize, homogenize, bring together, make consistent, tie in
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Late 15th century (in the sense ‘sing or play in harmony’): from French harmoniser, from harmonie (see harmony).