Harmony is very closely related to the topic of chords and in fact chords fall under the umbrella of Harmony. In this section of the site however we will treat the topic of harmony as relating to the combination of chords and their relationship to one another.
One can hardly discuss harmony with reference to counterpoint since it is the rules of counterpoint that gave rise to harmony. The tendency of certain notes in music to move a certain way means that chords made up of these notes also want to progess a certain way. What this results in is chords having a certain grammar. In harmony we describe this grammar as chord function.
Certain chords have certain functions within music. The tonic chord is the home chord. It is the chord that all other chords revolve around and relate back to. The dominant chords are the most frequently occurring chords. Tonal music, which is the music we hear most today, is at its core a tension between these two chords, the tonic and dominant.
Other chords include the pre-dominant chords which, as you might have guessed, tend to come before the dominant chords, and the pre-pre-dominant chords which, well… need I say more?
To learn more about harmony and the function of chords follow the links below.