This is the eleventh in a series of guest posts written by some of my favorite bloggers. To understand what this is about, you can read this post: 

This one in particular was written by the clever La Femme Architecte. She is a  New Yorker architect. When she’s not practicing architecture, she’s dispensing advice and information to would-be architects on her blog.  She may also be found on Twitter @lafemmearchitct .

Like many of the guest bloggers before me, I was very flattered that Ana asked me to contribute a guest post about harmony on her blog, the place of dreams. I have an abstract understanding of the word. It’s not a word I have ever used. It’s not a subject I think about consciously.

It was interesting to me that I was not alone in having to think about “harmony”. And although the posts differed in how each contributor responded to harmony, they have a common thread. Each writer described how various elements in their example played a role in bringing together a positive outcome or successful product. When asked about harmony, a few responded with a reference to music and how that impacted their lives while others offered some insight to their profession like the first guest post by Daniel Pacheco who wrote, I am looking for harmonies.

I liked how he described two seemingly different areas of interests, psychology and advertising, could be used effectively to create a lasting brand or product.

Harmony between these elements will ensure the health and longevity of the product and brands advertised, while the imbalance would give us a “sick” brand, a brand that is not stable and / or predictable, unable to understand and connect with their consumers.

One of my favorites of this series is a post by Sean Lintow Sr., who wrote an excellent post regarding how we in the architecture and construction industry can work in harmony. Mr. Lintow offers 7 great suggestion (all of which I personally subscribe to), but the 7th one is my favorite!

Thanking people – I know this will grate on a few people’s nerves, but the times are changing – people like to hear that they did a good job, that you are glad that they actually showed up, etc… Now this does not mean you sugar coat the bad or that you cannot demand and have high standards, just make sure they know that you appreciate it when they reach them.

And then there were a couple of guest posts that shared a more personal reflection of how music and harmony play in their lives. I must admit that I do enjoy some of the songs by the Beach Boys but I don’t have as great of an appreciation for their songs as David Mathias who wrote harmony and pet sounds. It was as though I was watching his life flash before me as he recalled the many happy moments of his life from dancing with his new wife to the birth of his first child. I thought it was a very tender and touching story.

I know that I’ll never meet Brian Wilson, that he’ll never know what his music has meant to me. He’ll never know that Pet Sounds helped keep me sane when I was finishing my dissertation or that even now the deceptively simple sounds on Endless Summer make me young again. And really, he doesn’t need to know all of that. If I ever had the chance to speak to him there’s only one thing I’d need to say: Thank you for the harmony.

The word, harmony, expressed as a noun means little to me. The first definition of harmony usually describes the combination of notes and chords combined together to create music. However, when harmony is changed to a verb, it begins to affect people and their lives. The word comes alive to create itself. People become moved and motivated to do good not only for themselves but for society. You can’t be selfish and find harmony. The examples I selected illustrate how harmony can be achieved by working together and considering those around us.

One last thing I would like to share is one of my favorite musical compositions by one of my favorite composers – “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin. It is the epitome of New York City in how it is described with musical instruments and notes. I love how Gershwin describes the city as it wakes up at the crack of dawn and erupts into short bursts of excitement then eases you back to a calm state before throwing you into the crazy hustle and bustle of life in NYC. Through all the chaos that you are sure to find in NYC, you will always find harmony in the end – I know this as a New Yorker!

Below is an animation by Disney, which I thought did a fantastic job interpreting Gershwin’s musical number, “Rhapsody in Blue”. I highly recommend you listen to it first before watching the animation. Enjoy!