What Are Harmonic Patterns & How To Trade With Them

Harmonic Patterns

The term “Harmonic” applies in many sectors like physics, music, acoustics, and power.

In currency markets, the Harmonic Patterns describe that trends are harmonic in nature, meaning they can be divided into smaller or larger waves to predict the overall trend.

What are the Harmonic Patterns?

The basic idea of Harmonic trading is that patterns repeat themselves. It brings math into trading by relying on Fibonacci numbers.

The Fibonacci is a sequence of numbers that starts with 0 and 1. Other numbers enlarge the sequence by adding the previous two numbers. Like 0 ,1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and so on. These numbers, if broken into ratios, can predict the moves of financial markets.

The Fibonacci levels comes in two categories; primary ratio and complimentary ratio. The primary ratio of 0.618 is calculated by dividing any number in the sequence by the following number. For example, 8 divided by 13 equals to 0.61.

The complimentary ratio of 0.38, 0.23, 0.5, 2.0, 2.2, 2.6, 3.14, and 3.6 is calculated by dividing any number in the sequence by a number two, three, or four positions to its right. For example, 5 divided by 13 equals to 0.38, and 3 divided by 13 equals 0.23. The series of the complimentary ratio can be completed this way.

Harmonic Pattern on a chart
Harmonic Pattern on a chart

By using these ratios with the Harmonic Pattern, traders can help to analyse possible future market movements.

The term Harmonic trading was first coined by Scott Carney when he defined the Harmonic Patterns and applied Fibonacci ratios.

Types of Harmonic Patterns

There are three main types of Harmonic Patterns; Gartley, ABCD, and Three-Drive.

1. Gartley

H.M. Gartley introduced the Gartley pattern in the book Profits in the Stock Market. Later Scott Carney included the Fibonacci levels to make it Gartley Harmonic Pattern.

The Gartley appears when the price in an uptrend or downtrend shows corrective waves. The corrective waves are part of Elliot Wave Theory that moves against the trend.

The pattern looks like the ABCD pattern with the extension of X.

The Gartley pattern comes in two variations; bullish and bearish Gartley. They indicate traders for going long or short.

This is what the pattern looks like:

Bullish Gartley
Bullish Gartley
Bearish Gartley
Bearish Gartley

 

The Gartley pattern has three types; Bat, butterfly, and Crab.

  • The Bat appears similar to Gartley but differs in measurement. It also has a bearish and bullish pattern.
Bullish Bat
Bullish Bat
Bearish Bat
Bearish Bat
  • The butterfly varies from Gartley as points D and X are connected with a long line. For going long or short, the butterfly provides with bullish and bearish patterns.
Bullish Butterfly
Bullish Butterfly
Bearish Butterfly
Bearish Butterfly
  • According to Scott Carney, the Crab is the most reliable pattern as it provides close reversals to what Fibonacci levels describe.
Bullish Crab
Bullish Crab
Bearish Crab
Bearish Crab

2. ABCD

The ABCD pattern develops when points A, B, C, and D are connected. The pattern seems to be a combat between the bulls and the bears.

There are two versions of the ABCD pattern; bullish and bearish. The lines AB and CD are known as legs of ABCD, while the BC is a correction line.

Traders wait for the pattern to complete, then enter short or long positions at point D.

This is how the pattern appears on the chart:

Bullish ABCD
Bullish ABCD
Bearish ABCD
Bearish ABCD

3. Three-Drive

The Three-Drive appears similar to the ABCD pattern, but it has three legs and two corrections. Traders go long or short at point B after completion of the Three-Drive.

Here’s how it emerges on the chart:

Bullish Three-Drive
Bullish Three-Drive
Bearish Three-Drive
Bearish Three-Drive

How to use the Harmonic Patterns?

All the forms of Harmonic patterns provide entry and exit signals with the potential reversal zone. As for stop-losses, if the pattern doesn’t move too far, traders can set stop-losses below a long entry and above a sell entry, using levels that they feel comfortable with and according to their own trading strategy.

As with all forms of forex analysis, the Harmonic patterns can generate false signals. So, to verify the movement of the price, traders use other forms of technical analysis.

Harmonic Patterns conclusion

Although they can be hard for some traders to spot, Harmonic Patterns can give an idea of where the market may move. The Gartley pattern is amongst what some traders often look for as it can help to give some indication of possible price movements.

Harmonic Patterns can be used on your trading platform charts to help filter potential trading signals as part of an overall trading strategy.