Texture (music): Wikis

  

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Texture is one of the basic elements of music. People use texture to describe the number of rhythms played at a specific time. In music, texture also means the overall quality of sound of a piece, most often indicated by the number of voices in the music and by the relationship between these voices (see types of texture below). A piece's texture may be affected by the number and character of parts playing at once, the timbre of the instruments or voices playing these parts and the harmony, tempo, and rhythms used.

Contents

Common Types

In musical terms, particularly in the fields of music history and music analysis, some common terms for different types of texture are:

Monophonic

"Pop Goes the Weasel" melody (DeLone 1975, p.270-301).

One melodic voice without harmonic accompaniment

Biphonic

Two distinct lines, the lower sustaining a drone(constant pitch)while the other line creates a more elaborate melody above it.

Polyphonic

A bar from J.S. Bach's "Fugue No.17 in A flat", BWV 862, from Das Wohltemperirte Clavier (Part I), a famous example of contrapuntal polyphony

Multiple melodic voices which are to a considerable extent independent from one another.

Homophonic

Homophony in Tallis' "If ye love me," composed in 1549. The voices move together using the same rhythm, and the relationship between them creates chords: the excerpt begins and ends with an F major triad. To listen, hear music sample below.

Multiple voices of which one, the melody, stands out prominently and the others form a background of harmonic accompaniment. If all the parts have much the same rhythm, the homophonic texture can also be described as homorhythmic.

Heterophonic

Two or more voices simultaneously performing variations of the same melody.

Additive

A texture most commonly found in rock music that starts off mono or homophonic, and gradually changes and builds up to polyphonic. This also refers to the volume of a song. See: musical form.

Additional Types

Although in music instruction certain styles or repertoires of music are often identified with one of these descriptions this is basically added music. (for example, Gregorian chant is described as monophonic, Bach Chorales are described as homophonic and fugues as polyphonic), many composers use more than one type of texture in the same piece of music.

A simultaneity is more than one complete musical texture occurring at the same time, rather than in succession.

A more recent type of texture first used by György Ligeti is micropolyphony. Other textures include polythematic, polyrhythmic, onomatopoeic, compound, and mixed or composite textures (Corozine 2002, p.34).

Sources

  • Copland, Aaron. What to Listen for in Music. Published by Signet Classic, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY.
  • Corozine, Vince (2002). Arranging Music for the Real World: Classical and Commercial Aspects. Pacific, MO: Mel Bay. ISBN 0-7866-4961-5. OCLC 50470629. 
  • DeLone et al. (Eds.) (1975). Aspects of Twentieth-Century Music, chap. 4, p.270-301. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-049346-5.
  • Hanning, Barbara Russano, Concise History of Western Music, based on Donald Jay Grout & Claudia V. Palisca's A History of Western Music, Fifth Edition. Published by W. W. Norton & Company, New York, Copyright 1998. ISBN 0-393-97168-6.

Further reading

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