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  • Chris Anderson

Music Revision - Melody Part 14 - Texture 1

Texture describes how music parts fit together…many people use the phrase “woven together” and this is actually a really good way of describing it. Texture can either be thick or thin - but don’t use those words in your exam. Don’t worry, I’m about to give you the words you need along with explanations.



Monophonic

This is the most straightforward. There’s no harmony. It’s just one instrument or voice playing a single line of melody. For example, a solo violin playing a jig, a saxophone playing a solo blues tune, a pungi charming a cobra are all examples of monophonic texture. If you get many parts playing in unison or doubling up (playing the same notes at the same time) this is monophonic as there is no harmony being created. The texture is thin.



Homophonic

The lines of music move at (more or less) the same time. There is harmony. It is a melody with an accompaniment (which often uses chords). If part move up or down with the same interval this is also homophonic. Using parallel motion is fine if used sparingly - but parallel fifths is generally frowned upon.




Polyphonic

Simply put this is more than one tune being played at the same time and it’s also known as contrapuntal music. Polyphonic music can sound quite complex. If the parts are moving in contrary motion (opposite directions) this is polyphonic as is two-part music.




Heterophonic

One tune played by all (or most of) the instruments, but with variations and often at different times.




Next time I’ll write about how these textures can be used to produce different types of music or techniques.

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