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Texture


Musical texture is a term used to describe the vertical aspects (layering) of a work or passage.

There are three basic musical textures: monophony, polyphony, and homophony.


Monophony

Monophony is a single line of music without any harmonic or melodic counterpoint.

Monophony is considered the oldest type of music originating from Ancient Greece and early church music (i.e. plainchant/Gregorian chant).

Figure 1: Monophony: a single line of music.


Polyphony

Polyphony describes music with two or more unique voices played simultaneously.

Figure 2: Polyphony: two lines of music played against each other.


Homophony

Homophony describes a single melodic line with other parts acting as accompaniment.

Figure 3: Homophony over four staves.


Also see Voice | Counterpoint.


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