6 Major Elements of Music Texture Melody Rhythm Dynamics/Timbre Harmony Form
Texture Musical texture refers to both the horizontal and vertical relationships of musical materials and is defined by melody. Monophony Musical texture with a single melodic line. Polyphony Musical texture composed of two or more melodies. Homophony Musical texture composed of a melody supported by chords.
Melody Notes in a melody occur one after another in a line of music. A melody represents a single musical voice no matter how many musicians perform it. It can be sung or played on an instrument. (Click on the picture above.)
Monophony A melody performed alone is the simplest pattern of musical texture called "monophonic texture." Whenever a single melodic voice is present alone, the texture is monophonic. It doesn’t matter if a melody is performed by one or many musicians as long as the same notes are performed by everyone.
Monophony Monophony may be produced by a single instrument- - Or by one singer-- Or a group of singers singing the same melody-- Sanctus
Harmony When two or more different notes are sung or played at the same time we say there is harmony. Harmony may be created in a number of ways, but what they all have in common is that different pitches occur simultaneously or in rapid succession.
Harmony Here is an example of accompaniment—first as “block chords” (played simultaneously) and then as an “arpeggio” (played one after the other).
Polyphony Another way to produce harmony is to perform two or more different melodies at the same time in different musical voices or the same melody performed 3 or 4 times but starting at different times. This type of harmony is called "polyphonic texture.“
Polyphony A very simple example of polyphonic texture is a "round" or "canon.” These are melodies performed by more than one musical voice, but each starting at different times. An example of a familiar round is "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."
Chordal Harmony Here is an example of “Row Row Row Your Boat” without polyphony but with block chord harmony. And now, with an arpeggio accompaniment.
Homophony When an accompaniment is used under a melody, we have the texture called “homophonic texture.” This is the texture we are most used to hearing. Here is an example where the chords are produced by several instruments—piano, bass, and guitar. There is also percussion in the accompaniment. The melody is played by the piano.
Texture Monophony Musical texture with a single melodic line. Polyphony Musical texture composed of two or more melodies. Homophony Musical texture composed of a melody supported by chords.
Texture Understanding texture helps us to hear all the different things that go on in music. “What’d’ya Hear?” What textures are used in this piece?
Which Texture? “Spring” from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi