Chant Is Written In What Texture


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Terms that Describe Texture

Many colloquial phrases can be used to describe the texture of a piece of music (thick, thin, bass-heavy, rhythmically complicated) but the formal terminology that are used to describe texture all reflect the connections between melodies and, if present, harmonies in the piece of music. You will face three primary textures throughout our lesson, and the following are definitions and samples of each.


When it comes to monophonic music, there is just one melody line and no harmony or counterpoint. Even though there may be a rhythmic accompaniment, there will only be one line with precise pitches. Monophonic music is also referred to as monophony in some circles. After the Middle Ages, this texture is only seldom heard in Western European music of the tradition that began in the Mediterranean.

Examples of Monophony

  • One individual is whistling a song
  • “Taps” is sounded by a single bugle. A group of individuals who are all singing the same tune at the same time, without any harmony or musical accompaniment
  • It was performed by a fife and drum corps, with each fife playing a different tune from the other fifes.


a single individual whistling a tune “Taps” is played by a single bugle. Unaccompanied by harmony or musical accompaniment, a group of individuals all sing a single song together; It was performed by a fife and drum corps, with each fife playing a different tune from the other fifes;

Examples of Polyphony

  • Rounds, canons, and fugues are all examples of polyphonic composition. If multiple persons sing or play the melody at different times, the sections sound independent, even if there is only one melody. Much of the late Baroque period’s music, notably the compositions of J.S. Bach, is contrapuntal. In most cases, at least some of the time, the music for big instrumental ensembles such as bands or orchestras is contrapuntal. Music that is mostly homophonic can be momentarily transformed into polyphonic music by the addition of an independent countermelody. For example, consider a beloved pop or gospel song where the soloist “improvises” at the conclusion as the backing singers repeat the chorus


Each of the three types of polyphony is represented by a round. If multiple persons sing or play the melody at different times, the sections sound independent even if there is only one melody. The contrapuntal style is prevalent in late Baroque music, notably in Bach’s compositions; In most cases, at least portion of the time, the music for big instrumental ensembles such as bands or orchestras is contrapuntal; With the addition of an independent countermelody to a piece of music that is predominantly homophonic, the piece can briefly become polyphonic.

Examples of Homophony

  • Homophonic music is a type of choral music in which all of the parts have primarily the same rhythms at the same time. This category includes the majority of traditional Protestant hymns as well as the majority of “barbershop quartet” music. A vocalist who is accompanied by a guitarist who picks or strummings chords on the instrument An improvised trumpet solo is performed by a small jazz combo consisting of a bass, a piano, and drums, which serves as the “rhythm” background for the performance. A solo bagpiper or accordion musician who performs a song accompanied by drones or chords

Suggested Listening

  • Any singer that is performing on their own
  • Any orchestral woodwind or brass instrument (flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, etc.) performed solo, including the oboe, clarinet, horn, and trumpet. As an illustration, consider the following excerpt from James Romig’s Sonnet 2, performed by John McMurtery: A suite for solo cello by Bach
  • Choral chants in the Gregorian style
  • The majority of fife and drum music
  • Long portions of Handel’s “Messiah” aria “The People Who Walked in Darkness” are performed in a monophonic style (the instruments are playing the same line as the voice). It has been suggested that Handel equates monophony with “walking in the dark.” Monophony is uncommon in modern popular genres, although may be heard in Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”


  • Anyone who is a solo performer When a solo woodwind or brass instrument (such as a flute or clarinet) performs as part of an orchestra, it is known as a solo woodwind or brass instrument. For example, consider the following excerpt from James Romig’s Sonnet 2, which was performed by John McMurtery: Cello suite in the style of Bach performed without accompaniment. Vocalizations in the style of Gregory of Nyssa most of the song with fife and drums Long passages of Handel’s “Messiah” aria “The People Who Walked in Darkness” are performed in monophony (the instruments are playing the same line as the voice). It has been suggested that Handel equates monophony with “walking in the dark.” Monophony is uncommon in current popular music, although may be heard in Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”


  • Any vocalist who is performing by themselves
  • Any orchestral woodwind or brass instrument (flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, etc.) performed solo, including the oboe, clarinet, and bassoon. For instance, here is an excerpt from James Romig’s Sonnet 2, which is performed by John McMurtery: A suite for solo cello by Bach Choral chanting in the Gregorian style
  • The vast majority of fife and drum music
  • Long portions of Handel’s “Messiah” aria “The People Who Walked in Darkness” are performed in monophony (the instruments are playing the same line as the voice). Apparently, Handel equates monophony with “walking in the dark.” Monophony is uncommon in modern popular genres, but may be heard in Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”


Choose one of the pieces from the list below and listen to it on YouTube once you have finished reading about musical texture in the text. Please respond to the questions below when you have finished listening to your pick.

Two-Part Invention in C Major by Johann Sebastian Bach

For the first 20 seconds, the texture is the most noticeable.)


  1. Which component did you decide to go with? (It is sufficient to copy and paste the title)
  2. The music you picked represents which of the three textures listed above
  3. What was it that you heard that allowed you to recognize the texture? 1) Write one or two phrases in which you allude to but do not replicate the explanations on the preceding page. I’m interested in hearing how you put this into your own words.)


Examine the three pieces provided in the reading assignment on musical texture to determine whether you properly recognized the textures in each of the works.

  • Examine the three pieces from the reading assignment on musical texture to determine whether you properly recognized the textures in each.

IB Music/Music History/Medieval Period – Wikibooks, open books for an open world

Return to the IB Music Archive Middle Ages (450-1450) Sacred and secular music were distinguished in the Medieval Period, which was divided into two distinct categories. Sacred music was music that was used by the Roman Catholic Church, whilst secular music was music that had no connection to the Church and was utilized by other organizations.

Sacred Music

It is believed that sacred music emerged from a style known as theGregorian chant. A collection of chants named after Pope Gregory I, the Gregorian chants are considered to be the official compositions of the Catholic Church.

Characteristics of Gregorian chants

  • The melody of a Gregorian chant is highly free-flowing, as is the rhythm of the chant. The chant progresses upward and downward in little increments and jumps within a limited range. Melodies are frequentlymelismatic, meaning that syllables are stretched across numerous notes. Harmony- Because Gregorian chants have a monophonic texture, they do not include any harmony. Although drone (singing the same note over a lengthy period of time, generally in entire notes) was popular, it wasn’t always used. It is impossible to determine the exact timing of each word in a Gregorian chant. It is permissible to hold notes for a “short” or “long” period of time, but no complicated rhythms are employed. In terms of structure, several Gregorian chants are written in ternary (ABA) form. An incipit, or introduction solo, is performed by a cantor at the start of the composition. The piece is subsequently performed by the chorus, and at the conclusion, the cantor ends with a solo that was frequently performed at a lower dynamic level and with a more limited range of notes. Timbre- Sung by entirely male choirs in a hushed tone. However, they were occasionally composed as a teaching tool for women who were nuns in convents. Structure-Gregorian chants are one of the rare pieces of music that is totally monophonic, as seen by its texture. In a Gregorian chant, there is just one melodic line to be heard. The Gregorian chants were employed by the Church to help in the performance of prayers. They were sung by monks (and, on occasion, women in convents) in the past. In addition, because it was the official music of the Roman Catholic Church, all gregorian chants were just vocalists, as instrumentation was regarded to be Pagan by the Church. As a result, every text was written in Latin as a result of this. They were performed at the “office” and “mass” of religious ceremonies, and all gregorian chant was passed down orally because the use of written music was quite unusual at the time. Church Modes were the scales in which gregorian chants were performed, and they were divided into three categories. Up to the Renaissance period, they were in widespread usage during the middle ages. The phrase “what can we do with a drunken sailor” is an example of how they are used frequently in folk song. Church modes are composed of seven tones, with the eighth tone duplicating the tonic an octave higher than the tonic.


Around the year 700, the Gregorian chant began to take shape. From 700 to 900, composers would write a line in parallel motion to the chant at a predetermined interval of a fifth or a fourth above the original line, resulting in a total of nine lines. From 900 until 1200, this technology underwent considerable development. During this time, the upper line moved in its own right, independent of the initial chanting pattern. After 1100, top lines began to develop rhythmic independence and eventually became independent.

This is the name given to the Gregorian chant on which the higher lines are based, which is known as thecantus firmus.

Leonin and Perotin, two composers who worked together on organum, were important in its development.

It is therefore legitimate to speak to these two composers and their pupils collectively as theSchool of Notre Dame.

Significant Composers

  • Leonin – He is the first known composer to employ measured rhythm in his works
  • He is also the first known composer to utilize measured rhythm in his compositions. The composer Perotin is credited with being the first known composer to create three separate lines at the same time.

Sacred music was usually performed by singers. This was mostly owing to the association between instruments and paganic ceremonies. Although instruments were increasingly significant throughout the Medieval Period, this was not the case throughout the whole period. When it comes to holy music throughout the Medieval Period, the organ is the most essential instrument. Even while early organs were quite loud, they were significantly more difficult to operate and necessitated a considerable lot of physical power on the part of the player.

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Secular Music

Music for the altar was usually performed by singers. Because of the association between instruments and pagan rites, this was mostly the case. Yet, during the Medieval Period, instruments grew in importance as a means of communication. When it comes to holy music in the Middle Ages, the organ is the most crucial instrument to have. While they were extremely loud, early instruments were far more difficult to manipulate and necessitated a considerable degree of physical power on the part of the performer.


During the Medieval Period, a great deal of secular music was composed by troubadours and troubavères.

These were nobility from France, and they were known for writing music in order to earn status.

Significant Composers

  • Roubadours andtroubavères composed a great deal of secular music during the Medieval Period. It was a group of French nobility who were known for writing music in order to attain social status.


Jongleurs also created and performed secular music in addition to his religious works. Jongleurs were traveling minstrels who would go from town to town entertaining people with music, juggling, and theatre. They had no civil rights, yet they were vital members of society since they were responsible for spreading news from town to town. The estampie was one of the types of music that they performed. Anestampie is a quick dance in triple meter that is performed in a circle.

Ars Nova

Around the year 1350, a new type of music known as Ars Nova (New Art) began to emerge. The period known as Ars Nova encompasses both ecclesiastical and secular music, however secular music gained prominence during this time. The following are some of the most important aspects of Ars Nova:

  • Polyphony is being developed, as is the use of duple meter and syncopation.

Sacred Music

The emergence of a great form for religious music, themass ordinary, occurred during the Ars Nova period. The ordinary of the mass is made up of five prayers that are put to music in five separate movements. The prayers are as follows:

Secular Music

In part as a result of the Church’s declining power, secular music began to gain in popularity during the Ars Nova Period. Instruments were employed more often, while the majority of the song was still performed vocally. The ballata is a new secular form that emerged during the Ars Nova period. Theballatais a dance that takes the shape of the letters A BB AA. A ballata is also referred to as a falala due to the fact that it employs this line throughout its compositions.

Significant Composers

  • Works of significance
  • It is the first known polyphonic mass, and it is celebrated at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
  • Works of significance
  • Ecco la Primavera – This is an example of an Ars Nova ballata
  • It was composed in the early twentieth century.

Instruments of the Period

Gregorian chant is a type of liturgical music performed in unison or in monophony by the Roman Catholic Church to accompany the readings of the mass and the canonical hours, sometimes known as the divine office. The Gregorian chant is named after St. Gregory I, who was Pope from 590 to 604 and during whose reign it was collected and codified. King Charlemagne of the Franks (768–814) brought Gregorian Chant into his country, which had previously been dominated by another liturgical style, the Gallican chant, which was in general usage.

  1. The passages that are repeated from one mass to the next are included in theOrdinary of the Mass.
  2. The first appearance of the Gloria was in the 7th century.
  3. The Gloria chants that follow are neumatic.
  4. TheSanctus andBenedictus are most likely from the period of the apostles.
  5. Since its introduction into the Latin mass from the Eastern Church in the 7th century, theAgnus Dei has been written mostly in neumatic form.
  6. The Proper of the Mass is a collection of texts that are different for each mass in order to highlight the significance of each feast or season celebrated that day.
  7. During the 9th century, it had taken on its current form: a neumatic refrain followed by a psalm verse in psalm-tone style, followed by the refrain repeated.

As time progressed, it evolved into the following pattern: opening melody (chorus)—psalm verse or verses in a virtuously enriched psalmodic structure (soloist)—opening melody (chorus), which was repeated in whole or in part.

Its structure is similar to that of the Gradual in several ways.

Synagogue music has a strong connection to this cry.

Sacred poems, in their current form, the texts are written in double-line stanzas, with the same accentuation and amount of syllables on both lines for each two lines.

By the 12th century, just the refrain had survived from the original psalm and refrain.

The Offertory is distinguished by the repeating of text.

The song has a neumatic feel to it.

Responses are short texts that precede or follow each psalm and are mostly set in syllabic chant; psalms, with each set to a psalm tone; hymns, which are usually metrical and in strophes or stanzas and set in a neumatic style; and antiphons or refrains, which are short texts that precede or follow each psalm and are mostly set in syllabic The Gradual’s form and style are influenced by the sponsor’s contribution.

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Music Crash Courses

When it comes to music, a texture explains the way that melodies behave and interact with one another. Western music is characterized by three textures: monophony, polyphony, and homophony, which together account for the vast bulk of its compositions.


When a piece of music consists solely of a melody, this is referred to as monophony in musical terms. One voice or instrument (monophony literally translates as “one sounding”) or a group of voices and instruments all performing the same line of music are both possible in a monophonic setting. When all of the artists are playing or singing the same notes at the same time, this is referred to as performing in harmony. Men frequently sing the tune an octave lower than women when a roomful of people sings “Happy Birthday,” which means they are no longer singing in unison but rather at an octave apart.

Most of the liturgical chant from the Middle Ages, known as “Gregorian chant,” is monophonic in nature.


Polyphony, which translates as “many sounds,” is a musical term that refers to music in which numerous separate melodies occur at the same time. These melodies intertwine and overlap, and they are often composed such that they sound pleasant when played together. Counterpoint is a concept that is intimately associated with polyphony and is used to describe a musical composition. A style and approach of writing polyphony that was popular throughout the 15th through 17th century is known as counterpoint (plural: counterpoint).

When used as synonyms (for example, contrapuntal texture and polyphonic texture), the phrases can be interchanged rather frequently.

When the melody of the first voice is reproduced by following voices, this is referred to as imitation polyphony.

In a canon, the original tune is reproduced exactly and without variation in each and every voice of the choir.

“Row, Row, Row Your Boat”

Afugue is another another polyphonic form that imitates its predecessors. Fugues are less rigorous than canons in that the multiple voices begin by mimicking one another, but progressively diverge and become distinct from one another. This sort of imitative polyphony may be heard in Bach’s “Little” G Minor Fugue, which is in the key of G Minor. The video below will help you to follow the fundamental outlines of the individual portions without having to refer to music notation or other resources.

In contrast, free polyphony may be found in classic New Orleans jazz and in the first polyphony of the late Medieval and early Renaissance periods, as well as in contemporary jazz.

It is performed by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five and is a classic example of New Orleans jazz. It opens with a part of free polyphony and then moves into solos and improvisational passages (trumpet, clarinet, voice, then trombone).


This type of texture occurs when there is only one melody and the other components are intended to support and accompany the melody (the accompaniment). This is the category in which the vast majority of western music is classified. For the sake of this classification, any music that is neither monophonic nor polyphonic can be labeled homophonic. One of the most common varieties of homophony is the combination of melody and accompaniment, and the other is the chorus-type homophony (also known as homorhythmic homophony).

Homorhythmy is required in order for chorale-type homophony to be considered, meaning that all of the voices (or instruments) must be performing the same rhythm at the same time.

The first few bars of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” are a good example of chorale-type homophony in action.

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Four Types of Texture in Music

In your mind’s eye, what pictures come to mind when you hear the word “texture”? Is it better to be soft or hard? Is it better to be dry or wet? Is it a living being or an inanimate object? Slimy? Sticky? What do you prefer: fur, skin, or scales? It is possible that the word “texture” will bring up pictures in your mind of the smooth sands of a wide desert, the rough brick wall of a dilapidated city structure, the rolling waves of the ocean, or the repeating patterns of plant life as shown in the image above.

  1. What is the effect of these various textures on the sound produced?
  2. a few examples of Instruments that produce a broad variety of “timbres.” A piece of music (or a musical performance) is composed of a large number of individual building components.
  3. When all of these distinct building elements, as well as speed and timbre, are combined, they form a musical texture.
  4. When many instruments or voices are playing or singing at the same frequency or musical pitch, it is this characteristic that identifies them.
  5. In order to create musical textures that distinguish one piece of music from another, it is critical to combine timbres in the right way.

These four textures may be found in a variety of musical styles from throughout the world. Finding out how these textures have changed through time not only takes us through the history of Western music, but it also demonstrates how music is a worldwide innovation.


Monophony is a musical texture composed of a single melodic line that is repeated over and over again. This old musical texture may be found in the few instances of Ancient Greek music that have survived, such as The Epitaph of Seikilos, which you can listen to and examine the score for in the video above, as well as in other pieces from the period. Aside: TheEpitaph of Seikilosis the world’s oldest full and notated musical piece still in existence. It is believed to have been built about the first century CE.

  • It was written by Seikilos in memory of his late wife, who passed away.
  • Double-reed instruments were prevalent in the ancient world, and they are the forerunners of the contemporary oboe and bassoon, among other instruments.
  • For example, Byzantine and Gregorian chants, the songs of French troubadours and trouvères, and the minnesingers and meistersingers are all examples of chants from the past.
  • Note: From 901 to 920 CE, Étienne deLiège served as the bishop of Liège, which is located in present-day Belgium.
  • Even now, monophony can be heard in musical compositions.
  • Play Bach’s Cello Suite No.
  • Take note to how many different emotions the artist is able to convey with a single musical line.
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Polyphony is a musical texture made up of two or more melodic lines that are played at the same time. The first polyphonic music was made simply by having two separate songs played or sung by two different musicians at the same time. When polyphony was first formed in the late Middle Ages, it quickly rose to prominence and eventually became the dominant musical texture during the Renaissance. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c.1525 – 2 February 1594), an Italian musician, was one of the most important composers of polyphonic music during his lifetime.

Play the music numerous times, following a different vocal line each time, and note how the various works generate consonance and discord in the overall composition.

Western music has been enriched by this invention, which marks the birth of contemporary harmonies.

Musical compositions in counterpunctal forms, such as the Baroque Invention and Fugue, were written by composers like Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi, among others.

Take note of how the left hand imitates the material of the right hand, and how this imitation results in harmony between the two instruments. ASSIGNMENT 2: Download the score from the IMSLP and evaluate the harmonic structure of the composition. ASSIGNMENT 1: Download the score from the IMSLP.

Orchestral Polyphony

Bach is not just well-known for his polyphonic solo instrument compositions, but he is also well-known for employing polyphonic writing when composing for a large number of different instruments as well. His Brandenburg Concertos are outstanding examples; have a listen and pay close attention to Number 1 in F major, which is shown here.


It is a type of musical texture in which a main melodic line is backed by one or more secondary musical lines that provide harmonic support to the main melodic line. This is the type of musical texture that we hear the most frequently these days. When all voices play or sing in (approximately) the same beat, this is known as traditional homophony, and it results in a rich texture. Chorales (such as Christmas carols or patriot songs) sung in a conventional four-voice “hymnal” arrangement) are the most fundamental homophonic form, and they are the most common.

  • As a result, students of music theory study his chorales in order to have a thorough understanding of the notions of Western harmony.
  • ASSIGNMENT NUMBER THREE Analyze the harmonies in the whole score below, paying close attention to the sharps that have been added, the transpositions, and the crucial locations.
  • The term “Monody” refers to a guitarist who is strumming chords and singing a tune while playing a guitar.
  • Take a look at the video below and listen to Chopin’s Waltz in A minor as you go along.
  • Homophony is not just present in Western music, where it is employed in conjunction with Western harmonies.
  • Listen to the rich texture created by this in the video below, which features the Zolokere Choir from Malawi.


Heterophony is the final type of musical texture, and it may be found in musical civilizations all across the world. It is, however, less frequently heard in Classical Western music than the other two instruments. Traditional music, particularly that of the Middle East, Asia, and Europe’s folk traditions, is replete with this instrument. H eterophony is a texture formed by altering the pitch of a single melody at the same time. It may be viewed of as a more intricate form of Monophony, and it is frequently seen as the first texture to develop after Monophony in the musical world.

Winter Sun can be heard on the radio.

Even in classical music, heterophony can be present in the compositions.

Mozart used it in his Piano Concerto in C minor, which was composed in 1791. Beginning at min. 211-214, listen to the music and follow along with the score. Create a Heterophonic version of your Monophonic piece from assignment 1 and submit it to the instructor.

Going Forward: Multiple Textures

Igor Stravinsky, a Russian-American composer, is renowned for his innovative and dramatic use of textures in his compositions. I’ve attached two of his works for you to go over and examine. ASSIGNMENT 6 Can you tell me what kinds of textures you’re hearing? What method does he use to generate them? What is the method through which Stravinsky creates texture with timbre? What kind of interactions do the instruments have with one another and how do they operate together? Make a list of at least ten observations, and be sure to identify which piece or pieces you listened to.

Janae J.

In addition to her undergraduate degree in music/education from Judson University, she holds an advanced master’s degree in computer music/composition from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.


OUTLINE FOR MUSIC Since the dawn of recorded history, humans have played an essential role in a variety of activities. Music today plays an extremely essential and critical function in the lives of all human beings. It can be found virtually everywhere on our planet. One more stimulation to add to the huge ocean of impulses that our senses acquire on a daily basis. Humans utilize music for a variety of purposes, including: Amusement for one’s own amusement Activities that promote contemplation.

  • �Stimulation.
  • Sound is transmitted and received in two ways.
  • Areceiverto is a device that can detect and record sound vibrations.
  • A membrane made of animal hide or synthetic material is used to protect the skin.
  • Beads rattling in a confined container can be heard.
  • In a tiny resonating tube, the buzzing of lips may be heard.

The movement of small pieces of reed linked to a tube is triggered by the action of human breathing. There are a plethora of different naturally occurring vibrating sources. Sound may also be created artificially through the use of electrical synthesis. Elements of Music

  • Notation, melody, rhythm, harmony, texture, form, dynamics, and timbre are all elements of music.

NOTATION Written on paper in order for the music to be performed again and over again is the goal. System of notation for music Having the ability to read and interpret written music notation is not necessary for most people to enjoy and comprehend most music, but it does help. MELODY – A song about love and loss (Line, Space) Melody A series of single tones or pitches that are thought to be coherent in their appearance. Melody has the following characteristics: �Pitch The highness or lowness of a tone is determined by the frequency of the tone (rate of vibration) �Interval The distance between two pitches, as well as their connection.

  • (either narrow, medium, or broad) �Shape The direction that a melody follows as it ascends or descends, or as it remains static, is called the tempo.
  • �Cadence Musical punctuation is a location where a musical phrase can take a break.
  • RHYTHM – A rhythm is a pattern of beats (Rhythm, Pattern, Repetition, Time) Rhythm In music, the concept of time is present.
  • Accentuation is the placement of emphasis on a note such that it is louder or lasts longer than another.
  • In music, there are many different types of styles.
  • �Meter Measurement is the grouping of beats into bigger, more regular patterns that are notated.
  • �Downbeat In any meter, the first beat of a measure is the most powerful beat.
  • Polyrhythmic – The employment of numerous different rhythmic patterns or meters at the same time

Nonmetric music is music that does not have a strong sense of rhythm or meter. A HARMONY – (Balance)Harmony is the simultaneous combination of notes, as well as the connections between intervals and chords that result. Harmony has the following characteristics: �Chord A single block of harmony is formed by the simultaneous combination of tones (usually three or more) that form a single block of harmony.

�Scale A succession of tones or pitches that are either rising or decreasing in pitch. �Tonality The principle of structuring a work around a core tonic, or home pitch, that is based on a major or minor scale is called tonic structure.

  • Diatonic
  • Chromatic
  • Consonance
  • Dissonance
  • Drone
  • Tonic and diatonic

THE TEXTURE – (Texture) Texture A musical fabric is formed by the intertwining of melodic (horizontal) and harmonic (vertical) parts. Generally speaking, they are as follows: A single melody is presented by a single voice or section in a monophonic composition. Heterophonic compositions are those in which two or more voices/parts elaborate on the same melody at the same time. Homophonic music consists of a main melody and an accompanying harmony. The term polyphonic refers to the combination of two or more melodies into a multi-voiced texture.

Formal characteristics include: �Repetition Within a form, repetition cements the material in our minds and fulfills our craving for the familiar; it brings a form’s elements together as a whole.

(Variety) �Variation A principle that allows for some characteristics of the music to be changed while remaining recognizable.

�Theme In music composition, a melodic concept is employed as a fundamental building component in the production of the piece.

  • DIFFERENTIATIONS IN TEXTURE (Texture) Texture A musical fabric is created by the intertwining of melodic (horizontal) and harmonic parts. According to general consensus, A single melody is presented by a single voice or section in monophonic form. Two or more voices/parts elaborate on the same melody concurrently in a heterophonic composition (also known as a polyphonic composition). homophonic: a melody with accompanying harmony that is used as the primary melody. Multiple melodies unite to create a multi-voiced texture when they are polyphonic. The word “FORM” refers to the shape of anything (Shape, Form) Form Structure or form of a musical piece that is based on repetition, contrast, and variation
  • The structuring concept of musical composition Types of Form Characteristics: �Repetition Repeating a shape over and over again cements the material in our minds and fulfills our want for the familiar
  • It gives a form its coherence. (Pattern)�Contrast Within a shape, contrast keeps our attention and satisfies our desire for constant change and transformation. (Variety) �Variation In accordance with this idea, some components of the song are changed while remaining recognizably familiar. Compositional methods such as repetition, variety, and contrast are the core procedures on which music is built. �Theme In music composition, a melodic concept is utilized as a fundamental building piece to produce a composition. It is possible to develop theme development in a number of different ways (motive, sequence, ostinato).
  • Sequence The same notion repeated at a higher or lower pitch level
  • Obligato A brief musical pattern- melodic, rhythmic, or harmonic- that is repeated repeatedly throughout a work or a main portion of a composition In this example, a brief (four-note) descending pattern in the bass can be heard throughout the piece beneath the vocals.

DYNAMICS – The study of motion (Emphasis, Subordination, Value) Dynamics The relative loudness or quietness of music is indicated via the use of designations. Pianissimo, Piano, Mezzo-piano, Forte, Fortissimo, Pianissimo, Piano, Mezzo-piano �Crescendo The dynamic effect of progressively becoming louder as time passes �Decrescendo The dynamic effect of becoming progressively softer over time. �Sforzando A single note or chord is given a rapid emphasis or accent by pressing down on the note or chord.

  • “Tone color” is another term for this.
  • Strings are a kind of string.
  • (Violins, violas, cellos, bass, harp, guitar, and percussion) Woodwinds are a group of instruments.
  • (Flute, piccolo, clarinet, bassoon, oboe, bass clarinet, and saxophone are among the instruments represented.) The Brass Clad Family Trumpet, French horn, trombone, and tuba are examples of brass instruments.
  • Surface-playing instruments are those that are played by striking the instrument’s surface.

(Piano, harpsichord, and synthesizers are among the instruments used). �Ensembles Groups of people that play music (instrumental, vocal and mixed)

12 Examples of Songs With Monophonic Texture

Texture may be defined through the use of a variety of musical phrases. These terms allude to the number of instruments or voices that are used in a work, as well as the way in which they are related to one another. The most basic of them is a monophonic texture, which is also known as monophony in some circles. Here, we’ll take a look at a variety of monophonic songs and compositions that make use of monophony from throughout the history of Western music, from medieval plainchant to modern classical music, to pop, jazz, and folk song, each with a YouTube link to the corresponding sample.

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Quick Recap: What is Monophonic Texture?

It is necessary to understand the origin of the word Monophony in order to comprehend what it is. In Greek, the word’mono’ means ‘one’, while the word ‘phonic’ means’sound.’ As a result, when we hear a single, unaccompanied melody line: a single sound, we might say that a composition has a monophonic texture. In its most basic form, this is performed or sung by a single instrumental or vocal instrument. The term “monophonic” refers to songs that are performed or sung by a group of musicians in unison, as well as pieces with two parts that are performed or sung at a predetermined interval, such as a fifth or an octave, for example.

1. Gregorian Chant – Circumdederunt Me

Medieval music had its origins in the period 500-1400AD, and the foundations of Western classical music may be traced back to that time period. The earliest notation of music was made during this time period, and it was during this period that the first, basic laws of harmony were developed. Gregorian chant, also known as plainchant, is the most well-known kind of music from the Medieval period, in which monks would recite holy texts as part of the Roman Catholic Mass. The Gregorian chant sung in unison by the male voices of the Gregorian Choir of Paris in the video above is a classic example of Gregorian chant.

2. Comtessa Beatriz de Dia – A Chantar

The rise of troubadours occurred in the later Middle Ages, about between 1100 and 1350 AD. Known as “singer-songwriters” in their day, these solo performers and composers wrote lyric poetry that was then put to music, which addressed themes of chivalry and “courtly love” among other things. The majority of this music was mostly monophonic in character. Beatriz de Dia was a famoustrobairitz (as female troubadours were known at the time) from southern France who composed many poetry and songs with amorous themes for her audience.

3. J.S. Bach – Partita in E Major for Solo Violin

For example, the interwoven contrapuntal lines of a Scarlatti harpsichord sonata, or the lush textures of a Handel chorus, are both examples of polyphonic music from the Baroque period, which spanned the years 1600 to 1750. A lot of magnificent compositions for unaccompanied single-line instruments were written by Johann Sebastian Bach, who was undoubtedly the best composer of the period at the time. He is most known for his Cello Suites, but he also composed partitas for numerous instruments, including solo flute and solo violin, which are among the most popular of these.

Despite the lack of any supporting instruments, he manages to create an extraordinary amount of harmonic and melodic interest in this violin partita using delicate single lines:

4. Folk Song – Bushes and Briars

Folk music does not usually have a well-known composer, and it is not usually recorded in any kind of formal method, as opposed to classical music. Instead, it develops spontaneously and is handed from person to person, and even from one generation to the next, via the use of the sense of hearing and smell. It may also have a strong sense of national identity, which means that we get folk music that is extremely representative of the country where it was created: Traditional Spanish folk music differs significantly from traditional Eastern European folk music, for example.

In the film Far From the Madding Crowd, the actress Julie Christie performs the popular English folk ballad “Bushes and Briars,” in which her solo voice is occasionally accompanied in unison by a wooden flute, as well as other songs.

5. Football Chant – Pompey Chimes

Although we don’t usually think about football chants in such academic terms, they are sometimes described as some of the few remaining instances of modern-day folk music. Chants are chanted by spectators during football matches, with supporters seeking to encourage on their own side or taunt the opposition. Although the music is not written down, it is sometimes accompanied with lyrics that are added to existing melodies. The songs are typically passed on orally amongst groups of admirers, who are not necessarily trained musicians.

The cry “Pompey Chimes,” which is performed by fans of Portsmouth Football Club, is one of the oldest football chants in the United Kingdom.

6. Ludwig van Beethoven – Fifth Symphony

Historically, orchestral music, particularly in the Romantic era, has been characterized by vast groups and rich texture, among other characteristics. While Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, one of the most renowned orchestral works ever composed, starts off with a monophonic texture, as the classic opening motif is performed by the strings in unison, the composition eventually becomes polyphonic. As one would anticipate in a composition like this, after only a few seconds, we begin to hear increasingly complex textures, although brief periods of monophony may be heard throughout the piece as the famous phrase is returned to and altered.

7. Luciano Berio – Sequenza V

Orchestral music, particularly that of the Romantic era, is distinguished by its vast ensembles and a plethora of texture. But the opening theme of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which is among the most famous orchestral works of all time, is performed in unison by the strings, creating a monophonic texture to the composition. As we would anticipate in a composition like this, the textures get increasingly complicated after a few seconds, yet there are brief periods of monophony sprinkled throughout the song as the famous phrase is returned to and altered throughout.

It is unlikely that we will hear an orchestral piece that is fully monophonic, but it is not unusual for composers to utilize austere textures like this sparingly in order to create a dramatic contrast with richer palettes and instrumentation elsewhere.

8. Sonny Rollins – It Could Happen To You

Much of jazz is homophonic, meaning it is characterized by the interplay of an accompanying chordal line and the melodic line of an instrument, such as a soloing trumpet or clarinet, for example. Polyphonic components can be found in some jazz compositions. For example, in New Orleans jazz, we may hear a trumpet, a clarinet, and a trombone all improvising at the same time. However, there are certain monophonic instances of jazz that are more difficult to come across. Given the fact that wind instruments such as the saxophone and trumpet are only capable of playing one note at a time, we naturally perceive a monophonic texture when musicians of those instruments set themselves the challenge of performing without an accompaniment on their instruments.

His performance of Jimmy van Heusen’s “It Could Happen To You” begins with a free, rubato rendition, followed by a prolonged improvisation and an approximate return to the melody to round off the piece.

9. Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke

“Sir Duke” begins with a beautifully appealing monophonic opening, with numerous instruments playing a rising, arpeggio-based pattern in unison as the piece builds in intensity. Afterwards, the song, which is taken from Stevie Wonder’s legendary 1976 albumSongs in the Key of Life, takes on a more standard pop texture, with vocals supported by a groovy rhythm section. However, the use of monophony is reinstated in the form of an elaborate unison “soli” part between verses.

10. Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You

Whitney Houston’s rendition of Dolly Parton’s epic ballad of devotion begins with a monophonic beginning before transitioning into a larger texture, as is the case with a number of other songs on this playlist. In this case, the solo vocal beginning sets the stage for the song’s longing lyrical material in a dramatic manner, while also displaying Houston’s immensely strong voice, which is featured throughout the song.

11. Meredith Monk – Night Song

A monophonic beginning precedes the entrance of a larger texture in Whitney Houston’s interpretation of Dolly Parton’s epic ballad of devotion, which is similar to a number of other songs on this list. Specifically, the solo vocal beginning sets the stage for the song’s longing lyrical material in a dramatic manner, while also displaying Houston’s immensely powerful vocal range and range.

12. Tori Amos – Me and a Gun

Tori Amos chose a totally monophonic texture for the lead single from her 1991 debut albumLittle Earthquakes, “Me and a Gun,” which was released as the album’s lead single. In this particular instance, the purposeful decision not to include any orchestral accompaniment enhances the impact of the song’s lyrical content, which recounts a tragic episode from Amos’s childhood:


We hope you have found our list of examples of works of music that make use of a monophonic texture to be informative and entertaining. Our musical journey has taken us through a wide range of styles, from some of the very first Western vocal music through instrumental Baroque pieces, great pop and folk music from the 1950s, bizarre and wonderful modern classical music, and even football chants.

We hope that you will be able to identify even more examples of monophony in your own music listening as a result of this article.

Texture and Instruments of Medieval and Renaissance Music

courtesy of Kathykonkle / Getty Images A single melodic line was used to create the musical texture throughout the Middle Ages, which is known as monophony. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, sacred vocal music, such as Gregorian chants, was put to Latin text and sung without accompaniment. Because it was the only sort of music that could be played in churches, composers made sure that the melodies were plain and straightforward. More melodic lines were introduced to Gregorianchants later on, thanks to the efforts of church choirs.

The Texture of Medieval Renaissance Music

In the Gregorian chants, the inclusion of extra melodic lines resulted in a polyphonic texture, which means that it has two or more melodic lines. It was during the Renaissance that the church began to have less influence on musical activities. Instead, the Kings, Princes, and other notable members of the courts had greater power than the common people. When church choirs grew in number, it also meant that more vocal parts were added, resulting in music that sounded richer and deeper. During this time period, polyphony was frequently employed, but shortly after, music began to become homophonic.

The melodies become increasingly complicated and sophisticated as a result of this.

One aspect that contributed to these developments was the influence of the Church.

Instruments Used in Medieval and Renaissance Music

During the Middle Ages, the majority of the music was performed solo and without accompaniment. Because it is less distracting, the church preferred to keep the music clean and serious in nature. Music was later permitted in churches, and instruments like as bells and organs were employed primarily to commemorate key days in the liturgical calendar. Traveling musicians, often known as minstrels, played on street corners and in courthouses, using musical instruments. Fiddles, harps, and lutes are among the instruments that they used to perform.

During the Renaissance period, the majority of musical activity went away from the church and toward the courtroom.

As a result, more composers began to incorporate musical instruments into their works as a result of this.

For outdoor events, louder and more brilliant-sounding instruments were favored over more subdued ones.

Dance music and outdoor festivities were made possible by the usage of a musical instrument known as the shawm. The shawm is considered to be the forerunner of the oboe. Roger Kamien’s Music An Appreciation, 6th Brief Edition is the source for this information.

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