What Texture Is Gregorian Chant

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

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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.

In his pieces, Leonin is credited with being the first known composer to employ metered rhythm. The composer Perotin is credited as being the first known composer to create three separate lines at the same time;

Secular Music

In contrast to religious music, secular music had a more clearly defined rhythm and a texture that was closer to homophony or polyphony than holy music. Because chords were merely inferred, it wasn’t pure homophony in this case. The texture was predominantly vocal, as was the case with holy music, albeit it did not treat instruments with the same level of distrust as the Church.


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

  • Guillaume IX, Duke of Aquitaine
  • Chastelain di Couci
  • Beatriz de Dia (a female troubadour)
  • Guillaume IX, Duke of Aquitaine


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

  • As the Church’s power waned, secular music began to take on more importance throughout the Ars Nova Period of history. Despite the fact that the song was remained predominantly vocal in nature, more instruments were included. During the Ars Nova period, the ballata emerged as a new secular form. This dance is in the shape of A BB AA and is performed by three people. As a result of the repeated repetition of this line throughout the song, a ballata is also known as a falala.
  • 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

Answer: Texture – Gregorian chants are one of the rare pieces of music that are totally monophonic, as is the case with most other types of music. In a Gregorian chant, there is just one melodic line to be heard.

Which texture is normally used in Gregorian chant?

Homophonic The texture of Gregorian chant is homophonic in nature.

What is polyphonic texture in Gregorian chant?

Polyphony is a type of musical texture that consists of two or more lines of independent melody that are played at the same time, as opposed to a musical texture that has only one voice, which is called monophony, or a musical texture that has one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords, which is called homophony.

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What is the role of Gregorian chant?

Gregorian chant is a type of liturgical music that is either monophonic or unison in nature, and it is used to accompany the text of the mass and the canonical hours, also known as the holy office. Gregorian chant is named after St. Gregory I, who reigned as Pope from 590 to 604 and was responsible for its collection and codification.

What does the Gregorian chant Kyrie eleison mean?

A Gregorian chant, Kyrie Eleison is performed by the group in the following manner: eleison” and signify “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.” Interestingly, Libera’s version only included the first phrase.

What kind of texture does Gregorian chant have?

If everyone is singing at the same pitch at the same time, it is referred to as a monophonic texture. If everyone is hearing one tune, it is referred to as a hiss sound. what comes after the s? As opposed to monophonic textures, multivoiced textures are composed of two or more melodic lines that are merged to create a multivoiced texture.

How many masses are there in the Kyriale?

The Kyriale is a collection of Gregorian chant settings for the Ordinary of the Mass that was composed in the early twentieth century. It consists of eighteen Masses (each of which has the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei), six Credos, and a number of ad libitum chants, among other things.

What is the setting for Kyrie XI notated in neumes?

Kyrie XI is set to a Gregorian chant setting that is notated in neumes. The Kyriale is a collection of Gregorian chant settings for the Ordinary of the Mass that was composed in the early twentieth century.

Music 1200: Exam 1 Flashcards

Term Definition Sound resolves itself, it returns to whole notes, returns home.
Term Definition
Term Definition
Term Each melody is broken into Definition
Term Phrases move by _ or _ Definition
Term Definition A to B, B to C, C to D, etc.
Term Definition
Term What is a climax in music? Definition The highest part of the music, loudest point, most interesting part of the phrase.
Term Definition It is the home note. Key of C (tonic note = C)
Term Definition
Term Definition When composers take the melody and base the rest of the piece off of this theme.
Term Way chords are constructed and the way they follow each other is known as. Definition
Term Harmonic construction is when you add. Definition
Term How many notes are in a chord and what are these known as? Definition
Term What are the two categories chords can fall into? Definition
Term Definition When the chord sounds restful and stable
Term Definition Create unstable sound, drives music
Term Where melody and harmony comes together is known as Definition
Term What are the 3 types of texture in classical music? Definition Monophonic, polyphonic, and homophonic
Term One instrument or multiple in unison, one note at a time Definition
Term 2 or more independent lines playing different melodies at the same time is known as Definition
Term Monophonic line with chords Definition
Term What is imitation and in which texture is this found? Definition Imitation is like a canon. One melody starts and the same melody starts a bar or 2 later. Found in polyphonic texture.
Term What are the 2 basic forms in music? Definition Ternary form and binary form.
Term Definition
Term A, BA and B are relatedStill gives complete feeling Definition
Term What are the 3 basic forms that a composer uses when composing? Definition Repitition, contrast, and variation
Term Playing something over and over is known as: Definition
Term Introducing completely new material is known as: Definition
Term First time plain melody, second time melody and chords, third something else, etc. Definition
Term What is the time period of medival music? Definition
Term What were the 3 classes of people in the medival times? Definition Peasant, nobility, clergy
Term Who were the most important people in music during the medival times? Definition
Term What was the main form of music during the medival ages? Definition
Term What is the texture of Gregorian chant? Definition Monophonic, no real rhythm, passed on through oral tradition.
Term What language is Gregorian Chant in? Definition
Term What are the two types of mass music? Definition Ordinary (sung at every service) and Proper (seasonal, changes)
Term Who was one of the most famous composers during the medival ages? Definition Hildegard. She was a nun in the convent and advised The Pope. Created liturgical dramas.
Term What was the date of the introduction of secular music? Definition
Term Who were troubadors/traveres? Definition Nobleman who sang secular songs about love
Term What was the music of troubadors like? Definition Monophonic, had a drone, about love
Term Definition
Term What was the texture of an estampie? Definition Mostly monophonic, musicians would make up melody on the spot, accompanied with percussion and drones
Term Definition Performed secular music, lower than peasants in standing
Term Definition First choirmaster of Notre Dame. Began polyphonic music into sacred music.
Term Definition Polyphonic chant, rhythmic modes were introduced. A lot of rhythms represented the trinity
Term Definition Next choirmaster of notre dame. Composed polyphonic music for 3/4/5 voices. Wrote more complex music.
Term Where was the music center once polyphonic music came about? Definition
Term What does Ars Antigua mean? Definition
Term When was the transition into the Ars Nova? Definition
Term Who was the originator of the Ars Nova? Definition
Term What did Guillaume Machaunt introduce in terms of rhythm? Definition
Term With the introduction of syncopation and polyphony, what type of music did we see a transition into? Definition
Term When did Renissance music begin? Definition
Term Which was more important during the Renaissance? Vocal music or instrumental? Definition
Term Trying to create music that matches the text is known as. Definition
Term What was the new composition category in sacred music known as during the Renissance? Definition
Term Definition Where a composer would take a part of a mass chant and compose music off of it.
Term What composer was famous for his motets during the Renissance? Definition
Term What musical style was seen commonly in motets? Definition
Term What was the church going through during the Renissance that brought many changes including changes to music? And what council did it lead to? Definition Counter-Reformation, Council of Trent
Term What was decided at the Council of Trent? Definition The church wanted songs that enhanced worship and that weren’t necessarily pleasing to the ears. They tried to move away from polyphonic music.
Term Definition Composer during Renissance that met at middle ground on music with the church. Italian. Wrote the Kyrie from Pope Marcellus Mass.
Term Polyphonic Music that originated during the Renaissance about love, very popular in England Definition
Term Who was a famous composer of Madrigals? Definition
Term Shawm was a predecessor of what instrument? Definition
Term Recorders were the predecessors of what instruments? Definition
Term Sackbut’s were predecessors of what instruments? Definition
Term Lutes were predecessors of what instruements? Definition
Term Known for composing and playing songs on the Lute. Wrote “Flow My Tears” Definition
Term German Composer who wrote instrumental music. Famous for terpsichore? Definition
Term Definition Music used for dancing, originated in Renaissance. Collection of over 300 dance tunes for instrumental ensemble.

Is Gregorian chant monophonic?

Is Gregorian chant a monophonic kind of music? Gregorian chant is a type of liturgical music that is either monophonic or unison in nature, and it is used to accompany the text of the mass and the canonical hours, also known as the holy office. Gregorian chant is named after St. Gregory I, who reigned as Pope from 590 to 604 and was responsible for its collection and codification. What causes the Gregorian chant to be monophonic? Plainchant or plainsong (of which one well-known style was termed Gregorian chant) was the oldest documented form of Christian monophony.

Despite the fact that this music is sung by numerous voices in unison (i.e., with the same pitch and beat), it is nevertheless termed monophonic.

It is the major tradition of Western plainchant, a kind of monophonic, unaccompanied religious music in Latin (and occasionally Greek) that is associated with the Roman Catholic Church.

Western and central Europe were the primary locations where Gregorian chant originated throughout the 9th and 10th centuries, with subsequent additions and redactions.

Gregorian Chant’s Texture and Melody are both beautiful. A monophonic texture characterizes Gregorian chant (as well as many other forms of chants from throughout the world), and the singers sing in unison throughout (all singers sing the exact same melody together).

Is Gregorian chant monophonic? – Related Questions

The development of polyphony was greatly aided by the use of Gregorian chant. It was customary for choirs of men and boys to sing Gregorian chant in churches, as well as by ladies and men of monastic orders in their own chapels. It is the music of the Roman Rite, which is used in the celebration of the Mass and the monastic service.

What is the purpose of Gregorian chant?

Gregorian chant is a type of liturgical music that is either monophonic or unison in nature, and it is used to accompany the text of the mass and the canonical hours, also known as the holy office.

Why does Gregorian chant sound so different?

What is it about Gregorian chant that makes it sound so distinct from other styles of Western music? There is no sense of harmony. When it comes to the Mass, what is the predominant language? Identify which of the following women was a religious leader who was also a well-known figure in literature and music.

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What historical period is Gregorian chant?

The practice of Gregorian chant started in Europe throughout the Middle Ages, which refers to the era from about the 5th century and the 15th century. Because it was Catholic Church music, the objective of the performance was ceremonial in nature. It is named after Pope Gregory I, who reigned as head of the Catholic Church from 590 to 604, and is referred to as a “Gregorian.”

How do you tell if a song is monophonic polyphonic or homophonic?

When it comes to Europe, Gregorian chant dates back to the Middle Ages, which roughly corresponds to the era between the 5th and the 15th centuries. Given that it was Catholic Church music, the objective of the performance was ceremonial. Pope Gregory I, who reigned as head of the Catholic Church from 590 to 604, is referred to as a “Gregorian.”

Are Gregorian chants healing?

Gregorian Chant is used for healing meditation, deep relaxation, spa treatments, sleep, massage, spiritual meditation, and music therapy, among other things. Being in the presence of the Gregorian Chants is an uplifting and soothing experience.

What is the character of Gregorian chant?

Chants of the Gregorian Chant for Healing Meditation and Deep Relaxation in Spas and Bedtime Routines, Massage, Spiritual Meditation, and Music Therapy. When you listen to the Gregorian Chants, you will feel uplifted and at ease.

What key are Gregorian chants in?

The Gregorian notation system was created largely for the purpose of committing holy chants from the beginning of the second millennium on paper. The scale that was employed is as follows in current notes: C, D, E, F, G, and A. There are no differences in the intervals between these notes and those in current notation. Notes are written on a four-line staff to keep them organized.

Is chant a type of music?

A chant is a form of song that has a repeated, monotonous pattern. It is popular in India. It is also something that sports fans like doing. The term “to chant” has come to denote “to repeat things in a monotonous or repetitive manner” as a result of this sort of music. Chants are devoid of harmony or instrumental accompaniment, instead relying on a basic rhythm and a great deal of repetition.

What language is Gregorian chant?

Due to the fact that it was written entirely in Latin, and because its melodies are so intimately related to Latin accents and word meanings, it is best sung in Latin.

(There are certain exceptions, such chant hymns, whose melodies are formulaic and are not inherently linked to the Latin text.)

What is the religion of Gregorian?

Classical Western plainchant, or Gregorian chant, is an unaccompanied monophonic sacred song that originated in the western Roman Catholic Church and is still practiced today. The Gregorian rite. The Brotherhood of Saint Gregory is a religious order of friars that exists within the Anglican Communion. The community’s members, referred to as “Gregorians,” are made up of clergy and laypeople.

Why do monks chant?

Chanting and reciting mantras are methods of learning about and demonstrating dedication to Buddhist teachings and practices. They are associated with meditation because they are yet another method of concentrating the mind. Chanting is the repetitive repetition of particular phrases over and over again. Mayahana Buddhists, who use prayer beads known as malas, will occasionally chant mantras as they work on their meditation.

What does the word Gregorian mean?

1: pertaining to or associated with Pope Gregory I 2: pertaining to, resembling, or exhibiting the qualities of Gregorian chant

What is the difference between Gregorian chant and troubadour music?

During the 12th and 13th centuries, the troubadours wrote the majority of secular music that has survived today. More than 1650 troubadour tunes have survived to this day. Even though they do not have a distinct rhythm, they do have an established regular meter and a defined beat. Gregorian Chant, on the other hand, has no meter at all, which distinguishes them.

What is the difference between Gregorian chant from Madrigal?

Gregorian chant is monophonic rather than polyphonic (i.e., one part rather than numerous parts), and it has a holy theme to its composition. Renaissance madrigals are secular (i.e., non-religious), and they are performed by a number of voices. Both are performed mostly a cappella, however madrigals may include one or more instrumental elements in addition to the vocals.

How does a Gregorian chant sound?

It is a type of vocal music in which the singer sings without any musical accompaniment. Songs are performed in unison, without rhyme or meter, and are known as chants. In an unstructured manner, the tones increase and fall in pitch. Melody that is free-flowing.

What is Gregorian chant tempo?

There is no set speed for Gregorian Chant, as there is no definite tempo for any other type of music. However, there is no usage of complicated pace and notes can be held for a length of “short” or “long.” In terms of structure, several Gregorian chants are written in ternary (ABA) form.

Who wrote Gregorian chants quizlet?

Plainchant, often known as Gregorian Chant, was regulated by Pope Gregory I between 800 and 1400 C.E. (9th-15th centuries).

How can you tell if a song is homophonic?

A homophonic texture is a type of music in which there are several notes played at the same time, but they all move in the same beat. Homophonic music consists of a single distinct melodic line, which is the component that attracts your attention, with the other sections serving as background accompaniment.

What are the 4 textures in music?

Music with a homophonic texture is composed of several notes played at the same time, all of which move in the same time signature. A distinct melodic line, the portion that catches your attention, is present in homophonic music, and all other sections serve to support it.

Why is Gregorian chant so relaxing?

A homophonic texture is a type of music in which there are several notes played at the same time, all of which move in the same beat.

Homophonic music consists of a single distinct melodic line, which is the component that attracts your attention, with the other sections serving as an accompaniment.

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.

A Historical Approach to the Elements of Music

While there are many various techniques to describe the fundamental parts of music, we commonly divide music down into five basic elements: melody, texture, rhythm, form, and harmony (or a combination of these). However, while it is true that not every piece of music has all of the components listed above, it is extremely possible that every piece of music you have recently listened to does. There are two aspects in particular that nearly usually appear first among these five: melody and rhythm.

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Whether the very first music consisted of a melody being sang or a beat being tapped is just conjecture at this point, but it is simple to believe that these two experiences were among the very first human musical compositions.


The first of these parts, melody, will be the subject of our brief examination — not because it is more significant than rhythm, but because the first piece of music we will explore in the Middle Ages will be Gregorian chant. Gregorian chant, also known as plainsong or plainchant, is a musical form in which the element of melody is emphasized to the exclusion of all other aspects.


By moving on to texturenext, we will continue to let history to inform our examination of musical aspects. One of the most significant musical advances occurred during the Middle Ages, when a new melodic line was added to an old Gregorian chant tune as part of an experiment. As you’ll soon discover, this approach was known as organum, and it was responsible for introducing a new texture to sacred music throughout the Middle Ages, known as polyphony, into a genre that had previously been dominated by the monophonic texture of plainchant.


For the most part, Gregorian chant was sung without a regular beat, according to what we can determine from the historical record. Plainchant is characterized by a flowing, unstructured freedom that might be loosely defined as without rhythm. This is, without a doubt, the most typical style in which we hear chants sung nowadays. However, with the introduction of organum, it became vital for the singers who were delivering the two melodic lines to be able to maintain a sense of cohesiveness. This necessitated the use of a more regular beat or pulse (rhythm).

When singing in this way, one holds out the notes of the Gregorian chant while another sings an extremely energetic new melody over it.

This might be looked of as the beginning of an important component of rhythm: the meter of the piece in question.


The essential concepts of form in music are repetition, contrast, and variety, which are all related. The way portions of a musical work are ordered is referred to as the piece’s form. Later stages of music history saw a significant increase in the specialization and standardization of musical form and structure. In light of the fact that we are starting with music from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, for the time being we shall confine ourselves to general notions of form.

The importance of form was not placed in the forefront of composers’ minds until later times, and we shall examine specific structural elements later in this course.


While we’re on the subject of elements that won’t be covered until later in the course, harmony (as it is most commonly taught today) is a musical element that developed during the Baroque period (1600–1750) and evolved into increasingly complex constructions during the Classical and Romantic periods. This highly important musical aspect will not be included until later since composers during the Middle Ages and Renaissance did not think of their music in harmonic terms (major and minor keys, chords, chord progressions, and so on).

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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Gregorian chant

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.

The passages that are repeated from one mass to the next are included in theOrdinary of the Mass.

The first appearance of the Gloria was in the 7th century.

The Gloria chants that follow are neumatic.

TheSanctus andBenedictus are most likely from the period of the apostles.

Since its introduction into the Latin mass from the Eastern Church in the 7th century, theAgnus Dei has been written mostly in neumatic form.

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.

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.

Amy Tikkanen has made the most current revisions and updates to this page.

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