Download Sheet Music - Murray High School, Lavington

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• Texture results from the way voices
and/or instruments are combined
in music.
• It is concerned with the treatment of
musical lines in a piece of music.
• A musical line is called a layer and
texture refers to the combination of
these layers, producing either a thin
or a thick texture.
• To analyse the texture of a piece of
music, we first need to decipher the
types of layers that are present in it
and then consider how the
composer has treated each layer.
• It is important to identify what
these layers are doing
Number of Layers
• If you listen carefully, the layers in
the music will emerge.
• When you think you have picked
out the number of layers in of
music, separate them into the
following categories:
Single melody line
Melody with accompaniment
More than one melodic line
Non melodic / harmonic lines (eg rhythm section)
• You may come across all of these options in
a piece of music, so try to specify which layer
you are discussing by naming the instrument
and stating where in the music it occurs.
Audio Examples 1
• Sound Bites
5.1 - Single Melodic Line
5.2 - Melody with accompaniment
5.3 – More than one melodic line
5.4 – Countermelody
5.5 - Rhythmic Section
Harmonic Role
• Harmonic role refers to an instrument or
voice holding the harmony in a piece of
• A harmonic role can provide:
– A bass line (eg walking bass)
– A constant chordal accompaniment (eg
strumming guitars)
– A drone
Rhythmic Role
• Rhythmic role refers to an
instrument holding the rhythm in a
piece of music. This is usually the
rhythm section or sometimes the
voice (beatboxing).
• It can be pitched (bass guitar riff) or
non pitched (drums)
• A rhythmic role can provide:
– A basic pulse
– An ostinato
– A rhythmic interest
Relation of layers to
each other
• To give the layer context, we must
try to compare it with other layers,
that is, to analyse the relationship
of the layers to one another.
• It can be useful to draw a diagram
as a form of graphic notation.
• Density refers to the thickness or a
sound created by layers in a piece
of music.
• Thick density – heavy, dense, rich,
solid, bass heavy, loud, many
instruments, solid chords, thick sounding
instruments (eg tuba) – Sound bite 5.14
• Thin density – light, transparent,
sparse, few layers, soft volume, thin
sounding instruments (eg piccolo) no
harmony, broken chords – Sound bite
Texture Type
• Monophonic – Single melodic line
• Homophonic – single melodic line
and harmonic accompaniment
(voice and guitar chords)
• Polyphonic – two or more melodic
lines player together.
• Heterophonic – two or more lines
played at the same time with
variations of the melody
Visual Representations
• Monophonic means “of one layer”.
• It is important to note that
monophonic need not apply to on
instrument or voice. A monophonic
texture may involve:
– one instrument or voice
– - a group of instrumentalists or voices
in unison
– Soundbite 5.19 – monophonic from
Medieval period
– Soundbite 5.20 – modern monophonic
• Homophonic texture is the most common
texture type heard in music. With a
melodic layer and a harmonic layer, it is
the texture on which most music is
• Homophonic texture can also be heard in
much SATB choral music, where the
main melody is usually carried by one
voice, with the other voices providing the
• To identify a homophonic texture, listen
for melody and a harmony, rather than
the number of instruments or voices.
• Soundbite 5.21 – Homophonic texture
• A polyphonic texture is one in which the
layers are intertwined and mixed.
• In the case of a fugue, which is a
common example of polyphonic texture,
the subject is the driving force, with other
musical lines maintaining it. With this
type of texture, each layer competes for
the listeners attention.
• For a polyphonic texture, listen for two or
more instruments with independent
musical lines
• Soundbite 5.22 – Polyphonic Texture
• A heterophonic texture is one in which
the same melody is performed at the
same time by more than one instrument
or voice, but with different variations of
the same melody.
• The texture is most common to cultures
of the Middle east, China, Indonesia,
Ireland and some parts of Africa
• mainstream music
• To identify heterophonic texture, listen for
the same melody played by two or more
parts, with elaboration in one part.
• Soundbite 5.23 – Heterophonic Texture