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Musical Texture

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Textures exist in a piece of music are defined as homophonic, monophonic, or polyphonic. Listening to music is more enjoyable when theres more going on than just one sound texture, but at the same time moments in a music that are homophonic can be very rich and lead-in to the next section which begins to separate into different strands of music. All of the threads come together to weave into this beautiful tapestry which can just burst in the mind. One thing to the Hallelujah Chorus is always an uplifting experience which is partially due to the homophonic and polyphonic textures that are balanced against one another.

In addition, when the canon begins suddenly it is like heaven is opening up. This is due to the way in which these textures weave together and create a mental picture for the listener. The Hallelujah Chorus can be experienced in different ways depending upon how the director chooses to frame the music and this will lead to various textures. In listening to the “Hallelujah Chorus” from YouTube, the texture seems very different than what is in the textbook.

In the very beginning of the work the singers are singing in a homophonic way, During these lyrics “for Lord God omnipotent reigneth” it is done in strictly, monophonic texture the first time it is sung. This gives the strength and emphasizes this particular section. The texture in the version from within the textbook lists this as monophonic. The second time that this sung, it is very clearly done in monophonic texture which is visible on the score as much as heard in the music. The third time it is sung in the textbook, it is clearly in polyphonic as it is sung in contrast with the lyric “Hallelujah”.

This is the same in the version on YouTube which occurs in a long section that almost sounds similar to canon. The YouTube version is the same as the text for “The Kingdom of this world is become. The lyrics “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” is repeatedly monophonic until it begins to turn into a polyphonic section that includes other lyrics as well, which is similar to the textbook version.

The monophonic portions of the score appear on one line, while the homophonic portions appear separated into multiple lines on the monophonic YouTube score. The polyphonic lines also appear as multiple lines on the score. When there is only one strand of music there is only one line of scored music. In this example, both methods are used in order to show the use of different instrumentation. In other words, when the chorus is in polyphonic mode, they get one line, but when multiple instruments are used to create this sound they are on different lines.

As well, when different sections of the chorus break into various lyrics and create polyphonic sound, they each get a staff line in the score. Listening to the music has a high benefit to understanding the texture. Although seeing the score can help a viewer understand where the music is going and where it is then, textures really something that can only be experienced from listening. Listening to the music creates an exploration of how the tones work together which cannot be experienced by looking at score.

A mathematical understanding can be experienced by looking at the score, but not an understanding of the true experience. Bach’s “Contrapunctus 9” is a fugue, which means that polyphonic texture occurs as a variety of different lines of music come together to create the overall texture. The themes are repeated at different ways in order to create this weave of music. Beethovens Fifth Symphony, in the first few bars, is done in monophonic as notes are played in unison at the exact same time.

In the Bach visual, it is clear that things are running op. cit. of one another where in the Beethoven visual one can clearly see how they weave together. Homophonic music is interwoven with homophonic textures in Mussorgsky’s “Promenade”. From a visual standpoint it is very easy to see the textures moving against and with one another. Debussy’s “Syrinx” is developed for a solo flute which means that it could only be monophonic. There is only one instrument which plays one note at a time, creating a driving melody throughout the entire piece.

The piece “Ave Maria” done as a guitar solo has several strands of music operating at the same time under a melody which is homophonic. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Variation 6 is also polyphonic as the music has a number of strands that are all playing differently in comparison to one another. The different forms of textures their experience through watching them as well as listening creates a better understanding of how music can work together to create a single piece. In the example of the “Hallelujah Chorus”, it was clear that the different voices as well as the different instruments created something that was woven together with the purpose of portraying exultation.

In listening to some of the other pieces, the homophonic versions were just as interesting as Bachs fugue which is a good example of polyphonic music.

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