Texture & Form

Peter Kun Frary

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When I picture landscapes, the step is framed to produce a feeling of balance, depth and also form. I create so the viewer"s eye is attracted to the most vital object, e.g., the moon in Moonrise over Tantalus. Musicians style the texture and type of your soundscapes as precisely and deliberately as visual artists. Let"s look in ~ the simple types of music texture and also form.

Moonrise over Tantalus | Peter Kun Frary

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music Texture

The term, musical texture, refers to how melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic elements combine in a composition. Because that this course, we room mainly involved with tardy of the horizontal and vertical facets of texture.

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Horizontal

The horizontal or linear aspects of structure revolve roughly melodic lines: a memorable sequence of notes. In layman"s terms, a melody. Sing a tune with no crucial or vocal backup and also you have actually a melodic line.

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Vertical

The vertical aspect of texture requires how melodic lines combine together to type harmony (chords) or counterpoint. Because that example, singing through a friend while strumming a guitar creates great of melodic lines and chords. How the two voices and also guitar sound with each other at any given point is the vertical facet of texture.

You are watching: Row, row, row your boat is an example of

Musicians are picky around texture and we invest a lifetime learning exactly how to create and control texture for expressive purposes. And, that course, we have actually names for the various textures: monophonic, polyphonic and also homophonic. There are also textural subclasses but we"ll focus on these three main texture species for now.

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Monophonic

Monophonic texture consists of a solitary melodic line. Imagine to sing Row, Row, row Your Boat in the shower head by yourself. The sound of a solitary melodic line is dubbed monophonic texture. It"s quiet monophonic even if twenty friends sign up with you as long as they song unison and also don"t harmonize.

Monophonic | Row, Row, heat Your Boat

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Polyphonic

Polyphonic texture consists of two or more lines of reasonably equal importance. Again, you"re to sing Row, Row, heat Your Boat however this time a friend joins in with "Row, Row" when you obtain to the word "Gently." And, two steps later, your neighbor complies with suit. You now have actually three independent melodic currently of same importance. This is an example of polyphonic texture. The particular an approach used in Row, Row, heat Your Boat is referred to as imitation, i.e., you and your friends space imitating or echoing one another. The compositional method of creating layers of independent melodic present is referred to as counterpoint.

Polyphonic | Row, Row, heat Your Boat

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Homophonic

Finally, you song Row, Row, heat Your Boat but accompany you yourself by strumming chords ~ above a etc while your tiny sister grooves on bass. This texture—melody through supportive chords—is referred to as homophonic texture.

Homophonic | Row, Row, row Your Boat

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These three textures—monophonic, polyphonic and homophonic—are important attributes of style and one of many clues to assist describe music and also distinguish one musical format from another. With that said, it is not unusual, especially after the ten century, for composers come create comparison by featuring different textures within a brief span of time.

Repetition | repeat is a an important component of musical form. | Peter Kun Frary

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Musical form

A an essential element of music is that is temporal quality: musical sound are linked to one another and also unfold over through time, rather than being heard in an isolated moment. Together we hear to music, necessary ideas—melodies, harmonic progressions, etc.—stick in our memory. A feeling of kind is produced as prior principles return and also are contrasted with brand-new material. This organization of musical principles in time is referred to as musical form. At this suggest we simply need to examine the universals of music form. Later, as we job-related through various musical styles, we"ll address particular forms.

The details the musical develops vary throughout background but most creates are based on the methods of repetition, variation and also contrast.

Repetition

Repetition create unity, balance and symmetry in a music work, drawing on ours enjoyment that recognizing and remembering something.

Variation

A key principle that repetition method is come repeat a music idea just enough to make it memorable. Too many repeats would be monotonous. The answer come excess repetition is variation. A variation is simply a repeat the a front idea yet with enough transforms to store it exciting without shedding its vital character. Variation has actually the advantage of repetition—unity—but to add tension and drama early to transforms in melody, harmony, rhythm, instruments, key, dynamics, or texture.

Contrast

Finally, contrast is used to create variety, conflict and also mood changes. The return of a former idea is more powerful if preceded with a difference section. Contrasts might involve a new melody, harmony, instruments, key, tempo, etc.

Simple Songs

Simple song such together Ode come Joy create kind by group phrases into patterns. Because that example, the track structure the chorus and also verse is a typical musical form.

To identify a song"s music form, we start by labeling each expression with a lower situation letter: a, b, c, etc.

the same phrases room labeled with the very same letter, e.g., a a. If phrases are comparable but one has a variation, a prime symbol is added: a a". A expression consisting of brand-new material is labeled v a various letter, e.g., a b.

Phrase analysis allows depiction of expression repetitions, variations and also appearance of new material. The 2 phrases the Ode to Joy are organized in an a a" relationship, same melodic material but with different cadences:

Ode come Joy | very first phrase: a

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Ode come Joy | second phrase: a"

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Your web browser does not support the audio tag. Larger instrumental Works

Like straightforward songs, bigger works rental the same principles of repetition, variation and contrast to create form. However, these ethics are used at multiple levels: engine (short melodic idea), expression and significant sections that the work.

Repetition

Listen to exactly how Beethoven introduces a straightforward four-note engine at the beginning of the very first movement of his Symphony No. 5:

Four-Note Motive | Beethoven"s Symphony No. 5, Allegro con brio

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Variation

Beethoven imprints this four-note motive into your storage by repeating and varying it engine incessantly.

Contrast

Near the end of the track, Beethoven introduces a contrasting melody, a an ext lyrical and also gentle theme:

Symphony No. 5: 1. Allegro con brio | Beethoven excerpt (1:04) )

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Ternary Form

Musical type is a template composers pour their concepts into. Because that example, millions of songs room organized roughly the chorus-verse form. Although they usage the very same formal structure, each track sounds different. If every song had actually a new formal structure, listeners would be confused. We expect music to be arranged a details way.

In form analysis we use funding letters (A) to stand for major sections that a piece and also the prime symbol to suggest variation of repeated sections (lower situation is offered for phrases). For example, A B A means there room three sections: two similar outer part (A) and also a contrasting middle section (B). This usage of two identical or comparable outer part to framework a contrasting middle section is among the most universal formal structures. It also has a name: ternary form (three-part form). This an easy three-part design has been differed endlessly transparent history: minuet and trio, sonata form, da capo aria, and a long list of popular and also jazz variations.

Ternary form has a few common variants: A A B A" means the A section is repeated, adhered to by a contrasting center section (B) and, finally, the an initial section returns with variations (A"). The term, coda, way a ending section has been added.

Here"s a diagram of my ternary type piece, Eleventh Hour:

| A | A | B | A | Coda |

The A ar is actors in a dark and mellow boy mode. The contrasting B section starts at 0:51 through a key change to the major mode and a brand-new melody. A returns at 1:31. Finally, a quick coda ensues in ~ 1:51.

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Eleventh Hour | Peter Kun Frary (2:31)

Pipeline is another typical example of ternary form: A A B A. In common fashion, the A ar is heard twice. The B section (1:09) introduce a brand-new theme and also builds anxiety with forte dynamics. ~ the solos through Kealoha, Deither and Colsen, the A ar returns (3:03).

Pipeline | Leeward coast Guitars (4:15)

Vocabulary

texture, monophonic, polyphonic, homophonic, counterpoint, musical form, repetition, variation, contrast, motive, ternary form, coda

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