Texture & Harmony

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7 Dec 2010
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MUS110H1 Lecture 4 Texture and Harmony10-12-07 2:08 AM
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Texture & Harmony
Medieval
Monophony (adj. monophonic) = music consisting of a single line or
melody without an accompaniment that is regarded as part of the
work itself
o A single line conceived as a single line (conceived without
harmony)
o i.e. Wipo of Burgundy, Victimae paschali laudes (CA. 1000)
! non-pulsatile
! no rhythmic motives
! no meter (no regular recurring accent)
! conjunct
! no melodic writing
! no harmony, we hear a single line
Polyphony (adj. polyphonic) = music that simultaneously combines
several lines; music combining several lines, each of which retains
its identity as a line to some degree
o i.e. Leonin, Viderunt omnes (ca. 1175)
! two basic parts
! two vocal lines are heard
! their both melodies (two melodies one is lower)
one is rhythmically more active
! the lower voice (very narrow) stays in a generally small
range, and the higher voice is more active and has a
broader (wider) range
over the centuries, the things that are consonant (sounds complete) to them
are dissonant to us and those that are dissonant (sounds bad) to them were
consonant to them (this changes over time and culturally)
Renaissance
i.e. Josquin Desprez, Motet, Ave Maria (ca. 1485)
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o the texture is polyphonic
o “equal-voiced” Polyphony (in this i.e. it is imitative
polyphony)
o modal harmony
! sounds like folk sons because theyre in something
other than a straightforward major or minor key
! gives a different sound quality
! counterpoint taking one note and matching it up
against another one
! dense texture (harder to hear what is going on)
! homogeneous texture
! constant change of texture (various combinations)
! changing the texture creates more variety into it
! so consistent (vocal all the way through)
o typically fast harmonic rhythm
! harmonic rhythm: the rate at which harmonies change
in a composition
Baroque
i.e. Claudio Monteverdi, Orfeo, Act II, Recitative, “Tu se morta
(Thou art dead) (1607)
o transparent texture
o a lot of dissonance
o poignancy
o chromatic lines coming down
o polyphony (hear harmonic support)
o have to have harmony in order to have disharmony
o theres a cushion of accompaniment
o transparent texture (one signer with sparse accompaniment
and support) attention is drawn to the voice
o homophony (adj. homophonic) = music in which melodic
interest is concentrated in one voice or part that is provided
with a subordinate accompaniment
o slower harmonic rhythm than Renaissance
o polarized upper and lower voices
o slower harmonic rhythm than renaissance
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