Introduction to Monophonic Texture, Melody in Octaves

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Monophonic Texture

A melody perfomed alone is the simplest pattern of musical texture. This is called "monophonic texture." Whenever a single melodic voice is present alone, the texture is monophonic. Remember, a melody performed by one or many musicians represents a single musical voice if the same notes are performed by everyone.

One way to remember the term monophonic is to consider its parts:

"mono" + "phonic" = "monophonic"
"one" + "sound" = "one sound"

Monophonic Texture consists of a single melody alone.

Click the play arrow to listen to "Variations on English Nightingale" played by a solo recorder. Because you hear a melody alone, it is an example of monophonic texture.

Solo Recorder

Some more examples of Monophonic texture:
  • Children singing the melody of a song together without any instruments.
  • A solo trumpet playing a fanfare.
  • A family singing the melody of "Happy Birthday."
  • Boys and girls singing a melody in octaves.
  • Any time several instruments play the same melody together.

  • A melody performed in octaves represents monophonic texture as well. In the example below, notice that the two lines of music contain the same notes in different octaves. This may occur when male and female voices sing a melody together, or when different instruments play together. Since only a single melody is present, we consider this to be monophonic texture.

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    Monophonic Texture
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