Harmony, Introduction to Polyphonic Texture

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In music, when two or more different notes are sung or played at the same time we say there is harmony. Harmony may be created in a number of ways, but whenever different pitches occur simultaneously, harmony is present. In printed music, notes which are aligned vertically are performed simultaneously, even if they are in different musical voices. It is easy to see this vertical relationship:

Harmony is characterized by pitches occurring simutaneously; when harmony is present, there is a vertical relationship among pitches.

Polyphonic Texture

One of the ways harmony may be created is when two or more different melodies are performed at the same time in different musical voices. This type of harmony is called "polyphonic texture."

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

"poly" + "phonic" = "polyphonic"
"many" + "sounds" = "many sounds"

Polyphonic Texture consists of several melodies performed together at the same time, resulting in harmony.

The example below demonstrates polyphonic texture since several melodic voices occur simultaneously. Click the plays arrow to hear the excerpt.

Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, mvmt. 3 (excerpt)

Go on to Page 2.

Polyphonic Texture
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