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(#4) Harmony, Texture, Tonality, and Mode

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Lori Roy

on 14 February 2015

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Transcript of (#4) Harmony, Texture, Tonality, and Mode

Harmony, Texture, Tonality, and Mode
These four elements are woven through each piece of music in different ways . In this lecture, we will isolate them, identify them, and learn how they work together.
Texture is the term used to refer to the way various sounds and melodic lines in music interact or blend with one another.

The word is adopted from textiles, where it refers to the weave of various threads: loose , tight, even, or mixed.

Melody exists in a horizontal dimension, from left to right.
Texture exists vertically, from
top to bottom.

Tonality and mode are aspects of melody as well as harmony. Melodies nearly always give a sense of focusing around a single "home" pitch that feels more important than all the other pitches in the scale. Usally this is one end or the other of a scale. All the other pitches in the tune lead to this note naturally. The other notes all sound close, distance, dissonant, or constant in references to this note. This is what we call "tonality." The home pitch (do) is the "tonic." Songs almost always end on the tonic note.
Chords or intervals that sound at rest, or "good together."

Consonance is very frequently found in the beginnings or endings of pieces, or in simple, relaxing music.
Chords or intervals
that sound turbulent, like they're fighting.

Music usually wants
to travel from from a
state of conflict to resolution.
Harmony is what happens when two lines of pitches are playing simultaneously. One line will be more important, and usually higher than the other one (melody). The one that supports the melody is called harmony.

When you have a thicker harmony that has more notes, this notes form chords. The chords support the melody

Chords progress in a series of some-what predictable patterns. You have
grown used to listen to certain
patterns of harmonies.
This is the term for the simplest
texture, a single unaccompanied
melody...like when you sing in the shower.

Ie Wailin' Jennys "Storm Comin"

Homophony is when there
is only one important melody that has a harmonized accompaniment.

Most of the music we hear
is homophonic.

When two or more melodies
are played or sung simultaneously, the texture is
described as polyphonic.
One is not more important
than another, but they are
independent and equal.
Polyphony also has harmony, but it is created by the way the lines themselves interact.
Another word for "polyphony"
is "counterpoint," which is lines written against each other. We describe this music as being "contrapuntal."
Imitative Polyphony
This is when the lines written are the same or relatively the same. For example, when "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" is sung as a round. Also, "Bird Song" by The Wailin' Jennys
Non-Imitative Polphony
This occurs when the simultaneous melodies are different from each other.
Wailin' Jennys
"Bird Song"
For example, Arvo Part's
"Spiegel im Spiegel"
Consonance vs Dissonance
Chord Progressions!!
"The Confrontation" is homophonic until the characters begin singing together. Then it becomes non-imitative polyphony.
Can you identify the textures in these different songs? (Monophonic, Homophonic, and Polyphonic (imitative or non-imitative).
How about the meter?
"Shut Up and Dance"
Walk The Moon
"Contrapunctus I" from

The Art of Fugue
Johann Sebastian Bach
"Sweet Child o' Mine"
Guns N' Roses
"Duel of the Fates" from

The Phantom Menace
"Star Spangled Banner"
Idina Menzel
Full transcript