It can be related to how many instruments are playing at a given time and it can be thick or dense (lots of instruments); light or sparse (fewer instruments). But it is also related to other elements of music, such as melody, harmony and rhythm and how these different materials are combined:
- A Monophonic texture occurs when a single melodic line is being played with no accompaniment;
- Biphonic texture happens when there is a bass line that sustains the melody in upper registers (usually more elaborate);
- Polyphonic, when multiple and independent melodic voices are occurring (more contrapuntal);
- Homorhythmic, when there are multiple voices with similar rhythmic material;
- and Homophonic texture, when there is a melody that is standing out and has a harmonic accompaniment (as is the case with most popular music – vocal line with chords);
All in all, texture may be used to alter the density of a piece of music by choosing how many instruments are playing at a given time, and also to control how the various melodic, harmonic and rhythmic elements interact with one another. Choosing a certain type of texture or opting for different dynamics usage throughout a given musical passage may indicate the composer’s intent to convey a message, by using musical metaphors and making extra-musical relationships, and as a means for expressiveness.
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