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Thread: Biphonic, Homophonic or Heterophonic Texture

  1. #1
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    Dec 2012
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    Biphonic, Homophonic or Heterophonic Texture

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    If I have a single melodic line and have staccato 1/16th notes playing just the tonic of the key behind my melody with another instrument, would that be considered a heterophonic texture? What I mean is, are the 16ths notes considered a melodic variation of my original melody (heterophonic), are they forming a harmonic accompaniment (homophonic), or are the 16th notes more of a pedal tone (biphonic). Is it something totally different?

    I'm trying to learn my various musical textures and want to make sure I am using the correct terms. Hope the question makes sense?

    Twitter: @DirtyGritsDG
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Sydney Australia
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    Love how you are trying to use the language

    Some definitions for those who don't know

    When describing musical concepts we make use of four prefixes and several postfixes to create new words

    Prefixes Meaning Postfixes Meaning
    Mono- Single -phonic Sound
    Poly- Many -chordal Chord
    Homo- Same -rhythmic Rhythm
    Hetero- Different -tonal key/scale

    Taking each of our prefixes and postfixes we end up with the following words to describe texture and other aspects of a musical piece:
    Mono-phonic Single sound
    Mono-chordal Single chord
    Mono-rhythmic Single rhythm
    Mono-tonal Single key/scale
    Poly-phonic Many sounds
    Poly-chordal Many chords
    Poly-rhythmic Many rhythms
    Poly-tonal Many keys/scales
    Homo-phonic Same sound
    Homo-chordal Same chords
    Homo-rhythmic Same rhythm
    Homo-tonal Same key/scale
    Hetero-phonic Different sounds
    Hetero-chordal Different chords
    Hetero-rhythmic Different rhythms
    Hetero-tonal Different keys/scales

    Now back to your question

    It would not be heterophonic unless the melody itself consisted mostly of the tonic.

    Harmonic based texture is possible but only if the tonic forms part of the currently active chord, otherwise you have to discount it as a harmonic compnent and treat it as wider textural component

    As for biphonic - very rarely used; you more likely to say that it is a two part texture. Possible to consider it as a pedal point accompaniment but it would still be referred to as a two part texture rather than biphonic (that is so awkward to read and say )
    Last edited by bandcoach; 01-19-2013 at 06:20 PM. Reason: fixed plurals
    BC: I've been making music since Before Computers were common in music
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Wow. Thanks Bandcoach. I guess there is more to it than what I expected. It is much easier to think of ideas when you have words for them. I appreciate you talking time to answer. Have a good weekend.

    Twitter: @DirtyGritsDG
    Soundcloud: DirtyGrits

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