There are 3 different textures in music: monophonic, homophonic, and polyphonic. For this week's listening activity, we will explore polyphony in music.
Polyphonic texture exists when there are 2 or more melodies playing simultaneously - and yes, we can play more than 2 melodies on the piano at once! As you can imagine, managing multiple melodies can be quite difficult. As a student, we begin by exploring 2 part Inventions in elementary levels, 3 part sinfonias, and eventually, Fugues, which can have 4 voices at once! Polyphony is piano music was at its peak in the Baroque Era, when composers such as Bach, Scarlatti, and Handel.
Enjoy this week's piece, a fugue based on Happy Birthday!
- What are some challenges of playing polyphonic music on the piano?
- How does the Happy Birthday theme develop throughout?
- What do you think monophonic and homophonic textures are?