Jan. 21-Jan. 27: Polyphonic Piano Playing

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?