1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Mono/Polyphonic Music?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by carmen510, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. carmen510

    carmen510 Deity

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Messages:
    8,124
    Location:
    NESing Forums
    I'm taking a music class this year about history and theory, for the Medieval-Renaissance Period music. We've recently done Gregorian chants and will soon be moving in polyphony.

    So, my question to you is, are there any monophonic or polyphonic musical pieces you know of? Or portions of songs that are mono or polyphonic?

    This is for educational purposes, and I would greatly appreciate any works you know of. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Mirc

    Mirc Not mIRC!!!

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2005
    Messages:
    15,825
    Location:
    Düsseldorf, ->Germany, E.U.
    You actually mean any polyphonic works? :) Because most of the Baroque and quite a number of works from late romantic, impressionism, expressionism, and various kinds of modern music are polyphonic. Just wondering, because well, you won't really find polyphony in the Renaissance (and in Classical classical music), however you'll find it in almost almost every other kind of classical music.
     
  3. gnome

    gnome Warlord

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2002
    Messages:
    239
    Location:
    New Port Richey, FL
    I feel ignorant, but for these purposes could someone describe the difference between monophonic and polyphonic? I would have expected these terms only to have applied to reproduction, not live performance unamplified.
     
  4. mrt144

    mrt144 Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    Messages:
    11,121
    Location:
    Seattle
    Polyphonic = more than one melody at the same time
    Monophonic= one melody
     
  5. Mirc

    Mirc Not mIRC!!!

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2005
    Messages:
    15,825
    Location:
    Düsseldorf, ->Germany, E.U.
    They are terms pertaining to composition, not to performance or reproduction. :)


    To elaborate, they are "ways" to construct the musical discourse of a piece. The way the music is presented.

    Basically... is the whole thing just a simple melody? That's monophony (mono + phonos = one sound; like almost all old religious songs around the world, and definitely one of the oldest kinds of music in existence, if not the oldest). Is it based on different voices played at the same time? That's polyphony (poly + phonos = many sounds). Is it a melody accompanied by a harmony or a harmonic progression? That's homophony (by far the most common in popular, non-classical music of the 19th-20th century). Is it one voice, but with the different instruments/sources of the sound starting out as playing the same thing, and then having slight modifications and going back and forth between playing the same thing and playing things with slight differences? That's heterophony (by far the most common in amateur orchestras, accidental homophony <- note: this is a joke ;)).

    There are kinds of music that combine more than one of those though. For example, the Fugue is an essentially polyphonic structure, however the voices, when played on top of each other, actually form... harmonies! :D Which is one of the reasons why it is IMHO the hardest kind of piece to write. Thus a Fugue has complex layers of very different voices, and does not use harmonic help from an accompanying instrument, however the voices themselves form the progressions which give music the "atmosphere"... :)
     
  6. sysyphus

    sysyphus So they tell me

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2002
    Messages:
    10,489
    Location:
    Toronto
    Actually, polyphonic is more than one note at a time, does not nescessarily mean it has to be part of a melody. A simple chord is polyphony for example.

    More than one melody is counterpoint.
     
  7. carmen510

    carmen510 Deity

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Messages:
    8,124
    Location:
    NESing Forums
    I'm looking for monophonic and polyphonic works from the Contemporary Period, preferably after the 1950s.
     
  8. Mirc

    Mirc Not mIRC!!!

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2005
    Messages:
    15,825
    Location:
    Düsseldorf, ->Germany, E.U.
    That is the etymological meaning of the word, but it's certainly not the definition of the musical term "polyphony". :)

    Not really - a counterpoint generally implies different rhythm but relations in harmony. Not just any two melodies put on top of each other form a counterpoint.

    Of course, exceptions exist, and there are monorhythmic counterpoints, but those are very, very rare and do not fall under the strict definition of the word. And more, exceptions only apply to the first part, as voices them independent harmonically would simply create a mess of a music.

    So we can conclude that a counterpoint is a particular kind of organization of music that has multiple sounds at the same time.
     
  9. Mirc

    Mirc Not mIRC!!!

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2005
    Messages:
    15,825
    Location:
    Düsseldorf, ->Germany, E.U.
    Edit: Ah sorry for the double post!!! Didn't realize it.

    Hmmm... From my experience it's very hard to find monophony from this time. It is usually regarded (and I can easily see the reasoning for that) as rather primitive. You'll find many pieces that have monophonic passages, but it would be hard to find a mostly-monophonic piece or a piece where monophony plays a significant part.

    Polyphonic ones you can definitely find. I'll see if I can find anything online quickly. :)
     
  10. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    16,090
    Location:
    In orbit
    Great music, especially in a polyphonic world.;)

    Sorry, no (other) examples come to mind at this point...
     
  11. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    16,090
    Location:
    In orbit
  12. ParangBoi

    ParangBoi Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    68
    J.S Bach always springs to my mind when I think of polyphony. Especially his keyboard works. (Fugues etc).
     

Share This Page