Is Your Main Melody Still the Star?

Listen to your composition and pay special attention to how the new part you added is working with your main melody. Leave a comment on your Noteflight Score that answers the following questions:

  • Does your main melody still sound like the star of your piece or is the new part covering it up somehow?
  • If the new part is working well with your main melody write about why you think that is so.

    • Are you using all consonant intervals?
    • Does the rhythm of your new part leave space for your main melody?
  • If your main melody is no longer shining through as the star of your piece because of your new part ask yourself if it is because of these reasons:

    • Do you have unresolved dissonances or do you leap to or from any dissonances?
    • Is the rhythm of your new part somehow covering up or getting in the way of your main melody?

It's About the Texture!

As you begin to add more parts to your piece you must decide on how all of the instruments are working together. This leads us to exploring musical texture.

If your 2nd instrument uses consonant intervals and yet it still does not fit well with your main melody it is likely because of the rhythm. To keep your main melody prominent have your second instrument sound like a background part. Our old friend Repetition has a lot to do with making a part move into the background. As a rhythm repeats it frees up our brain to focus on other melodies. Think of your favorite song with a drum beat. Notice how you can still hear the beat even though you're able to sing along with the melody.

Go back to your composition and make any changes in your 2nd instrument to make it sound more like a background part. Try using a repetitive rhythm! A helpful technique for creating background parts is to use a regular pattern of rests. Sometimes taking away notes and using rests can work better than adding notes!

Go to My Piece and Adjust 2nd Instrument

Music Lingo

So what about this notion of texture? It can be helpful to know which texture you are trying to create as this will help you organize all of your instruments. The musical texture we used above, one that has a clear background part that supports a main melody, is called a homophonic texture. (There are two kinds of homophonic texture but we will focus on this one.) The three main textures that we will be concerned with are:

  • Homophonic Texture: a clear background part that supports a main melody
  • Monophonic Texture: a single melody played by one instrument or many
  • Polyphonic Texture: more than one independent melody sounding at the same time

Changing Textures

Switching between different textures will increase the complexity of your music. Next choose a different texture that you'd like to use and compose a part for your 2nd instrument to play in your B section.

Add a 2nd Part to My B Section

Classroom Activity

Working in pairs or small groups on classroom instruments, iPads or band instruments students will perform all three textures: monophony, homophony and polyphony. Give students time to compose short examples of each and then perform them for the class. During the class performance ask students what texture they are hearing.

Here is a group's example of homophony:


Visit the topic about texture here: Talk about Texture!

Post a reply sharing your thoughts and ideas. Have you had any experiences with students regarding texture? Have you tried any of the class activities regarding texture?

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