Parameters of Texture (used as either variables or constants)
Variations in texture pattern are important contributors to the form and
mood of a composition. Composers and arrangers routinely coordinate
changes in texture with changes of key, mode, melodic pattern,
continuity, rhythm, and harmonic background.
Texture factors that contribute to the development of musical form are:
Texture Analysis Checklist
- register: placement in the audible range
- range: distance between high and low points
- density: number of voices or components
- spacing: distances between voices or components
- sound norm: prevailing chord and interval sounds
- rhythmic interplay: general pacing, degree of polyrhythm,
rhythmic stratification or layering, timing of change of
any texture factor (i.e. voice roles, anything on this list).
- pattern type: homophonic, polyphonic, type mixtures, kind of
- location of figure: top, bottom, in the middle
- relative complexity.
- Determine the type of texture (homophonic, polyphonic, a mixture
- If the texture is homophonic, determine if it is essentially
chordal, accompanied melody, or a mixture of the two.
- Identify and describe accompaniment patterns.
- Identify and categorize separable components in the accompaniment.
How do they relate to each other?
- If the texture is polyphonic, determine if it is imitative or non-imitative.
- Determine the contour, rhythm, and motive interplay among the voices.
- Determine the roles of the individual voices. Note role changes and couplings.
- Note rhythmic stratification (i.e., voices moving at different rhythm levels).
- Texture Control (patterns resulting from the continuation, change,
or recurrence of the following):
- Determine which factors are unifying constants (unchanging).
- Determine which factors are variables.
- What overall patterns result from the use of unifying constants or variables?
- How are the constant and variable patterns coordinated with
melody, harmony, rhythm, and performing media?
- In vocal music, note the relation of words and music. Word rhythms,
poetic structures, accents, rhyme, connotation, and mood have a
profound effect on the thinking of many composers. Often, the influence
of the words can be seen in every aspect of the composition.
When considering melody, think about the overall pattern
(contour/continuity), skeleton, and motive and segmental organization.
When considering harmony, think about a harmonic core (monorhythmic
chordal foundation), background harmonizations, and harmonic focusing
factors in melodic skeletons.
Keys, key changes, and diatonic versus chromatic contexts are also
important harmonic factors.
When considering media, think about how the timbres (tone colors) of the
instrument(s) are related to other factors. In vocal music, think about
how word moods, meanings, structures, and images are mirrored in the
Finally, think of the effect of the whole, how the composition works
as an whole organism or system.
[NOTES AND ASSIGNMENTS]
[NAU] Last update, 6/25/04.