AQA Music GCSE- AoS3- Texture and Melody

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Texture and Melody

Texture- Refers to what or how much is going on in the music at any one time. About the different ways instruments and voices are combined in a piece of music

What we will need to recognise in the Exam:

  • harmonic/homophonic, polyphonic/ contrapuntal
  • broken chords
  • imitative, canonic, layered
  • unision, octaves, single melody line, melody with accompaniment, antiphonal

Harmonic/ Homophonic

  • A texture that is chordal
  • Melody is usually at the top of the chords
  • Moves together, same rhythm but different notes
  • Harmonic and homophonic mean the same thing

Broken Chords

  • Playing the notes of the chord seperately, one after the other
  • Provide more gentle, flowing accompaniment
  • Example- The piano part in Adele's 'someone like you'

Polyphonic/ Contrapuntal

  • A texture that involves many different parts playing different things
  • Consists of two or more eually important melodic lines weaving together
  • Makes the music sound 'busy'
  • Polyphonic and contrapuntal mean the same thing

Imitative and Canonic

  • Imitative means to copy
  • One part starts a melody which is immediately repeated by another part but not always in the same pitch
  • Normally it is only the first few notes of the melody which are imitated
  • Several parts may take turns to imitate the opening of the original melody
  • Canonic means a round, which is a type of imitation
  • One part repeats the whole of the melody and several parts may be involved
  • Still counts as polyphonic texture
  • Think 'Frere Jaques' or 'Londons Burning'

Layered Textures

  • Means music is made up of different 'layers' of sound
  • All are important in adding to the rich texture of the music
  • Can be different rhythms as well as melodic musical lines
  • Usually featured in African music

Unison, Octaves, Single melody line/ Monophonic

  • Unison means all the parts are playing the same thing, at the same pitch
  • If there are octave differences eg sopranos and basses, then it is Octaves.
  • A single melody line means the same thing as monophonic
  • There is nothing else playing but one melody on its own without harmonies, though it may be played by more than one instrument eg 2 flutes or 3 clarinets


  • A special kind of imitation where the musical phrase is tossed around between different instruments
  • It could be from different parts of the building, or on different sides of a concert platform
  • It produces a stero or surround sound effect as the musical line is passed from one group to another

Melody- A pattern of notes arranged horizontally one after the other to create a musical phrase in a rhythmically ordered pattern.

What we will need to recognise in the Exam

  • Intervals within the octave
  • conjunct, disjunct, triadic, scalic, arpegio



Very helpful for helping with revision! Thanks!

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