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Understanding musical scores
Understanding musical scores

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2.2.1 Texture

Figure 4

Hymns are a common type of music in which melody and accompaniment move at the same pace. In a hymn tune, like the one shown in Figure 4, most of the notes will move at the same time in blocks, so following both left and right hand parts together is much easier than following parts where they do different things. Listen to this example and follow the score.

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Harmony, by definition, uses two or more notes simultaneously. Notice that in this example there are two notes occurring at the same time on each staff, so four notes at the same time in total. Piling up notes vertically in this way, meaning they are struck together by the player, creates chords, which sound much richer than the ‘tema’ you looked at in the previous section.

Notice how both treble and bass parts have notes of similar lengths and move simultaneously. When musicians talk about the relationship between a melody and what accompanies it, they use the term texture. This type of texture we could call ‘block chords’ because all the elements move together in block-like chunks. You could almost draw a picture of it that might look like a line of bricks or blocks. Sometimes when following a large score, identifying sections of block chords that look like chunks of notes moving together can help you keep track.