Music Theory
Acoustic Composition
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What is Homophony?

We’ve already learned that homophony is a musical texture featuring a melody with a distinct accompaniment. That’s a fine definition in theory, but, in practice, things tend to get a little more complicated. Let’s look at four examples with different homophonic approaches:

This is a short piano composition with a very simple homophonic texture. Chord symbols and roman numerals provided for ease of analysis.
Now we have the same melody and harmony, but with an Alberti bass accompaniment playing chord tones exclusively. Notice the accompaniment pattern breaks (changes) at the middle and end of the phrase. It’s important to note that arpeggios are a very common way for composers to create accompaniment patterns.
In this example the left hand is playing a more rhythmic accompaniment pattern that alternates between low bass notes and chords. Notice that it gives the melody a slightly more “bouncy” feel.
For our last example an argument could be made that we’re getting close to polyphony, however, looking closely at the left hand of the piano we see that it’s mostly comprised of a chord tones and imitation of the melody. Also, in a less quantitative way, the left hand melody doesn’t “stand” on its own; in other words, the left hand melody is kind of a boring tune compared to the original melody. Thus the left hand of this example is best described as a countermelody.