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Monophony to Polyphony

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Musical texture has changed from the time when it consisted of a melody done by a single singer or instrument to the one in which there is no dominant melodic voice. Unlike monophony, polyphony created room for more singers or instrument to be used to create more than one line of independent melodies. The movement from monophony to polyphony which this paper believes was a gradual process that took place in stages was a huge step in the music history.


I believe the change from monophony to polyphony did not just happen in a single day and was not caused by some radical monks. There was no drastic measure adopted or force applied to ensure the change from monophony to polyphony. In fact, the change took place in stages and from different places. The first stage of development of polyphony was the adding of text to the existing chant (Dahlhaus & Gjerdingen, 2014). The second stage was the addition of mellismas to the chant. After adding mellismas to the chant, there was the addition of extra voices and parts to the song. This development started with the music theorists in the church. The theorists began experimenting to sing two melodic lines at parallel intervals and sometimes simultaneously in what was known as the Gregorian chant (Crocker, 2014).


The move from monophony to polyphony was a huge step in the history of music as it opened up the many possibilities of what people could do with music. It also led to the advancement of harmony in the voices, as men and boys could now be accommodated in the same melody (Ciabattoni, 2010). The pieces of polyphony added extra grandeur to the chants. Moreover, the move allowed for the combination of multiple independent lines, making it easier to alternate between two textures.
In conclusion, this paper believes that radical monks did not instigate the change from monophony to polyphony, but rather the movement was a gradual process with stages. The change was a huge step in the history of music that has also brought some important achievements in music.

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