#1
so I have a question about polyphony. From what I am told, polyphony is where there is 2+ independent melodies playing over each other, such as a canon. But what is considered 2 independent melodies? I was also told if there are 2+ different instruments playing the same melody, that it is polyphonic. Is this right?

Would these be considered polyphonic:

A melody played by a clarinet over an orchestra playing chords, then that clarinet being harmonized by 3rds or somethng by another clarinet. what about if it is harmonized by a trumpet?
dude, what about an actual solo in death metal instead of that poof from linkin park. Think of Pulse of the Maggots - Bed Of Razors


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#3
polyphony is simply more than one sound at a time. counterpoint is what you're describing of 2 independent melodies played at the same time.
#4
Typically when people talk about polyphony they really mean counterpoint. It is just a way of distinguishing counterpuntal music from homophonic music.

I was also told if there are 2+ different instruments playing the same melody, that it is polyphonic. Is this right?


Nope


A melody played by a clarinet over an orchestra playing chords, then that clarinet being harmonized by 3rds or somethng by another clarinet. what about if it is harmonized by a trumpet?


Instrumentation is irrelevant. This would be an example of homphonic music. Homophony is where there is a principal voice, which is also the melody.

Anyways, the best way to undestand the difference between the two is to listen to them. For polyphonic music, simply listen to any fugue by any composer who has ever existed. Bach would be your typical go to guy, but beethoven wrote a few as movements of large scale works (op 110 and op 120 come to mind) as did mozart. Shostakovich is another one you could listen to since he, like bach, wrote a large set of preludes and fugues.

Anyways it is important to realize that most music, with but a few exceptions, fugue method being one of them, is neither exclusively homophonic or polyphonic.
#5
Quote by The2abraxis
so I have a question about polyphony. From what I am told, polyphony is where there is 2+ independent melodies playing over each other, such as a canon. But what is considered 2 independent melodies? I was also told if there are 2+ different instruments playing the same melody, that it is polyphonic. Is this right?
Not necessarily, because they're might not be playing a different melody. Independent means independent, as in not like the other melody playing.
Quote by The2abraxis
A melody played by a clarinet over an orchestra playing chords, then that clarinet being harmonized by 3rds or somethng by another clarinet. what about if it is harmonized by a trumpet?
No, because they're playing the exact same thing (except ones played a little higher). That's not 2 independent melodies, that's one melody with diaphony.

Independent melodies means it sounds completely seperated from the other melody, it sounds distinct and is an individual melody.

If you played one melody and then the other, any idiot would say they sound diffferent. If you played one melody and then another melody 3 notes higher, most non-musicians would say they sound the same.

To do this we do things like avoiding parallel fifths and avoiding using harmonic perfect intervals twice in a row.
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