I am taking a basic music class as an elective and was given a chart to compare monophony and polyphony. The elements within the chart are: Melody, Accompaniment, Harmony, Rhythm of Words, Dynamics and Texture. I understand the basis of both (monophony has a single melody with no accompaniment while polyphony has multiple melodies), but am confused with the rest. I was thinking monophony has no harmony, is homorhythmic, varying dynamics and texture is one sound/simple/basic. I am not sure if there are better ways to describe this for this question. Polyphony, on the other hand, I am struggling with. All I have is multiple/two or more melodies, polyrhythmic and complex/dense texture and am struggling to figure out the rest. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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    Helping out with homework isn't really what this site is about. There is a help center and you can read the other questions and answers here to get a sense of what this site is for. Feb 25, 2019 at 18:37

1 Answer 1


I think you are asking what are the 'accompaniment, harmony, and dynamic' aspects of polyphonic music.

You already see the comment about not posting homework questions.

I'll give you a few points of departure to explore to help you find the answers yourself...

Polyphonic accompaniments: look up basso continuo and compare with fugue. Then look up Bach's the Art of Fugue and Goldberg Variations and examine how the bass part is used.

Polyphonic harmony: compare the music of Palestrina with Bach's Well Tempered Clavier. How does either style fit into the major/minor harmonic system?

Polyphonic dynamics: did historic scores indicate dynamics, what were the performance practices of the time period (Renaissance and Baroque), generally would different dynamics between voices enhance polyphony?

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