I have been struggling to come up with a conclusion if the first movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 has a polyphonic texture. But I cannot find a valid reason. Does anyone have any solid ideas of what type of texture it has and why?

  • It would be helpful to know where your uncertainty lay. That is, what in the score suggested to you homophony, and what suggested polyphony? Or, better, it sounds like you were trying to support a thesis that the movement is polyphonic. It might help to know more about the origin of that thesis.
    – Aaron
    May 23, 2022 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


Differentiating polyphony and homophony in general

The core idea behind polyphony is the presence of two or more melodies that are independent of each other but which correspond in harmonically pleasing ways.

Homophony, by contrast, has parts that tend to move in sync with each other.

One can think of polyphony as being composed "horizontally" (that is, primarily melodically); whereas, homophony emphasizes the "vertical" (this is, primarily chordal). Any (part of a) piece could have elements of both, so one has to decide which plays the predominant role in developing the overall sound.

Is Beethoven Symphony #8, Movement 1 polyphonic or homophonic?

I find little question that it is homophonic, seeing little to no evidence of polyphony. Looking through the score, the parts tend to move in lock step, and I don't see anything that looks like two or more independent melodic parts.

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