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Texture Lesson 3
Polyphonic Texture -- Rounds, Melodic Ostinati, Imitation

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Melodic Ostinato

An "ostinato" is a repeated pattern of notes, rhythms, or movements which accompanies a melody. A "melodic ostinato" produces polyphonic texture because it is a musical voice which is specifically intended to be performed together with another melody. The example below contains both a melody and a melodic ostinato. Click the play arrow to hear the example.

A Melodic Ostinato is a short, repeated melody pattern which is intended to be performed together with another melody to produce harmony.


Another characteristic which is sometimes present in polyphonic music is "imitation." Imitation occurs when each musical voice enters with, or contains similar patterns of pitches, but the melodies are not exactly the same.

Imitation is characterized by the regular occurrence of the same or similar melodic pitch patterns at different times in different voices.

Go on to the Practice Questions for this lesson.

Lesson 3
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