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Texture and Layers Discussion

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Texture and Layers Discussion



An important aspect of understanding how texture works is being able to hear and identify layers, which in a basic sense, refers to how many things are happening at once within the texture of the music.  Layers tell us a lot about the level of complexity in the music, and help us to build a mental image of what is going on with the musical elements.  Identifying layers is also a great way to listen more actively.

To work on this concept, we will use a really cool visualization of Clare de Lune (“Moonlight”), by the French composer Claude Debussy.  The animation visually imitates the layers, and is very helpful for understanding this concept.


  • Watch the video below (as many times as needed), and pay attention to how the animation reflects what is happening in the music.

For full credit on this topic, you must complete two tasks: Texture and Layers Discussion

Post to this topic by answering at least three questions from the list below. 

  1. Describe the layers.  How many are there?  What are the layers?  Does this change at any point?
  2. What instrument is playing?  How does this one instrument allow for more than one layer?
  3. What seems to be different or unique about the melody in this example? (Hint: Think about the definition of melody.)
  4. What seems to be different or unique about the harmony in this example?  (Hint: Think about the definition of harmony.)
  5. As you listened actively in order to answer these questions, did your experience with the music change or evolve at all?  How or why?


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