I finished with my second meeting with Mark Sforzini. We had a very interesting discussion, part of which is the element of music I am writing about today.
Texture in music refers to instruments and the way they relate to each other. Texture can be thick or thin (one instrument). Texture can be homophonic (an acapella choir) or multiphonic (a woodwind choir). Texture is one of the ways a composer can communicate harmony and create tension. Texture can be very simple, such as block chords, or more complex.
Each voice in a musical ensemble is unique, and adding or subtracting a voice affects the overall effect of the piece. This is why texture is important. For example, if you put the more nasal quality of the oboe next to the open sounding flute, it changes the tone color. It is just important when writing to know what instruments to use as it is to know what to write.
Suppose a composer has decided what instruments she wants to write for. The texture of the piece can change by changing the rhythms, either a slow sustained note or pulsing quarter notes. One idea we discussed was having the strings play a note and having the woodwinds come in a beat later.
Musical compositions, much like paintings, have a foreground and a background. Music can be scored in a way that emphasizes and supports a melodic or harmonic figure. Thus, composing can create depth. Some compositions even have a melody and a countermelody. This is called counterpoint.
It is interesting to experiment with instruments, the different voices and colors and how they sound. There are almost limitless possibilities one can create even with a few instruments. Anything can happen in a short amount of time. This is why score study is so complicated, and continues to fascinate me.