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date: 27 February 2021

polyphony (from Gk. polyphonia, ‘of many sounds’; Ger.: Mehrstimmigkeit, Vielstimmigkeit). 

The Oxford Companion to Music
Jonathan DunsbyJonathan Dunsby

Musical texture in two or more (though usually at least three) relatively independent parts. In general, the term is applied to vocal music, but usages such as ‘orchestral polyphony’ with reference, for instance, to the music of Mahler or Ives are to be found in discussions of 19th- and 20th-century instrumental styles. It refers to a fundamental category of musical possibilities, since all sound sources may be used on their own, in monophony, or with another or others, in polyphony. The usages are therefore many and varied in the history of Western art and folk music and in ethnomusicology. In Western art music, a general and a particular meaning can be identified as the most important applications.... ...

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