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(hōmŏf`ənē), species of musical ensemble texture in which all voice parts move more or less to the same rhythm, in which a listener tends to hear the highest voice as the melody and the lower voices as its accompaniment. This term is also used for a texture comprising a melodic line with chordal accompaniment
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a type of many-voiced music characterized by the division of voices into the main voice and accompanying voices. It is primarily in this respect that homophony is different from polyphony, which is based on the equality of voices. The flourishing of homophony, for which the humanist ideas of the Renaissance paved the way, took place in the 17th to 19th centuries. Individualized melody, accompanied by the remaining elementary voices, came to be regarded as the element of music which could most naturally and flexibly convey the richness of human feelings. Homophony became established primarily in the new musical genres (opera, oratorio, cantata, and solos with accompaniment) and in instrumental music. The wide dissemination of homophony in Western European music paralleled the rapid development of harmony in the modern meaning of the term. The development of homophony in the 17th through 19th centuries is conventionally divided into two periods. The first of these (1600–1750) is often designated as the period of the general bass (although the greatest polyphonist composers, J. S. Bach and G. F. Handel, lived and worked at this time). The first half (1750–1825) of the second period (1750–1900) is marked by the further development of homophony in the work of the classical Viennese composers. The developed and polyphonized “accompanying” voices in the symphonies and quartets of W. A. Mozart and L. van Beethoven, in their liveliness and thematic significance, often surpass the contrapuntal lines of the old polyphonists, thereby exceeding the confines of the homophonic style of music. In the early 20th century the development of harmony, fundamental to homophonic forms, attained a point beyond which the connective strength of harmonic relations lost its constructive significance. Therefore, together with the continuing development of homophony (S. S. Prokofiev, M. Ravel, and others), interest in the possibilities of polyphony is growing markedly (B. Bartok, P. Hindemith, I. F. Stravinsky, A. von Webern, D. D. Shostakovich, etc.).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Most remarkable, perhaps, is the following exchange which commences with the same homophony noted above:
(31) Thus, the scribe derived the Akkadian verb in the second half of this line from the homophony between the gate's Sumerian name (a-sikil-la) and the conjugated Akkadian verb (assalih).
More specifically, "wordplay" is understood as a blanket term for all sorts of playful experiments with words, whereas "pun" is taken to refer to those instances of verbal humour which rest on the above-mentioned linguistic mechanisms of homonymy, homophony and paronymy (to the exclusion of homography for reasons set out in footnote 3).
204--Without resort to homophony I can match Daniel Galef's "triple past tense" with the sequence WEE (urinate)::WEED/WEED:: WED (dialect)/WED::WEDDED.
Cixous saysfaire (je disfaire), and knows that 'fare' is a homophony too far.
Highlights of the night for them were For Unto Us A Child Is Born, where the sections blended extremely well in homophony, and the amusing All We Like Sheep.
(6) The homophony between the initial element kay- of this verb and the inverse suffix -kay can be considered as accidental.
But lasses also feature in many of his songs, and -on account of the homophony between the plural of both the plain and the diminutive forms of the noun lass- the sound iconism of the diminutive may appear to be more frequent than written texts would suggest.
However, an argument from homophony shows that auditory experiences do not resolve differences in meaning not marked by differences in sound.
Pearson discusses Mallarme's poetic development in terms of his play with homophony and rhyme and how the "semantic 'music'" of homophony in "Faune" explodes and disperses ie dualities of rhyme (Unfolding Mallarme 133).
First musicians using polyphony and homophony in their compositions can be seen during the 19th century in Turkey.
Another example where the homophony embedded in the image of the letter is lost can be found in the use of the letter C (Picture 4).