Textures make up a big part of music.
We will explore and learn how we can use them in our own compositions.
What Is Texture?
Texture is a term that can be used to describe the consistency of sounds. It can be related to many of the parameters of sound such as, density, layering and timbre/sound quality, and described in terms of the relative thickness, activity or pitch range.
Textures might be light, or they might be heavy and dense. They might be smooth and similar, or rough and different.
Textures are sometimes described as the opposite of gestures.
It is much easier to understand sound texture if we create some sounds.
Use the following list to perform actions that will create sounds. Use whatever you have available.
Listen to the sounds that you have created and discuss:
- Which are the most immersive textures (the ones that draw you in and surround you)?
- How would you describe the properties of these textures?
- How does the sound change when groups of people make the sounds, instead of individuals?
Are some sounds more gestural than textural? How might you change the way that you create sounds to make them more textural?
Denis Smalley describes how using textures can give an impression of frozen time. So, if you want to have a greater sense of stasis or rest within your composition, you could experiment with adding textures.
Visual Inspiration: Texture Photographs
Here are a few photographs of visual textures which might help you to think about sound textures.
How might each of these visual textures sound?
- Tear off
- Fall down
- Touch lightly
- Drum fingers
DENIS SMALLEY (1997). Spectromorphology: explaining sound-shapes. Organised Sound, 2, pp. 107-126.