Robert Estrin - piano expert

What is Polyphony in Music?

Learn about one of the most important musical terms

In this video, Robert tells you about "polyphony" and why it has been part of the natural evolution of music we know today.

Released on March 29, 2017

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, Robert Estrin here at and Today's question is, what is meant by the term "polyphony"? You may have heard this before, and this is intrinsic to almost all the music we listen to today. But there was a time when all music was monophonic. Monophonic means one note at a time. The original written music was called Gregorian chant or plainsong, and it was liturgical text that was sung with embellishments and they were just one line at a time, and for a very long time, that's what the only written music was, one note at a time. Eventually, it evolved to something called organum. Organum, they would have two lines, usually in parallel that would embellish the melody a bit. Eventually, music developed more complexity where many lines of music, more than one note, finally, and that is what is meant by polyphony, where you have more than one note at a time. And virtually all the music we listen to today is polyphonic. It's hard to believe that it started off with just one line at a time, plainsong, monophonic music. Thank goodness it evolved to what we know and love today. So that is what is meant by polyphony. Thank's so much for joining me, Robert Estrin, here at and
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Jeff M on February 20, 2019 @5:43 am PST
love this video - terrific explanation
Robert - host, on February 20, 2019 @12:24 pm PST
It's a complex subject. Glad I was able to shed some light on it for you!
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