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Greek poliphony ?[edit]

Not aware of a greek poliphony does someone mind dwelling on the subject ? I thought greeks used bouzukis and other Middle Eastern instruments only. Thank you-- (talk) 22:29, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Split this article[edit]

I suggest this article be split so that the composition technique and the "modern usage" can be treated separately. They are only superficially related. I think this can be accomplished by:

  • Retitling this article "Polyphony (composition)", keeping all but the "modern usage" section.
  • Putting the modern usage section into a new article titled "Polyphony (instrument)".
  • Creating a new article "Polyphony", which would be a disambiguation page.

Alternately, this could be done:

  • Move the modern usage section into a new article titled "Polyphony (instrument)".
  • Include the {{Otheruses4|1=one thing|2=a different thing|3=location}} template on both pages.

Initially, Polyphony (instrument) would be a stub. I would be willing to expand it out of stub status.

Comments? --Trweiss 23:15, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

I object. First, I don't see how "Polyphony (instrument)" would ever stop being a stub. Secondly, the meanings are related. Third, the "Polyphony (composition)" article should not be there but at "Polyphony" per Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names). Hyacinth 07:58, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
To answer your first point, there is a great deal to be said about "polyphony (instrument)"—easily as much as currently exists for the composition technique. The article would discuss:
  • What a technical challenge it was, at first, to build a polyphonic electronic instrument
  • That polyphonic electronic instruments were revolutionary
  • How polyphony increased over time; how digital electronic instruments removed certain barriers to extended polyphony
  • Why it is worthwhile to have more polyphony on an instrument than fingers on two hands
  • How being polyphonic is different than being multitimbral, and how these concepts are related
  • That while an instrument may have polyphony and may be pressure sensitive, pressure sensitivity may not be "polyphonic"
  • That "polyphonic" is now applied more generally to things other than electronic instruments
As for your second point, you would have to explain to me how the composition technique and the technology are related, other than the superficial meaning of "many notes". And finally, to your third point, citing the common name convention may not apply. In this case, it is very much based on your point of view. If you are a music history acedemic, I grant that the first sense is more common. At a NAMM Show, the second sense would be more common. A Google search on "polyphony" shows more initial hits on the composition technique. A Google search on "polyphonic", shows more about the technology. (The "Polyphonic" article redirects here. I would argue it should redirect to Polyphony (instrument).) In any case, my alternative split suggestion allows the composition technique to retain its current title, "Polyphony".
--Trweiss 14:59, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
The Google search only proves that the instrument usage is something electronic;such topics are disproportionately represented on the web. No one's selling a product featuring compositional polyphony. —Wahoofive (talk) 04:30, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
I have already acquiesced on the point that compositional polyphony can keep its title, polyphony. The point was made in the spirit described here: wikipedia:google test. --Trweiss 04:17, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Expansion needed[edit]

Because polyphony is important to the development of Western music, to the history of Christianity and the Catholic Church, and to the development of the Christian liturgical tradition, this article needs significant expansion. Here are the ways in which it can be improved:

  • Detailed history. The development of polyphony from the middle ages to the present.
    • Specific focus on the development of polyphony in the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque periods
  • Musical characteristics. How polyphony actually works, how it's different from melody/harmony, Gregorian chant, etc.
  • Influences. How polyphony influence music, the development of Christianity, and the development of liturgy

Chart123 20:41, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Do topics really justify each other on Wikipedia? Hyacinth 22:28, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Polyphony in traditional African music?[edit]

I seem to remember reading, more than once, that polyphony was present in the traditional musical culture of some peoples in sub-Saharan Africa. It's been several years, however, since I read that. Am I mistaken, did I get this mixed-up with something else?

If someone knows about this, can you please add it to the article? Thanks. --Cotoco 03:33, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Ummm... I will get on that ASAP... you should look too... 22:16, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

I believe this is a mistake that came from people misinterpreting call and response, or similar, with polyphony. In the end, polyphony is something quite unique to western music. (talk) 12:06, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Should this article have a trivia section??[edit]

I don't think the trivia section (about "polyphony" being the longest common english word type-able on a standard keyboard with only the right hand) is necessary, useful, or within the spirit of this type of article. I generally think of "Trivia" sections as belonging to articles on things that are noteworthy because they have a fan base (like tv shows or harry potter books or bands). Thoughts, anyone? J Lorraine 02:08, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I feel it does not belong in this article; however, if there is an article covering trivial facts about the keyboard layout, it could go there. (I'm going ahead and removing it.) Antandrus (talk) 02:48, 19 January 2007 (UTC)


I don't feel happy that all of the material is strictly NPOV - especially in the first section. The rejection of melisma-against-melisma is contrary to the evidence of the surviving material from the "St Martial" (i.e. Limoges) School, and the claim that the composition was therefore not line-by-line is hardly NPOV when it involves rejection of the clear statements of contemporary theorists and composers. See e.g. R.H.Hoppin "Medieval Music" OldTownAdge (talk) 22:23, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Stanley Jordan?[edit]

Why does Stanley Jordan appear at the end of the list of Renaissance polyphonic composers? His music is no more or less polyphonic than that of any other jazz musician. I think someone's having a laugh. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:43, 4 August 2009 (UTC)


Given that both this article and the one on Counterpoint agree that Polyphony is generally used to describe music with independent parts of the Renaissance or earlier, and that Counterpoint is the usual term for such music of the Baroque or later, why is Bach on the list of notable artists in this article at all, let alone first? Whilst I'm not stupid enough to deny his place in Western music, he probably would have described himself as a contrapuntalist rather than a polyphonist. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Maarvarq (talkcontribs) 15:21, 12 July 2010 (UTC)


Some (off-Wiki) colleagues were discussing polyphony, and one of them pointed to this article. Just thought I'd share (FWIW) that one response was "I wouldn't take anything in wikipedia seriously," and they singled out the following sentence for criticism:

"According to the Cultural Model, origins of polyphony are connected to the development of human musical culture; polyphony came as the natural development of the primordial monophonic singing; therefore polyphonic traditions are bound to replace gradually monophonic traditions."

The criticism, I believe, is entirely justified. For starters, the claim is unreferenced (and I have already tagged it as such). Additional comments (again, off-Wiki) regarding the statement in question:

  • "This is nonsense. There are very highly developed monophonic traditions (think India), this kind of musical Darwinism is absurd."
  • "This is just really sophisticated me-ism. More Western civ claptrap. Some of the most sophisticated music on the planet comes from the Vedic tradition. Similarly with Burmese Drum Circle music."
  • "The idea of "polyphonic evolution" is just another piece of euro-centric academic bullshit. The music of India is some of the most advanced and sophisticated in the world with a history longer than that of Europe, and they are not polyphonic at all."

-- Gyrofrog (talk) 19:43, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Gyrofrog, perhaps you are just prejudiced and bigoted against western cultural music as a whole? The evolution of polyphony is something quite traceable through western music, whereas Hindustani and Carnatic music has remained quite reliant on drone and melody instead. In the end, this article should mostly be about this "western civ claptrap" you seem to hate so much. If you do not wish to partake in editing an article about an aspect of western music, no one is forcing you. (talk) 12:13, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm not prejudiced nor bigoted, and furthermore I take issue with your accusation. I also didn't say that polyphony isn't traceable through Western music, nor did I say Indian music isn't monophonic. The problems with the sentence in question, are (1) the implication (intentional or not) is "Western music is better than other music" and (2) the sentence is unreferenced, and has been for almost a year. These being the actual concerns, perhaps you would care to address them? (And I did note that these are comments from elsewhere, from those who hold Wikipedia in low esteem. If anything, I posted this here out of concern for Wikipedia's reputation.) Thank you, -- Gyrofrog (talk) 14:24, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Do we really need to footnote every sentence?[edit]

Every sentence in the "origins" section has a "citation needed" tag. Yet the sentences reference treatises like Musica enchiriadis and Winchester troper whose articles are themselves documented. Is it really necessary to footnote a summary of another page's info? —Wahoofive (talk) 17:49, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Hearing no objection, I have removed the tags. —Wahoofive (talk) 04:52, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

MP3 File[edit]

The MP3 file at the beginning of this article is wrong. The player has completely ignored the key signature of A flat major, instead playing as if there were no sharps or flats in the key. MrCrazyFrog (talk) 08:10, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Polyphony in New Orleans jazz[edit]

Early jazz, in the style which Wikipedia calls Dixieland jazz, often has polyphonic elements. Polyphony also appears at times in later jazz; for instance, in the passage at 2:20' of the Charlie Parker recording "Bird Of Paradise." – Larry Koenigsberg (talk) 04:22, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Bach example[edit]

The Bach example isn't as helpful as it might be. It does not include clefs and the fingering numbers are distracting. Non-musicians might find the compressed keyboard-style two-stave notation confusing as well, given that there are four voices. --♦♦♦Vlmastra♦♦♦ (talk) 22:33, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

Likely copyvio[edit]

I don't really have the energy to deal with this just now so I'm leaving it here: The section on Georgian singing clearly contains a copyvio. The sentence beginning "Readers might remember (from the very beginning of this book) ..." is obviously cribbed from somewhere else, since Wikipedia isn't a book. A quick Google search turns up Who Asked the First Question: The Origins of Human Choral Singing, Intelligence and Speech, a book by Joseph Jordania at Tbilisi Ivane Javakhishvili State University. It's not freely available so it's difficult for me to determine the extent of the violation. Hairy Dude (talk) 22:49, 18 June 2016 (UTC)

Good catch! Here's the original edit, by NikaPilot. I don't think Wikipedia offers a Scribd login, nor does my local library, so we're not going to get more of the source unless Nika supplies it. That paper is already used as a source for the article, though. Think we can just summarize that passage and leave the citation to the paper? Ibadibam (talk) 22:18, 20 June 2016 (UTC)