Music Analysis – Textural Components

Reverb is a great textural component in music because it gives the sound atmosphere by causing a large number of echos to build up and then slowly decay as the sound gets absorbed by the walls or air, creating a natural feel of the instrument because it is imitating space and time with regards to the time it takes for the sound to travel across the room and also how big the room is. Of course I’m speaking with reference to Virtual instruments being processed by a reverb effect within a DAW.

However using real instruments in different rooms or spaces creates a natural Reverb, this has a more natural feel to it, and a great example is playing an instrument out in an open field compared to playing an instrument win a small room with objects placed around the room. because the field is so open and has no restrictions such as walls, the sound could feel a lot lighter giving the sound more space to travel, compared to a small room with objects would give oof the feeling of a tight sounding reverb because there is less space for the sound to move and the sound waves now have objects and walls to reflect off and also get absorbed by. This determines the type of Rverb you would get for the specific instrument.

The interval between the initial direct arrival of a sound wave and the last audible reflected wave is called reverberation time, and is a key feature when speaking about reverb, because it is the time required for reflections of a direct sound to decay. The optimum reverberation time for a space in which music is played depends on the type of music that is to be played in the space. Rooms used for speech typically need a shorter reverberation time so that speech can be understood more clearly. Reverberation effects are often used in studios to add depth to sounds. Reverberation changes the perceived harmonic structure of a note, but does not alter the pitch.

With the sound wave having many directions to go toward, there will be late reflections as well as early reflections, this is because some objects may be closer to the direct sound than others thus creating reflections of itself, adding to the reverb sound.

The first Early Reflection reaches the listener milliseconds after the direct signal does. The path of the Early Reflections is longer. The difference in time between the arrival of the direct signal and the first Early Reflections is measured in milliseconds. The sound reflects off the walls and objects in the room, and in time individual reflections disappear and the Reverb develops.

The time between the direct signal is heard by the listener and start of the Reverb is called Predelay. This is a parameter in many digital reverb effects, and it is expressed in milliseconds, it refers to the amount of time between the original dry sound, and the audible onset of early reflections and reverb tail. Carefully adjusting the pre-delay parameter makes a huge difference in the “clarity” of a mix. For example, a longer pre-delay will move the reverb tail out of the way of the vocals, making them much more present and understandable. Here is a picture demonstrating the different reflections of the reverb.

Early Reflections

Both my songs were recorded in a studio, with my first song being Pink Floyd the textures are more harmonic and natural suggesting a homophonic texture. The way they would’ve added a more natural feel to is by adding reverb to certain instruments to give the environment of the song a more natural feel, because sound is absorbed in a studio and doesn’t bounce off the walls i would say the sound is a more flat or fake sound so adding reverb makes it more real, like the guitar would be given reverb to give the feel that the song was recorded in a large environment with lots of space to give it that airy and melancholic feeling. By improving the reverb you tweak the room size pre-delay and dampening, which would control the late and early reflections, really making it sound like it was recorded in that specific room type such as a large hall or field. The second song was recorded in a studio because its an electronic styled piece of music, that means it was created using a DAW, therefore reverb is vital in giving it atmosphere especially since its a trance track and trance is all about atmosphere. The song would suggest being either polyphonic meaning theres more than one leading melody or homophonic with one leading melody and a bunch of background sounds backing up the melody.

There are four main types of textures. The most common one found in most modern music is homophonic, this has multiple voices of which one, the melody, stands out prominently and the others form a background of harmonic accompaniment.

The most basic textural type is monophonic. Monophonic texture includes a single melodic line with no accompaniment. Another textural type is heterophonic which is two or more voices simultaneously performing variations of the same melody. And the last main textural type is Biphonic which is Two distinct lines, the lower sustaining a drone (constant pitch) while the other line creates a more elaborate melody above it.


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