Polyphony is a musical texture consisting of two or more independent voices. Within the context of Western music tradition, the term usually refers to music of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. It displays a connection to the emerging Gothic style of architecture. Just as ornate cathedrals were built to house holy relics, organa (plainchant melodies with at least one added voice to enhance the harmony) were written to elaborate Gregorian chant, which too was considered holy. One voice (called the tenor, from the Latin tenere, "to hold") sang the notes of the chant elongated to enormous length. While this voice, the vox principalis, held the chant, one, two, or three other voices, known as the vox organalis (or vinnola vox, the "vining voice") were notated above it with quicker lines moving and weaving together. Over time, organa provided the means through which music evolved from a single line to multiple lines of equal value.
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