UNITY in music is the following of set patterns and forms.
VARIETY is the “coloring outside of the lines” that makes music more interesting.
If your music has to much UNITY in it, your music can become stale and predictable. However, if your music has too much VARIETY in it, your music can become unintelligible and annoying.
By using UNITY and VARIETY to balance each other out, a music composition can present interesting patterns to the listener in a way that keeps those patterns fresh and interesting. UNITY is the rules that help music make sense to us. VARIETY is the breaking of those rules in order to create something that is unique and original.
Are you a UNITY person or a VARIETY person? You can be both. They are not enemies, but friends.
Written by Kevin Woolsey, Music Instructor in Baton Rouge, LA, at KevinWoolsey.com.