I've been looking online for a word to describe progressively layered music.

What I mean is, for example, say a composition begins with drums, then some other instrument gets added (say, violin), then another, and another. For example, say, the main theme of 3:10 to Yuma (2007).

The closest I could find on the web was "intensify" or "heighten", but I don't think that accurately describes it. In fact, even the use of the word "layered" in the question might be entirely wrong.

  • Early results in a Google search for "lay a drum track" + layering show that the term is widely used for building up a recording, at least in the production of certain music genres. But this is not the usage you want a term for. All I can find is "... all the instruments successively join with spirited and brillant effect". Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 14:43
  • 1
    You might call it increasing texture
    – meuh
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 14:53
  • Thank you for all your responses guys, I think I'll go with the 1 answer here. It's precisely what I was looking for.
    – Ravi
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 5:26
  • 5
    Belongs on Music: Practice & Theory -- may be a duplicate there.
    – Kris
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 15:01
  • 2
    Even if you accepted the single single-word answer, I feel like you already had a great answer yourself, 'progressively layered'. Single words are overrated.
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 15:28

1 Answer 1


When instruments enter one at a time, their entrances are described as staggered.


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