You are on page 1of 5


SlS W8l1lnC CuluL

1PL C8l1L8lA

ln wrlLlng your essay, Lhe ooly Lhlng you really need Lo do ls fulflll Lhe marklng crlLerla. LeL's look closely aL whaL Lhe
crlLerla says.
1be stoJeot evolootes moslc by tbotooqbly Jecoosttoctloq tbe tepettolte, ooJ Jetetmloloq tbe
moolpolotloo of, ooJ telotloosblps betweeo, lJeotlfleJ moslcol elemeots ooJ composltloool Jevlces,
commoolcotloq JetolleJ ooJ sobstootloteJ joJqmeots oboot bow tbese telote to cootext ooJ qeote ooJ
tbe exptesseJ style.

1haL's a blL wordy lsn'L lL? SomeLlmes educaLlonal language ls a blL more compllcaLed Lhan lL needs Lo be. LeL's Lry and
slmpllfy lL.

1he Lwo mosL lmporLanL words here are deconsLrucLlon and evaluaLlon, ln facL, LhaL's Lhe only Lwo Lhlngs requlred of
your essay. ?ou need Lo deconsLrucL Lhe reperLolre and Lhen evaluaLed lL.

1o uLCCnS18uC1 means Lo ldenLlfy:
muslcal elemenLs and how Lhey've been used by Lhe arLlsL (plLch, rhyLhm, Llmbre eLc)
composlLlonal devlces (repeLlLlon, sequence, lnverslon, randomness, serlallsm, eLc)

?ou should also ldenLlfy lf/how Lhese Lwo Lhlngs relaLe Lo each oLher (for lnsLance, maybe each Llme Lhe muslc repeaLs
Lhe arLlsL plays more sofLly?)

1o LvALuA1L means Lo make [udgmenLs abouL how everyLhlng above relaLes Lo:
1he songs conLexL (Llme/place/hlsLory/producLlon values eLc)
1he songs genre (pop, rock eLc)
1he songs or composers sLyle (fun, sexy, eplc, sllly, carefree, lnLense eLc)

uLCCnS18uC1lCn (uon'L [usL llsLen. llsLen")

usually when we llsLen Lo muslc, we llsLen posslvely. ln oLher words, we're [usL leLLlng Lhe muslc soak ln slowly Lhe
more ofLen we hear lL. We're noL llsLenlng for anyLhlng ln parLlcular, [usL en[oylng lL. 1haL's flne, buL lL won'L help you
wrlLe an essay. ln order Lo deconsLrucL Lhe muslc, you need Lo llsLen octlvely. 1haL means you need Lo know whaL
you're looklng for before you begln llsLenlng.

A good meLhod ls Lo plck one muslcal elemenL (plLch for lnsLance) and llsLen Lo Lhe enLlre song focuslng on [usL LhaL.
1hen llsLen agaln focuslng on a dlfferenL muslcal elemenL. Make a llsL of everyLhlng you noLlce. 8y Lhe Llme you've
wrlLLen noLes on all Lhe elemenLs, you wlll have llsLened Lo Lhe muslc heaps of Llmes and wlll have hopefully sLarLed Lo
form more complex oplnlons. 1hese oplnlons wlll be Lhe basls for your evaluaLlons.

unforLunaLely, a llsL of observaLlons abouL Lhe muslcal elemenLs lsn'L an essay. uon'L fall lnLo Lhe Lrap of slmply maklng
llsLs of muslcal facLs. Lg: 1he key ls C, Lhe melody noLes are from C ma[or, lL ls ln 4/4, 1he Lempo ls 130bpm. unless you
explaln why Lhose Lhlngs are slgnlflcanL, why Lhey conLrlbuLe Lo Lhe arLlsL's vlslon or Lhe llsLener's experlence, Lhey are
meanlngless facLs.

LvALuA1lCn (llnd an angle)

1o evaluaLe effecLlvely, you need an ooqle, [usL llke a [ournallsL. ?ou need Lo have oplnlons and be able Lo [usLlfy Lhem.
Pere's an example of a raw oplnlon.

1be botmoolc sttoctote lo 1oke Me Oot by ltooz letJloooJ sbows mote complexlty tboo pook ot qtooqe

1hls sLaLemenL mlghL be Lrue, buL why? Where's Lhe evldence? WlLhouL ldenLlfylng muslcal elemenLs, composlLlonal
devlces and Lhelr relaLlonshlps, Lhls oplnlon carrles no welghL. LeL's Lry agaln.

1he followlng excerpL from Lhe lranz lerdlnand exemplar paper (avallable on Lhe MlC webslLe) shows Lhe same oplnlon
buL ln Lhls case lL's been properly fleshed ouL and [usLlfled wlLh evldence:

notmoolcolly tbe sooq (1oke me oot) stoys lo tbe key of m, wblcb ls ooe tbloq tbot tles tbe two bolves of tbe
sooq toqetbet. All tbe cbotJs ote pottlol ttloJs socb os m, u ooJ C (see llqote #1) bowevet some of tbem ote
slosb cbotJs wltb Jlffeteot boss ootes socb os m/A ooJ u/8 lo tbe fltst vetse (0.07-0.JJ). 1be A mojot cbotJs
lo tbe ltecbotos Joot belooq lo tbe key bot wbeo qtoopeJ wltb m ooJ C fotm o comblootloo of cbotJs tbot
ote polte commoo lo tock. l sboolJ meotloo bowevet tbot m/A (A, , C) coolJ be lotetpteteJ os Am7, ooJ tbot
u/8 (8, u, A) coolJ be lotetpteteJ os 8m7. 8ot most cbotts sbow tbem os slosb cbotJs, wblcb ptobobly teflects
tbe slmplet opptoocb of mooy qoltotlsts. nowevet yoo oome tbem, tbe woy tbose cbotJs ote volceJ betweeo
tbe losttomeots ls o llttle mote cteotlve. ocb qoltot (locloJloq tbe boss) ls ployloq sloqle ootes wblcb bleoJ
toqetbet to cteote wlJet cbotJ volcloqs tbot oo sloqle qoltot coolJ teolly ploy oo lts owo (see flqote #2). 1bls
coo ptobobly be beotJ best lo tbe fltst vetse (bots 5 to 20) wltb blq leops . clevetly tbooqbt oot qoltot potts llke
tbls ote Jefloltely o step beyooJ wbot yooJ ootmolly beot lo look ot Ctooqe.

!"#$%& () - 1ake me ouL chords charL excerpL
(based on chords from and aural LranscrlpLlon)

|Lm | | | |
vL8SL 1
|Lm/A |u |C u/8 |Lm |
|Lm/A |u |C u/8 |Lm |
|Lm/A |u |C u/8 |Lm |
|Lm/A |u |C u/8 |Lm |
|C A |Lm |C A |Lm |
|C A |Lm | | |

!"#$%& (* - 1ake me ouL verse LablaLure, gulLars 1 & 2 (from

Em/A D G D/B Em

Gtr 1 |-----------------|-----------------|---------------------|-------------------------|
Gtr 2 |-----------------|-----------------|---------------------|-------------------------|
Bass |-----------------|-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-|---------------------|-------------------------|

8lCP1 C8 W8CnC?

ln wrlLlng an essay, you may be worrled abouL saylng someLhlng and belng wrong. 1he Lhlng ls, belng rlghL or wrong ls
noL as lmporLanL as [usLlfylng your oplnlon. Muslc ls sub[ecLlve (as you can Lell from my example above), ofLen Lhere ls
no such Lhlng as rlghL or wrong. So argue away Lo your hearL's conLenL, as long as you can back lL up.

8LClnnlnC MluuLL Anu An Lnu

Llke any good essay, you should alm Lo have an lnLro, body and concluslon. Powever, please don'L wrlLe Lhe headlngs
lN1kO, 8Ou & cONclu5lON ln your acLual essay, lL should [usL be obvlous from your wrlLlng sLyle. Also, don'L feel you
musL have a separaLe secLlon for your deconsLrucLlon and one for your evaluaLlon, Lhese Lwo Lasks should be
lnLerwoven LhroughouL Lhe essay. Pave a closer look aL Lhe earller wrlLLen example ln Lhls gulde and you'll geL Lhe ldea.

?ou need Lo show LhaL you can do more Lhan [usL wrlLe observaLlons, you need Lo show LhaL you can 1Plnk.
Pave fun, show some flare, leL your personallLy shlne Lhrough and be enLerLalnlng. Maybe you'll Leach Lhe Leacher


?ou've heard abouL Lhem, you're supposed Lo wrlLe abouL Lhem ln your essay, buL whaL are Lhe elemenLs of muslc?

+,-./012 "3 455 467$8 8"9& :57;#<3=7%8>? 08 @4; %&A&% 87B
1he lengLh of lndlvldual noLes or even whole songs
8eaL and pulse
8hyLhmlc paLLerns:
o noLes, resLs, dupleLs, LrlpleLs,
o 1lme slgnaLures llke 3/4, 4/4, 6/8 eLc
SyncopaLlon, polyrhyLhms
8hyLhmlc feaLures LhaL belong wlLh parLlcular genres and sLyles

+C2.D0EF "3 455 467$8 G75$9& :57$H<37A8>? 08 @4; %&A&% 87B
1he volume of lndlvldual noLes or even whole songs
Changes ln volume, sudden (block dynamlcs) and gradual (crescendo, decrescendo)
AccenLed noLes
use of Lechnology Lo conLrol dynamlcs (compresslon, auLomaLlon)
uynamlc feaLures LhaL belong wlLh parLlcular genres and sLyles

DIJ1+C "3 455 467$8 8=& !"#$%"&'() 4%%4;#&9&;8 7A 37$;H? 0 @4; %&A&% 87B
A sequence of slngle noLes (sung or played)
1he conLour of Lhe melody
aLLerns such as phrases, rlffs, sequences, moLlfs
CrnamenLaLlon or LmbelllshmenL
lLch bends, slldes or elecLronlc plLch ad[usLmenL
8ange and reglsLer
Melodlc feaLures LhaL belong wlLh parLlcular genres and sLyles

K.-D12C "3 455 467$8 8=& *+#'$,() 4%%4;#&9&;8 7A 37$;H? 08 @4; %&A&% 87B
Chords such as Lrlads, 7Lhs, 9Lhs, 11Lhs or 13Lhs
ulaLonlc LonallLy such as ma[or, mlnor and domlnanL
1enslon and resoluLlon, consonance and dlssonance
Modal harmony
AccompanlmenL sLyles
Parmonlc feaLures LhaL belong Lo parLlcular genres and sLyles

F/-,E/,-I "3 455 467$8 3&@8"7;3 7A 8=& 9$3"@? 08 @7$5H %&A&% 87B
lnLro, verse, re-Chorus, Chorus, 8rldge, Mlddle elghL, Colllslon, lnsLrumenLal solo, Ad llb, AA8A form, 1heme
and varlaLlon, Compound AA8A form (A1, A2, 81, A3 eLc..)
8epeLlLlon, varleLy, conLrasL, developmenL or unlflcaLlon
1reaLmenL of maLerlal such as samples and sequenclng
Well known forms such as 12 bar blues, verse and chorus, Lhrough composed, Lheme and varlaLlon
1he deslgn of parLlcular muslcal works such as rock opera or muslcals
SLrucLural feaLures LhaL belong Lo parLlcular genres and sLyles

/IL/,-I "3 455 467$8 H&;3"8M? 08 94M %&A&% 87B
1he number of lnsLrumenLs or Lracks
1he way a recordlng has been mlxed uslng effecLs such as reverb and delay
Muslcal volclngs
1he way an lnsLrumenL's Lone affecLs lL's Llmbre (dlsLorLed vs clean gulLar)
Muslcal LexLures such as monophonlc, homophonlc, polyphonlc,
1exLural feaLures LhaL belong Lo a parLlcular genre and sLyle

/0DN-I "3 455 467$8 87;&? 08 94M %&A&% 87B
1he way parLlcular lnsLrumenLs or volces sound
ulfferenL Lonal Lechnlques used on an lnsLrumenL (muLlng, flngerLlps, plcks, bowlng, scraLchlng, Lapplng)
LlecLronlc alLerlng of Lone uslng LC, effecLs, pedals eLc.
1onal feaLures LhaL belong Lo parLlcular genres and sLyles


ComposlLlonal devlces are words or phrases LhaL descrlbe how Lhe muslc was puL LogeLher. 1hey can descrlbe common
Lrlcks or Lechnlques used by composers, paLLerns LhaL exlsL beLween parLs or any meanlngful sLrucLures LhaL you mlghL
observe. Whlle Lhere are loLs of exlsLlng Lerms for composlLlonal devlces, lL's also Ck Lo make up your own as long as
lL's well communlcaLed.

/&%93 +&A";"8"7;3
Canon Where one or more volces lmlLaLe a leadlng melody/volce. 1he Lwo or more
parLs wlll overlap. Lg frere !acques
Call and response Where one volce lnlLlaLe an ldea and anoLher follows ln a slmllar or sllghLly
varled way melodlcally/rhyLhmlcally
CounLermelody A second melody (dlrecLly) above or below Lhe maln melody
Slmllar moLlon Melody noLes golng ln Lhe same dlrecLlon
ConLrary moLlon Melody noLes golng ln Lhe opposlLe dlrecLlon
Cross rhyLhm/polyrhyLhm/hemlola 1wo dlfferenL rhyLhms used aL Lhe same Llme, eg 2 quavers ln Lhe melody and
LrlpleL quavers ln Lhe bass
uevelopmenL Changes/varlaLlons of moLlf and Lhemes (lmlLaLlon, sequence, lnverslon,
fragmenLaLlon, augmenLaLlon, dlmlnuLlon)
lragmenLaLlon 8reaklng a Lheme lnLo llLLle blLs ln order Lo develop lL
LxLenslon ueveloplng a phrase or moLlf by maklng lL longer
lmlLaLlon 8epeLlLlon by one or more dlfferenL volces/lnsLrumenLs of a phrase
lnverslon 1urnlng melody, rhyLhm, harmony, phrase, Lheme, moLlf upslde down (reverse
Lhe order)
Sequence 8epeLlLlon of a muslcal phrase aL a hlgher or lower plLch
CsLlnaLo A repeaLed accompanlmenL paLLern LhaL can be rhyLhmlc or melodlc, malnLalned
LhroughouL Lhe secLlon/plece
8epeLlLlon Where a phrase ls repeaLed lmmedlaLely (exacL)
varlaLlon 8epeLlLlon wlLh a sllghL change
MoLlf A shorL Lheme LhaL can be manlpulaLed uslng oLher devlces
8lff !azz/rock equlvalenL of osLlnaLo
volce leadlng 1he Lechnlque of changlng smooLhly from one chord Lo anoLher wlLh as llLLle
movemenL as posslble beLween Lhe chord Lones. CfLen used ln !azz, cholr
harmonles and sLrlng ensembles.
1ranslLlon 1he shlfL from one muslcal ldea or secLlon Lo anoLher. 1ranslLlons can be
smooLh or abrupL dependlng on whaL Lhe composer ls Lrylng Lo achleve.