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GCSE OCR Music Notes

GCSE OCR Music Notes Baroque (1600 – 1750)

Baroque (1600 1750)

  • 1. Approx. date: 17 th and 18 th Centuries (1600 and 1750)

  • 2. Instruments: Violin, Viola, Cello, Harpsichord, Organ, Recorder, Flute, Oboe

  • 3. Typical forms/structures: Opera, Oratorio, Fugue, Suite, Sonata, Concerto

  • 4. Composers and their works/pieces:

Purcell Dido and Aeneas Vivaldi The four seasons J. S Bach Mass in B Minor Monteverdi – L’Orfeo Handel Messiah Domenico Scarlatti Keyboard Sonatas J. S Bach The well tempered clavier

Romantic (1810 1900)

  • 2. Instruments: Full Orchestra, Concert Grand Piano, Violin, Cor Anglais

  • 3. Typical forms/structures: Opera, Music Drama, Programme Music, Song Cycles, Short Piano Pieces

  • 4. Composers and their works/pieces:

Weber Der FreischÜtz Rossini William Tell Wagner The flying Dutchman Verdi Aida Schubert Die schÖne MÜllerin Chopin Four Ballads and other piano music Tchaikovsky Swan Lake and Symphony no.6

  • 5. Other details:

Romanticism in art, literature and music moved away from Classicism by allowing emotional

content to dominate form.

Classical (1750 1810)


o Simple Sometimes decorated with ornaments (trills, grace notes, mordent, turns) Harmony:






no harsh dissonant chords

based mostly on primary chords


o Balanced regular 4 bar phrases



Question and answer, not call and response.





Small orchestra,

mostly strings with a few woodwind and brass,

Percussion is mostly timpani playing tonic and dominant, also could include piano.





Haydn and Beethoven


3 movements fast slow-fast Soloist demonstrates virtuosity during cadenza (end of first movement) Usually a soloist and orchestra

Composers and their pieces:

Mozart: Don Giovanni, Die Zalberfloute, as well as many dances/concertos etc Haydn: Surprise Symphony, the creation Beethoven: Pathetique, moonlight, 5 th symphony

Classical (1750 – 1810)  Melody:  o Simple Sometimes decorated with ornaments (trills, grace notes,

Set Music


Music from Indonesia (Bali and Java)

Based on cycles of melodies played at different speeds

Uses metallic instruments such as gong, metallophone and drums

Drums keep a steady beat accompanies puppet shows is not notated - pentatonic

Indian Classical Music

Much is based around improvisation

Raga: a group of notes like a scale that the melody is based on (sitar or sarangi)

Tabla plays rhythmic improvisations forms a tala first beat or the bar called a ‘sam’

Tala: a cycle of beats that rhythm, is repetitive played on the tabla, forms bassline

African A Capella Singing

Isicathamiya gentle style with Ladysmith Black Mbazo in close harmony

Mbube - loud and powerful singing

Rhythm gongan and ketog

Melody pelog and slendro

Texture - heterophony



Part of a suite of dances from the Renaissance period

The Pavan is the first dance. It is slow and stately

In 2/2 time


Often has a drone accompaniment

Balanced phrases

Danced at court in pairs. Formal dance, big heavy costumes



Followed the Pavane, often based on the same melody

¾ time,


fast and lively


Dotted rhythms allow for a jump.

Dance in pairs but not as formal as a Pavane

Strings, lute, tabor are common instruments.

Viennese Waltz

Romantic period first became popular in Vienna with Johann Strauss.

¾ time

Um cha cha feel, bass note of a chord accents the first beat of every bar.

Harmonies are simple and change slowly (slow harmonic pace)

Melody is in balanced phrases, flowing and lyrical. Played by higher instruments (stings, flutes) in orchestra.

Played by a large symphony orchestra

Rubato (slowing down and speeding up) is sometimes used although a steady beat is generally

needed to dance to the waltz. Partner in a ballroom, formal, social occasion. Upper class dance to set steps.

Piano waltzes are common, but tend to be freer and therefore not suitable for dancing.

The Blues

Fusion of American and African music growing out of the slave trade

Call and response

Swung rhythms

Improvisation Blue notes and the blues scale 12 bar blues based on chords I, IV and V Syncopated rhythms anticipate the beat


Cuban Son:


Son is a dance song from Cuba

Structured around the son clave rhythm

Uses lots of percussion to form complex cross rhythms

Call and response between pregon (lead singer) and choro (chorus) during montuno section. Sung

in Spanish or Portuguese Melodies move in 3rd or 5ths.

Simple harmonies based on chords I, IV and V.

Ostinato patterns are based on syncopated rhythms.

Use of Bandoneon

Astor Piazollo.

Electro tango and tango Nuevo.

American Jazz

Big band instruments are used originally (trumpet, trombone, saxophone, drum kit)

Brass instruments have stab chords

Dialogue between different instruments and use of riffs

Piano and guitar use the compong style

Syncopated rhythms.

SCAT rhythms in vocal improvisations


Punjabi Folk Dance with British Pop Music

Use of RAGA vocal melody

Folk music to celebrate the end of the harvest

Music led by the dhol DRUM playing the chaal RHYTHM

Bols are used to help the dhol player know which strokes to use (dha and na)

Singing is in Punjabi

Styles such as rap, reggae, hip hop, drum n bass have all influenced Bhangra as well as Punjabi fold music.

Bhangra tracks can sound very different to each other as a result of what style is has been fused with.

Use a ‘Chaal’ rhythm and use of the word ‘Hoi’

Technology plays a big part in Bhangra:


Sampling of other tracks


Remixing old tracks


Effects such as echo/reverb


Sequencing and looping


March like, slow tempo

2/4 or 4/4

Dotted rhythms and syncopation

Sonero and Choro (call and response)

Parallel 3rds and 6 th

1970s Disco

Began in the USA

Simple verse and chord structures

120 beats per minute, fast tempo, usually 4/4 time

Four to the floor rhythms (accented 2 and 4 beats)

Use of hook lines and memorable melody

‘Wah Wah pedal’

Informal, relaxed dance in clubs or discos

No set dance steps people can dance how they like

Dancers can dance alone or in big groups

Amplified sound loud.

Loops and sequences

Hand claps

Club Music

Solo improvised dancing

Samplers, drum machines, synthesisers and sequencers


Acid, drum’n’bass, trance, ambience, garage, house, techno

Moved on from disco to get people to stay on the floor longer

Other Important Things

Key Signatures:


1 Flat

B flat

2 Flats

E flat

3 Flats (B, E, A)


1 Sharp


2 Sharps


3 Sharps (F, C, G)






Sub Dominant

‘Blue’ Note



Counterpoint, Contrapuntal, Polyphonic Obbligato Descant











Vocal Ranges

Soprano: Highest female voice

Alto: Lowest female voice

Tenor: Highest male voice

Baritone: between tenor and bass

Bass: lowest male voice


Binary: AB

Ternary: ABA (or ABA1 where 1 is a variation to A)

Rondo: ABACADA (A: refrain; B,C,D: episodes)

Western popular styles

Irish Music

A jig is a performance dance usually in compound time (6/8) and is light and graceful (soft shoes)

hard jig is hard shoes A reel is a social dance in simple time (2/4) is fast and uses angular movements

Has a relentless rhythm with tonic-dominant harmony

Stepwise melody with small intervals

Fiddle, bodhran, accordion, tin whistle, uilleann pipes and harp.


German Lied (Schubert, Schumann, Brhams)

German poetry to music strophic or through-composed

Use of piano and voice

Word painting

Pop Ballad

Folk song from medieval Britain, passed down aurally

In 19 th Century it was songs of sentimental value

Now slow songs with romantic lyrics

Chamber Music

Baroque uses contrapuntal texture, imitation, can be homophonic

Use of trio sonata - 2 melody instruments with the continuo

Classical uses melody with accompaniment and question and answer phrasing

Use of string quartet and piano trio

Great Choral Classics

Oratoria: overture, recitative, aria and chorus (Handel Messiah)

Mass: Latin Catholic Text; 6 movements (Kyrie, Benedictus, Angus Dei, Sanctus, Gloria and Credo)

Use a large choir



Tone row (Prime order) includes all 12 chromatic pitches

Notes must always be heard in the correct order

20th century technique, made by Schoenberg

Detailed dynamics and articulation give serial melodies structure

Variations on tone row include:






Retrograde inversion

Atonal: no sense of tonic home note.


Based on whole tone scale

20th Century technique made by Debussy

Whole tone scale is made up entirely of whole tone intervals

Linked with impressionism in art

Whole tone scale sounds ‘dreamy’


Developed as a ‘Classical’ style of music in the 1960s

Influences from Africa, India and Indonesia

Composers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass

Cells are staring points for ideas. Repetitions or patterns allow cells and patterns to develop and change over time.

Hypnotic quality

Technology can be used to loop cells or build them up using multi tracking.

Phase shifting

Usually diatonal

(Don’t necessarily have to know)