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Edexcel Specification 2009

AoS 1: Structure in Western Classical Music


(1600 1899)

AoS 2: Changing Directions in Western


Classical Music from 1900

AoS 3: Popular Music in Context

AoS 4: Indian Raga, African Music and


Fusions

Structure in Western Classical Music (1600 1899)

Structure or form is the overall shape of a


piece of music.
Composers usually plan the structure of a
song before they get into the detail.
Most musical plans use repetition and
contrast.
You will need to be able to spot the plan quickly
when in the Listening Exam...

ASK YOURSELF...
Which bits are repeated?
Is there a main idea repeated?
Are there contrasting ideas?
How do they differ from each other?
Is there an introduction and coda?
Does the music follow a plan that you can
already recognise?

PITCH: The location of a tone in relation to others.

DURATION: The length of time that a note is sounded.

TIMBRE: The quality of a sound; the instruments playing


together.

TEXTURE: How many parts or voices there are.

DYNAMICS: The loudness or softness of a composition.

TEMPO: The speed (of the rhythm) of a piece of music.

STRUCTURE: The form of a particular piece.

Contrast can be created by:


Changing keys
Changing articulation
Using different dynamics
Altering the tempo
Differing the texture
e.g. Going from a lush
rich orchestra to an
instrument playing
alone.

Ternary form is like a burger.


It has 3 sections:
A B A.

A
The first idea

A contrasting idea

A variation of the first


idea i.e. with added
ornamentation

Rondo form can have any number of


sections.
Here is a typical structure of a rondo:

The main
theme

A contrasting
idea

The main
theme
repeats

Another
contrasting
idea

A variation of
the main
theme

Theme and Variation form varies the melody.


Melody is usually a simple, memorable tune.
There can be any number of variations.
Each variation should be a recognisable
version of the main theme, although it will be
distinctly different:

Main Theme

Variation 1

Variation 2

Variation 3

Variation 4

A Ground Bass is an ostinato.


It is usually 4 or 8 bars long.
Ground Bass variation becomes
more complex as it goes on:
More ornamentation is used
Harmonies become more advanced
More instruments join in

Expect to hear ground bass in 17th and 18th


century music, when it was most popular.

Changing Directions in Western Classical Music from 1900

Romantic composers began to move away


from tonality in 1900.
Chromatic notes were being used all over the
place, so much so that music started to lose
the character of the main key of the melody.
Composers felt restricted by traditional tonal
music, and so began to experiment.
Atonality began to occur, where music did
not have a definitive key.

Arnold Schoenberg replaced


tonality with serialism.
By combining his new ideas
with the initiative of using all
the notes chromatically, he
developed the 12-note tone
row:

Minimalism is music which changes by only a


very small amount.
It is easy to tell what is going on.
There is no real tune.
Harmonies are made by layering patterns on
top of each other, and they take a long time
to change.

MINIMALIST COMPOSERS:

Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Terry Riley

Musical features typical of minimalism:


Ostinati

Cyclic

Phase shifting

Polyrhythm

Addition

Augmentation

Subtraction

Diminution

Transformation

Gradual changes

Layering

Hypnotic

Looping

Fading instruments in

Drone

and out

Popular Music in Context

In the 1970s dance music moved into new


venues called discotheques, with faster,
more bassy, electric music.
By the 1980s the music had become faster,
harder and more electronic.
In the 1990s, clubbing took over; DJs mixed
their own music, and dance rhythms
dominated popular music.

HOUSE: 4-4 beat (like all dance music). Lots of repetition, especially in the bass part,
and lots of drum machine sounds.

TECHNO: Fast, hard beat (between 130 150 bpm), though can be much faster in
hardcore techno. Rarely any voices or live sounds usually mechanical or electronic.

JUNGLE (Drum n Bass): Mega-fast tempo (often reaching 170 bpm). Drum-based
with very strong, deep bass line. There are lots of short, fast notes called breakbeats
played between the main beats, giving a disjointed feel.

UK GARAGE: Dance music that uses ideas from jungle, drum n bass and modern
R&B. Vocal sounds are used like percussion.

TRANCE: A very repetitive sound. Uses echoey and electronic sounds and lots of
effects. Slow chord changes over a fast beat are meant to make you feel like youre in
a trance.

AMBIENT: Slow, sometimes jazzy. Usually sounds chilled and out of this world.

Technological effects and processes:


Fade in

Compression

Cross-fading

Quantising

Layering

Sequencing

Sampling

Mixing

Reverb

Filtering

Panning

Scratching

Sweeping

EQ

Britpop arrived in the early 1990s in part as a


reaction to the dominance of American
Grunge bands.
It was usually guitar-and-drum based rock,
sometimes with orchestral backing.
Britpop is an eclectic sound drawing on many
musical styles of the previous 40 years (i.e.
from the 60s and 70s).

You need to listen out for...


Acoustic instruments
Prominent vocals
Straightforward production
Simply structure
Traditional chord structure

Lyrics about everyday life


Strong melodic vocal lines
British accents(!)

Since ancient Greek drama developed from


festivals of singing and dancing, there has
always been music in the theatre.
To create atmosphere, set the scene, and
excite and entertain the audience.
Musicals were invented in the USA.
They are considered the pop versions of
operas.

WHY DO SONGS FROM MUSICALS STICK IN OUR MINDS?


Tunes easy to sing.
Diatonic harmonies.
Simple structure:
Intro

Chorus

Verse

Grabs the audiences


attention and sets the
mood for the song.

Chorus

Verse

Middle
8

Chorus

Verse

Chorus

Has new chords and new lyrics.


A change of mood to keep the
audience interested.

The chorus usually follows a 32-bar form.


The chorus has a hook.
Many musicals are heavily jazz-influenced.

Verse

Chorus

Ties the song off


either loud and brassy
or sad and quiet.

Outro

SOLO CHARACTER SONG: A character sings about how


theyre feeling in love, full of hate, over the moon with
happiness etc.

DUET: Duets are basically the same as solo character songs,


except there are two people singing so you get two different
reactions to a situation.

ACTION SONG: The words of a song tell you whats going on in


the plot they lead you into the next bit of the story.

CHORUS NUMBER: The whole cast get together and have a


big old sing-song!

Indian Raga, African Music and Fusions

A raga is a set of notes (usually between 5 8)


which are combined to create a particular
mood.
Raga performances are improvised.
They are never written down.
Ragas use a scale similar to the Western 12note scale.
Spirituality is an important part of almost all
Indian Classical Music.

The sitar plays the melody.


A raga scale is a set of ascending and descending notes.
Sometimes the melody is taken by a singer instead of the

sitar.

The tabla plays the rhythm.


Sometimes the audience joins in by clapping.

The tambura creates the harmony.


This can be described as a drone.
The tambura plays a simple rhythmic pattern.

There are no gaps between the different phases each one


flows into the next.

Gat or

Alap

Jhor

Jhala

Slow

Steady Medium

Fast

Moderately Fast

High point in piece.


Virtuoso display using
advanced playing
techniques i.e.
performer shows off.

The fixed composition is


introduced. In the case of a
vocal piece, a song, in an
instrumental piece, a
prepared solo. Musical
dialogue takes place between
the instrumentalist and the
drummer, as well as
improvised flourishes on the
prepared melodic line.

Soloist explores the


notes of the rag
(melody), setting the
mood, accompanied
by the tambura drone.
Music is improvised.

Improvised music
becomes more
rhythmic. Music
becomes more
elaborate and the
tempo increases.

Bandhish

Drums are the most widely played


instrument in Africa.
They are used as an accompaniment for
singing, dancing and even working.
They are used to call people together for
important community events.
There are different drum beats for different
events so people from neighbouring villages
can tell whats going on just by listening.

It has a single head


and is shaped like a
goblet. Its played
with the hands. The
overall size of the
drum affects its
pitch.

The player holds this


under one arm and
hits the drumhead
with a stick. The
vertical strings can
be squeezed and
released to alter the
pitch of the drum.

The kagan is a small


barrel-shaped drum,
and the kidi is a
medium-sized barrel
drum. Both are from
Ghana.

Dundun are
cylindrical drums
played with sticks.
There are 3 types:
Kenkeni high
Sangban middle
Doundoun deep

Using a stick (or beater).


Using hands (stroking).
Slap hit edge with fingers apart
Tone hit edge with finger together
Bass hit centre of drum with flat hand

Dampening is resting one hand or beater on


the drum whilst playing with the other.
Pitch change by tightening the skin.
Strike wood instead of the skin.

A thumb piano is a
really popular
instrument partly
because its pocketsized. It makes a
liquid twangy sound.

This is made and played


by the Mandingo
people. Its got 21 strings
and you play it by
plucking a bit like a
harp.

This is a wooden
xylophone. The lumpy
thing hanging underneath
the keys are dried gourds.
They create a warm,
mellow sound.

The rhythms are complex and based on cycles of


varying lengths.
Polyrhythms and cross-rhythms are common.
Performances are long and involve the audience.
They can last for several hours.
The audience shouts and cheers or repeats phrases
sung by the main performers this is an integral
part of the performance.
At some point, each drummer will play a solo; while
he does so, he sings and dances as well.

The blues was created when African and


European music fused together.
Jazz, gospel, reggae and soul all grew out of the

blues.

These styles have been imitated and


developed in Western pop for years.
Many African elements are so much part of
pop music that you probably take them for
granted.

In the exam, mention complex crossrhythms, repetition, unison backing vocals


and call-and-response.
Some fusion borrows from Latin American
music.
Syncopated rhythms: samba, tango and rumba.
Instrumentation: maracas, congas, bongos, guiro,

claves and cowbell all give a Latin feel to a song.

Bhangra was originally a traditional style of


folk dance from North India and Pakistan.
It has been combined with Western pop style
to create a whole new sound.
This typical bhangra rhythms often
combined with reggae, rap and rock.

Music technology now plays a big part in bhangra:


remixes, samples, drum machines and other DJ
techniques (like scratching) have now taken over
from elements of the original folk dance.

Salsa music is a diverse and predominantly


Latin American Caribbean.
An ostinato is played on a clave.
Call-and-response is used between the lead
singer and chorus.
Mainly primary chords (I, IV and V) in the
harmony.
Harmonies are in 3rds and 6ths.

Knowing typical composers is essential for the exam

Renaissance (1420 1600)


Taverner, Byrd

Baroque (1600 1750)


Vivaldi, Purcell

Classical (1750 1820)


Mozart, Haydn

Romantic (1810 1900)


Tchaikovsky, Grieg

Contemporary (1900 )
Stravinsky, Walton

Harpsichord

Viola

Clarinet

Trumpets

Vibraphone

Libretto the overall text including spoken and sung parts.


Lyrics the words to the songs.

If asked to describe the word setting in a


piece of music, you could use:
Melismatic
Word painting
Dotted rhythms
Repetition
Imitation

An ornamental phrase
of several notes sung to
one syllable of text, as
in plainsong or blues.

MONOPHONIC: Literally means just one sound. A single musical line,


but can be sung or played by many people.

HOMOPHONIC: Literally means same sounds. Melody and


accompaniment style. Parts move roughly together. This is the most
common type of musical texture.

POLYPHONIC: Literally means many sounds. Two or more parts playing


a melody and entering the texture individually to create a contrapuntal
texture. Common in Renaissance vocal music.

HETEROPHONIC: Literally means a difference of sounds. Two or more


parts play a melody together but with some slight differences in pitch.
This is common in Eastern musical traditions where music is learnt and
played by ear (i.e. oral tradition).

GUITAR TECHNIQUES
Hammer-on
Pull-off
String bend/release
Vibrato
Slide up/down (glissando)

FLUTE TECHNIQUES
Multiphonics
Jet Whistle
Quartertones
Note Bending
Breathy Tone

STRING TECHNIQUES
Pizzicato
Arco
Portamento
Sul Ponticello
Harmonics

VOCAL TECHNIQUES
A Capella
Harmony
Call-and-Response
Overlapping
Round (Cannoned)

A cadence is formed by two chords at the end of a


passage of music.
Perfect cadences sound like the music has come to
an end.
Interrupted cadences are surprise cadences.
Imperfect cadences sound unfinished.
Plagal cadences sound finished.
Plagal cadences are often used at the end of
hymns and sung to Amen this is why they
are referred to as the Amen cadence.

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