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Contents

 

Introduction


 

Top revision tips


 

Section A: Listening


 

AoS1  Western Classical tradition 1650–1910

AoS2  Popular music

AoS3  Traditional music

AoS4  Western Classical tradition since 1910

 

Section B: Contextual understanding


Study pieces:

AoS1  Haydn Symphony No. 101 in D major ‘The Clock’, movement 2

AoS2  The Beatles, three tracks from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

AoS3  Santana, three tracks from Supernatural

AoS4  Copland, two movements from Rodeo

 

Answers

 

Glossary


 

The author

David Ventura

read music at Edinburgh University, has taught music in Scotland, Lancashire, Liverpool and the Isle of Wight, and was the director of music at Hereford Sixth Form College for fifteen years. He has lectured nationwide on music technology and has advised the UK Government on assessment in the National Curriculum for music at all key stages. He has acted as a consultant for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, was chair of the Southern Examining Group’s GCSE panel, has examined for a number of boards, and has also run many teacher-training courses for Keynote Education.

David has written a number of publications, including Rhinegold Education’s Film Music in Focus and the bestselling Understanding Popular Music, and co-authored the Rhinegold KS3 Elements series. He has also written the Edexcel A2 Music Technology Revision Guide, together with several contributions to the Rhinegold Education Online Music Classroom. He enjoys playing jazz piano and taking part in choral music, having conducted much of the standard repertoire.

Introduction

AQA GCSE Music consists of three components: Understanding Music, Performing and Composing.

 

Component

Weighting

Understanding music

40%

Performing music

30%

Composing music

30%


This book covers the Understanding Music component, which is assessed in your written exam.

The exam lasts for 1 hour 30 minutes and is divided into two sections:

The unfamiliar music presented in the Section A: Listening part of the exam should not be totally foreign to you. AQA provides a Suggested Listening List, with named pieces for the 16 AoS topics – four topics for each AoS (e.g. The coronation anthems and oratorios of Handel). This book encourages you to listen to these selected pieces, and provides information about them so that you can become familiar with all the different musical styles and elements required.

In Section A you may be asked to comment on the use of musical elements in each excerpt (e.g. tonality or harmony). At the start of each topic area you will find a list of the musical elements AQA expects you to know, including definitions and examples.

If you listen carefully to the pieces chosen in this book from the Suggested Listening List, and link the musical elements to each piece, you will be able to address the sort of questions you will be asked under exam conditions. Of course the more music you listen to and analyse, the better you will be able to deal with pieces you haven’t encountered before.

In addition, there are short ‘test yourself’ questions designed to assess your understanding of the 16 AoS topics. Answers are given at the back of the book, so that you can check your work.

For Section B: Contextual understanding AQA expects you to work on the study pieces in detail, not only being familiar with the context of how and why they were written, but also analysing them to discover the musical elements the composers used to create different musical styles. This book looks at how these specific elements are used in each study piece. You are also expected to understand and be able to explain how the music across the Area of Study has changed and developed over time.

Throughout the book technical terms have been highlighted in bold, and you can find definitions for these in the glossary at the back of the book.

Top revision tips

  1. 1.  Find a quiet place to study, away from distractions.
  2. 2.  Structure your revision. Make a timetable, perhaps mixing with other subjects or different aspects of the same subject to keep it fresh.
  3. 3.  Make associations by connecting ideas. This technique is called mind-mapping.
  4. 4.  Collaborate with trustworthy classmates. Share your ideas and revision notes or ask questions.
  5. 5.  Mix up your study habits and methods by listening to podcasts, watching videos, DVDs or YouTube clips. Variety helps enormously. Even something as simple as using different colours for highlighting important keywords can aid your memory.
  6. 6.  Read the Rhinegold Education Study Guide carefully and make your own notes.
  7. 7.  Plan a ten minute break every hour or so.
  8. 8. a. If you have a keyboard or other instrument handy then play some of the examples such as the ‘elements of melody’.
  9. b. If not then sing them.
  10. c. Even better, sing them, and then check with your instrument you’ve sung them correctly.
  11. 9.  Explore online resources such as:
  12. a. www.emusictheory.com/freeResources.html
  13. b. www.musictheoryvideos.com
  14. c. www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zpf3cdm
  15. d. www.projectgcse.co.uk/gcse_music
  16. e. Use www.youtube.com creatively. Make use of the ‘watch later’ and ‘create playlist’ functions to structure your revision schedule.
  17. 10.  Access the Rhinegold Education Online Music Classroom materials for AQA if you can.

   1.  Find a quiet place to study, away from distractions.

   2.  Structure your revision. Make a timetable, perhaps mixing with other subjects or different aspects of the same subject to keep it fresh.

   3.  Make associations by connecting ideas. This technique is called mind-mapping.

   4.  Collaborate with trustworthy classmates. Share your ideas and revision notes or ask questions.

   5.  Mix up your study habits and methods by listening to podcasts, watching videos, DVDs or YouTube clips. Variety helps enormously. Even something as simple as using different colours for highlighting important keywords can aid your memory.

   6.  Read the Rhinegold Education Study Guide carefully and make your own notes.

   7.  Plan a ten minute break every hour or so.

   8. a. If you have a keyboard or other instrument handy then play some of the examples such as the ‘elements of melody’.

       b. If not then sing them.

       c. Even better, sing them, and then check with your instrument you’ve sung them correctly.

   9.  Explore online resources such as:

       a. www.emusictheory.com/freeResources.html

       b. www.musictheoryvideos.com

       c. www.bbc.co.uk/education/subjects/zpf3cdm

       d. www.projectgcse.co.uk/gcse_music

       e. Use www.youtube.com creatively. Make use of the ‘watch later’ and ‘create playlist’ functions to structure your revision schedule.

     10.  Access the Rhinegold Education Online Music Classroom materials for AQA if you can.