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HELP! failing miserably with edexcel A2 music exam revision.

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    I am really getting worked up over this exam. My whole class feels that the teaching has been dreadful for the last 2 years. Despite trying so hard for As i got a D in last years exam which is terrible and i desperately want to pull it up to a C but don't know where to start and time's running out.

    I don't have a great knowledge of theory and this is my main problem. i'm practically self taught. This means i can't just look at a piece and analyse it. i have a book which tells me all the points about each set work but i don't know how to remember them all because there are 100's!

    I am also unsure of how to write a good music essay. As a good english lit student i feel i have to explain everything in great detail to the examiner and my teacher always says i'm losing marks by doing this.

    If anyone can post some excellent revision links or help me out a little i'd be so grateful. I just don't even know where to start! Is anyone out there in a similar situation?
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    the edexel website has help on the set works which are explained relatively simple:
    http://www.edexcel.com/quals/gce/gce...s/default.aspx

    if it helps think of the pieces divided into sections:
    structure
    tonality
    rhythm and metre
    melody
    harmony
    forces
    texture
    style
    context

    then remember a few points of each, so then you have all aspects covers when it comes to them asking the exam question.

    hope this helps a bit
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    For the instrumental set works, I've gone for 6 or 7 points for each of:

    Harmony
    Tonality
    Structure
    Rhythm
    Melody
    Texture

    And then I've memorised a sentence or two about the context of each piece to use in the introduction.

    3 works + 2 elements = 6 paragraphs. 36 divided by 6 paragraphs = 6 marks per element per work.
    The only place this falls short is on the stuff like Harmony in the Cage where there's only about two points you can make, so you have to make up those marks by elaborating more in the other sections.

    Sorry if none of that makes sense!

    For the Applied Music section, each essay is 13 marks, however they only want 9 points (I have no idea why). I've tried to memorise about 12 points for each so that I can adapt them to whatever question we get.

    I hope that helps make the revision a bit easier. There's far too much to learn! I've spent the last few weeks cursing Edexcel!

    To memorise everything, I've literally been writing lists of each element for each set work over and over until it's gone in. I'm rather bad at finding a revision technique that suits me!

    In terms of the essays themselves, start with a short introduction explaining when the pieces were written and why (just one or two sentences for each piece - don't waste your time). Then do a paragraph for each piece and each element (6 in total) where you pretty much list the points you have learnt with a bit of "Berlioz also used" and "In bar 26, Sweelinck uses" etc. Don't ramble or waffle - just get the points in there whilst still making it in essay format.

    I'm an English student too and it took me a while to adapt to this. I think the trick is to forget you're writing an essay and forget you are analysing. You just need to list the points (not literally! :P). For the Applied 13 mark questions you can use some of your English skills, however don't go overboard. You only need to say things like "Auric uses pizzicato strings in bar 55 which helps to create a light and fun nature" if the question was about Passport to Pimlico being a comedy.

    I hope this helps!
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    That's really helpful actually. when you look at only having to learn 6 points for each element of each piece it doesn't seem as bad! it's just so overwhelming at first thank you x
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    (Original post by Caitykinss)
    For the instrumental set works, I've gone for 6 or 7 points for each of:

    Harmony
    Tonality
    Structure
    Rhythm
    Melody
    Texture

    And then I've memorised a sentence or two about the context of each piece to use in the introduction.

    3 works + 2 elements = 6 paragraphs. 36 divided by 6 paragraphs = 6 marks per element per work.
    The only place this falls short is on the stuff like Harmony in the Cage where there's only about two points you can make, so you have to make up those marks by elaborating more in the other sections.

    Sorry if none of that makes sense!

    For the Applied Music section, each essay is 13 marks, however they only want 9 points (I have no idea why). I've tried to memorise about 12 points for each so that I can adapt them to whatever question we get.

    I hope that helps make the revision a bit easier. There's far too much to learn! I've spent the last few weeks cursing Edexcel!

    To memorise everything, I've literally been writing lists of each element for each set work over and over until it's gone in. I'm rather bad at finding a revision technique that suits me!

    In terms of the essays themselves, start with a short introduction explaining when the pieces were written and why (just one or two sentences for each piece - don't waste your time). Then do a paragraph for each piece and each element (6 in total) where you pretty much list the points you have learnt with a bit of "Berlioz also used" and "In bar 26, Sweelinck uses" etc. Don't ramble or waffle - just get the points in there whilst still making it in essay format.

    I'm an English student too and it took me a while to adapt to this. I think the trick is to forget you're writing an essay and forget you are analysing. You just need to list the points (not literally! :P). For the Applied 13 mark questions you can use some of your English skills, however don't go overboard. You only need to say things like "Auric uses pizzicato strings in bar 55 which helps to create a light and fun nature" if the question was about Passport to Pimlico being a comedy.

    I hope this helps!
    We've been taught in the Continuity & Change Section (36 marks) never to just list each element for each piece in separate paragraphs!

    We've been told to cross reference, contrast, compare and do it by element only. For example, "the rag Bhairav uses sympathetic strings, as does Cage through his prepared piano. despite not conforming to traditional western harmony, both pieces create harmony by the resonation of the sympathic strings" sorry that was off the top of my head, but I hope you see what I mean?


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    (Original post by laurenlovespink)
    We've been taught in the Continuity & Change Section (36 marks) never to just list each element for each piece in separate paragraphs!

    We've been told to cross reference, contrast, compare and do it by element only. For example, "the rag Bhairav uses sympathetic strings, as does Cage through his prepared piano. despite not conforming to traditional western harmony, both pieces create harmony by the resonation of the sympathic strings" sorry that was off the top of my head, but I hope you see what I mean?


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    We've been told to do the opposite to that and then do the comparison in a conclusion at the end. It limits what you can put if you do it that way as there are things in the Cage for example that have absolutely nothing to do with what's in the Sweelinck.

    I think it's fine to do it either way, as long as there is comparison somewhere. It's always been taught that way at my school and we've had a string of A/A*s in previous years!
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    there are obviously not always similarities but that is where you contrast. "whilst Cage often writes in binary form, Sweelinck's Pavana Lachrimae has a tripartite structure" etc! Otherwise what is the point of the essay if you are not evaluating the change or continuity throughout? It may as well be the same format as Applied Music!


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    Just checked the exemplification booklet!
    It states:

    "There are many ways to tackle this question. Perhaps the best is to take each element in turn i.e. harmony in the first place and then compare the use of harmony in all of the given works. Then discuss the second feature."

    So I guess that there are many ways to go about the question! I just think there would be no point in calling the section Continuity and Change if you don't examine that the whole way through!
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    I think it's just whatever's best for you! I find it much easier to do it by element as then you can just get all the points down, rather than thinking about which points you can compare between pieces.
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    (Original post by Caitykinss)
    For the instrumental set works, I've gone for 6 or 7 points for each of:

    Harmony
    Tonality
    Structure
    Rhythm
    Melody
    Texture

    And then I've memorised a sentence or two about the context of each piece to use in the introduction.

    3 works + 2 elements = 6 paragraphs. 36 divided by 6 paragraphs = 6 marks per element per work.
    The only place this falls short is on the stuff like Harmony in the Cage where there's only about two points you can make, so you have to make up those marks by elaborating more in the other sections.

    Sorry if none of that makes sense!

    For the Applied Music section, each essay is 13 marks, however they only want 9 points (I have no idea why). I've tried to memorise about 12 points for each so that I can adapt them to whatever question we get.

    I hope that helps make the revision a bit easier. There's far too much to learn! I've spent the last few weeks cursing Edexcel!

    To memorise everything, I've literally been writing lists of each element for each set work over and over until it's gone in. I'm rather bad at finding a revision technique that suits me!

    In terms of the essays themselves, start with a short introduction explaining when the pieces were written and why (just one or two sentences for each piece - don't waste your time). Then do a paragraph for each piece and each element (6 in total) where you pretty much list the points you have learnt with a bit of "Berlioz also used" and "In bar 26, Sweelinck uses" etc. Don't ramble or waffle - just get the points in there whilst still making it in essay format.

    I'm an English student too and it took me a while to adapt to this. I think the trick is to forget you're writing an essay and forget you are analysing. You just need to list the points (not literally! :P). For the Applied 13 mark questions you can use some of your English skills, however don't go overboard. You only need to say things like "Auric uses pizzicato strings in bar 55 which helps to create a light and fun nature" if the question was about Passport to Pimlico being a comedy.

    I hope this helps!
    I think you've literally just saved my music A-Level. I might be able to get an A now. :'D
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    (Original post by DoubleNegative)
    I think you've literally just saved my music A-Level. I might be able to get an A now. :'D
    You're welcome :P
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    GUYS MAJOR QUESTION HERE
    in section B they've never put a specific musical feature like melody etc into the question... Do you think they'll do it tomorrow? Because I was going to learn key musical features of the applied set works...
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    (Original post by Lana-loulou(:)
    GUYS MAJOR QUESTION HERE
    in section B they've never put a specific musical feature like melody etc into the question... Do you think they'll do it tomorrow? Because I was going to learn key musical features of the applied set works...
    Yeah they can! We did mocks on "refer to harmony and melody in Passport to Pimlico" kind of thing


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    (Original post by laurenlovespink)
    Yeah they can! We did mocks on "refer to harmony and melody in Passport to Pimlico" kind of thing


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
    I really hope they don't do that, otherwise I will be very stuck! Although, as it's 'Applied Music' can they really ask us things like that?
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    (Original post by Caitykinss)
    I really hope they don't do that, otherwise I will be very stuck! Although, as it's 'Applied Music' can they really ask us things like that?
    that's such a good point! Never thought about it like that! I get confused because like in the revision guides it gives questions that are literally like "How does the melody influence blah blah blah"
    Literally learning the applied ones now! Has everyone else just revised key features right? My teacher this year was absolute **** to be honest, taught us nothing.
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    Also would it be cheeky to write out my notes for the applied music works? I want to know if I'm talking utter *******s.
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    (Original post by Lana-loulou(:)
    Also would it be cheeky to write out my notes for the applied music works? I want to know if I'm talking utter *******s.
    Go for it! It might help some of us :P
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    (Original post by Caitykinss)
    Go for it! It might help some of us :P
    So sorry if this is ALL totally wrong! I've literally just picked a few under each heading!

    Agbekor Dance
    • - war dance, Ewe people from Ghana - now a cultural presentation.
    • - Gangkogui: function; play repeating pattern called a time line.
    • - Sogo: function; supporting drum plays own varied & improvised rhythms against time line.
    • - Atsimevu: Master drummer's "talking drum".

    Texture
    • B1-2 monophonic
    • B45 brief homorhythm
    • B3 Sogo create 3 part complex polyrhythmic texture with brief variants that lasts throughout piece.

    Structure
    • Repetition principal feature: subtle process of variation inparts create interest.
    • Gangkogui ostinato foundation and other two build around this. Ostinato = standard bell pattern.
    • Sogo repetition of 3 quaver figure alternating between De and Ku sounds with added variants: B6 semiquavers B36 dotted rhythm.

    Melody
    • Pitches cannot be considered melodic in nature.
    • Atsimevu does contain high and low notes, almost extending to a range of an octave.

    Rhythm & Metre
    • Atsimevu part most complex: B41 triplets B44 ties B8 double dotting.
    • Metrical disruption: B35 seems to subdivide into 3 so next beat lapses into simple time: like hemiolas.
    • Cross rhythms common B14.


    What do you think!!!??
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    anyone lol?
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    (Original post by Lana-loulou(:)
    So sorry if this is ALL totally wrong! I've literally just picked a few under each heading!

    Agbekor Dance
    • - war dance, Ewe people from Ghana - now a cultural presentation.
    • - Gangkogui: function; play repeating pattern called a time line.
    • - Sogo: function; supporting drum plays own varied & improvised rhythms against time line.
    • - Atsimevu: Master drummer's "talking drum".

    Texture
    • B1-2 monophonic
    • B45 brief homorhythm
    • B3 Sogo create 3 part complex polyrhythmic texture with brief variants that lasts throughout piece.

    Structure
    • Repetition principal feature: subtle process of variation inparts create interest.
    • Gangkogui ostinato foundation and other two build around this. Ostinato = standard bell pattern.
    • Sogo repetition of 3 quaver figure alternating between De and Ku sounds with added variants: B6 semiquavers B36 dotted rhythm.

    Melody
    • Pitches cannot be considered melodic in nature.
    • Atsimevu does contain high and low notes, almost extending to a range of an octave.

    Rhythm & Metre
    • Atsimevu part most complex: B41 triplets B44 ties B8 double dotting.
    • Metrical disruption: B35 seems to subdivide into 3 so next beat lapses into simple time: like hemiolas.
    • Cross rhythms common B14.


    What do you think!!!??
    Looks good to me, ngl I didn't know half of this stuff! I haven't learnt my applied notes in the separate sections though as the applied questions are more likely to be 'how is this typical of Ewe/West African music'; at least that's what they were like in our past papers! So as long as you can justify your points by saying 'this is typical of West African music' or something like 'this is typical, as West African music is based in rhythmic complexity' you're fine

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Updated: June 16, 2012
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