AS and A Level: Music

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298 AS and A Level Music essays

  • Marked by Teachers essays 10
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    AS Composition Commentary. I chose to write my piece for a woodwind quartet, consisting of a Flute, Clarinet, Oboe and Bassoon. This was because I am a clarinettist

    4 star(s)

    I chose the tempo of 115 beats per minute because I wanted to create an upbeat and lively piece to utilise the agile characteristics of the bassoon. I created a chord structure of 'I V7 I V7 I II V7 I V VI III IV I V' and began to adapt the scalic patterns from 'Falling in Love with Love' to fit with this. The chromaticism from the melody of 'Falling in Love with Love' also influenced the bass line of my piece.

    • Essay length: 1291 words
  2. Marked by a teacher

    The Musical Role of the Bass Guitar

    4 star(s)

    The bass guitarist sometimes breaks out of the strict rhythm section role to perform bass breaks or bass solos. The types of bass-lines used for bass breaks of bass solos vary depending on the context, the sound, the intention, and the form of the song. In a rock band, a bass break often consist of the bassist playing a riff or lick during a place when everybody else is not playing or the dynamics are clearly really low in the song.

    • Essay length: 566 words
  3. Marked by a teacher

    The Beatles

    4 star(s)

    Together with Paul, John began to evolve the band. As the years began to pass, the band was obviously beginning to grow musically. They had moved from simple lyrics like "Love me Do" to harshly aware reflections of life in their home country in "Eleanor Rigby"2. There were attempts, some more successful than others, to incorporate the other Beatles into the idea stage. George Harrison made this leap successfully with such tracks as "I want to tell you", "TAXMAN", and the psychedelic "Love you to".

    • Essay length: 1314 words
  4. Marked by a teacher

    This essay describes how I have worked towards and performed four pieces of practical work using all three art forms. (Drama, dance, music, and a final piece that is a mixture of all three arts

    4 star(s)

    Now we split ourselves in to groups and began to experiment using improvisation for the final performance.2 In dance we sat as a group and planned out linking moves that used all of our five rules, and then put them together by improvising links. In drama we used improvisation to create scenes and improvised the scenes endings, and the drama in them. We also improvised characters for these parts, and once we found something that we liked we would enhance it through rehearsal and write a script.

    • Essay length: 1306 words
  5. Marked by a teacher

    Are musical influences important to a composer, or is it necessary to be original?

    3 star(s)

    Whether or not it reflects in the pieces that they compose, all composers are influenced by the works of past composers. However, given that music has developed so greatly over the past few centuries, it would be impossible to say that there is no evidence of originality. Looking back, it is possible to see moments of originality that have allowed new musical techniques to be pioneered. The Mannheim school, comprised of composers who wrote for the orchestra at the court of Mannheim in the second half of the 18th Century gave rise to a great many of these new techniques.

    • Essay length: 814 words
  6. Marked by a teacher

    Uses of Technology in Music Education

    3 star(s)

    In short, I hope to make it simple and easy for young children to enjoy the wonderful feeling of composing a piece of music. Notation software such as Finale, Sibelius and Garage Band enable students to compose or arrange for voices and/or instruments. They provide a way to listen to a composition as it is being composed and to print legible scores and parts. Using notation software can enhance compositions using a variety of instruments and ranges. Students can play back their compositions using a variety of timbres.

    • Essay length: 878 words
  7. Marked by a teacher

    Annotation of Composition

    3 star(s)

    For this piece I wrote an 8 bar long introduction. I composed 4 bars of blues music and then adapted it to make a further 4 bars. The music is syncopated, and the position of the accents enforces this, thus adding a 'blues feel'. I have used to notes of the C blues scale, which flattens the 3rd, 5th and 7th notes. The introduction flows well into my first section (section A). My melody has a very strong catchy tune, which sounds improvisatory and compliments the homophonic bass part. At first I composed the A section with my 4 bar chordal bass part running all the way through.

    • Essay length: 679 words
  8. Marked by a teacher

    The Development of the Orchestra

    3 star(s)

    During this time trumpets and timpani were inseparable, and these were added if the music was ceremonial. Trumpets and horns at this time had no valves and so could only play a limited series of notes. As music moved into the classical period the string section remained the centre of the orchestra but the woodwind section grew to become an important and permanent section. The harpsichord dropped out of use and a new instrument was born into the orchestra, the clarinet. As the harpsichord was no longer used the strings were require to fill out the harmony unaided.

    • Essay length: 556 words
  9. Marked by a teacher

    In the poem "Piano and Drums" by Gabriel Okara, Okara shows the contrasts between the past life and the modern world. Some aspects in his poem date back before the beginning of civilization

    He uses technical words to show this complexity "coaxing diminuendo". Structure The poem consists of four stanzas. The first three stanzas are telling us the story and the last is a conclusion. It seems that the stanzas represent the evolution of music or life. The first stanza being of the primal age where there were only drums. "Primal youth and the beginning". Here the word primal youth has been used and this means primitive. This shows that the first stanza could be the early, primitive life. The second stanza shows us growth of the ages in comparison to a baby.

    • Essay length: 980 words
  10. Comment on the ways in which Mahler organises his thematic material in the first movement of his 4th symphony from beginning to figure 8 and from figure 18 to the end of the movement.

    Sleigh bells accompany this, and in the second bar flute 3 and 4 enter with a melodic motif, and clarinets add a turning line of semi-quavers leading down to the tonic note G in bar 4. The first violins enter with the first theme in bar 3, and the music settles on the tonic chord on the first beat of bar 4, establishing G major as the key. The theme is an Austrian sounding melody, which rises to the tonic then quickly falls to the mediant.

    • Essay length: 1117 words
  11. Compare the decades 1910-1920 and 1930-1940 in the development of Jazz music.

    Ragtime was based on dances such as the mazurka, and it follows that form. There is a main tune of four bar phrases, which is played several times with episodes between. These episodes adopt the same style but have contrasting melodies and keys, creating an ABACDA pattern. The music has a striding left hand part and a syncopated right hand melody. Rags grew out of ballroom dances, marches and songs by composers such as Scott Joplin. His Maple leaf rag was extremely popular and the regular phrasing, leaping left hand and right hand syncopations characteristic of the style.

    • Essay length: 1987 words
  12. How did jazz influence mainstream music in Europe in the 20s and 30s? Refer in detail to specific pieces of music by at least 2 composers.

    The style began to fuse with the music of some European concert composers such as Ravel and Stravinsky, who wrote 'Ragtime for 11 Instruments'. In the early 20s, most of the jazz influenced music emerging from Europe sounded like ragtime, as this was the only form of jazz written down, therefore could spread most easily. However, European notation was rhythmically particularly poor, so interpretations of this printed music may have sounded unrecognisable as ragtime. The only jazz recordings available at the time were of Dixieland bands, meaning Europeans were not hearing jazz by black musicians in its purest form, but jazz that had been diluted for commercial purposes by white musicians.

    • Essay length: 1681 words
  13. Consider the range of new sounds explored in the 20th Century music; refer to specific works by Boulez and developments in terms of writing for vocal, and music technology.

    Boulez started his musical career studying music in Paris and composition under Messian, before this he was studying mathematics as this was his other love. Through a desire to combine mathematics and music he developed techniques of composition, based on the twelve tone system and mathematical techniques. In "structures la" Boulez uses a 12 by 12 (matrix or grid) based on an original series of notes and inversions of this series from his predecessor Messian's piece "Mode de Valeurs et d'intensités" He

    • Essay length: 430 words
  14. Discuss the extent to which Gabrieli's "In ecclesiis" can be understood as an example of the new Baroque style.

    Another very Baroque feature in this work is the use of 14 parts and a basso continuo. The combination of solo voices alongside a choir and a group of instruments is a very obvious feature which is defined as Baroque. The grouping of solo voices with a continuo bass which is heard in the first few bars of the piece is a texture created in the early Baroque period called monody. Often the singers would be placed in different parts of the building, which would divide the choir called 'cori spezzati' which could create antiphony.

    • Essay length: 548 words
  15. Compare and contrast the use of melody and rhythm in Sweelink's Pavana Lachrimae, Mozart's Piano Sonata in Bb, and Berlioz's Harold in Italy.

    per bar for most of the piece apart from cadences such as in bar 7 where there are two chords per bar. Rhythmic imitation is used in bars 39-41, where a motif consisting of two quavers and a crotchet are used between two parts. Mozart's Piano Sonata, like the Sweelink is mostly scalic and stepwise but also uses arpeggios. Periodic 8 bar phrases are used like the one starting at the upbeat to bar 15-bar 23 at the imperfect cadence.

    • Essay length: 844 words
  16. Free essay

    Critical commentary on the fourth movement of Mahlers 4th symphony

    From this, we find very basic qualities amongst more profound texts. The movement begins in G major. The introduction brings forward a musical idea which the Clarinet holds using crisp acciaccaturas. This is only accompanied by muted inner strings, first horn and the harp creating a sparse texture and thus accentuating the clarinets acciaccaturas. This idea is then repeated as an interlude and also forms the accompaniment to the solo part as a countermelody. Mahler's use of instrumentation is very interesting in that he is constantly changing the combinations. A triangle is introduced followed by violins and woodwind, creating a more dense texture in bar 5.

    • Essay length: 1172 words
  17. Notes on 3 Classical works. Structure, melody, rhythm, instrumentation etc.

    Shall be revealed - first sung by tenors, uses melisma 3) and all flesh shall see it together - first sung by altos, descending figure 4) for the mouth of the lord hath spoken it first sung by tenors & bass, solem Rhythym Metre and Tempo Piece is in 3/4 it is dance like Maintains allegro until last 2 bars of adagio Lots of uses of hemiola's (music feels 2/4 instead of 3/4) Tonality and Harmony Piece is in A Major, modulates to E Major, then to B Major (tonic then supertonic)

    • Essay length: 607 words
  18. The ultimate question is where will music be in the future? As todays society is vastly growing with new advances in technology its hard to depict where music is headed in the future.

    Therefore technology is creating new expressions for music that will continue to expand in the future by the exploration and strive for creating new genres of music, therefore as long as people are interested in the expansion of music it will continue to grow in the future. A positive feature of technology is that it has built a new foundation for a way to express music universally and making music available for everyone to use and share ideas globally. Compared to the 1980's where making a record consisted of going into a 24 track studio and spending around $20 000, and even then you weren't really guaranteed acknowledgement.

    • Essay length: 1256 words
  19. Trumpeter and Composer Miles Davis (1926-91) was a hugely influential figure in the development of jazz. He established several new trends that became distinct styles in their own right, including modal jazz, jazz-rock fusion and cool jazz.

    However, Davis was not naturally suited to the rigorous trumpet playing of the Bebop era as he preferred solos in the middle range of the trumpet with soft, legato articulation. This experience nevertheless gave Davis insight into the key harmonic and chordal innovations that would be the cornerstones of his new music and he advanced these various techniques with a more freewheeling, intricate and often arcane approach. Having come closer to the realisation of his new style he met an arranger called Gil Evans towards the end of the 1940's.

    • Essay length: 1313 words
  20. Essay on the Development of the Piano in the Jazz Era

    The development of the piano is very evident progressively through the jazz era. The use of chords such as major, minor, augmented etc are all found in the harmony of the piano part, these are all chords taken from western music. The development although is that now, they have been varied in ways to give different effects. Compound chords, added 7ths, 9ths, etc all give richer chords which leave the melody instruments with more scope for the theme above the accompaniment. Early jazz music, in the 1920's was made up of the frontline and the rhythm instruments.

    • Essay length: 924 words
  21. Bop/Bebop Jazz Music Essay. In comparison to previous styles of jazz, bebop music can be distinguished by the fast tempo, virtuosic nature of the solo parts and the greater use of improvisation.

    Minimal arrangement, allowing for improvisation and solo sections was a key element to bebop music. Disjunct melodies, uneven phrasing and writing thematic material which is much more angular than tuneful were just some of the ways that the melody has changed and made bebop music such a distinctive type of jazz. Chord progressions for bebop tunes were often taken directly from popular swing-era songs and reused with a new and more complex melody, to write new pieces of music. This practice was already well-established in earlier jazz, but came to be central to the bebop style.

    • Essay length: 1029 words
  22. What is musical genius?

    This essay will not be defining musical genius, and instead will be exploring what it is that gives us the ability to create beautiful music, including the effects of history, genetics, intelligence, upbringing and faith. Claims of 'nature over nurture' or 'nurture over nature' have always been subjects of debate amongst both mothers and scholars. It has now, after many years of research, been scientifically proven (through studies of twins separated at birth) that neither party is right: nature accounts for roughly only 50 per cent of a child's ability2, be that musical or not.

    • Essay length: 2795 words
  23. Free essay

    Vaughan Williams scoring and innovative use of orchestral texture are the hallmarks of his musical language. Discuss this view referring to the 3rd movement of the 5th Symphony.

    Halfway through A, all the strings, excluding violins, play a chordal pattern. On top of this are dotted minims played by both the clarinets and horns. This mixture, which is not often used in orchestral pieces, creates a very relaxing sound which sit comfortably on top of the strings. Following this the rising 4ths returns in the 1st flute, which is imitated by the oboe with rhythmic diminution. At A1 the key changes to the dominant. This is shown through the use of a dominant repeat of the opening chords followed by the same cor anglais solo in the dominant, though this time played on the upper strings.

    • Essay length: 1045 words
  24. Concert review. I saw the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra perform at the MacMillan Theatre.

    The Concert as a Whole The concert was overall quite entertaining. At times, however, I was not as enthusiastic as I was before, as the songs dragged on, so at parts it wasn't as exciting as other parts. I feel that this concert was universal, as anyone who has a love for classical music could come and enjoy the pieces the orchestra played. Considering, however, that younger kids like more edgy and pop music, I think an older audience would gladly attend more than a younger audience.

    • Essay length: 993 words
  25. Describe the structure of the central fugal section of the Ouverture of Bachs Orchestral Suite No. 3

    However, in the central fugal section where we find the subjects, expositions and the 3 countersubjects, the 1st oboe follows the 1st violin part and the 2nd oboe follows 2nd violin. However, this is not the case when the 1st violin has soloistic material such as in bars 42-57. In these instances, the two oboe parts have completely independent parts. The trumpets used in Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 3 are natural, valveless trumpets in D. Because of this, most entries are on the tonic triads although occasionally they may be on the subdominant (IV)

    • Essay length: 847 words
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If you love music and play it to a good standard then A level Music could well be the best decision you make. In some courses the majority of the final marks are assessed by performance and composition. As well as practical assessments there are written examinations to contend with so whilst you'll develop your instrumental and compositional skills you'll also significantly broaden your musical knowledge.

A level Music requires definite skills and Marked by Teachers has a huge selection of high-quality essay answers to help you gain an understanding of what examiners are looking for.

It is expected that you'll able to read music by the time you begin the course and a Grade 5 in your chosen instrument is generally required too. Those who study Music at this level can continue to degree level, but if you choose not to it is still highly beneficial; university admissions tutors know that this is a challenging course which develops significant creative and evaluative strengths.

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Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Discuss the extent to which Gabrieli's "In ecclesiis" can be understood as an example of the new Baroque style.

    "In conclusion the piece does have many late Renaissance features such as an antiphonal texture in parts, however there are many more prominent features indicating that it is strongly rooted in the new Baroque style. Therefore Gabrieli can be seen as one of the founders of the new Baroque style, leading to the Baroque era, which blossomed less then a century after this work was published."

  • Discuss the six headings for Ghost Dancers.

    "I have come to the conclusion that every little detail is essential to make Ghost Dances effective, but although the lighting effects and sound visualisation do count, the quality of the dance is the most important aspect. I feel that all of the lighting and musical accompaniment contribute excellently to this piece."

  • Compare and contrast ‘Ghost Dances’ and ‘Rooster’ by Christopher Bruce.

    "Despite the fact that 'Ghost Dances' depicts a moving narrative, I personally prefer 'Rooster.' This is because, like Bruce, I happen to love the pulsating rhythm of 60's music and more particularly, that of the 'Rolling Stones'. I think that 'Rooster' has a greater variety of expression and I find it a far more entertaining theatrical piece of dance. I believe it evokes a feeling of well being in the viewer which I personally think to be an essential aspect and ingredient for a successful dance."

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