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AS and A Level: Music

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 10
  1. Outline how musicals changed from 1960 to the present day.

    and a Modern, syncopated, dissonant style to express real feelings which is evident in, ?There is no one? through the use of syncopated waltz style with accented dissonances. Rock influences can be found in ?Jesus Christ Superstar? through the use of rock riffs similar to those used by the band ?Deep Purple? in the number, ?Heaven on Their Minds?. Pop style is also demonstrated in the Crucifixion scene through use of piano solo in a modern jazz style. Pop styles are also found within ?Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat? as ?Go, go, go Joseph? contains jazz waltz, electric guitar, and male vocal harmonies in the chorus.

    • Word count: 766
  2. Outline characteristics of musicals composed by Rodgers and Hammerstein

    In fact, the first chorus number isn?t presented until the second act! The opening of their second work, ?Carousel? in 1945 was also atypical as the music from the rest of the show is based on the overture, ?The Carousel Waltz? instead of the typical prologue in which, music from the show builds the overture. ?The Carousel Waltz? establishes the musical style for the whole of the production as the ?oom-pah-pah? bassline is perfect for the carnival setting and features complex rhythms, chromaticism, and modality to represent the complexity of the characters and their relationships.

    • Word count: 832
  3. Identify important achievements made by the Gershwin Brothers in the composition of musicals

    However, at the end of the musical, she sings ?Summertime?, the chorus? anthem to show that she has now been accepted into the community of Catfish Row and during her duet with Porgy, ?Bess, You is my Woman Now?, she sings a portion of Porgy?s earlier solo, ?When Gawd Made a Cripple? to show that she is the answer to his loneliness. Porgy? leitmotif containing an upward grace note symbolising his stumbling and clumsiness as he is a cripple also features chromatic chords, reminiscent of his small steps, and a perfect fifth followed by a minor third that shows the solidity and folk-like nature he shares with Catfish Row.

    • Word count: 637
  4. Comment on three musicals from the period 1960 - Present Day

    This number along with, ?Do You Hear the People Sing??, features large scale orchestration and staging; they are both chorus numbers sang by the down-trodden folk to portray their togetherness, as well as their message; a wish for freedom. Arguably, the most dominant theme within the entire production is Fantine?s ?I Dreamed a Dream?; first heard at the docks, it is the most moving piece. It is the rising third at the climax of each line in the verse that is associated with Fantine and is reprised during her death in an extremely flat key with seven flats.

    • Word count: 813
  5. Comment on how composers communicated emotion in musicals.

    A spiritual is a song with religious lyrics sang by black, oppressed workers to raise their spirits. The narrow range of notes within this song shows the monotony and tiresome nature of Joe?s life and his work and the lack of flow, on the beat, repetitive nature of the B section shows the strain of Joe?s work upon him. The use of leitmotif was one of the most important devices used in conveying emotion. This device is fully utilised in the Gershwin?s folk opera musical, ?Porgy and Bess?.

    • Word count: 798
  6. Comment on the use of vocal ensembles in musicals from 1900 to the Present Day

    A modulating rising semi-tone creates intensity before at last, in the final line, they sing together. Another duet from a similar time period comes from the 1935 folk- opera/musical, ?Porgy and Bess? and is entitled, ?Bess, You is My Woman Now?. In this number, the two confess their love for one another and Bess sings a portion of Porgy?s song, ?When Gawd Made a Cripple? showing that she is the answer to his loneliness. Porgy?s demanding octave leaps on ?You Is?, are offset by the gentle syncopation thus removing the harsh nature.

    • Word count: 610
  7. Discuss why you think Showboat was so successful. Refer to music examples in your answer.

    Although in saying this; Ziegfield had good reason to be anxious about the response ?Showboat? would receive, as it was the first musical to deal with serious issues such as racism, marital strife and alcoholism. Up until this point, audiences were used only to light hearted entertainment such as operettas, pantomimes, burlesques and shows of a vaudeville nature; and although these forms of entertainment often contained music and performing, they lacked the integration of music into the play as the Broadway musicals would come to have.

    • Word count: 1179
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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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