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Music 2 Exam Paper - Guide (1 Viewer)

ur_inner_child

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Music 2 Exam Paper

This is a brief overview of what is contained in the Music 2 Paper. I will suggest how you could study for it, what you should look out for, and what would potentially be the crucial marks in each question. Please also understand that questions vary from year to year, and I can only cater in a generally broad way.

General Tips

When you finish a question before the recording finishes, look over the other questions to be ahead, giving you more time to find what it is you need to find in the score. Another option is to go to the essay question and START WRITING. The essay question is where your largest percentage of marks will come from in this written exam.

N.B. A danger to this (it happened to me) is that you may not recognise the start of a new question. It sounds silly, but if you dare to go the essay question in between questions, make sure you pay careful attention.

Always keep the main musical aspects in mind. These usually vary from school to school - but generally are metre, tone colour, harmony, melody, pitch, dynamics and expressive techniques, structure, rhythm. I will go through these each individually another time soon.

Try to use musical terminology when you describe meaning in a piece. Such as tension, release, romantic, suspense, etc.

Always ALWAYS reference something when you are locating a specific moment in a score. Eg Bars 12-14 show expressive techniques etc



Question 1 (8 Marks in Total)

(a) (1 mark)


This question involves a score excerpt in which you listen to once for familiarisation. Use this time to follow the score and answer the question in your head. Eg, if the question asks "describe one way the opening is developed" etc, you go through the first listening keeping this in mind. This is a one mark score, you do not need to write an essay. Use the spare to time "be ahead" and indentify the chords for the next question, particularly if you have trouble with this.

(b) Chord Indentification (2 marks)

This is a common question to get wrong because people are too nervous to glance at the key signature, or take note of accidentals. If you understand how a chord is structured, this should be no problem to you - it is simply rearranging the notes into a three or four note chord and indentifying its quality eg: major, minor, diminished, etc.

(c) Specific Analysis (3 marks)

This question often varies each year - it involves another part of the score, but a slightly closer analysis, such as where the motif occurs again, or how it is developed in one of the main musical aspects - eg melody, pitch, dynamics and expressive techniques, structure, rhythm etc. Make not that this is a three mark question.

(d) Use of Musical Aspects (2 marks)

Another section of the score will be played. You are usually asked to describe one or two of the main musical concepts, which involve metre, harmony, melody, pitch, dynamics and expressive techniques, structure, rhythm etc. When the question asks you how these aspects create meaning of a particular kind, ALWAYS refer to this when justifying meaning. eg: The composer uses harmony that involves many diminished and seventh chords, suggesting a lot of tension in the piece. This gives meaning to his idea of what it is to be "Caged In". (Assume that's the title of the piece).




Question 2 (7 Marks Total)

(a) Melody Dictation (5 marks)

With practice, you can really master this dictation. There are many ways to tackle this question, and it is always good to do a mixture.

Memorisation

Pay close attention and try to memorise the melody, especially on the first playing. Sounds obvious, but some people totally overlook this method.

Chordal Familiarisation

Practice recognising chords and their purpose. In basic terms, to differentiate between the tonic (the ending chord, closed sounded chord), the dominant (chord that pushes for the tonic), and the pre-dominant.

If that's all well and simple, try to recognise and identify actual chords eg I, IV, V, VI, ii etc, so that when you fill in the bass line, if you need to, you know what note it simply cannot be, considering you know what notes it SHOULD be.


Interval Relationships
(the space between one note from the next)

If its general single line notes you have trouble with, try recognising the gaps by using familiar openings to songs you know well. For example, I always recognise the perfect 4th, simply cuz it's the beginning to "Amazing Grace", and now I don't need to cling onto that sort of support and recognise a perfect 4th straight away. You can try this with other pitches, including descending as well. With practice, you will recognise them well.

Sequences & Patterns

These are a blessing to you. Most of the time, it is either an exact repetition, or just a small variation such as a different rhythm, or moved up a note. Patterns that repeat itself but moved up or down a note - it is absolutley crucial that you recognise how far it is moved up or down.

Be suspicious of exact repetition of bars that are given to you. It has happened in the past, but you need to be cautious.

Rhythm First

Some people find it easy when writing the answer to jott down the rhythm above the staves before tackling the pitch. This is a very good method, if you're capable of it. It ensures a decent amount of marks.

Contour Shape & Tonic (first note of scale)
(the last resort)

When it is your final or second final playing, and you are in total doubt, try to go for the right contour and when it lands on the tonic note. It shows that even though you're not perfect, you have some good understanding of it.
This does give you marks.

(b) Particulars in the Score (2 marks)

This question asks you to find or describe something in the score. This usually involves expressive techniques, composer intent (eg: Describe Nigel Sabin's use of silence) etc. Try to use musical terminology, such as tension, release, suspense, sustain, etc.




Question 3 (10 marks)
(marks for questions vary in this section from year to year)

(a) General Music Aspect Question

This question requires longer answers than the first few questions, or requires further score analysis - such as looking for where motifs are repeated.

(b) Detailed Extended Response

This question usually requires you to look into a specific musical aspect in relation to the score. Make sure you always focus on the musical aspect stated, no matter how amazing another musical aspect is. Again, use references (eg Bars 123-132 & 134). Treat this question as a minature essay - one or two paragraphs etc.



Question 4 - 20 Minute Essay Question (10 marks)

The big guns. you should've had two or three musical pieces that you have studied over the year in all musical aspects. You should also have studied the relationships between these pieces, such as what is contrasting, what is similar, etc.

Make sure you find pieces that may contrast with each other in musical aspects (such as traditional-wise, use of musical aspects etc) so that in your essay, you can use their contrast to your advantage where the question requires it to be. Even if you have had great points in relation to harmony, if the question specifically asks for rhythm and melody and that is all, do not start rattling off about harmony. You may try to link your harmony points to melody eg the melody is aesthetically pleasant, particularly emphasised with a traditional harmony.

Try to cover a few points in your piece, and keep an eye on your time. When you reach about 3-5 minutes left, start writing a conclusion. You give a general better impression to close the essay off, rather than dangling in your points. Refer to the question when you make a conclusion, summing up your arguments.

It is often debated on whether you should remember exact bar numbers for particular features in your various pieces, but I suggest you do, particular ones that are an important feature. Rather than memorising and stating where the motif lies in various places, memories the bar in which it makes a drastic turn, such as "the motif changes (Bar 453) into a minor key" etc.

If you feel you have finished the essay, go back to your questions, particularly the melody dictation (try to fill in everything), the chord question, and other questions you are able to go back and work out.

Best of luck with your paper!


-Stef

More to come, involving musical aspects.
 
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Thank you, ur_inner_child. This is unbelievably useful stuff.
 

crazeesodafizz

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Does anyone know characteristics of the additional topic, 1945-music of the last 25 years?

I'm really stuck!
 

ur_inner_child

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Unconventional styles: things performed to the extreme, irregular time meter, increased extended techniques, particular influences such as eastern (depends)... unconvetional harmony etc.

You're quite vague about your question... try to be a bit more specific?
 

rickem

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Do you mean 1981-2006 or 1945-1981?
They are both pretty similiar, but what was said before about irregular harmonies and that pretty much covers them both.
 

ur_inner_child

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Every student I have advised, talked to or tutored with for Music 2 have asked me how many works they should study for the exam.

I always say 2-3. If I was personally required to give them advice (ie tutoring) I tell them they must do three.

Many have said they rather not do three. I said you never know how specific the questions will be or how many they will specify.

This year, 2006, asked for pitch and reference to THREE works.

For the 07ers, make a note of this.
 

jasonml

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Georgegeorge said:
How would you study for the yr.11 exam?
Where would you start?
Prelims are totally set by your own school. Your best bet would be to go though the past HSC exam papers on the Board of Studies website and work those. Odds are, if you have a stressed/busy/lazy teacher, they will extract the majority of the paper that they set from there. Haha.
 

rivkamachi

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another thing you can do while waiting for the next question to start is to start writing out your musical quotes, from the studied pieces. for my trial this year i did that, i had them all written out by question 4, and i got the full 20 mins to write. it was beautiful :)
 

ekdownie

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im going to crash burn and fail in my music2 half-yearly exam.
argh.
*deep breaths*
 

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