Is anyone doing the Welsh board (WJEC) for Music A2?

  • 0 votes

Getting very worried about my exam as my teacher is pretty poor and i have no idea how to answer the essay question on the development of the string quartet! any resources tips etc would be appreciated!!!


Posted Sun 3rd June, 2012 @ 17:20 by Emilie

3 Answers

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Might be a bit late, but here are some general pointers for the essay question (you're free to ignore at will ;)):

To start with, probably best not to just memorise a model answer, as the question can change, and in the examiners reports they're always mentioning how the model answers don't tend to actually answer the question. That's not to say it's not helpful to write one!

Secondly, remember that the question will probably be slightly different in each paper. Read the question carefully, and make sure that, throughout your essay, you are actually answering it. Only use info relevant to the question (e.g. best not to say too much about the 20th century if the question says from 1600 - 1850, for example!), and keep referring to the Q at the end of paragraphs to keep it sustained (e.g. "this shows how the String Quartet developed from a to b")

Remember to lay it out like an essay, with an introduction, argument in the middle, and conclusion.

In the introduction, directly refer to the question - maybe mention a few features of the work you're studying in comparison to the question - so, if it was on how typical "..." (can't remember off the top of my head which piece string quartet option is :S) is of a particular genre, you could say " ... is (e.g. "an intricate") piece that shows many similarities to ... genre(s)/period, however, there are also differences, such as...". Probably no more than a paragraph intro is best - there's only 30 mins, after all!

Next is your middle section - your argument - which is where you'll debate whether the argument in the question ("To what extent has the string quartet been constantly developing?") is true or not ("Yes, it has been", and "No, it hasn't been"), and why.

In the middle section, you MUST be continually comparing string quartets from different periods with the set piece you're studying, especially if it asks you to in the Q!

For this, try to have a basic knowledge of one or two string quartets from each period, e.g. Baroque, Classical, Romantic, C20th (so for example, structure, instrumentation, harmony, and interesting features - although you won't have to use all of it!) to compare to:

"In (period), the lower strings usually did (something), however (composer) changed this in (piece A) by doing (something different). [May want to elaborate here and show off some specific knowledge of the work - they always like that!] In comparison to (set work), we can see this had a large effect on the development of string quartets, as it quickly became common practice."

And repeat for other pieces/periods!

Finally, your conclusion, where you refer back to the question. Remember to ANSWER IT! (use words in the question - so "To what extent do you agree that jelly babies are yummy?" would be something along the lines of "In conclusion, I agree(/disagree) that jelly babies are yummy, to a large extent, because...")

I know this is a bit late, but hope it helps, anyway - and good luck for tomorrow! :)

EDIT: Not sure if I made this clear - try and give an example with each point you make - you don't have to go in depth for each one, just try and make sure there's a few there! (e.g. for solo concertos question: early concertos were often called symphonies, and vice versa - for example Handel's oboe concerto, where there is relatively little solo writing)

Answered Thu 14th June, 2012 @ 12:20 by Beth
Edited by Beth on Thu 14th June, 2012 @ 20:44
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thanks so much that helps soo much!! my teacher is honestly useless!! x

Answered Thu 14th June, 2012 @ 13:32 by Emilie
  • -1 votes

No worries :) Good luck!

Answered Thu 14th June, 2012 @ 19:24 by Beth