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Five Areas of Study

Harmony Overview
Anything to do with chords and chord progressions.
Questions may ask to name a cadence, spot a special harmonic feature or
describe the chords used.

Basic Terms
Consonant ­ notes that sound pleasing together
Dissonant ­ notes that clash with each other
Diatonic ­…

Page 2

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Five Areas of Study

Modal: based on a type of sevennote scale called a `mode'.

Key Signatures
They key of a piece indicates which scale it is based on.
Each key has its own key signature. This shows which notes on the stave are to
be played as flats or…

Page 3

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Five Areas of Study

Homophonic ­ an accompanied melody
Contrapuntal/polyphonic ­ a texture made up of two or more melodies which
interweave with each other
Imitative ­ the opening of a melody is copied in one or more other parts in the
texture, while the original melody continues. The copied…

Page 4

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Five Areas of Study

Classical Music Forms
Binary ­ AB (usually repeated i.e. AABB)
Ternary ­ ABA
Rondo ­ ABACA
Theme and variations ­ Theme, Variation 1, Variation 2, Variation 3, Variation

The variations are based on the theme and can differ in texture, melody,
harmony, rhythm and tempo.…

Page 5

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Five Areas of Study

capo' at the end of section B informs the singer they need to return to the
beginning to repeat section A. This repeat of section A is usually decorated
by the singer. The `da capo' was popular in the Baroque period.

Popular Music Forms
Call and…

Page 6

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Five Areas of Study

Questions on timbre may ask you to name the melody instrument or describe
particular instrumental techniques.


Strings Violin
Double bass

Woodwind Flute

Brass Trumpet

Percussio Xylophone
n Timpani
Snare drum
Bass drum…

Page 7

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Five Areas of Study

Instrumental Techniques

Arco ­ bowing the strings
Pizzicato ­ plucking the strings
Con sordino ­ playing with a mute (also for brass players)

Wind and brass

Slurred ­ notes are played smoothly
Tongued ­ notes are played separately


Fills ­ a short passage of…

Page 8

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Five Areas of Study

Synthesiser ­ an electronic instrument that can be controlled through a
keyboard. It allows you to manipulate the sounds produced and add digital
effects. Most electronic music includes synthesised sounds.
Reverb ­ makes the music sound as if it was recorded in a resonant space


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