Area of Study 4 - Edexcel GCSE Music

Notes for all of the set works in edexcels gcse music area of study 4 

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Set work 10: Capercaillie: 'Skye Waulking Song' from Nadurra
Style and period · Folk fusion music:
Western pop
Celtic folk music
Context · Waulking song refers to a man's song
which would be sung while working
· Waulking is the process by which tweed
is beaten against a board after being
soaked in urine; this was done by a group
of women who worked together
· Traditional songs up to 1 hour to keep
the team working
· The singing is usually led by one person
and answered by the rest of the team ­
call and response
Melody · Vocals ­ nonsense syllables
· Melodies are in counterpoint with each
· Would have been improvised around the
same melody simultaneously
· Vocal part is pentatonic throughout
· Lyrics mainly syllabic
Harmony · Simple harmony with only 4 chords used
in total.
· Chord changes are more easily noticed
because they change often.
· Line minimalism.
· Based around G major scale. The main
chords are: G, Em and C
· Instrumental sections include cluster
chords- chord made of notes which are
clustered together.
· In the coda, the alternating C and G
chords sound like plagal cadences.
Texture · Monophonic- one melodic line(voice)
· Contrapuntal ­ independent melody lines
playing simultaneously
· Heterophony- 2 or more instruments
playing the same melody but different
versions(Pipes and fiddle)
· Melody and accompaniment- most
common texture
· Call and response-Wurlitzer piano and
Bazouki in intro, backing vocals and lead
vocals later on.

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The texture slowly builds up starting with
synth and fiddle and adding other
instruments in later (9secs).
· A few parts give a thin texture, the
Bazouki and keyboard plan an
interweaving melody. The voice joins in
(33secs) adding to the polyphonic
texture. The texture stays the same until
1:37 when the voice sings on its own
(monophonic). The voice also stops for a
few seconds sometimes.
· The texture becomes thicker when all the
instruments come in verse 4.…read more

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Dynamics · Relatively simple dynamics
· Start quietly and build up becoming
louder when all the instruments join in
· Dynamics are not written in the score but
are for the performer to decide
Rhythm · Syncopation is found
· A variety of note lengths with complex
· Lilting (swaying rhythms) are found
Instrumentation · Traditional:
Uilleann pipes
· Modern:
Bass guitar
Drum kit
Wurlitzer piano
· The words are in Scottish Gaelic.…read more

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Set work 11: Rag Desh
Style and period · Indian classical music is built up in three
A melodic line played on a solo
A rhythmic pattern played on the
A drone played on a stringed
Context · Rag Desh is an example of Indian
classical music from North India. Indian
classical music has a very long history. It
is an improvised form of music, although
improvisations take place within
well-defined structures and conventions.…read more

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Harmony ·
Tonality ·
Texture ·
Structure · Performances of a rag are often in three
parts, progressing from a slow to fast
tempo ­
· Alap
A slow introductory section
The notes and mood of the rag are
introduced against a drone
There is no regular pulse and no
· Gat
A fixed composition that is improvised
on by the solo instrument
Percussion enters
A clear pulse is introduced
· Jhalla
A fast final section
The music becomes more virtuosic and
Instrumentation…read more

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Tintal ­ a sixteen-beat cycle ( 4 + 4 + 4
+ 4)
· Keherwa tal - eight-beat cycle (2 + 2 +
2 + 2)
· Rupak: a seven-beat cycle (3 + 2 + 2)
· Ektal: a twelve-beat cycle (2 + 2 + 2 +
2 + 2 + 2)
Dynamics ·
Metre ·
Tempo…read more

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Set work 12: Koko: 'Yiri'
Style and period · Sub-saharan/tradition west
African music. Features:
Call and response
Complex rhythms
· Mood: upbeat ­ achieved by a
fast tempo and repeititive
patterns with major vocal parts
Context · Talking drums are used to send
messages to other tribes; the
local materials used help the
instrument speak the local
language. Some African
languages are known as tone
languages as the pitch of words
contributes to the meaning.…read more

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· Short melodies
· Balafon parts include tremolos
and acciaccatura
· Simple
· Regular 2 bar phrasing
· Balafons have regular octave
leaps and semiquaver,
demisemiquaver patterns ­
Harmony · There is no harmony
Tonality · Major but sounds modal as the
piece is hexatonic (6 pitches
from major scale are used) and
the leading note is avoided
Tempo · Moderate tempo is established
by first Balafon
· Seems to speed up near the
· The tempo is unvaried
Rhythm · Main…read more

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· In this piece there are 2 balafons, a higher
pitched one, and a lower pitched one. They
are the African versions of xylophones.
Gourds are hung under the wooden tone
bars and act as resonatoroften made of
rubber, orange peel or other natural
· Dundun ­ double headed bass
drum played with sticks.
· Talking drum- hourglass
shaped drum which is held
under the arm. Played with a
hook-shaped beater or hand.…read more

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Voices sing in unison.
· When all parts play together
there is a polyphonic texture.
· There is call and response
between the vocalists and
singers.…read more


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