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Areas of Study

AoS 1: Rhythm and metre

Pulse- The beat of the music.

Simple time- Time signatures where the beat is divided into two: typically, a crotchet beat divided into two quavers.

Compound time- Time signatures based on a dotted crotchet beat, divided into three quavers, for example 6/8.…

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Chromatic- Music written using both the black and white notes of the piano; a scale which moves always by semitone;
the alteration by a semitone of the notes of a diatonic scale.

Consonant- Sounds which fit well together (though the range of these chords or combinations of sound is not…

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Key signatures- Sharp(s) or flat(s) placed at the beginning of the music and at the beginning of each subsequent line,
to indicate the scale used and, therefore, the key of the music.

Modulation- Moving from one key to another.

AoS 3: Texture and melody

Homophonic- A type of music texture…

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Arpeggio- Playing the notes of a chord by spreading them out (usually from the bottom), a feature commonly used by
piano, harp and guitar.

Passing note- A melodic note placed between two harmony notes which results in stepwise movement:

Acciaccatura- Also referred to as crush notes: a note of decoration…

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Inversion- Turning a melody `upside down' but keeping its intervals:

Glissando- Sliding from one note to another.

Portamento- A smooth, gliding transition from one note to another.

Ostinato- A repeated musical phrase or rhythm.

Riff- A jazz ostinato.

Pitch bend- Technique associated with guitar playing: the player frets a string…

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Chorus- When a recorded voice or instrument is multiplied electronically, producing the effect of one voice or
instrument sounding like many.

Crescendo- Getting gradually louder.

Diminuendo- Getting gradually quieter.

Sforzando- An accent, a note to be emphasised.

A0S 5: Structure and form

Binary- Music in two sections, each of which…

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Minuet and trio- A dance style written in 3/4 time. The two sections are both in binary form, with the trio forming a
contrast in style and/or orchestration with the minuet. Normally the minuet is played repeating each section, then
the trio is played in the same way, and finally…

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Imperfect cadence- This is made up of any chord- but typically chord I, II or IV-followed by the dominant chord (V). This
has the opposite effect to a perfect or plagal cadence as it acts as a musical comma: the music must move on after it.

Interrupted cadence- This starts…

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Key signatures in major and minor keys

Because a major scale must have semitones between the 3rd and 4th, and 7th and 8th notes of the scale, C major is the
only major scale which can be played only using the white notes of a keyboard. If we start a…


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