GCSE Edexcel Music - Area of Study One (Classical Music c.1600 - 1900)

My notes on Area of Study One for Edexcel Music GCSE.

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  • Created by: Crissy
  • Created on: 10-06-10 19:48
Preview of GCSE Edexcel Music - Area of Study One (Classical Music c.1600 - 1900)

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AOS1
Baroque: 1600 ­ 1750
Major composers: Bach, Handel, Purcell, Vivaldi
Characteristics
o Dominated by harpsichord and strings (although other instruments ­ NO clarinets)
o Bass line very important ­ basso continuo. Two instruments. And ground bass
o Very little change of mood.
o Lots of ornaments change the melody.
o Clearly major or minor.
o Polyphonic textures dominate.
o Melodies with long phrases in stepwise fashions, using sequences.
Ground bass:
o Characteristics:
Simple melody.
Gradually builds up.
Slow tempo ­ crotchets and minims.
Often minor ­ solemn mood.
Descending bass line ­ tonic, dominant, tonic.
o Variety achieved through:
Changing texture ­ changing number of parts playing
Changing rhythm
Changing pitch - adding ornaments.
Classical
1750 ­ 1830
Composers: Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven
Characteristics:
o Question/answer
o Melodic, flowing tunes ­ usually 4 or 8 bar phrases
o Appoggiaturas (leaning notes)
o Pedal notes in bass line
o Sequences (often rising)
o Clear cadences
o Melodies full of scales and arpeggios.
o Not much percussion other than timpani
o Small brass section
o Simple diatonic harmony ­ mostly cadences I, IV and V
o Lots of contrast!
o Simple rhythmic patterns and time signatures
o Small brass section
o Small orchestra ­ violins take lead
o Homophonic textures most prominent.

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Romantic
1820 ­ 1900
Composers: Brahms, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Schumann
Characteristics:
o Strings dominate!
o Huge range of dynamics!
o Changing rhythmic patterns
o Some use of rubato ­ flexible changes in time
o Texture much thicker ­ both homophony and polyphony very important
o More frequent and wider ranging modulations ­ unusual chord progressions, more colourful
use of chromatic chords and dissonance.…read more

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