GCSE Music Listening

All pieces (except Grace) explained in each element of the music.

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  • Created on: 09-05-11 17:32
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1: 'And the Glory of the Lord' by Handel
Performing Forces: Choir is made up of sopranos, altos, tenors and basses
They are accompanied by stings and continuo (for cello and harpsichord or
The orchestra often doubles the vocal lines.
Structure: Starts with an orchestral introduction - ritornello. Shortened versions of this ritornello
return later in 2 different places.
No set form to the movement. It is based on different combinations of the four
Rhythm: A number of hemiolas in the piece (i.e. bars 9 -10, where it feels like 2/4)
Metre: Dance like metre of 3/4
Tempo: Maintains a fast tempo (Allegro) almost until the end, when there is a general
pause for 1 bar, and the 3 bars in a slower tempo (Adagio) to create a drawn out
Word setting: Mixture of syllabic and melismatic word setting.
Different phrases of text are repeated many times, making the words as clear as
Melody: The movement is based on 4 motifs.
1. First sung by the Altos,(bar 11) clearly outlining the key of A major.
2. First sung by the Tenors (bar 17) using a descending sequence and a melisma on
the word 'revealed'.
3. First sung by Altos (bar 43). Short descending figure from A to E is repeated twice.
4. First sung by Tenors and Basses (bar 51) mostly sung in same pitch (A). Uses longer
notes so it sounds rather solemn.
Tonality: The piece is in A major. Modulates to two related keys; dominant (E major) and
supertonic (B major). Ends with a plagal cadence in A major.
Harmony: Diatonic
Texture: Alternates between homophonic and contrapuntal passages.
Very short monophonic passage.
Used imitation often at different pitches and number of parts varies.

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Symphony No. 40 by Mozart
Structure and Tonality: The structure is in sonata form, in the key of G minor.
Exposition - 1st Subject- A melody that is characterised by a falling motif played by stings at
first in G minor.
2nd Subject- A melody with descending chromatic patterns, shared between
strings and woodwind, in Bb major (relative major)
Development - Based on the 1st Subject, which is developed and
fragmented. Moves through various keys, starting in F sharp minor.…read more

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Horns are in different keys (one in G and one in
Bb) maximising the number of notes they can play. They sustain harmonies.
3: Prelude No. 15 by Chopin
Structure: Ternary form (ABA).
A - Db major - A lyrical melody accompanied by quavers in the bass. has its
own ABA structure.
B - C sharp minor - New melody now in bass and quavers heard above it. Builds up to
2 ff climaxes.
A - Db major - Return to opening melody.…read more

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Peripetie' from Five Orchestral Pieces
Instrumentation: Requires a large orchestra of at least 90 players. Instrumentation changes
rapidly throughout creating many contrasts in timbre. Performers are
frequently required to play at the extremes of their range. Unusual effects
are used - cymbals played with a mallet and cello bow.…read more

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Something's Coming' by Bernstein
Instrumentation: For a solo tenor accompanied by a band made up of woodwind, brass,
percussion and strings. To make sure the band doesn't over power the
soloist, they use quiet dynamics, soft timbres (such as muted
trumpets and pizzicato strings) and a homophonic texture. To illustrate the
words 'the air is humming', the stings use harmonics and play tremolo.
Structure: 1. Quiet syncopated opening theme.
2. The loud, strident theme in 2/4 (first heard at bar 21)
3.…read more

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Reich: Electric Counterpoint (Third Movement)
Instrumentation: For live guitar, accompanied by parts for seven guitars and two bass
guitars that have been pre recorded. (Although they can be played live if
preferred.) The live guitar is amplified to blend in well with the backing tape.
Structure: Builds up in 3 layers. 1. Syncopated quaver motif introduced in live guitar and top
4 guitars, one part at a time. 2. New syncopated quaver motif introduced in bass
guitars. 3.…read more

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Miles Davis: All Blues
Structure: Based on 12 bar blues progression. One statement of the progression is known as a
chorus. Main melody is called the head and played by muted trumpet - can be heard
at start and end of piece. There is a simple 4 bar riff in parallel 3rds the separated
each section. Piece can be broken into 5 sections:
1.Introduction -opening 4 bars played by rhythm section followed by riff.
2.…read more

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Once the solo begins, the pianist begins comping (accompanying
with chords and short melodic ideas).…read more

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Moby: Why does my heart feel so bad
Samples: Song is based on 2 samples taken from a recording (1953) of gospel choir singing King
Jesus Will Roll All Burdens Away. Sample A sung by male used for verses. Sample B sung by
female singer used for choruses. Both have been manipulated to change the meaning of
the words. They have vintage feel because Moby has not cleaned up surface noise on the
recordings (crackles produced on vinyl records).…read more

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Capercaillie: Skye Waulking Song
Instrumentation and Texture:Layered texture created through a rhythmic pattern on drum kit, a
bass line played by bass guitar, chords on synthesiser and accordion,
the main melody sung by voice, and countermelodies on the melody
instruments (violin, Wurlitzer piano, uilleann pipes and bouzouki).
`N.C' means no chord so the accompaniment drops out. The words
`with modulation' mean that modulation (a digital effect) is applied
to the synthesiser chord, making the pitch fluctuate slightly (vibrato).…read more


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