Edexcel - Music GCSE - Set Works

Notes on ten of the set works studied with edexcel

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Music Set Works - Answers
Handel and the Glory of the Lord
1. Key Features of Baroque Music (1600 ­ 1750):
Ornamented melodic parts
Terraced dynamics: the dynamics change suddenly, so there are no crescendos or diminuendos
Repetition because the melody is built from motifs
Simple diatonic harmonies, with narrow range of chords (mainly I and V)
The texture's often contrapuntal
Has a basso continuo which is often played on organ or harpsichord
Limited orchestra ­ mainly strings and continuo.
Consistent mood throughout the piece
Firm establishment of the tonality ­ either major or minor.
Regular phrasing
2. An oratorio is a musical work based on words and stories from the bible. The key difference between the opera and
oratorio is that oratorios only use text from the Bible. Oratorios are also not usually acted out with scenery and
3. The Messiah was written in 1741 and the libretto (words) are split into three parts:
The first section describes the prophecies of Jesus' birth. `And the Glory of the Lord' is the fourth piece in the first
section and the first chorus in the `Messiah'. It follows after an aria sung by a tenor, before a bass recitative.
4. Aria: A solo vocal piece backed by the orchestra, which often reflects on a mood or emotion. The music is much more
elaborate to display the vocal qualities and expertise of the singer.
Recitative: A song which tells the story and moves it along. The rhythm of the words tends to imitate the rhythm
of normal speech. There is a minimal focus on the music.
Chorus: Sung by the choir. They are usually written of SATB choirs. Most baroque choirs were all male, so the
highest parts would be sung by boy sopranos.
5. And the Glory of the Lord is made up of a few motifs. Handel usually introduces these very simply ­ just sung by one
part then weaves them into the rest of the music. The parts imitate each other, e.g. bars 79-83 the altos and tenors
begin a phrase, then the sopranos and basses start the same phrase one bar later. This is a canon. The motives are
used in pairs, with motif A and B being the basis for the first part of the piece and C and D forming the basis for the
second before all four are combined to finish the piece.
Motif 1: First heard in bars 1-4 by the violins and first sung by altos in bars 11-14. It is mainly syllabic ­ emphasises
words. The first three notes outline the triad (A major) emphasising the key signature. It is a stepwise scale
And the Glo ­ ry the Glory of the Lord
Motif 2: First heard in bars 17 ­ 20 sung by tenors. The words `be revealed' are spread over a descending
sequence. The word setting of `revealed `is melismatic ­ emphasises melody.
Motif 3: First sung by the altos in bars 43 ­ 46. There is a repetitive idea consisting of three statements of the
descending fourth idea. This gives the impression of a firm statement. The word setting is melismatic ­
emphasises melody.

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Motif 4: First sung by the tenors and basses in bars 51 ­ 57. It's the only motif that's introduced by two parts. The
long repeated notes emphasise the conviction of the lyrics. It is a pedal note (A) ­ the tonic so it emphasises the
key signature. The word setting is syllabic ­ emphasises words.
6. A joyful mood is achieved by:
Bright major key signature
Allegro tempo
Generally forte dynamics.
Lilting rhythms.
7.…read more

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The classical era spanned from 1750 ­ 1830 and it saw a deliberate move away from the flamboyant and ornate
baroque ideals. The period was dominated by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. The composers were paid to write
music by royalty and aristocrats. However, later in the classical period concerts were opened for the middle classes.
2. At the start of the classical period, composers wrote for small orchestras ­ mainly stings with horns, flutes and oboes.
Later on the woodwind section grew ­ e.g.…read more

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Four G minor chords to finish
emphasises ending.
12. Mostly homophonic but some counterpoint in the development. Octave doubling of melodies is used, e.g. bar 89 in
woodwind. The second subject is a dialogue between strings and woodwind ­ anacrusis.
13. Perfect and imperfect cadences used, e.g. bars 88- 100 is a long extended perfect cadence. Pedals used. Mainly
diatonic harmony with some chromaticism. Mainly primary triads in root and first inversion.
Schoenberg: Peripetie
1.…read more

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Arnold Schoenberg was a composer in the late-romantic period and he followed composers like Wagner by adding
lots of chromatics to his piece. In the early twentieth century he became interested in the ideas of expressionist
painters. In Schoenberg's music the practical results was his move towards atonal music, because he felt traditional
music was too restrictive and that he couldn't express the full range of human emotions.
3.…read more

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You get a blues scale by flattening the third and seventh of any major scale by a semitone. The fifth note is
sometimes flattened too. The flattened notes are known as the blue notes: e.g. C Eb F Gb G Bb C
3. 12 bar blues uses a set chord patter, 12 bars long. The chord sequence is:
4.…read more

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Moby layers sampled and synthesised instruments to build up the texture of the piece. Synthesised piano chords
start the piece. Male voice taken from a recording of a 1953 Gospel choir is used ­ it is not cleaned up and the
electronic ghostings making it seem more natural, adding an extra effect in itself. Sampled hip hop drum beat is
edited to fit into the time signature. Synthesised strings play a counter melody, which doesn't distract from the
main melody.…read more

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Improvisation ­ The music is made up spontaneously without the use of written musical notation. With Yiri,
the music was later noted by a recording which is known as transcription.
Polyphonic Texture ­ This is where there are two or more parts playing different melodies at the same time
creating a multi-layered texture. Performers often improvise new melodies while other continues the original
melody creating a polyphonic texture.…read more

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This creates a polyphonic texture. This occurs in bars 57-60. Finally, the
solo voice in `Yiri' is a contrast to the other instruments because it is the only part to have sustained notes. This makes
the entrance of the soloist more dramatic, emphasising its importance.
11. The two balaphones play throughout the piece, apart from the introduction when only the treble balaphone plays.
They play polyrhythms and are independent of each other for most of the piece.…read more

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To make the music more expressive, composers gave extra instructions ­ as well as tempo markings, they
would include instructions like dolce, amoroso or agitato.
There were more tempo changes ­ a piece might change speeds lots of times within the same section.
Musicians also used rubato, where performers speed up a little in one phrase and slow down in another,
which gives the performer more freedom to be expressive.…read more


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