AQA music revision unit 1 exam

Reading and writing music: stuff you will need for an AQA exam

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The Basics

Clefs are symbols which tell you how high or low to play notes

Pitch: notes higher up the stave have a higher pitch. Notes lower on the  

stave have a lower pitch

Double Bar: you get a double barline at the end of a poiece or section

Triplets: The 3 and the curved line show the notes are Triplets

Tones and semi tones are the gaps between the notes

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The treble clef is the most common cleft

The treble clef is used for higher pitched melody instruments e.g flute, oboe, clarinet, coilin, trumpets and horns

The Bass clef is used for low pitched instruments

The bass clef is used for lower pitched instruments like the tuba, trombone, bassoon, cello and double bass.

The vocal tenor clef is for tenor voices anbd lead guitars

It is the same as the treble clef but it has a tiny 8 underneath which means that the notes are played one octave lower

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Time Signatures

Time signatures show how many beats are in a bar.

There is always a time signature at the start of every piece. It's written using two numbers.

The top number tells you how many beats there are in each bar

The bottom number tells you how long each beat is.

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when two or more rhythms are played at the same time the music is polyrhythmic.


Time signatures can be split up into different patterns of beats.

cross rhythms

Cross rhythms are when two or more rhythms that dont fit together are played at thesame time

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Note values

Semi breves are 4 beat notes

Minims are 2 beat notes

Crotchets are 1 beat notes

Quavers are 1/2 beats

Semiquavers are 1/4 beats   

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A dot after a not or rest makes it longer

A dot just to the right of a note or rest makes it half as long again

A second dot adds on another quater of the original note length

A tie joins two notes together

A ties is a curved line joining two notes of the same pitch together, it turns them into one note

A triplet is three notes all the same length squeezed into the time of two

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largo: broad and slow                    Accelerando: speeding up

Larghetto: still broad, not so slow  Rallentando: slowing down

Adagio: bit faster then largo           Ritendo: holding back the pace

Andante: walking pace            Allargando:slowing down getting broader

Moderato: moderate speed     Rubato:flexible with the pace of music 

Allegro:quick and lively            A tempo: back to the original pace

Vivace: very lively and quick

Presto: really fast

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Overall feel of the piece

Agitato: Agitated                                   pesante: heavy

Alla marcia: in march style                   risoluto: strong, confident, bold

Amoroso: loving                                   Trionfale: trianfant

Calmato: calm

Dolce: soft and sweet

Energico: energetic

Giocoso: playful

Grandioso: gradually  

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pp: pianissimo : very quiet

p : piano : quiet

mp: mezzopiano :fairly quiet

mf: mezzoforte: fairly loud

f : forte: loud

ff: forissimo:very loud

cresendo: getting louder

Diminuendo: getting quieter

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Accents, Glissando and Bends

An accent is a type of articulation that tells you to emphasise a note

A Glissando is a slide from one note to another.

A bend changes the pitch of the note slightly  

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