This is provided instead of a traditional written full score (notation). This is a compulsory part for your GCSE composition submission. You must complete a written account for BOTH compositions, Unit 2 and Unit 4.
It must provide the kind of detailed information a score would, it is a written account of everything that happens in your composition.
You must use musical vocabulary to describe the musical events. There is a full list of appropriate musical vocabulary at the end of this document.
I have outlined below a list of musical elements that you can write about in your commentary. Clearly there may be some aspects that are not applicable to your style of song/piece but you should be able to comment on most of the bullet points.
Your written account must include the following three aspects. The first two paragraphs can be written as bullet points or in continuous prose:
You should write your account using Google Docs – SHARE THIS WITH FISHERD AND GLOVERN! You MUST call it your username and “Unit 2 Written Account” (for example 08GloverN Unit 2 Written Account).
1. Paragraph 1 – Overall elements (Style/time sig./tempo/key/structure)
- What style/genre is your composition in?
- What is the time signature of your piece?
- What tempo is your piece?
- Does the tempo vary?
- What key (or keys) is your piece in?
- Detail of the structure of the piece. What sections there are and in what order also include timings in this format 2:30 (this is 2 minutes 30 seconds), or you could use bar numbers i.e. intro is bars 1-9.
2. Paragraph 2 – Instrumental information (Instrumentation/performance techniques/dynamics/FX.)
- All instrumentation included in the piece – be precise, i.e. if drums are used are they rock drums, a jazz brush kit, Sampled kit sounds, drum machine etc.
- Any specific performance instructions – again be totally precise, if using guitars – is the part using a pick, fingerstyle, strumming, single note lines.
- Also include any use of effects/automation etc.
- Please also ensure that you mention any changes in performance technique in the relevant section, i.e. overdrive used on electric guitar 1 in first chorus at 2:20
3. Provide a full account of what happens musically in your piece. This will be in a table format. You will need to create a 3 COLUMN TABLE (this is easy) click on insert table. The headings for each column should be BARS, INSTRUMENT, MUSICAL EVENT.
- Melody – is the melody major or minor? What instrument/s play melodic parts? How does the melody change in different sections? How have you used contrasting melodies? Is the melody scalic/triadic/chromatic? Does it have big interval leaps or move stepwise up/down a scale? Is there any countermelody/call and response? Have you doubled the melody?
- Harmony – what chord sequences are used? Have you used block chords/broken chords/arpeggios? Have you changed key (modulated)?, what role does the bass have – is it playing root notes, chord tones, octaves?
- Rhythm – Include information on both how drums/percussion are used and also any key rhythmic parts (that might include riffs or important chord rhythms). Have you developed your rhythm track from a one or two bar repeated groove? How does this develop throughout your piece? Are there drum fills? How did you create the drum parts?
- Instrumentation – make sure you outline all the instruments that are used and any performance techniques that are included i.e. staccato/pizzicato/legato strings or strummed/picked/fingerpicked guitar parts.
- Dynamics – how have you used dynamics to create contrast/interest/variety?
|1-2||Drums||Steady 8th note hi-hats (quavers)|
|3-4||Drums||Kick drum and snare enter – kick on beats 1 and 3 and snare on bars 2 and 4|
|1-4||Electric Guitar||Minor pentatonic riff ascending and descending – using syncopation|
Please make sure you include information about all musical events; when an instrument is introduced or drops out, if there are any changes in an instrumental part, any use of effects, change in dynamics etc.
It is a good idea to include some notated/tab element – this could be for chord rhythms, melody line, chord sequences etc. Please see Miss Glover or Mr Fisher if you need any help transcribing parts.
AoS1: Rhythm & Metre
Ritardando (rit/rall) – slow down
AoS2: Harmony and Tonality
Major, minor, modal
Modulation – changing key
Cadences – perfect, plagal, imperfect, interrupted, Tierce de Picardie
AoS3: Texture and Melody
Monophonic – describes music consisting of a single melodic line. Whether it is sung/played by one person or many, as long as the same notes and rhythms are being performed, monophonic texture results.
Homophonic – this texture consists of a single, dominating melody that is accompanied by chords. Sometimes the chords move at the same rhythm as the melody; other times the chords are made up of voices that move in counterpoint to each other. The important aspect is that the chords are subservient to the melody.
Polyphonic – a musical texture in which two or more melodic lines of relatively equal importance are performed simultaneously
intervals within the octave
conjunct – Smooth, connected melody that moves principally by small intervals.
Disjunct – Disjointed or disconnected melody with many leaps.
triadic – using notes from a triad (three note chord)
acciaccaturas – a note played as quickly as possible before the note that follows it.
diatonic – within the key
pentatonic – five note scale (i.e. A minor pentatonic is A, C, D, E, G)
augmentation – Statement of a melody in longer note values, often twice as slow as the original.
sequence – a repeated phrase that might be based on a rhythmic idea that is developed.
ostinato – repeated musical phrase
AoS4: Timbre and Dynamics
acapella – unaccompanied singing
instrumental techniques including con arco/with a bow pizzicato/plucked con sordino/muted double-stopping tremolo/tremolando, legato, staccato
Guitar – picked, strummed, fingerpicking, harmonics, palm mute,
Guitar – use of FX, distortion/overdrive, delay, chorus, wah-wah etc.
Bass guitar – slapping, fingerstyle, also use of FX
vocal ranges and techniques such as falsetto and vibrato
Synth sounds – use of FX
|pp||Pianissimo: very quiet|
|ff||Fortissimo: very loud|
|mf||Mezzo forte: fairly loud|
|mp||Mezzo piano: fairly quiet|
|sf||Sforzando: sudden accent (just on that note)|
|> (marked near note head)||Accent: emphasis on a particular note|