Coimisiún na Scrúduithe Stáit State Examinations Commission LEAVING CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION 2003 MUSIC

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1 Coimisiún na Scrúduithe Stáit State Examinations Commission LEAVING CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION 2003 MUSIC ORDINARY LEVEL CHIEF EXAMINER S REPORT HIGHER LEVEL CHIEF EXAMINER S REPORT

2 CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION Assessment 3 2 PERFORMANCE OF CANDIDATES Participation Grade distribution (Ordinary level) Grade distribution (Higher level) 7 3 ANALYSIS OF CANDIDATE PERFORMANCE ORDINARY LEVEL Performing Examinations Listening Paper Composing Paper 10 4 ANALYSIS OF CANDIDATE PERFORMANCE HIGHER LEVEL Performing Examinations Performing Elective Listening Paper (Core) Listening (Elective) Composing Paper (Core) Composing (Elective) 17 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMDNDATIONS Performing Examinations Composing Listening 18 APPENDIX 1 EXEMPLARS OF STANDARD 20 2

3 1. INTRODUCTION The current Leaving Certificate Music syllabus, introduced in 1999, was examined for the fifth time this year. The new syllabus was designed to enable students to continue their music studies in a school-based context as a culmination of a five-year Post-Primary course of study. It was also designed to provide continuity and progression in the skills acquired through the Junior Certificate syllabus in music, consistent with individual and special needs. In particular, the new syllabus emphasises accessibility and is designed to enable students to develop their creativity within the three components of performing, listening and composing. (See Syllabus pp. 1-3) The syllabus accommodates individual differences in musical values and experiences and divergence in students musical needs, interests and ambitions. It is designed to develop knowledge, understanding, skills, and attitudes, and to encourage excellence in a variety of musical activities. 1.1 Assessment Music at Leaving Certificate level is available at two levels Ordinary and Higher. The three activities of performing, listening and composing are assessed. The performing component is assessed during the two-week examining period in March / April, by examiners appointed by the State Examinations Commission. The listening and composing components are assessed by aural and written examinations respectively. These examinations are held in June and each examination is of 90 minutes duration. At Higher Level, the assessment structure allows candidates to specialise in the component of the course best suited to their aptitude, interest and ability. Essentially, this structure requires candidates to nominate one of the three components i.e. performing or listening or composing as their elective. In the case of performing, the elective consists of an extended performance. In 2003, over 97% of Higher Level candidates opted for the elective in performing. Higher level candidates who choose the elective in performing present either six pieces in one performing activity, or four pieces in each of two activities. A detailed description of the performing options available to candidates is 3

4 provided in the Notes for the Information of Teachers and Students that is issued to all school authorities annually. The Listening (elective) consists of a written examination in which questions of a general nature are set, and students respond in relation to the musical topic that they have chosen to study. In addition, candidates taking this elective present a prepared tape of recordings on their chosen topic. There is a total of 400 marks available at Higher Level: 100 for each of the three components, and 100 for the elective. Ordinary Level candidates do not take an elective. However, the component in which they achieve the highest mark is treated as the weighted component and marked out of 200. The other components receive a weighting of 100 marks each, giving a total of 400 marks for the examination. All stages of the assessment and marking processes are underpinned by a comprehensive and transparent system of monitoring in each of the three components. This ensures consistency in the application of the agreed marking schemes and evaluation criteria. A detailed description of the quality assurance processes in relation to the State examinations generally is available on the Commission s website and in its Annual Report

5 2. PERFORMANCE OF CANDIDATES 2.1 Participation The increase in numbers taking Music at Leaving Certificate level, which peaked in 1999 when the new syllabus was introduced, is still in evidence. When considered in the context of the number of candidates sitting the Leaving Certificate overall, the increase in participation is particularly significant. Leaving Certificate Music Higher & Ordinary Levels Profile by number: OL % HL % Total Increase % Leaving Certificate Music Higher & Ordinary Levels Profile by gender: Level Gender Female OL % Male % Female HL % Male % Female Total % Male %

6 Grade 2.2 Grade Distribution Leaving Certificate Music Ordinary Level grades: No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % A A B B B C C C D D D E F NG Gr Leaving Certificate Music Ordinary Level aggregate grades: No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % A B C D E F NG

7 2.3 Grade Distribution Leaving Certificate Music Higher Level grades: Grade No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % A A B B B C C C D D D E F NG Leaving Certificate Music Higher Level aggregate grades: Grade No. % No. %. No. % No. % No. % A B C D E F NG

8 3. ANALYSIS OF CANDIDATE PERFORMANCE - ORDINARY LEVEL 3.1. PERFORMING EXAMINATIONS Standard of Performance: In general, the standard of performance was very high and students were well prepared for the examination. Many candidates performed with higher-level groups. Some candidates who presented singing, particularly in popular genres, had intonation problems, sometimes due to unsuitable key choices. A small number of candidates presented recorder pieces that were below the required standard e.g. utilising only a very limited number of notes. Frequently Encountered Options: Solo singing and solo playing were the most popular options. The recorder was the most popular instrument in both solo and group performance. Music Technology was presented by approximately 7% of candidates. Those who presented this option were well prepared for the examination. Pieces - type, choice and balance: Programmes presented were varied in style and were generally well contrasted. Singers tended to choose popular songs, folk songs and songs from musicals. Recorder players generally played short classical tunes. Unprepared Tests: The majority of candidates chose aural memory (rhythm). The response was varied, with some candidates displaying a lack of preparation for this element of the examination. Longer note values and dotted crotchet-quaver rhythms caused problems for candidates. A very small number of candidates chose improvisation and scored well. Unprepared Tests options chosen by Ordinary Level candidates Aural Memory Aural Memory Sight reading Conducting Improvisation Rhythm Melody 97.1% 1.3% 0.8% 0% 0.8% 8

9 3.2. LISTENING PAPER In this paper, candidates were required to answer all six questions. In general, the standard of answering was good in question 5 (Irish Music) and question 6 (aural skills), whereas the standard was more variable in questions one to four. Q1 The questions which gave the greatest difficulty were Section C (i), describing the rhythm and Section C (iii) where many candidates did not understand the terms to be explained. Q2 Parts (ii), (iii) and (iv) were fairly well answered, but very few candidates could identify the clarinet in part (i). In part (v), many candidates could only name one track. Q3 Parts (ii), (iii) and (iv) were fairly well answered. Very few candidates could identify the movement in part (i) or explain the term cadenza in part (v). Q4 As with questions one to three, Examiners noted that candidates found the explanation of terms challenging.( parts iii and v). Q5 Very well answered, on the whole. Q6 Although this question was generally very well answered, very few answered Section A (iii) correctly and a number of candidates omitted Section B (ii) completely. 9

10 3.3. COMPOSING PAPER Section A Melody Composition Q.1 This was the most popular question attempted. Some candidates failed to end on the keynote and often omitted expression marks. Q.2 Very few candidates attempted this question. In general it was badly answered, with little evidence of preparation for the specific skills of word setting. Q.3 This question was attempted by quite a few candidates, with the same errors encountered in question one in evidence i.e. failing to end on the key note and failing to insert expression marks. Section B Harmony Q.4 Most candidates attempted this question and many scored highly. The most common mistakes occurred in the bass line and in the incorrect use of note values. Q.5 This was the second most popular option. Candidates frequently misnamed a number of chords. Q.6 Only a small number attempted this question. The naming of chords was in general, accurate but many failed to add descant notes. 10

11 4. ANALYSIS OF CANDIDATE PERFORMANCE HIGHER LEVEL 4.1. PERFORMING EXAMINATIONS - CORE Standard of Performance: Only a small number of students entered for the higher-level core performance, with some 97% of Higher Level candidates opting for the elective in performing. The standard was very high overall with most performances showing careful preparation and strong awareness of dynamics and phrasing. Frequently encountered options: Solo singing and solo playing were the preferred options amongst those who entered at this level. Group singing also featured, but mostly in schools with a choral tradition. The range of instruments presented varied, but the piano was the most popular, followed by traditional instruments and fiddle in particular. Pieces - type, choice and balance: In general, programmes presented were well balanced and varied in style. Songs were selected from a wide repertoire including popular songs, songs from musicals, spirituals, traditional and folk songs. Solo singers and instrumentalists favoured the classical repertoire. Unprepared tests: The majority of candidates chose aural memory (rhythm) and a smaller number took the sight tests. The standard of response was somewhat mixed but showed an improvement on previous years. Examiners noted that candidates who chose sight tests tended to be better prepared for the test and thus achieved higher marks than those who chose aural memory (rhythm). Only one candidate chose improvisation. Unprepared tests options selected by Higher Level (core) candidates Aural Memory Rhythm Aural Memory Melody Sight reading Conducting Improvisation 85% 1% 13% 0% 1% 11

12 4.2. PERFORMING - ELECTIVE Standard of Performance: The performances of candidates presenting this option were excellent, on the whole. Some problems encountered included intonation in the case of singers presenting popular songs, frequently caused by unsuitable key choice, and somewhat over-ambitious programmes in the case of classical solo instrumentalists, particularly pianists. Some candidates presenting music technology displayed a lack of knowledge of the hardware and software. Frequently Encountered Options: The majority of higher-level elective students opted to present two performing activities. Solo playing was the most popular option, followed by solo singing. Examiners noted that group singing was presented in many schools with a strong choral tradition and also in coeducational schools. Group performances included recorder ensembles, traditional groups, rock bands and big bands. A number of candidates chose music technology as one of two activities. Pieces - type, choice and balance: Programmes were generally well chosen, offering variety, balance and contrast. Solo and group singing options encompassed a wide range of styles. Examiners noted that many candidates presented material from popular genres. Many classically trained performers also tended to include a piece from the popular repertoire in their programmes. Unprepared Tests: The majority of candidates chose aural memory (rhythm). The standard of response was varied and Examiners reported that some candidates showing a lack of preparation for this aspect of the examination. A small number of candidates chose aural memory (melody) and had some difficulty responding. Examiners reported that instrumentalists who chose the sight test option were generally fluent in their response. Unprepared Tests options selected by Higher Level elective candidates Aural Memory Aural Memory Sight reading Conducting Improvisation Rhythm Melody 70.3% 1.1% 27.1% 0% 1.6% 12

13 4.3. LISTENING PAPER - CORE In this paper candidates were required to answer all questions, with a choice of topic in question 5B. The best-answered questions were question 5A (Irish Music) and question 6 (aural skills). The following is a summary of candidates responses in each section: Q.1 Section A (i) Well answered. (ii) A minority of candidates achieved full marks. Many candidates answered violins (iii) Well answered. Section B (i) Fairly well answered. (ii) Generally well answered. Some candidates mis-read the question and identified the bar where the woodwind first played the theme, rather than where they first entered. (iii) Very few candidates correctly identified the rhythmic figure. Some candidates mis-read the question and answered with a melodic figure e.g. arpeggios / broken chords / trills. Section C (i) Very well answered. (ii) Very few candidates achieved full marks, as they did not refer to both extracts. (iii) Excellent answering, on the whole. Q.2 (i) Generally well answered. (ii) Very few answers completely correct. A common response was by step. (iii) Excellent answering. (iv) Most candidates got one answer correct. Some chose three instead of two. (v) Fairly well answered. Q.3 (i) The movement was generally correct, however the section was frequently identified as 1A. (ii) Very well answered. 13

14 (iii) (iv) (v) Excellent answering. Very good answering. A common error was the naming of viola as a transposing instrument. Very well answered. Q.4 (i) Very well answered. (ii) Excellent answering. (iii) Generally well answered. Subtraction was the most common technique identified. Some candidates had difficulty in explaining the technique named. (iv) Excellent answering. (v) Few candidates managed to explain the term accurately. Q.5 Section A Questions on identification of instruments, dances and musical features were very well answered. However, many candidates had difficulty in describing the style of the excerpts where required, and frequently listed characteristics of the style in general, rather than characteristics actually present in the recording. Section B This section of the question was generally not well answered. In most cases, there was not enough detail or responses were irrelevant. For example, many candidates gave the life story of Turlough O Carolan when describing the harp. Descriptions of the uilleann pipes were frequently vague, and answers on The Ceilí Band were also somewhat vague and inaccurate. Q.6 Candidates responded well to this question, except Section A (i) and C (i) where more than the required number of instruments were named and Section B (ii) where reference to Section A was omitted in making comparison 14

15 4.4. LISTENING - ELECTIVE Tapes The majority of tapes contained relevant recorded extracts. Some exceeded the length required and a number of candidates did not write the name of the recorded excerpts on the tape insert, as required. Sources The majority of candidates gave details of sources; however a significant number were vague, for example, the internet, CDs, music books. Specific sources are required, as per the marking scheme. Chosen Topic Examiners noted that candidates who achieved high marks tended to chose topics that were sufficiently focussed to enable detailed research to be undertaken. In general, topics were too broadly based, the musical features of the topic were not adequately discussed and the various question requirements were not linked together in a cohesive and coherent manner. A personal response by the candidate to the chosen topic is required. SAMPLE OF LISTENING ELECTIVE TOPICS PRESENTED (Please note that many of these topics are too broad and insufficiently focussed to allow for detailed personal response. Please refer to Syllabus, page 12) Film Music Film Music of the Last Forty Years The Classical Period Classical Music The Music of the Musicals Classical Music ( ) Early Jazz Years 1890 s to 1930 s Jazz and its Different Styles Jazz Jazz Elective Sixties Music Pop Songs of the Last Forty Years Rock Music Roc Ceol Claissiceach Romantic Era Russian Nationalist Composers Survey of Modern Art Music Childrens Corner Suite The Music of Yann Tierson Innovative Irish Composers of the Present Day Ballads Wolfe Tones African Music 15

16 4.5. COMPOSING PAPER - CORE In the Composing Paper, candidates were required to answer two questions, one from Section A, and one from Section B. Section A Melody Composition Q.1 This was the most frequently answered question. Examiners reported that the standard in general was somewhat erratic. Candidates encountered problems with the anacrusis, which often resulted in an uneven number of bars. The modulation was often mismanaged with the accidental incorrectly used. In many cases, the dynamics inserted were logical and the choice of instrument was appropriate to the range of the melody. However, the opening ideas were not always developed. Q.2 There were very few attempts at this question, and, in the main, there was little evidence of musical word setting, which is an obvious requirement in this question. Q.3 Few candidates attempted this question. The attempts were quite good with the form generally adhered to. However, a number were not written in a clearly defined gavotte style. Section B Harmony Q.4 The minor key tonality of the question presented some problems for candidates here. A small minority coped well, but in general, the quality of the melody was poor. In contrast, the quality of the bass line was generally good. Q.5 This was by far the most popular question and the responses were quite good. A number of candidates did not accurately indicate the minor chords in Roman numerals. The alignment was mostly good and the cadence points were in general well handled. Examiners reported that common mistakes included the incorrect use of chord iii and the doubling of the major third in first inversion chords. Q.6 Very few candidates attempted this question. The writing was mostly fair but in general the descant writing was uneven and not in the given style. 16

17 4.6. COMPOSING - ELECTIVE The standard of composing electives presented this year was generally very high. Most compositions/arrangements displayed a good degree of creativity and originality, and were well constructed with good musical development. A number of excellent compositions did not include a description of the process, which is a requirement of this option. (See Syllabus, p.9) 17

18 5. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 5.1 PERFORMING Candidates should carefully consider the length of the programme when selecting pieces. There was some evidence of unsuitable key choices, particularly in the case of vocalists. Examiners also noted that, in some instances, insufficient attention had been given to the preparation of the unseen tests. Candidates should familiarise themselves with the specific requirements of the performing examinations. Candidates presenting Music Technology should note that inputting may be in real time or step time. Copying and pasting are not valid methods of inputting unless the music copied was first input by the candidate. 5.2 COMPOSING Ordinary Level candidates should note the requirement to add expression marks to their melody At Higher Level, candidates should note the requirement to develop the given part in their composition and ensure that modulations occur in a musical context. COMPOSING ELECTIVE Candidates choosing this elective should note that a full written description of the compositions / arrangements / orchestrations must accompany each elective (see Syllabus, page 9) and where electro-acoustic music is being submitted, a prepared tape is a necessary requirement. 5.3 LISTENING Candidates should familiarise themselves with the terminology in the set works. A detailed knowledge of the set works is expected. In the Irish Music question, candidates should respond in some detail to the chosen question. Many responses lack sufficient detail and do not focus on the question. 18

19 LISTENING ELECTIVE Candidates should note the requirements regarding the prepared tape and in particular, the requirement to demonstrate a personal response to the chosen topic. Candidates should refer to the syllabus and to the Information Note that is issued to schools annually. 19

20 APPENDIX 1 EXEMPLARS OF STANDARD COMPOSING PAPER (HIGHER LEVEL) SECTION A MELODY COMPOSITION Examples have been typeset to protect candidate identity. In all cases, every effort has been made to reproduce the original response of the candidate, including the positioning of dynamics, phrase marks, stems, slurs, articulation and stem direction. Q1 CONTINUATION OF A GIVEN OPENING EXAMPLE 1 violin cello horn flute trombone bassoon trumpet Marks awarded: Quality of melody 30 Deductions (modulation, instrument, dynamics) 7 Final mark 23 20

21 EXAMPLE 2 violin cello horn flute trombone bassoon trumpet Marks awarded: Quality of melody 25 No deductions 21

22 EXAMPLE 3 violin cello horn flute trombone bassoon trumpet Marks awarded: Quality of melody 29 No deductions 22

23 EXAMPLE 4 violin cello horn flute trombone bassoon trumpet Marks awarded: Quality of melody 12 Deductions (modulation, phrasing, dynamics) 7 Final mark 5 23

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