Online & Web Resources
NOTE - as of August 2018 Quizlet requires students and everyone to sign-up. Rest assured Quizlet is still a FREE service. Students are encouraged to only supply the necessary information required to sign-up, namely date of birth, username, email and password. That's it! It is up to students if they wish to sign up for email alerts, promotions and more.
More information can be found here - https://quizlet.com/blog/dont-have-a-quizlet-account-heres-why-wed-like-you-to-create-one
Quizlet is a resource with quick quizzes, interactive games and interactive flash cards to aid the learning of terms and definitions
Clicking HERE will take you to a section in this website where you can learn about reading and following staff notation, rhythm only.
Clicking HERE or clicking the linked title above will take you to a site where you can learn the basics of reading staff notation, rhythm AND pitch.
For help with the notes of the stave, note lengths/values, pitch recognition and recall, and pitch dictation (plotting pitch on a stave)
Click on 'E-Zone' via the top menu bar
Notes of the stave - 'Name That Note!' game
Note Lengths/Values - 'Rhythm Bandit' and 'Weatherwise'
Pitch Recognition and Recall - 'Holy Mole'
Pitch Dictation (plotting pitch on a stave) - 'Monkey Sing, Monkey Doh!'
For video tutorials on everything from rhythm and tempo, to common notation symbols
Click on 'E-Zone' via the top menu bar
Click on the 'Music Theory' link...
...then choose any one of the videos to watch
Note - if the sites do not work try the following:
Enabling 'Flash' in your browser
Using a different browser
Clicking on the puzzle piece symbol in the address bar and choosing the option that will allow flash plugin to run
WebRhythms is a valuable resource for learning how to read rhythmic notation. In short, how to read the note value symbols -
If the link above does not work, you can navigate to:
Click on 'Education' from the top menu bar
Click on 'WebRhythms'
The major scale is the basis of almost all music as we understand it - at least melodically and harmonically. Click the link above to be taken to MusicTheory.net where you will find an explanation on how the major scale works.
Please note that this site uses American terminology whereby Whole Step = Tone, and Half Step = Semitone
As well as the MusicTheory.net explanation above, Teoria also have a very simple to understand explanation of how the major scale works. You may prefer this explanation. Just click the link above.
The link above takes you to the Teoria.com scale constructor. You can construct the most basic scales such as major and minor, as well as more advanced scales and modes.
Use this video to help you understand what an interval is:
A very important point to remember...
... in GCSE music you do not need to know any of the MINOR INTERVALS
Next test yourself using this MusicTheory.Net resource
Here's another test from ToneSavvy.com
Identifying Instruments of the Orchestra
Use this video to help you recognise the sounds of the instruments of the orchestra
Families - brass, strings, woodwind, percussion (the individual instruments portion is not very accurate FOR SOME INSTRUMENTS as it uses electronic versions for some of the examples)
This video features actual footage and is much longer
Use these two tests below to test yourself
Sporcle - sounds of musical instruments TEST - with answers at end
Individual instruments TEST - with images NO ANSWERS REVEALED! Great for a challenge
Periods of Composition
When we refer to the periods of composition in GCSE students need to know only three periods:
Baroque - circa 1600 - 1750
Classical - circa 1750 - 1820
Romantic - circa 1820 - 1900
Baroque (1600 - 1750) – Check pages 81-87 CGP Book. Uses harpsichord a lot, the piano was NOT even invented. Very strict and almost mathematical in how melodies worked together with harmony using complex melody patterns making advanced use of techniques such as inversion, sequence, imitation and so forth. Lots of contrapuntal and polyphonic textures where lots of melodic lines were combined. Complex structures and forms such as the fugue were common. Lots of ornamentation such as trills and turns. Lots of organ compositions and basso continuo (continuously moving bass), and ground bass form. Concerto grosso present as well as solo concerto. Composers - JS Bach; Vivaldi; Handel
Classical (1750 - 1830) – Check pages 90-96. Piano first appeared as well as the clarinet. Full orchestra created as we near enough know it today, only slightly smaller at this point. Clear cut and balanced melodies and structure, versus the more flamboyant and decorated melodies of the Baroque period. The structure for much of the music had symmetry in its design just like the classical architecture of the time – A followed by B, then back to A, for example. Clear and memorable melodies. Subtle dynamics – crescendos and diminuendos instead of sudden changes like in Baroque music. The invention of the piano contributed to this. Lots of woodwind chord support instead of harpsichord which was no longer used. The symphony was invented to really exploit the full orchestra and its four instrument families. Repetition and contrast were the basis of much of classical music. Sonata form (music in several movements) was born also. Composers - Mozart; Beethoven; Haydn
Romantic (1850 - 1900) – Check pages 97-100. Very passionate and emotive. Music was linked heavily to art, literature and passion as opposed to religion. Much of today's film music is essentially still rooted in the Romantic period because of its ability to easily draw emotional responses from the listener. Richer harmonies making use of dissonance more, and thicker textures, orchestras became enormous compared to previous periods. Advances in technology and mass production meant that instruments could be refined to produce a wider range of textures, timbres and dynamics, and these could be produced easily on a large scale - hence the bigger orchestra. Brass section now had valves giving them more ability to play complex lines and therefore played more of a part. The Tuba was added. Larger string section. Composers took liberties with tempo and timing to make music even more emotive and melodramatic. German Lied form appeared. Programme music appeared (that tells a story). Advances were made to the concerto form and sonata form also. Composers - Wagner; Strauss; Chopin (though mainly piano work and sonatas); Tchaikovsky; Brahms.
The below links are also very helpful resources to help students learn about the distinct features of the music from each period.
(Ignore the 'Modern' period explanation and examples)
The links below (including the linked title above) take you to information about melody. There are several pages:
The links below (including the linked title above) take you to information about chords.
One thing that GCSE students must learn about as part of harmony and chords are cadences.
A cadence is a harmonic movement from one chord to another - you'll need to understand how harmony and chords work first.
Click the title above or here to find out how cadences work, including an explanation of harmony and chords first.