Leaving Cert music: Challenging moments hit a bum note

Students had to draw on their knowledge of set works that were not played

Students were asked about Baroque features, which they should know from studying Bach. Photo: iStock

Students were asked about Baroque features, which they should know from studying Bach. Photo: iStock

 

There were some challenging moments on this year’s higher-level music paper, according to Dr Susan McCormick, a teacher at the Institute of Education.

“Students were asked questions on excerpts played in the exam, but also had to draw on their knowledge of set works that were not played,” said Dr McCormick.

“Students were asked about Baroque features, which they should know from studying Bach, but it is unusual to find such a question within the Irish music section.

Mary McFadden, a music teacher at Loreto Balbriggan, said that the students were happy to see Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody appear on the listening section of the paper, while a question on the use of Tchaikovsky from the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture was also well-received.

“On the listening section, they were asked to describe and identify certain aspects or features which gave the stronger student a chance to shine,” said Ms McFadden.

Dr McCormick said that there were six questions on the composing paper, with the majority of students tackling questions one and five, but that both of those questions were in a minor key which is less familiar to a lot of students.

“In question one, the melody was in 6 / 8 time, in a minor key. It was not unlike the melody that came up in 2012. In question five, the harmony was also minor. Despite this, the chord progressions and cadences were relatively straight forward,” she said.

There was nothing unexpected on the ordinary level paper and Ms McFadden said that her students were happy with it.