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Pre-U Music, Paper 11, Section A The ultimate goal, at least for the most able students, is to be able

to listen to the two performances, select important features of the performances for comparison, comment on the effect of these differences and use their understanding of performance practice to inform their observations. This is a demanding task, and the skill of doing this will be built up over two years. Initially, students may well be taught to identify the differences between the performances without commenting on the effect these differences have. This could usefully be done in bullet point form, or by using a table like the following: RECORDING 1 Tempo RECORDING 2

Dynamics

Instruments

Phrasing

Articulation

Balance

Ornamentation

Other issues

A second stage could be to comment on the effect of the differences, e.g. the slower tempo in the first performance adds to the melancholy mood of the movement, whereas the faster tempo in the second performance allows for a greater sense of line in the phrasing. Students should also be taught about current understanding of performing practice (see the comprehensive reading list in the Teachers Guide, to which can be added to the two excellent books with accompanying CD published by the ABRSM, A Performers Guide to Music of the Baroque Period and A Performers Guide to Music of the Classical Period, both edited by Anthony Burton.) As they progress through the course, they should be shown how to use their increasing knowledge of performance practice to inform their answers.

As they become more experienced, they should be taught how to select from their listening the features that are the most interesting and important for the given recordings. (The specimen mark scheme perhaps gives the impression that ornamentation should be a particular focus this was unintentional; it is one of many areas that could be covered.) Whilst there is no expectation that candidates should answer in any one particular format, early indications from our students work might indicate that a thematic approach ie one in which the issue of e.g. tempo is addressed for both performances in turn, rather than one in which a report of everything connected with performance 1 is followed by a report on performance 2 is easier for the students to handle. The generic mark scheme in the specimen paper is obviously designed for answers submitted after two years of study. In order to give helpful, but also motivating marks to students, it could perhaps be modified (initially by removing the reference to performance practice) for use in the first part of Lower 6th year, to acknowledge that early answers will probably focus more on details than reasons, e.g.:

Descriptors A thorough and detailed comparison, demonstrating excellent aural perception of interpretative differences. A detailed comparison demonstrating good aural perception of interpretative differences. A fairly detailed comparison demonstrating moderately good aural perception of interpretative differences. Some aural awareness of interpretative differences in an uneven comparison. A little aural awareness of a few differences. No attempt to compare the recordings.

Marks 2124 1620 1115 610 15 0