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Edexcel GCSE music concern - wrong infomation in revision guide

Discussion in 'Music' started by pstrike, May 15, 2011.

  1. Some of my GCSE students have bought the Alan Charlton revision guide, which has different information from the Paul Terry student guide (which I have been teaching from!). For example the student guide teaches that Steve Reich Electric Counterpoint is in Eminor and modulates to Cminor and the revision guide says that it is in G major and modulates to Eb major!!! there are many other mistakes like this, usually realted to harmony.
    I have only recently seen this revision guide, and have told my students to make sure they revise from my lesson notes, but i'm concerned that there may be many other students who have learned or revised the wrong information! Surely Edexcel should check infromation that goes out from other publishers? After all they have thier stamp on the front!
    This specification has already been so difficult to teach, with little clue as to what students should expect from the exam and with this added on top, i'm really worried about this years results!
    I really enjoyed teaching the old Edexcel Spec, and thought it gave students a good foundation for listening and further study (although not always in enough depth for continuation to Alevel), and feel that this spec has left me in a position where i'm constantly questioning whether or not i'm getting it right.
    Would love to know if anyone else has noticed these mistakes, and others opinions on the new spec. I have already changed to OCR for our new year 10's!
  2. saxo07

    saxo07 New commenter

    I noticed this too. I haven't been using the Paul Terry book as (mentioned in a previous thread) it was just far too detailed for my students. The CPG purple revision guide also lists Emin and Cmin, but BBC Bitesize says G and Eb major!!
    This is another example of how the spec is making our lives difficult. I've advised my students to look for clues in the questions (should they arise). For example, if the question is 'The piece begins in Emin, what key does it modulate to?' then they know to write C min and if a major key is mentioned to use G or Eb. I think the problem is that the tonality can be seen as ambiguous (and that music researchers seem to disagree!)
    This is something that should have been sorted before everything went to press.
    Also, the version of 'Something's Coming' that is used in the specimin paper is from the film version NOT from the official Edexcel CD, meaning that the question 'What interval is sung at the end of the extract' had a totally different answer! My studentswere very unsettled by this.
  3. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    While I agree that Terry's book is quite detailed, that's surely because it explains ambiguities such as this. The section in question ends "have we finished in G major or is the piece in a modal version of E minor? Without a cadence or a complete tonic chord, Reich ensures that we are left wondering".
    That seems to hit the nail on the head. Cadences are essential in establishing tonality and creating modulations, and without them the music is bound to sound tonally ambiguous. Edexcel's own book, written by its chief examiners, also mentions the tonal ambiguity of the piece.
    I know that that is a tricky concept for weaker students, but if they are going to study 20th century music, they are going to have to learn that there are often not simple answers to questions such as "what key is this in?". It's the sort of problem inherant in any arts subject.
    I don't think it is anything to worry about. If there is a question on keys in the Reich (and I'd be surprised if there was, given the tonal ambiguity of the piece), it is almost certain that the markscheme would credit either of the two pairs of keys suggested by the key signatures.
  4. Mrs Music

    Mrs Music New commenter

    I wasn't too surprised by this; after all it is a listening test. At A-level we try to listen to different versions of the same piece where possible, so I think it's good practise at GCSE too.

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