Assessment Report

Level 3 Music 2021

Standards 91420  91421  91423

Part A: Commentary

It is necessary for candidates to demonstrate well-developed understanding of elements and features alongside practised skills of transcription and / or realisation. Stronger responses were produced where knowledge was accurately applied. For example, knowledge of compositional or harmonic techniques. Candidates who achieved higher grades responded to specific questions with appropriately selected evidence. They wrote succinct answers with no unnecessary repetition of ideas and used vocabulary correctly. Candidates who did not attempt all parts of a question reduced their chances of achieving higher grades. Candidates must notate their answers clearly. It is preferable to write music notation in pencil first and then go over it in pen. Notated music should always be checked for accuracy – for example, that the number of beats in the bar is correct.

Part B: Report on standards

91420:  Integrate aural skills into written representation

Examinations

This examination consisted of three questions, all of which candidates were required to attempt. The questions covered a variety of music styles and provided opportunities for a range of identification and transcription responses alongside written answers analysing elements and features. Accurate, detailed responses were required, whether identifying and transcribing music or analysing specific elements and features.

Observations

Candidates who achieved higher grades demonstrated accuracy in their transcription of music, attending to details such as the inclusion of accidentals and identification of inversions. They showed a strong foundation of knowledge of elements and features, using all terminology correctly (for example, the terms ‘polyphony’ and homophony’ were not confused). Written answers were planned so that unnecessary repetition was avoided and the most important points were addressed where there was a range of possible answers.

Grade awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • completed most answers
  • wrote notation with some accuracy and generally correct contours in melodic transcription
  • identified individual chords with their quality
  • used some correct terminology
  • gave simple responses which related to the question in a general way.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not complete answers
  • did not write notation clearly
  • responded with Roman numeral chord indications when asked for jazz / rock and vice versa
  • provided responses that were not relevant and did not use the correct language.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • had some success across most types of questions
  • transcribed with a mixture of correct contours and melodic phrases, and some correct rhythmic phrases
  • identified some pairs of chords and some 7th and suspended chords
  • used mostly correct terminology
  • ordered some of their ideas and generally related responses to questions.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • were able to answer with considerable accuracy across all kinds of questions
  • transcribed the bulk of rhythmic and melodic phrases accurately
  • identified most chords including 7ths and suspended chords
  • used terminology correctly
  • wrote articulate and structured responses.

 


 

91421:  Demonstrate knowledge of harmonic and tonal conventions in a range of music scores

Examinations

This examination contained three questions, all of which the candidates were required to attempt. Each question contained short extracts from a specific genre and provided opportunities for both harmonic analysis and realisation. Accurate, detailed responses were required that utilised chordal notation and stylistic conventions appropriate for the genre.

Observations

Candidates who achieved higher grades demonstrated accuracy over a sequence of consecutive chords when analysing harmony. They attended to details such as accidentals and inversions and identified modulations accurately. They drew upon their knowledge of elements and features to correctly identify harmonic features in a given extract. They were able to distinguish between modulation and chromaticism and identify non-harmonic notes accurately. When realising harmonic passages, they identified the underlying chords correctly and adopted conventions that were stylistically appropriate according to the genre. When required to create their own harmonic sequence, they chose chords that were simple and effective. Music notation was consistently legible which, for most candidates, involved writing answers in pencil first and then going over them in pen.

Grade awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • identified individual chords and inversions as well as key centres
  • realised chords in triad form
  • demonstrated some understanding of harmonic techniques and non-harmonic notes
  • attempted all parts of a question.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • did not complete questions or parts of questions
  • did not analyse simple triads
  • did not realise simple chordal harmony or identify key centres and/or non-harmonic notes.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • identified consecutive chords with some accuracy including inversions
  • identified harmonic techniques with some accuracy
  • effectively realised harmony in different styles including four-part harmonic writing and pianistic notation.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • demonstrated a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail in chordal analysis (for example, analysis of added notes in a chord or pivot chords)
  • demonstrated consistency across the skills of harmonic analysis, identification of harmonic features and realisation
  • realised appropriate chords when required
  • used their knowledge of harmony to convincingly realise extended extracts in different styles.

 


 

91423:  Examine the influence of context on a substantial music work

Examinations

The examination included four questions from which candidates were required to select one. The questions required candidates to examine the influence of the context of a substantial music work in terms of its conception, production and interpretation. This involved analysing the work through the specific lens provided by the question and support the response with appropriate examples.

Observations

Candidates who achieved higher grades selected the question that provided them with the best opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the context of their chosen work. They drew upon their knowledge in order to write succinct answers that included relevant information, supported by well-chosen examples. Works were substantial enough to provide suitable material. This did not include short, standalone songs, specific themes from movie soundtracks or events such as festivals. Stronger answers were analytical and insightful rather than personal responses. successful candidates responded directly to the specific question and did not provide responses prepared beforehand.

Grade awarding

Candidates who were awarded Achievement commonly:

  • provided general responses that had some relationship to the question being answered
  • presented responses that were musically analytical but did not make use of the analysis to support their response to the specific question
  • wrote factual information that was not developed in any depth
  • supported responses with simple musical evidence.

Candidates whose work was assessed as Not Achieved commonly:

  • based their responses on works that were not substantial or not music works (such as festivals or events)
  • provided responses that were pre-prepared and did not respond to the question (for example, they may have provided in-depth analyses of song lyrics or dramatic plots that were not supported by musical or contextual evidence)
  • showed limited ability to use musical terminology and / or used very broad evidence
  • presented responses that were personal reflections on their emotional response to the music.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Merit commonly:

  • demonstrated evidence of planning to ensure that their essay responded specifically to the question
  • provided clear and detailed explanations of the influence of context on the three aspects required (conception, production and interpretation)
  • incorporated specific musical evidence that supported key points, either presented descriptively or as musical quotations on the provided manuscript
  • used accurate and purposeful musical terminology.

Candidates who were awarded Achievement with Excellence commonly:

  • showed an in-depth understanding of both the question and the influence of context on the work
  • defined the parameters of their responses clearly
  • made insightful links to wider contextual understanding
  • used relevant and perceptive musical evidence to support the discussion.

Music subject page

Previous years' reports

2020 (PDF, 257KB)

2019 (PDF, 275KB)

2018 (PDF, 117KB)

2017 (PDF, 49KB)

2016 (PDF, 243KB)

 
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