The ‘IB Music Revision Guide 3rd Edition’ includes analyses of all the prescribed works of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme music course through to 2021. It also includes a comprehensive overview of all the musical styles and cultures that are examined during the course, practice questions and answers that allow students to check their knowledge, as well as a glossary to help ensure key terms are understood. There are also revision tips and advice on exam technique that will help students prepare for the IB listening exam with confidence. Suitable for Standard and Higher Level.
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About the Author
Roger Paul has over 28 years of experience as a musician and teacher. From 2005 to 2013 Paul was the director of music at Ellesmere College, and he is currently Head of Academic Music at St Paul’s Girls’ School, London.
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BRANDENBURG CONCERTO NO. 2 IN F MAJOR BWV1047 (c.1719–21) J. S. BACH
This Prescribed Work is the second of a set of 6 concertos scored for a variety of instrumental combinations which Johann Sebastian Bach sent to Christian-Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt in 1721. Concerto No. 2 is believed to have been composed in or around 1719. The Margrave had asked Bach to send him some of his compositions and it is most likely all 6 concertos were written during the period Bach was employed as Kapellmeister to the Prince of Anhalt-Köthen. Indeed most of Bach's chamber and orchestral music dates from his time in this post.
These concertos are mostly of a type called Concerto Grosso (literally 'big concert'), a popular genre among middle to late Baroque composers including Corelli, Vivaldi, Handel and of course Bach. A Concerto Grosso features two contrasting instrumental groups: the concertino, a smaller group of soloists, and the ripieno, the tutti or full orchestra (usually strings). Both of these groups were accompanied by the continuo, which is heard in almost all Baroque music, most commonly a harpsichord and cello, which provided the harmonic filling and bass line respectively. While both groups would have shared some of the same musical material, other themes were played exclusively by the concertino. Furthermore, the part writing for the concertino group was usually more virtuosic and elaborate.
Bach was known as an experimenter, as can be seen in this work, with its unusual concertino group of tromba, (treble) recorder, oboe and violin; his often novel approach to musical structures; and his daring use of harmony and dissonance.
The 'tromba' referred to by Bach in his score was a natural trumpet in high F, with no valves which meant it played only the notes of the harmonic series. The sound of the tromba in the 18th century was softer in both timbre and dynamic compared to a modern trumpet, which explains why Bach was able to use it in a concertino group alongside a treble recorder, oboe and violin without any problems with balance. The solo tromba part Bach wrote was at one time regarded as unplayable, because of technical difficulties and tuning issues on certain harmonics. It is highly likely he had a particular performer in mind for this part, since virtuoso trumpet and horn players would travel around Europe and were highly sought after. But with research into Baroque performance techniques and construction leading to the development of the so-called Baroque Trumpet, these problems have been overcome and many fine recordings of this work have been made since.
Bach's score also calls for a 'violone' in the ripieno strings. The violone was a name given to a variety of lower stringed instruments, but it is most likely he intended the part to be played by one of the larger double bass viols, similar in size to the modern double bass. Like the double bass the violone sounds an octave lower than written; therefore, it adds real depth to the sound of the orchestra.
In Section A of the examination there will be one question on each of the two prescribed works. You must choose to answer one of these two questions (as well as a third 'musical links' question which will be discussed later). Here are four sample questions based on the Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 to use for practice. You may answer these in continuous prose or detailed bullet points and you should allow around 30 minutes under timed conditions to complete each question. Reference should be made to an unmarked copy of the score and remember to give precise locations for the musical features you discuss.
1. Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 is regarded as an example of how Bach's music represents the height of the Baroque style. Discuss at least three contrasting passages which illustrate this view.
2. Bach uses a wide range of instrumental timbres and textures in Brandenburg Concerto No. 2. Discuss and illustrate this view, making detailed references to the score.
3. Discuss Bach's use of structure and tonality in the 1st movement of Brandenburg Concerto No. 2.
4. Discuss the changing relationship between the soloists' and ripieno parts across each of the three movements of Brandenburg Concerto No. 2. Refer in detail to specific passages of music.CHAPTER 2
DANCES OF GALÁNTA (1933) ZOLTÁN KODÁLY
This Prescribed Work was composed by Zoltán Kodály (1882–1967) for the 80th anniversary of the Budapest Philharmonic Society in his native Hungary. He took his inspiration from the small town of Galánta, which was part of the Kingdom of Hungary during his childhood there, but is now in present-day Slovakia. Kodály explained that his inspiration for the piece came in two parts:
At that time there existed a famous gypsy band that has since disappeared. This was the first 'orchestral' sonority that came to the ears of the child. The forebears of these gypsies were already known more than a hundred years ago. About 1800 some books of Hungarian dances were published in Vienna, one of which contained music 'after several Gypsies from Galánta'. They have preserved the old traditions. In order to keep it alive, the composer has taken his principal themes from these old publications.
Kodály chose several of these dances for his piece, with five of them making up the principal sections of the one-movement structure. He also wanted to recreate the Verbunkos style of the aforementioned gypsy band. Verbunkos was a Hungarian/ Gypsy dance style with march-like accompaniments from the 18th century which was used to recruit young men into the army, with contrasting slow and fast sections, alternating swagger with foot-stomping energy and excitement.
Kodály's piece is much more than an arrangement of Gypsy folk tunes; they are infused and combined with an eclectic range of styles from 19th-century Romanticism to Impressionism and even Atonality to showcase these traditional melodies within a modern 20th-century Hungarian style of music.
The piece is scored for orchestra, but not of the size often called for by 20th-century composers:
Woodwind – 2 each of flute (2nd player also plays piccolo), oboe, clarinet, bassoon
Brass – 4 French horns, 2 trumpets
Percussion – timpani, triangle, campanelle (glockenspiel), tamburo piccolo (side drum)
Strings (1st/2 nd violins, violas, cellos, double basses)
Kodály gives the clarinet a prominent solo role, representing the tárogató, a single-reed instrument resembling a clarinet which he probably first heard in the Galánta gypsy band. The cello section is also regularly given the melody, possibly because Kodály learned to play the cello in Galánta. As an ethnomusicologist and composer, Kodály was passionate about collecting local folk tunes and creating art music that was distinctively Hungarian. His colourful orchestrations sound similar to those of the Russian nationalist composers Rimsky-Korsakov and Mussorgsky, who were also working towards a similar goal for their own country.
In Section A of the examination there will be one question on each of the two prescribed works. You must choose to answer one of these two questions (as well as a third 'musical links' question which will be discussed later). Here are four sample questions based on Dances of Galánta to use for practice. You may answer these in continuous prose or detailed bullet points and you should allow around 30 minutes under timed conditions to complete each question. Reference should be made to an unmarked copy of the score and remember to give precise locations for the musical features you discuss.
1. Béla Bartók once wrote, 'If I were to name the composer whose works are the most perfect embodiment of the Hungarian spirit, I would answer, Kodály.' Discuss this statement with clear reference to at least three passages in Dances of Galánta.
2. Discuss Kodály's use of melody and tonality in Dances of Galánta.
3. Dances of Galánta draws upon musical elements from both traditional Hungarian and Western cultures. Identify and explain two (or more) elements that have roots in traditional Hungarian music and two (ormore) elements that originate from Western music.
4. Discuss Kodály's approach to rhythm and texture in Dances of Galánta. Refer in detail to specific passages of music.CHAPTER 3
LINKS BETWEEN THE PRESCRIBED WORKS (HL ONLY)
Question 3 requires HL candidates to compare and contrast Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 with Dances of Galánta with regard to one or two musical elements or concepts. This means you must write about similarities and differences in the use of, e.g. melody and rhythm between the prescribed works, taking care to ensure your points are relevant to the elements or concepts asked in the question. For example, in a question about Instrumentation, while it is true to state that both works contain keyboard instruments, this is not a significant musical link, but a comparative discussion of how keyboard instruments are used in each work is creditworthy in the IB examination.
The following table is a list of some of the musical links between Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 and Dances of Galánta, along with the locations of possible examples. They are grouped together in musical elements with a brief outline of each link; you will of course need to add your own more detailed explanations – a useful revision task.
In Section A of the examination there will be one compulsory question linking Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 with Dances of Galánta. Here are three to use for practice. You may answer these in continuous prose or detailed bullet points and you should allow around 30 minutes to complete each question. Reference should be made to unmarked copies of both scores, and remember to give precise locations and explanations for the musical features you discuss.
1. Compare and contrast the use of harmony and tonality of each of the prescribed works, highlighting any significant musical links.
2. In what ways can both of the prescribed works be regarded as similar in their use of melody and melodic development?
3. Investigate significant musical links between the two prescribed works by comparing and contrasting their use of form and structure.CHAPTER 4
PRESCRIBED WORKS 2020–2021
RHAPSODY ON A THEME OF PAGANINI (1934) SERGEI RACHMANINOFF
This Prescribed Work was composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873–1943) at his villa in Switzerland during a rare break from his hectic performing schedule in the summer months of 1934.
The word 'Rhapsody' can be defined as an ecstatic expression of feeling, while the capricious nature of Paganini's original piece for solo violin could be described as mercurial and impulsive; these are all words which can be used to convey the character of this work, with its sudden and wide-ranging shifts of mood and displays of piano virtuosity which push the performer to the very edge of their technical abilities.
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is a set of variations, a formal technique where musical material, often a melody, is repeated in a series of altered guises. These changes may involve melody, tempo, rhythm, harmony, texture, timbre, orchestration or any combination of these. One of the challenges posed by variation form to composers is managing the build-up of momentum and complexity while maintaining a sense of flow across the whole piece. Another question to consider is how far to depart from the original theme: staying too close risks too much repetition; stray too far and the listener will struggle to refer back to the original. Rachmaninoff's piece demonstrates how to control these factors successfully to create a masterpiece that has been a cornerstone of the repertoire since he gave the first performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Baltimore, USA, in 1934.
The piece is scored for solo piano and the following Romantic period sized orchestra:
Woodwind – 2 each of flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon plus piccolo and cor anglais
Brass – 4 French horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones and tuba
Percussion – timpani, triangle, glockenspiel, snare drum, bass drum and cymbals
Strings (1st/2nd violins, violas, cellos, double basses) and harp
Main Themes and Motifs
Rachmaninoff took his inspiration from two well-known themes: the primary theme comes from the 24th Caprice for solo violin by the renowned virtuoso Niccolò Paganini; the melody itself proved an ideal basis for a composition and Rachmaninoff identified himself with Paganini's prodigious technical skill as a virtuoso solo musician.
Simple AAB binary form with regular 4-bar phrasing and clear imperfect and perfect cadences in A minor. Rachmaninoff repeats the B section (AABB)
A has a clear emphasis on the tonic and dominant of A minor; B features a descending sequence which uses a circle of 5ths to return to the tonic. When the melody is absent from a variation you will often still be able to hear these chord progressions
Lively dotted rhythms and semiquaver flourishes
Rachmaninoff derives two motifs from Paganini's theme for development throughout the piece:
A 5-note semiquaver figure bb1-2 which starts on the tonic A, leaps a third, then steps back to the tonic before leaping up a perfect 5th to the dominant E (ACBAE, motif x )
Another motif with the same rhythm as x is the conjunct figure from bb9-1 0 which starts on the tonic and moves up to B flat before stepping down to F (ABbAGF, motif y)
The secondary theme is taken from the first seven notes of the Dies Irae, a plainchant melody from the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass. The ominous feelings of fate and dark shadows evoked by this melody fascinated Rachmaninoff and he used it in other compositions such as the Isle of the Dead. He felt it would make an effective contrast both musically and dramatically in connection with the Faustian legend that suggested Paganini traded his soul to the devil in exchange for his outstanding musical talents:
Aeolian mode on A, also known as natural minor (G natural instead of G sharp)
Narrow range of a perfect 4th, starts on mediant C before descending to the tonic A via an auxiliary note (B) and a double auxiliary note (B and G either side of the A's)
Together these themes provide not only the structure of the piece, but also its dramatic character.
In Section A of the examination there will be one question on each of the two prescribed works. You must choose to answer one of these two questions (as well as a third 'musical links' question which will be discussed later). Here are four sample questions based on Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini to use for practice. You may answer these in continuous prose or detailed bullet points and you should allow around 30 minutes under timed conditions to complete each question. Reference should be made to an unmarked copy of the score and remember to give precise locations for the musical features you discuss.
1. The Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini has been described as a cornerstone of the orchestral repertoire. Which aspects of the music make this piece so popular? Refer in detail to specific passages of music.
2. Analyse three contrasting passages of music to demonstrate Rachmaninoff's use of variation techniques.
3. Rachmaninoff was a great admirer of Paganini. What musical evidence is there in the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini to support this statement? Refer in detail to specific passages of music.
4. To what extent can the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini be regarded as a piano concerto? Make detailed reference to the score to illustrate your answer.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "IB Music Revision Guide"
Copyright © 2018 Roger Paul.
Excerpted by permission of Wimbledon Publishing Company.
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Table of Contents
Introduction; Musical Terms and Devices; Section A Prescribed Works 2019, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major BWV1047 (c.1719– 21), J. S. Bach; Dances of Gal á nta (1933), Zolt á n Kod á ly 23; Links between the Prescribed Works (HL Only); Prescribed Works 2020 – 2021, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (1934), Sergei Rachmaninoff; Symphony No. 94 in G Major ‘Surprise’ (1791), Joseph Haydn; Links between the Prescribed Works (HL Only); Section B Perception and Analysis of Musical Styles; Western Classical Music; Western Jazz and Popular Music; World Music; Glossary; Suggested Answers for Sections A and B Sample Questions; Index.
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‘Roger Paul’s IB Music Revision Guide is an excellent resource for students and teachers alike. It provides concise commentaries on the set works, sample questions and invaluable tips that are certain to aid students developing their listening skills and preparing for the listening examination.’
Tony Coupe, Director of Music, Ellesmere College, UK
‘An excellent teaching resource for IB Music educators. To the point, comprehensive and easy to reference. An addition to your resource library.'
Jim Yarnell, Director of High School Music, Music Department, American School of The Hague, The Netherlands