Advice for students attempting HSC music examinations
Music 1 – Musicology elective (viva voce)
- select topic areas in which you are engaged and which reflect your musical interests
- ensure you have regular viva voce practice within the 10-minute time frame
- cue and organise your aural examples to maximise the 10 minutes allocated
- prepare your summary outline well in advance
- do not talk over recorded examples during the discussion
- provide the summary outline sheet for the examiners.
Music 1 – Composition Elective
- consider the capacities of chosen performing media, for example range
- always include the rhythmic notation when using guitar TAB
- when submitting more than one composition, ensure the recordings are labelled correctly
- check that CDs have been recorded as audio files and not as MIDI files, and check that the CDs play on a CD player before submitting
- submit complete scores – it is not necessary to submit a score in parts
- when using software programs, edit scores, paying close attention to excessive leger lines, conventional notation, scoring layout and, in particular, drum kit notation
- remember that the maximum time for a Music 1 Composition is four minutes.
Music 2 – Sight singing
- choose to read the test in either treble or bass clef
- choose to hear the chord and starting note in either treble or bass
- perform the test in the set key.
Music 2 – Core Composition
- ensure that submitted works reflect study of the Mandatory Topic
- adhere to time limits
- submit original compositions and not arrangements
- specify whether instruments are transposed or at sounding pitch
- adhere to the accepted ranges of selected performing media
- indicate whether the intended performing media are synthesised and/or computerised
- provide scoring details and technical requirements for electro-acoustic works including, where applicable, chord voicing
- consider appropriate score layout, which includes the names of performing media
- submit recordings that were an accurate rendition of the score, including solos in improvised sections, stylistic nuances and performance at realistic tempos.
Music 2 – Composition Elective
- make sure your composition is within the three-minute limit
- include necessary directions for selected instruments, for example piano pedalling, drum kit notation, phrase markings, essential string bowing and electronic instrument settings in your score.
Music 2 – Musicology Elective
- listen to and analyse a wide array of works relating to the chosen topic before narrowing the musicological focus
- thoroughly research primary and secondary source material
- develop a clear musicological focus based on original ideas
- give equal attention to works if you are making a comparison
- adhere to the word limit
- carefully edit and proofread your essay before final submission
- include page numbers and word counts on the essay.
Music Extension Musicology
- proofread and edit essays carefully before final submission
- include page numbers and word count
- only include relevant length audio examples that relate to the essay
- ensure appendices and citations are used correctly.
Music Extension Composition
- do not use overcrowded textures and sonorities that may not work in an acoustic performance
- edit computer-generated scores carefully and include, where appropriate, normal scoring conventions, for example percussion or guitar scoring
- listen to a wide variety of styles before developing a personal style for compositions
- include necessary directions for instrumental techniques, for example piano pedalling, phrase markings and essential string bowing.