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Advice for HSC music examinations

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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
  • scores and manuscripts must be submitted to NESA electronically via Schools Online
  • for instructions on creating PDFs with embedded sound files, schools should refer to the Memos and Documents section of  Schools Online
  • PDF files should be saved as [student number] – [name of composition]
  • 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.
  • scores and manuscripts must be submitted to NESA electronically via Schools Online
  • for instructions on creating PDFs with embedded sound files, schools should refer to the Memos and Documents section of  Schools Online
  • PDF files should be saved as [student number] – [name of composition].

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
  • scores and manuscripts must be submitted to NESA electronically via Schools Online
  • for instructions on creating PDFs with embedded sound files, schools should refer to the Memos and Documents section of  Schools Online
  • PDF files should be saved as [student number] – [name of composition].

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
  • scores and manuscripts must be submitted to NESA electronically via Schools Online
  • for instructions on creating PDFs with embedded sound files, schools should refer to the Memos and Documents section of  Schools Online
  • PDF files should be saved as [student number] – [name of composition].
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