The 3 Strands of Learning

You will have already read from the course overview that you will study three ‘strands of learning’. They are:

  1. The Western Classical Tradition
  2. Popular music of the 20th and 21st centuries
  3. World music.

Each of these strands contains different styles or genres which may be used in the excerpts, but you will not be tested on your knowledge of these in the listening test: questions will focus on aspects of the five Areas of Study. You will also have to link your composing coursework in Unit 2 to one of the three strands of learning – this is decided by AQA each year.

PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL NEED TO HAVE THE ‘STRANDS OF LEARNING’ CD TO BE ABLE TO LISTEN TO EXAMPLES FEATURES IN THE FOLLOWING POWERPOINTS AND TO COMPLETE THE LISTENING ACTIVITIES PROVIDED. CDs ARE AVAILABLE FROM ME, SO MAKE SURE YOU GET ONE!

Strand 1 – The Western Classical Tradition

The specific areas and genres that form the focus of this strand are:

  • Baroque orchestral music
  • The concerto
  • Music for voices
  • Chamber music
  • The sonata

PowerPoints:

Baroque Genres

The concerto

Choral Music

Operas and Songs

Chamber Music

The sonata

Strand 2 – Popular music of the 20th and 21st centuries

Popular music is a term often used to describe any style of music which is not classical, or ‘serious’, or that has been composed with the aim of achieving immediate popularity, appealing to a wide audience which may have little or no musical training.

In order to catch the listener’s ear, popular songs often include the use of catchy melodies, riffs, a strong bass line, a memorable structure that is not too long, and a typical and recognisable combination of instruments.

Repetition is a major factor in making the music easy to remember. Popular pieces are usually quite shorts, often lasting less than five minutes.

The specific areas and genres that form the focus of this strand are:

  • Blues
  • Popular music of the 1960s, R’n'B (rhythm and blues), hip-hop
  • Rock music
  • Music Theatre
  • Film music

PowerPoints:

The Blues

1960s music- the beginnings

1960s music- other forms

British Popular Music in the 1960s

Rock Music

Hip-hop and music theatre

Film music

Strand 3 – World Music

World music is a term often used to describe musical traditions, styles and genres that are non-Western: that is, from outside of Europe and the United States.

This includes the traditional folk music and song of a particular region or culture, and non-Western classical and popular music.

Some forms and genres of world music have been influenced by Western music, especially popular music styles, instruments and rhythms, which have been combined with non-Western folk and classical traditions to produce a new and unique blend. This combination of Western and non-Western musical styles is called fusion.

The specific areas and genres that form the focus of this strand are:

  • Music of the Caribbean
  • Music of Africa
  • Music of India

PowerPoints:

Music of the Caribbean

Music of Africa- choral and popular music

Music of Africa- drumming and instrumental music

Music of India- background and instruments

Music of India- classical and popular styles