Help with music theory

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Ben Wyvis
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Help with music theory

Post by Ben Wyvis » Tue May 23, 2017 9:47 am

Hi everyone,
I hope it’s ok to ask for advice here. I’m trying to understand some music theory to help my son pass an exam, and I’ve spent days trying to figure this out from the internet and books so that I can teach him, but I still can't find all the answers and I'm not sure if the ones I've got are even right. He has to answer these questions for three guitar pieces:

1 Comment on the style of this piece?
2 How does this piece reflect the period in which it was written?
3 Describe the form of this piece?

And here are the pieces and possible answers

Parisian Waltz, Tatiana Stachak [Search YouTube]
1 Style: Waltz -- 3/4 time. Fast tempo. Strong, clear tune.
2 Period: Written in Modern Period as composer born in 1973, but in the style of the Romantic Period -- Warm, lyrical melody. Expressive.
3 Form: Ternary AABA


Allegretto op.44 no. 19, Fernando Sor
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbEIGtpujPc
1 Style: ?
2 Period: Early Romantic (or late classical?) -- Lots of rich, colourful chords. Sounds emotional and vivid. Homophonic.
3 Form: Rondo ABACA


El Caminante, Ernesto Cordero [Search YouTube]
1 Style: ?
2 Period: Modern Period -- Complex and irregular rhythm. Varied time signatures. Lots of contrast. Experimental with use of pizzicato.
3 Form: Variational form, repeated theme with variations.


Deeply grateful for any help or comment anyone can offer! :merci:

[Mod Edit; Though these pieces are Grade 5 set pieces, two of them are modern and therefore subject to copyright. Direct links to copyrighted pieces are not permitted and they have been removed]

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pogmoor
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Re: Help with music theory

Post by pogmoor » Tue May 23, 2017 10:45 am

Looking a question 1, I would say the style is romantic, the period modern and the form a waltz with ternary AABA structure.
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DerekB
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Re: Help with music theory

Post by DerekB » Tue May 23, 2017 11:19 am

Trinity publishes books with accompanying cds to demonstrate the sort of thing they are looking for. The books include model answers.
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David Crooks
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Re: Help with music theory

Post by David Crooks » Tue May 23, 2017 4:03 pm

These are pieces from the Trinity Grade 5 book, but what exam are you referring to? If it's the Musical Knowledge section of the practical exam, the questions don't seem to fit the syllabus.

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Re: Help with music theory

Post by guitarrista » Tue May 23, 2017 6:00 pm

The Parisian waltz is AABBA (not sure if this matters - it is still ternary, broadly as A-B-A).

The second one, it is notated as in 6/8, duple rhythm, and it sounds a bit less romantic and more Renaissance-y.

Third one, I would say it is mostly in 3/4, just the transitions are in duple tempo for a couple of bars here and there. You can also read some analysis of it here:
The first movement, “El Caminante” (The Walker), has a pizzicato four-note idea that acts as the glue to which the remainder of this (short) movement is attached. After a brief few bars in A minor, it veers into D major, continuing with the four-note idea as it goes, and dies away after only 36 bars.
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Ben Wyvis
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Re: Help with music theory

Post by Ben Wyvis » Tue May 23, 2017 6:16 pm

pogmoor wrote:
Tue May 23, 2017 10:45 am
Looking a question 1, I would say the style is romantic, the period modern and the form a waltz with ternary AABA structure.
Thanks, I was not sure about the differences between style, form and period. So a waltz is not a style, it's a form, ok. Also I wasn't sure if a piece could be in a romantic style but not from the romantic period.

The Ernesto Cordero piece sounds very romantic to me, very sweet and moving, although I don't think it's in an official Romantic style in the way that the waltz is, but could it still be called a romantic style anyway? The Sor piece doesn't sound romantic to me, but as far as I can tell he's a romantic composer, so it's still romantic. Or is Sor classical, because he lived in the classical period?

cheers :D :D

Ben Wyvis
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Re: Help with music theory

Post by Ben Wyvis » Tue May 23, 2017 6:19 pm

DerekB wrote:
Tue May 23, 2017 11:19 am
Trinity publishes books with accompanying cds to demonstrate the sort of thing they are looking for. The books include model answers.
Trinity does publish books for its music theory exams but they don’t really cover these questions. The questions are from the Musical Knowledge section of the practical exam for grade 5.

I did ask for advice on the Trinity forum and was advised to look at the Trinity theory books, which I have done, but they don’t really cover this material.

For example, book 5, which I bought, does have a section on Form but only covers stropic, verse and refrain. I also have books 1 and 2 which don’t mention anything useful at all. I have looked at the detailed contents and sample questions from other theory books on the Trinity website and it does say that grades 6 - 8 cover the musical periods Baroque, Classical and Romantic, but there’s a lot about musical periods on the internet already, and it’s really the section about Style that I don’t know how to answer.

Ben Wyvis
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Re: Help with music theory

Post by Ben Wyvis » Tue May 23, 2017 6:20 pm

David Crooks wrote:
Tue May 23, 2017 4:03 pm
These are pieces from the Trinity Grade 5 book, but what exam are you referring to? If it's the Musical Knowledge section of the practical exam, the questions don't seem to fit the syllabus.
The guidelines for the musical knowledge section of the practical exam have the sample questions 1, 2, 3 as I wrote them above and also sample answers of:

1 blues
2 Baroque
3 Rondo

And that’s all it says.

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SunnyDee
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Re: Help with music theory

Post by SunnyDee » Wed May 24, 2017 9:07 pm

I believe that the question "comment on the style" doesn't call for a simple one word answer. The student is supposed to know the piece and comment/discuss features of it that suggest its style. It's a question that requires more comprehension of the piece and some knowledge of history of styles. Even if the student does not get the "right" answer, marks are given for a coherent, reasonable answer that shows comprehension. For example, what type of tempo would you expect in a certain style, what instruments give away the period and style, do you see a lot of embellishments, strict adherence to timing, particular types of chord progressions...? All of these are help to determine style and should be given as examples to back up the student's answer.
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David Crooks
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Re: Help with music theory

Post by David Crooks » Thu May 25, 2017 9:33 am

Ben Wyvis wrote:
Tue May 23, 2017 6:20 pm
David Crooks wrote:
Tue May 23, 2017 4:03 pm
These are pieces from the Trinity Grade 5 book, but what exam are you referring to? If it's the Musical Knowledge section of the practical exam, the questions don't seem to fit the syllabus.
The guidelines for the musical knowledge section of the practical exam have the sample questions 1, 2, 3 as I wrote them above and also sample answers of:

1 blues
2 Baroque
3 Rondo

And that’s all it says.
From my experience of Trinity exams, you'd be well advised to look at the parameters for the preceeding two grades - intervals, modulations, patterns, triads other than the subdominant etc - since some of these will invariably come up. There are also examiners who will appear to go off-piste by asking just one very open-ended question, for example, "Tell me about Parisian Waltz." This can be a positive thing, since it allows the candidate to demonstrate a range of musical knowledge about the piece in a more informal way, and to go into areas not directly covered in the guidance notes. Candidates examined in this way have always scored highly: the examiner will cut off the answer when he or she has heard enough. For interval training, try https://www.musictheory.net/exercises.

Ben Wyvis
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Re: Help with music theory

Post by Ben Wyvis » Fri May 26, 2017 11:22 am

SunnyDee wrote:
Wed May 24, 2017 9:07 pm
I believe that the question "comment on the style" doesn't call for a simple one word answer. The student is supposed to know the piece and comment/discuss features of it that suggest its style. It's a question that requires more comprehension of the piece and some knowledge of history of styles. Even if the student does not get the "right" answer, marks are given for a coherent, reasonable answer that shows comprehension. For example, what type of tempo would you expect in a certain style, what instruments give away the period and style, do you see a lot of embellishments, strict adherence to timing, particular types of chord progressions...? All of these are help to determine style and should be given as examples to back up the student's answer.
Yes, I'm starting to realise that that's probably what they're looking for. You just have to show some knowledge and give some thoughtful answers. Thanks, that's really helpful.

Ben Wyvis
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Re: Help with music theory

Post by Ben Wyvis » Fri May 26, 2017 11:34 am

David Crooks wrote:
Thu May 25, 2017 9:33 am

From my experience of Trinity exams, you'd be well advised to look at the parameters for the preceeding two grades - intervals, modulations, patterns, triads other than the subdominant etc - since some of these will invariably come up. There are also examiners who will appear to go off-piste by asking just one very open-ended question, for example, "Tell me about Parisian Waltz." This can be a positive thing, since it allows the candidate to demonstrate a range of musical knowledge about the piece in a more informal way, and to go into areas not directly covered in the guidance notes. Candidates examined in this way have always scored highly: the examiner will cut off the answer when he or she has heard enough. For interval training, try https://www.musictheory.net/exercises.
This has also been my experience with trinity mk questions so far, the examiners seem to have a lot of freedom to ask what they want, so you never know. My kid has also done abrsm theory up to grade 4, so he's ok, but I hate to send him in without covering all possibilities. And yes, the open ended question is probably more likely, it does make more sense. Much appreciated!

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