Wednesday 18 February 2009

A frightening moment

Thought I should re-read the new AS Syllabus this pm, just to check that I was doing the right thing and that the pupils have done everything they need to when I started to read scary words. ( I often type sacred music as scared music, a Freudian slap or is it just the way I sing it?)

'Candidates will complete ATB to a given melody line continuing from an extant incipit,' or words to that effect, under the heading Bach Chorale. Gulp. Other headings were Baroque 2-part Counterpoint, 16thC Polyphony etc, which didn't make me feel better, because we haven't done them. Then I realised that I was reading the A2 Techniques Paper bit, flipped back ten pages to read about the correct use of standard cadential formulae (tick), avoidance of consecutives (tick), Roman numerals, inversions... and everything else we've been doing. Phew. My HoD laughed when I told him.

Then I played the other Music Teacher scary game. Find the GCSE Coursework recording from the hard disc recorder, which numbers tracks randomly as far as I can see ( and hear.) Anyway, found the piece and renamed it. Best to do this in Feb. Leave it 'til April when you are filling out the forms and you can feel your heart racing.

Coursework marking causes hysterics and it's not listening to the recordings, ( well only occasionally and behind closed doors), it's the fact that you often record the same piece 3 or more times to get 'the one' and then have to remember which one is 'the one.' I love this time of year.

Time to crow bar my first rye bread loaf from the bread machine. This may be the first and last such loaf I make. Depends. Looks a bit bricky to me.


Ches said...

I always felt the condemnation of consecutives was as daft as the condemnation of split infinitives (which of course I scrupulously avoid) or the condemnation of prepositions at the ends of sentences. The putting of prepositions at the end of sentences is something up with which we will not put, as somebody said!

berenike said...

if it ain't rye, it ain't bread ...

leutgeb said...

Ches,I just play the Pink Panther to boys whenever I find consecutive fifths. They are pretty rank! Fourths are OK up to a point, of course - three in a row, at a push? Consecutive 8ves are very weak too, especially between S and B.

The trouble now is they say things like, 'I thought it sounded OK.' To which I have to say, 'Only if you want it to sound like RVW,' in the case of failing to make the dominant chord major in a minor key,' or just plain, 'Well you need to play more chorales because that ain't Bach!'

The idea that there is a standard beyond yourself and one which you need to refine by experience is alien after GCSE, where it's all about the candidate.

Then you check what Bach did and discover crossed parts and all sorts!


Do you eat lots of rye bread in Poland? This loaf has not risen too well, so will alter the proportions in the next loaf and eat it before it turn to concrete! More white flour needed. 1:1 no good, go to 2:1.

berenike said...

Ches: Aelianus told me it was Churchill. However, he often told me things in an authoritative tone of voice which he would never so much as "I read somewhere that ...." mention to most other people, so that may not be true.

Leutgeb - if it doesn't have rye in it, it isn't bread. Literally. "Bułka" means a small roll of any composition, or white French-style wheaten bread, whereas bread is called "chleb".

Did you make it with yeast or with, don't know what it's called, rye bread or flour soaked and fermented?

berenike said...

Have you ever used Anna Butterworth's "Stylistic Harmony"?

leutgeb said...


Ah. Shall remember that should I ever visit Poland.

I just used my brown bread programme on the box of tricks. It's OK. Just off to have some with soup for tea.

Yes, I have used the Butterworth, about 10 years ago and it's good, but I very much like a new harmony book by Hugh Benson, who was Chief Examiner for Edexcel Techniques for about 20 years and therefore marked my A Level Paper. (Gulp.)

It's called 'A student's guide to harmony and counterpoint' and it's really very good. p78 is my favorite. Has all the most commonly used cadential formulae and p79 explains the use of ii7b V7 when the pennultimte note of a phrase is a minim, beautifully.

It still has the 'hence' moment like in Maths textbooks where 'hence' several things you don't understand happen and then QED appears, but you just can't get all the magic onto a page and into a book, as I may menion to the pupils quite a bit. You do actually have to play the chorales so you gain a feel for how they go.

(Hugh's paying me royalties.)

leutgeb said...

Oops and yeast yes.

Doves Farm Quick Yeast.

berenike said...

Anna taught me! :-)

She is the queen!

All Hail Anna!

(bow bow bow bow bow bow)

leutgeb said...


Anyone who has written a harmony textbook. Wow.

leutgeb said...

*Cough* Hugh Benham. Oops.