A level music technology edexcel

Music Technology A Level

Edexcel’s A Level GCE in Music Technology is a course for 16+ students who would like to pursue a career in Music Production. The Music Technology course is broken up into 4 units that cover the full spectrum of basic skills needed to progress to a higher level of study or to work in one of the many areas of music production.

AS Music technology Course Content

Students will study a range of skills relating to music production, including: Live performance, Ensemble recording, Audio and MIDI sequencing. These skills will be assessed in three pieces of course work and an exam.

A2 Music technology Course Content

A2 is a natural progression from AS which gives the students the opportunity to work on professionally styled assignments. Students will work on developing their compositional skills and their understanding of how popular recordings are put together and produced.

In the tabs below you will find a course overview of all four units and the criteria for each unit:

 

Music Technology Portfolio 1 (Unit 1)

is broken up into 3 pieces of coursework and a logbook. The full unit is worth 140 marks, 70% of the AS and 35% of the full GCE. The unit is divided up as follows:

 

Task 1A: Sequenced realised Performance (40 marks)

Using only MIDI Sequencing and limited non-continues audio you have to re-create a piece of music that is faithful to the original song as chosen by Edexcel. You will be marked on the following criteria, a full mark scheme has been attached (Ask your teacher for this year’s portfolio 1 to see the full description of the designated song from Edexcel)

  • Pitch (8 Marks)
  • Rhythm (8 Marks)
  • Timbre (4 marks)
  • Balance / Panning (4 Marks)
  • Dynamics (4 Marks)
  • Articulation and Phrasing (4 Marks)
  • Style and Creativity (4 Marks)
  • Quality of Recording (4 Marks)

 

Task 1B: Multi-track Recording (40 marks)

Record a commercially available song using only audio technology. You must record a minimum of 8 track, 4 of which should be recorded using microphones. The piece should also be between 3 and 5 minutes in length and show a range of recording techniques, instruments and use of production effects. There is not a required song for this Task but to save time and resources it is preferred that all students record the same song. You will be marked on the following criteria, a full mark scheme has been attached:

  • Microphone Placement and Clarity of Signal (6 Marks)
  • Noise and Distortion (5 Marks)
  • Management of EQ (6 Marks)
  • Management of Dynamics (6 Marks)
  • FX / Ambience (6 Marks)
  • Balance and Blend (6 Marks)
  • Use of Stereo Field (6 Marks)
Resources for Task 1B:

 

Task 1C: Creative Sequenced Arrangement (40 marks)

Arrange a piece of music based on the Edexcel exam board brief, which will be different every year (Ask your teacher for your portfolio 1 booklet). Each year you will be given the choice of two stimuli (Songs) and two Styles to combine into an arrangement that lasts for between 2 and 3 minutes and includes a minimum of 4 tracks. Only MIDI Sequencing technology should be used for this arrangement (No Continues audio). You will be marked on the following criteria, a full mark scheme has been attached:

  • Use of stimulus / song (Compulsory 6 Marks)
  • Style / Coherence (Compulsory 6 Marks)
  • Use of Music Technology (Compulsory 10 Marks)
The following marks are optional, all will be marked but only your highest 3 will go towards your final grade.
  • Melody (Optional 6 Marks)
  • Harmony (Optional 6 Marks)
  • Rhythm (Optional 6 Marks)
  • Texture and instrumentation (Optional 6 Marks)
Task 1C also has an additional 20 marks for the submission of Questions 9 and 10 of the logbook. These questions are based on your choice of song and style and give you a chance to discus how you have used the various elements of the style and song.
Portfolio 1 Logbook (20 Marks for Questions 9 and 10)

Is required with the submission of Task 1A, Task 1B and Task 1C (10 maks for Question 9 & 10 Marks for Question 10). The logbook is a fairly simple document to complete, but if not done clearly and fully you will not be awarded the top marks for your 3 tasks. An example Logbook has been attached but each year this could be slightly different so make sure you get your copy from your teacher.

Exemplar Logbook – Open

 

Listening and Analysing Exam (Unit 2)

lasts for 1 hour and 45 minutes and is worth a total of 60 marks (but the exam is marked out of 80).  This unit provides students with an opportunity to study the styles most common in popular music from 1910 to the present day. Each year the students are given 2 styles to study but each year these styles are different. A full listening list for the current year is normally published in September on the Edexcel music technology web page (HERE)

The exam is broken up into 2 sections and contains 6 Questions in total. Below is a rough guide as to what to expect in each question:

Section A (Questions 1 to 4): General Music Technology and Music Theory (40 Marks)

  • Question 1: Basic and General Knowledge of Music Technology
  • Question 2: Identify pitch and Rhythmic errors and Dynamic processing
  • Question 3: Recording Techniques and sonic qualities
  • Question 4: Performance and Production elements

Section B (Questions 5 and 6): Chosen Styles Questions (40 Marks)

  • Question 5: Chosen Style 1
  • Question 6: Chosen Style 2
Listening Lists:
Style Finger Prints:
Example Section A Questions:
  • Music Tech general knowledge question and quizzes – Open 
Example Section B Questions:
  • Possible Club Dance and New Wave and Punk Questions 2011-12 – Open

 

Music Technology Portfolio 2 (Unit 3)

like the AS coursework is broken up into 3 pieces and a logbook. The full unit is worth 120 marks and is 60% of A2 and 30% of the full GCE, unit 3 is broken up as follows:

 

Task 3A: Sequenced Integrated Performance (40 marks)

Re-create a song that is faithful to the original, song is chosen by Edexcel and is different each year. For this task, you can use mainly MIDI sequencing and 3-recorded tracks of audio, 1 of which must be a vocal. You will be marked on the following criteria; a full mark scheme has been attached (Ask your teacher for this year’s portfolio 1 to see the full description of the designated song from Edexcel)

  • Pitch (6 Marks)
  • Rhythm (6 Marks)
  • Timbre (4 Marks)
  • Balance / Panning (4 Marks)
  • Dynamics (4 Marks)
  • Articulation and Phrasing (4 Marks)
  • Style and Creativity (4 Marks)
  • Capture of Live Audio (8 Marks)
Task 3B: Multi-track Recording (40 marks)

Record a commercially available song using only audio technology. You must record a minimum of 12 tracks, 4 instruments must be based on either topic A or Topic B (see portfolio 2 booklet for further details). The piece should also be between 3 and 5 minutes in length and show a range of recording techniques, instruments and use of production effects. There is not a required song for this Task but to save time and resources it is preferred that all students record the same song. You will be marked on the following criteria; a full mark scheme has been attached:

  • Microphone Placement and Clarity of Signal (6 Marks)
  • Noise and Distortion (5 Marks)
  • Management of EQ (6 Marks)
  • Management of Dynamics (6 Marks)
  • FX / Ambience (6 Marks)
  • Balance and Blend (6 Marks)
  • Use of Stereo Field (5 Marks)
Task 3C: Composition using Music Technology (40 marks)

Compose a piece of music to a brief chosen by Edexcel, each year’s the 3 briefs are different and publish in September. For this task, you can use all forms of technology e.g. audio, midi, sampling, synthesis, automation, vocoders. For a full description of the published briefs ask your teachers for your portfolio 2 booklet. You will be marked on the following criteria; a full mark scheme has been attached:

  • Responding to set brief (Compulsory 6 Marks)
  • Style / Coherence (Compulsory 6 Marks)
  • Manipulation of sound (Compulsory 6 Marks)
  • Quality of Recorded submission (Compulsory 4 Marks)

The following marks are optional, all will be marked but only your highest 3 will go towards your final grade.

  • Melody (Optional 6 Marks)
  • Harmony (Optional 6 Marks)
  • Rhythm (Optional 6 Marks)
  • Texture (Optional 6 Marks)
  • Form / Structure (Optional 6 Marks)

 

Logbook: Required with the submission of portfolio 2 (NO MARKS)

Is required with the submission of Task 3A, Task 3B and Task 3C. The logbook is a fairly simple document to complete, but if not done clearly and fully you will not be awarded the top marks for your 3 tasks. An example Logbook has been attached but each year this could be slightly different so make sure you get your copy from your teacher.

 

 

Analysing and Production Exam (Unit 4)

lasts for 2 hours and is worth a total of 80 marks.

Students will demonstrate their knowledge of music and the principles of music technology through a series of written commentaries, manipulations, and production tasks. The exam is broken up into 5 questions, I have given a rough guide as to what to expect in each question below:

Question 1: Music Performance Terminology and Theory and general music technology theory. Listening for rhythm and / or pitch mistakes (13 Marks)

Question 2: Music Technology Theory and first practical editing task (18 Marks)

Question 3: Practical audio and midi editing and mixing tasks (15 marks)

Question 4: The history and development of music technology essay question (16 marks)

Question 5: Mix, sequence and bounce down your full sequenced performance as required by the brief description (18 marks)

 

Comments

  1. Profile photo of Musicteacher27

    Anyone else having trouble opening the Exemplar Logbook for Music Technology Portfolio 2 (Unit 3) : Logbook: Required with the submission of portfolio 2 (NO MARKS)!!

    1. Profile photo of phoenixgreen Author

      Hi Jez
      The marking criteria is different each year and depends on the question. If you are a teacher you can get the marking schemes for past papers and questions from here – http://www.edexcel.com/quals/gce/gce08/music/tech/Pages/default.aspx

      Or you could have a look through our list of example question for the history of music tech, here – http://musictechstudent.co.uk/music-technology/a2-music-tech-exam-unit-4-essay-question-the-history-of-music-technology/

      I hope this helps

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