Home Past Papers Set Works History of Music Genres Glossary

Teachers - do you need some help with the BGCSE?

There is alot of useful information for you and your students on these pages. There are several past papers which you can print off and the audio for the papers is here also.

Information on the Set Works for this year is also available, including videos, composer bios and analyses of the music.

Later on I will add some revision quizes.




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Genres of Music


A religious piece for a choir


CONCERTO GROSSO - Music from the Baroque period, played by an orchestra and a group of soloists. Often includes a harpsichord. NOT the same as a concerto

TRIO SONATA - Music written for, and played by, four instruments: 1 harpsichord, 2 violins, 1 cello.

Baroque Onwards

ORATORIO - Similar to an opera but with a sacred text, so tells a religious story

OPERA - A musical drama, completely sung throughout, to tell a story. Including:

ARIA - A piece for a solo voice and an orchestra

CHORUS - A piece for the main chorus, or choir, with an orchestral accompaniment

ENSEMBLE - A piece for a group of soloists and the orchestra

RECITATIVE - A sung solo punctuated by chords

Classical Onwards

CONCERTO - Concertos are composed for an orchestra with one solo instrument. They usually have 3 movements, arranged fast-slow-fast. Developed from the concerto grosso, concertos were first used in the classical period. Famous composers of concertos include:

Classical        Mozart - Beethoven - Haydn

Romantic     Weber - Chopin - Brahms - Elgar

PIANO TRIO - A group made up of a piano, a violin and a cello

SONATA - A piece written for a solo instrument with a piano accompaniment eg. A violin sonata is played by a violin and a piano

STRING QUARTET - A group of 2 violins, 1 viola and 1 cello. Also a piece of music written for that group

SYMPHONY - Symphonies are usually formed using three movements, whilst in the 1940s, a fourth movement was added. The movements are usually ordered slow-fast-slow with the last movement often taking the form of a minuet It usually encompasses the whole orchestra, without solo instruments. Famous composers of symphonies include:

Johann Stamitz - J.S.Bach's two sons  - Schubert - Dvorak - Bruchner - Mahler - Mendelssohn - Brahms - Shostakovich - Berlioz


MADRIGAL - A secular piece (not sacred or religious) for a choir. Usually has "fa la la"s in it


Franz Joseph Hadyn(1732-1809)



Franz Schubert (1797-1828)



Gloria Estefan (1957-)





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