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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Music words and definitions



A capella - Unaccompanied choral music

Accelerando  - An increase, or acceleration of the tempo, or pace of a piece

Accent - Extra force given to a marked note. Indicated with a > above the note

Accidental - A sharp, flat or natural given to a note that is not indicated in the key signature

Adagio - Slow, but faster than largo. A slow movement is called an adagio

Aerophone - An instrument, which produces sound by air being blown through it

Allegretto - Fairly quick, but not as much as allegro

Allegro - Quick and lively, but not as much as presto

Alto - The lowest female voice or a clef for instruments such as the viola

Andante - A walking speed, but not too slow

Anthem - See in section on Genres

Antiphonal - When two or more sets of instruments or voices sing against each other in a question - answer style, playing alternately

Arco - Use of the bow by the player of a string instrument. Normally follows a passage of pizzicato

Aria - See in section on Genres

Atonal - Music without a sense of key, by Schoenberg and others in the early 1900s

Brass - A family of instruments. See in section on Instrumental Families

Choir- A group of singers usually comprising sopranos, altos, tenors and basses

Chordophone- An instrument that produces sound by the vibration of strings

Chorus - See in section on Genres

Concerto - See in section on Genres

Concerto Grosso - See in section on Genres

Contrapuntal - This is when the melody is shared between the different instruments playing, to produce an overall melody when all the instruments are playing

Discord -" A combination of notes including one or more dissonant intervals". This means a combination of notes that don't sound 'right' together

Flat - When a note is played a semitone down from its natural state

Grave - A term meaning very slow, slower than largo

Homophonic - All the parts play the same rhythm although they play different notes

Idiophone - An instrument that sounds as a consequence of being hit

Imitation - Where the opening pattern of a musical phrase played by one voice or instrument is copied in another, not necessarily at the same pitch

Keyboards - A family of instruments. See Instrumental Families

Key Signature - Symbols at the beginning of a stave showing which notes are to be played flat or sharp throughout a piece of music

Largo - A term meaning slow, but not as slow as grave

Membranophone - An instrument that produces sound by the vibration of a stretched skin, e.g. drums

Modes - Before the modern practice of major and minor keys was developed, players and composers used modes in music. Playing all the white notes on a piano, from any note to that note a further octave up can create a mode. (e.g. A-A)

Monophonic - Music written in only one voice, or with only one melody line throughout the range of instruments

Motet- See in section on Genres

Opera - See in section on Genres

Oratorio - See in section on Genres

Percussion - A family of instruments. See in Instrument Families

Piano Trio - A group of three instruments including: A piano, a violin and a cello

Pizzicato - When a stringed instrument is played not with a bow, but plucked with the fingers. Opposite of arco

Polyphonic - This is music written with several different parts for different instruments. May be contrapuntal

Presto - Very fast, faster than Allegro

Recitative - In oratorios - A sung solo punctuated by chords

Rubato - To play with a flexible tempo

Sharp - When a note is played a semitone up from its natural note

Sonata - See Sonata

Soprano - The highest female voice

Stave - The lines upon which music notation is written

String Quartet - A group of four string instruments including: two violins, one viola and a cello. See also String Quartet in Genres

Strings - A family of instruments. See Strings in Instrument Families

Symphonic Poem - See Symphonic Poem in Genres

Symphony - See Symphony in Genres

Trio Sonata - See Trio Sonata in Genres

Troubadours - A musician who makes their living wandering from place to place, performing for rich families and their courts

Woodwind - A family of instruments. See Woodwind in Instrument Families


Franz Joseph Hadyn(1732-1809)



Franz Schubert (1797-1828)



Gloria Estefan (1957-)




P.O. Box N-1263
Nassau, The Bahamas



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