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IGCSE Cambridge Syllabus 2012

Classical & World Music (Section A-D)
When music and CGP books get PWNED

Standard European staff notation including dynamic, tempo and expression markings, simple ornaments and
articulation signs, treble, bass and alto clefs, key signatures up to 4 sharps and 4 flats in major and minor keys,
time signatures, intervals.

Melody and Rhythm
Major, minor, chromatic and pentatonic scales. Melodic movement by step or leap. Phrasing. Duple, triple or
irregular metre, syncopation, polyrhythm.

Primary chords: I, IV, and V(7); secondary chords: II and VI. Perfect, imperfect, plagal, and interrupted cadences.
Modulations to related keys.

Ensembles and instruments/voices
Orchestras, wind and jazz bands, choirs and chamber ensembles. The main instruments and voices used in the
above ensembles. Piano, harpsichord, organ. Gamelan, rabab, kora, xylophone, sitar, sarang, tabla, pan-pipes,
guitar, un-tuned percussion instruments.

Instrumental and/or vocal effects
Arco, pizzicato, glissando, tremolo (rapid bowing), harmonics, double stopping
(playing two notes simultaneously on a stringed or melodic percussion
instrument), strumming, pitch bending, mute, roll, melisma (singing one syllable
but moving it to different pitches Beyonce way), blue notes.

Binary, ternary, rondo, theme and variations, ground bass.

Compositional devices
Repetition, imitation, sequence, canon, inversion, ostinato, drone, Alberti bass (broken
chord accompaniment), pedal, contrary motion.

Melody and accompaniment, homophonic (two or more parts move together in harmony), polyphonic (two or
more independent melodies), monophonic (single line one note at a time), heterophonic (all parts share the
tune with slightly different variations).

Baroque (1600 1750), Classical (1750 1820), Romantic (1820 1900), Twentieth Century (1900+) (including
impressionism, serialism, neo-classical, jazz).

Opera, oratorio (including recitative, aria and chorus), musical, symphony, concerto, string quartet, sonata,
march, waltz, minuet and trio.

Word Meaning
Alberti Bass
Broken chorded bass
Chance music, totally random.
Music starts with an upbeat.
Solo song from opera or oratorio.
A distinctive style of piano jazz playing made famous by Fats Domino the
American Jazz Pianist.
Broken Chord
Notes of a chord played separately.
Short vocal composition accompanied by orchestra and tells a story.
Time signatures with 6, 9 or 12 as their top number. Fits when you say coffee as if
cof was a dotted quaver and fee, a semiquaver.
Con legno
Played with the back of the bow.
Con sordino
Played with a mute (strings).
Usually used in hyms, it is a counter-melody at a higher pitch.
A dischord.
When music starts on the first note of the first bar.
Free Metre
Music with no particular metre.
Gaelic Psalm
Unaccompanied gibberish church music.
Voices singing notes of a chord.
A style of music from the early 20th Century which attempted to imitate in sound
what artists such as Monet and Degas did with paint. by giving an impression of a
scene or story.
Inverted Pedal
Long, sustained note above the melody.
Irregular Metre
Five or seven beats in a bar.
A 20th Century style of music based on repeated patterns of notes.
Essential part or decorative line above the melody.
An extended composition based on Bible stories.
Passing Note
A note which passes from one harmony note to the next which may be accented
or unaccented.
Main points of the plot of an oratorio, opera or cantata are made to the listener.
Regular Metre
Strong beats duple, triple or quadruple.
Music where different parts of the tune sound well when played together. One
group of singers starts the song, and then a second group starts singing the same
song a couple of bars late.
Latin American music with 2 beats in a bar usually syncopated.
Scat Singing
A type of singing where nonsense syllables are used instead of words (shoo wah
doobie do wah).
Very fast movement with three beats in a bar. Means joke.
A melodic phrase which is repeated at a higher or lower pitch of one step.

Simple Time
Time signatures with 2, 3 or 4 as their top number.
A verse repeating song with a chorus such as a Ballad.
A song or melody with a chorus that is not repeated.
Tierce de
When minor key unexpectedly ends on a major chord (like latin america style).

Two or more parts/voices sounding at the same pitch.
Glossary of Terms for Unprepared Listening
A dance with three beats in a bar.

Italian Musical Terms

Accelerando Gradually speeding up
Allargando Getting slower and broadening
Allegro Fast
Andante Slowish, at walking pace
Largo Slowly and broadly
Moderato At moderate speed
Presto Very quick
Rallentando Gradually slowing down
Ritenuto Immediately slower
Rubato Literally 'robbed time', where rhythms are played freely for
expressive effect.
Vivace Lively


BAROQUE (1600 1750)

Use major and minor keys tonal.
Modulation was used.
New structures developed: binary (AB), ternary (ABA) and rondo
Dynamics change suddenly terraced or stepped dynamics.
Packed with ornaments and harmonies are simple.
Repetition as the melody is built from motives.
Contrapuntal textures - the fugue was a popular vocal and instrumental form in
the Baroque.
The importance - of monody (one voice with accompaniment);
Harpsichords or organs give this away.
The use of the basso continuo to accompany both vocal and instrumental music,
with the use of the harpsichord and organ crucial to this;
Examples: Bach, Handel, Purcell, Vivaldi and Beethoven (late classical).

CLASSICAL (1750 1820)

Very balanced phrases
Few ornaments
More subtle or gradual changes in dynamics.
Invention of the piano and clarinet; and the sonata form.
Music written for smallish orchestras.
The strings are dominant in classical music
Simple diatonic harmonies
Clear and simple structure
Homophonic texture
Balanced forms ternary and sonata forms became popular
Clear sense of beat as well as a constant tempo
Examples: Haydn, Mozart, Clementi.


Melodic Inversion keep the same intervals but go the opposite direction (up
instead of down and vice versa).
Retrograde playing the tunes backwards.
Sequencing repeating a pattern one step above or below.
Imitation repeat phrase with slight changes.
Ostinato repeated pattern.


Trill lots of tiny quick notes in Baroque, it starts with one note
above then goes back and forth between the written note and the
one above; in Classical, it starts on the written note.
Appoggiatura starts on a note that clashes with the chord before moving to a
note that belongs. They are usually a tone or semitone apart and normally takes
half the time value of the note it leans on.
Acciaccatura squeezing in a tiny quick note.
Mordents abit like short trills but the ending
note is slightly longer than the trilled ones.
Turns start on the note above, than the note, then
the one below, then back to the note; for inverted turns, do the opposite.

ROMANTIC (1820 - 1900)
Music that tells a story programme music. Lots of moods and emotions.
Piccolo, cor anglais, bass clarinet, double bassoon, the new saxophone, tuba and
harp joined the orchestra a wide range of instruments.
Longer melodies than classical and some tunes are sad whilst others are strong.
Unexpected modulations and chromatics were used to spice it up.
Lots of dynamics, expression markings, rubato and changes in texture.
Virtuosic solo parts in concertos and sonatas
More chromatic harmony; more variety of texture; more dissonance and
tension; a wider tonal range.
Examples: Mendelssohn, Schubert, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Brahms.

BAROQUE (1600-
Small scale orchestra.
Strings dominate the
Expanded orchestra.
Trombones, double
bassoons, piccolos.
Very large orchestra
with more varied
Balanced, clear two or
four bar phrases.
Elegant and light.
Dramatic sound.
Single theme used
through most works.
Long, sing able tunes.
Often build to a
Mostly diatonic
harmony. Clear
cadences and always
Mostly diatonic
harmony. Clear
cadences and always
Lots of chromatic
notes with lots of
in major or minor. in major or minor.
Clear rhythm,
constant tempo and
metre and mostly
polyphonic texture.
Driving rhythms and a
polyphonic texture.
Lots of tempo
changes and some
syncopation. Varied

When you hear non-instrumental sounds with instrumental its a giveaway.
Different ways of hitting instruments and playing woodwind (flutter-tonguing) and
new techniques such as glissando, tremolo, pizzicato, vibrato were invented.
Very experimental.
Short and flowing sometimes no tune at all.
Examples: Debussy, Leroy Anderson, Scott Joplin.


The 12 chromatic notes of an octave are rearranged into a set order, called the Prime
Order. This would then be rearranged (retrograde, inversion or both), leaving 4 different
variations or rows of the Prime Order. These rows can then be used to make motifs,
chords or melodies.

Some composers include Schoenberg, Webern and Berg the composers of the
Second Viennese School. Elements of the sound include:

Intense emotion
Melodic or harmonic distortion
High level of chromaticism
Angular melodies
High level of dissonance
Extreme contrasts of dynamics
Avoidance of cadences, repetition, sequence, or balanced phrases.
Constantly changing texture and ideas.

Atonality, or expressionism, is a type of music which is like the art itself consisting of
dots of bright colours. Webern used disjointed chords, wild leaps, dissonant harmonies
and dramatic contrasts.


The aim of Impressionist art was to suggest rather than to clearly draw objects.
Impressionist music does much the same thing, focusing on creating a sense or an
atmosphere of the piece's topic by using blurred harmony and delicate shadings of
sound rather than relying on standard forms and a strong, clear rhythmic beat. There is
an air of mystery, magic and wonder that surrounds Impressionistic music. Techniques
involved include using the whole-tone scale, exotic rhythms and scales; and
chromaticism. Composers include Debussy and Ravel.

Chains of parallel chords such as sevenths
Use of whole-tone scales, pentatonic scales and modes
Rejection of traditional harmonic and tonal progressions
Complex musical forms
Rich palette of orchestral colours; unusual instrumental combinations
Rich textures
Chords which provide as much colour as they do functional harmony
Unprepared, abrupt modulations
Atmospheric, dream-like pieces with evocative and descriptive titles


An important type of 20th century music is neoclassical. "Neo" means new, so
neoclassical music is new music that is similar to music of the Classical period. While
neoclassical music sounds modern in many ways, it is written following the basic forms
and ideals of the Classical period.
Famous neoclassical composers include Igor Stravinsky and Prokofiev. His music uses
many different key signatures and time signatures, and sometimes more than one at a
time. One example is the Rite of Spring and Classical Symphony.

Use of ostinati
' Functional' traditional harmonic and tonal progressions, coloured by
deliberately dissonant chords
Rhythmically complex - often using polyrhythms
Combination of step-wise and angular melodies
Deliberate use of older forms and dance styles


Blues was a type of slow, sad American Negro song telling of their misfortune.
It is usually in 4/4 time and is mostly patterned on a 12-bar structure called
the 12 bar blues.

A typical jazz band would have a trumpet, trombone, clarinet, piano, guitar, drums and a
double bass. Early jazz music is based on a 12-bar blues. Jazz musicians would use call
and response, syncopated rhythms or swung rhythms. Some musicians scat sing.

Improvisation is also used. Some famous jazz composers
include Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller
and Gershwin.

Ragtime was a style of dance music which became
popular at the end of the 19th century and which helped
to influence jazz. Usually for piano solo in which the left
hand plays a vamp while the right hand plays a syncopated melody. Scott Joplin was
the most famous composer of ragtime music


Minimalist music is music that changes a tiny subtle bit at a time. Some of the features

It is made up of constantly repeated patterns called loops. These are short and
Harmonies are made by layering patterns on top of each other they take a long
time to change.
The metre may change constantly. It may be polyrhythmic.

Minimalism uses musical ideas from all over the word. Composers include Steve Reich,
Philip Glass and Terry Riley.


From 1900 onwards Puccinis operas were noted for his forays into musical verismo, the
realistic depiction of life. Debussy in his impressionist style wrote the mellow,
symbolist opera Pellas et Mlisande. Berg wrote two operas 'Lulu' and 'Wozzeck' in
a serial, 12-tone style, and with rather lurid plots. Stravinskys opera The Rake's
Progress has some beautiful but at times quite dissonant music. However to summarise,
some of the features of 20
Century Opera include:

Dissonance in vocals or instrumentals
Extreme emotions
Use of Sprechgesang - A technique used in vocal music where the singer is
required to use the voice in an expressive manner halfway between singing and
speaking. This is used in Schoenbergs operas a lot.


Electronic music is any music that uses electrical devices or
instruments to produce and alter the sounds used in the
music. Synthesizers (electronic devices used to produce
sounds) and sequencers (software used to playback MIDI, a computer code for music)
were used to make loops of drumbeats, chords and even tunes. Cubase, Pro-Tools and
Logic Pro are examples of sequencer programmes. Samplers (which are abit like
synthesizers) were also used. They play short bits of pre-recorded music called samples.

People like DJs manipulate the samples live, using DJ turntables and other programmes
to distort, bend or create scratching noises.

Drum machines were used to create drum patterns.

Some ways of changing samples include:

Pitch Shifting
Panning changing which speaker
(left or right) the music comes out
Chorus creates several layers of
the sample
Reverb changes the sample so
that it sounds like its being played
in a hall
Phaser makes a whooshing
EQ Or equalization, it amplifies or
removes frequencies
Low/High-pass Filter gets rid of
the noise of rumblings in the

Operas are plays set to music. The main characters are played by solo singers and are
supported by a chorus and an orchestra. The words of an opera are called libretto.

In opera, there are three types of singing:

An aria is a solo vocal piece, backed by the orchestra. They are
used to go into the emotions of the main characters. They have
memorable, exciting tunes. Theyre challenging for the performers
and let them show their vocal tone and agility.
Recitative is a half-spoken, half-singing style used for some
conversations. Recitativo secco is recitative thats unaccompanied
or backed by simple chords. Recitativo stromentato or
accompagnato is one with orchestral backing.
The part where the whole chorus sings together.

An oratorio is a religious version of opera. It has arias, recitatives and choruses.

They usually have a religious theme, and are based on traditional stories, sometimes
from the Bible. They dont usually have scenery, costumes or action theyre not acted

Oratarios were mainly written for concert or church performance.

Waltzes are in triple metre and have an oom cha cha rhythm.

Waltzes have a strong clear tune, closely backed by chords called a homophonic
texture. The chords are pretty simple. The speed of chord changes is called harmonic
rhythm waltz chords change slowly, so they have a slow harmonic rhythm. Composers
might use appoggiaturas and chromatic notes to spice up their tunes.


Minuet and trio form in classical symphonies, string quartets and sonatas consists of two
minuets with a da capo (back to the beginning) at the end of the second minuet in
order to finish with the first minuet and give the form an overall ABA or ternary
structure. Both minuets are in rounded binary form, with two repeated sections, A and
B, where A returns briefly at the end of the B section, hence 'rounded.'

|: A :||: B (A) :||: C :||: D (C) :|| A | B (A)|

The trio is so called because originally the second minuet would be played by a smaller
ensemble, possibly of as few as three players. It is generally reduced to three structure
lines, and is lighter and sweeter than the minuet sections. It is usually contrasting and in
a different but related key, such as the dominant or subdominant key.

The minuet and trio are usually in time. As well as that, it is usually the structure of
the 3
Movement of a classical symphony as it is a form of ternary form.

Scherzo and trio are very similar to the minuet and trio, however, the scherzo is more
light-hearted and playful.


A march, as a musical genre, is a piece of music with a strong regular rhythm which in
origin was expressly written for marching to and most frequently performed by
a military band.

Marches can be written in any time signature, but the most
common time signatures are 4/4, 2/2, 6/8, and 3/4.

The form of a march typically consists of 16 to 32 measures
in length with multiple repeats until a new section. Most
importantly, a march consists of a strong and steady percussive beat reminiscent of
military field drums.

Marches frequently change keys, and have counter-melodies introduced during the
repeat of a main melody. They sometimes have a call and response between two
groups of instruments (high/low, woodwind/brass, etc.).

Typical marching bands have lots of brass instruments, woodwind instruments and
percussion such as the snare drum and tom toms.


Theme contrasting episode theme contrasting episode ... theme
Baroque composers wrote Ritornellos, where main theme is played by the whole
group whilst sections are played by soloist(s).
It is usually played in the 4
Movement of a Classical symphony.
Symphonies are pieces for the whole orchestra. A string quartet is for two violins,
a viola and a cello. A concerto is a piece for one instrument with orchestra
backing (instrument orchestra instrument orchestra...).


Repeated bass part.
Variations are then built on top, getting more complex as they go gone.
A chaconne is a repeated chord patterned bass.
A passacaglia has a tuneful bass line, usually three beats in a bar.
Example: Canon in D by Pachelbel.


Binary form: Section A followed by a contrasting Section B, usually in the relative
Ternary form: Section A followed by contrasting Section B then back to Section A
with perhaps abit of variation making it A1. Usually played in the 3
of a sonata.
Minuet and Trio are two ternaries put within another ternary form. So it would be
Minuet [ABA] Trio [CDC] Minuet [ABA]. The Minuet would almost always be in


Theme followed by variations that keep a recognisable version of the main theme.
Ways to vary the theme: add notes for melodic decoration, sequencing, changing
the metre or the rhythm, changing the key, retrograding or changing the chords.


Exposition Development Recapitulation.
Exposition has two themes to build contrast. Some classical sonatas have a
slowish intro before this. The exposition ends in a different key than the home
key and the whole section is often repeated.
Development keeps the piece interesting, going through lots of variations
including: sequencing, imitation, new harmonies, augmentation and diminution
(making notes longer or shorter), new rhythms or inversion.
Recapitulation the themes from the exposition are played again with slight
changes. Bridges are used to link and modulate between the two themes.
Composers like to finish off the sonata with a coda or a finale.


A symphony is a four movement work played by the orchestra.
A concerto is a three movement work for a soloist and orchestra, often having a
cadenza to show off.
An overture is a one movement piece for the orchestra, sometimes written as
introductions to larger works.
A suite is a collection of incidental music used to accompany action of stage.


Monophonic - has only one melodic line, with no harmony or counterpoint.
There may be rhythmic accompaniment, but only one line that has specific
pitches. Monophonic music can also be called monophony.
Homophonic - has one clearly melodic line; it's the line that naturally draws your
attention. All other parts provide accompaniment or fill in the chords.
Polyphonic - can also be called polyphony, counterpoint, or contrapuntal music.
If more than one independent melody is occurring at the same time, the music is
Heterophonic - there is only one melody, but different variations of it are being
sung or played at the same time.



Drums are probably the most widely played instrument in Africa. They are respected by
tribal societies, and are thought of one of the best African instruments.

Drums are used to accompany singing, dancing, and even working.

They also call people together for community events such as weddings. Different
drumbeats signal different events so people from nearby villages can tell whats going


The djembe drum has been called "the healing drum". It is played in
Guinea and Mali in West Africa. It has a single head and is shaped abit like
a goblet. It is played with hands. The overall size affects the pitch smaller
drums being higher pitched. They make a hollow sound.

The dundun or the donno are different names for the
talking or hourglass drum. The dundun is played in
Guinea and Mali whereas the donno, in Ghana. They are
cylindrical drums that are played horizontally with
curved sticks. The player holds it under one hard and
hits the drumhead with the stick. The strings can be
squeezed and released to change the pitch or the
drum. The drum produces a mellow sound.


Skilled drummers can make drums talk. They change the pitch to imitate changing pitch
levels in ordinary speech. The drums sounds can be heard over long distances,
therefore, are used to send messages.


Most drummers play using their hands. These are three basic strokes:

- Slap: Hit the edge with fingers splayed open.
- Tone: Hit the edge with fingers held together.
- Bass: Hit centre with flat hand.

Dampening is resting one hand/stick on the drum skin whilst playing with the other. On
some styles of drum, you can change the pitch by tightening the skin. To get a
contrasting sound, you can strike the wood instead of the skin.


Most African ensembles are led by a master drummer. He is like the conductor. The
master drummer plays a rhythmic signal which sets the tempo and rhythm for the other
players. After this call, the other players join in with response. This feature is known as
call and response. It is usually repeated many times during the performance.

The master drummer also controls the build-up and release of tension. He leads other
players in changes of dynamics, tempo, pitch and rhythm. In general, the drum beats are
quite repetitive these changes keep the audience hooked.


African music is based on rhythmic cycles of varying lengths. Drummers accent
particular beats in a rhythmic cycle. Sometimes different rhythmic cycles, with accents in
different places, are played together. This is known as polyrhythm. Sometimes you get
rhythms that dont really fit each other. This is known as cross-rhythm and is used to
create tension. This feature is very much like polyrhythm. Notes that dont fall on a
strong beat can be emphasized, giving a syncopated effect. Even though the music is
based on repeated cycles, individual players introduce minor variations.

Performances can last for several hours and involves audience response. At some point
during the performance, each drummer will play a solo. While hes doing so, he sings
and dances.


The axatse (shaker) is made out of dried
gourd. It is shaken or struck against the
hand or knees.

The gankogui is a traditional double bell
which is held in the hand whilst being
struck with a stick. It has one high and one
low tone. This instrument produces a
metallic sound as is used to play the
regular beat and keep everyone together.

Balophon is a wooden xylophone with
dried gourds under the keys. They create a
warm, mellow sound. This is mostly played
in West Africa.

The kora is made by Mandingo people. It
has 21strings and you play it by plucking.
It is made from a large gourd cut in half,
with animal skin stretched across it. It is
mainly played in West Africa.

The mbira or the finger piano is played all
over Africa. It is pocket-sized has consists
of 24 metal keys arranged in 3 rows. It is
played with the thumbs and right index

The music youd find would mostly come from North India. However, there will be things
on the South that you will need to learn.


Indian classical music is mostly passed on through oral tradition. Some is
notated in a form known as sargam. Some is improvised. Also there are lots of

Music plays a vital part in religious ceremonies and in the everyday lives of rural
communities, with songs for birth, death, marriage and other aspects of a
person's journey through life.


Drone continuously sounding tonic notes which provide harmony and a
unique texture.
Rhythm based on rhythmic cycles known as tala.
Melody based on ragas.


A set of notes (usually between 5 and 8) which are combined to create a
particular mood.
They are improvised, but based on traditional tunes and rhythms.
Ragas use a similar scale to the Western 12-note scale, but while the Western
scale is tempered (same distance between neighbouring notes), the raga scale is
They are performed at a particular time of day or season.


The tala are rhythmic cycles.
It is played on the tabla.
There are hundreds of talas.
The first beat is called sam.
Each tala is split into groups called vibhags which are like bars in western
Some players improvise more complicated rhythms over the top.


Large, long-necked string instrument with movable frets and a
gourd resonator.
Most common North Indian string instrument.
Four to seven main metal strings. Some are plucked for melody,
others create drone notes.
Have sympathetic strings underneath the main ones which
vibrate to give a thick shimmery twangy sound.
Strings can be pulled to make the notes distort, or a finger can
be slid along a string to give a glissando sound called mind.
Plays solos and fills harmonies. You will almost always hear it at the beginning of
a piece.
Plucked by a mizrab.


The sarod is developed from the Senya rebab, an Indio-
persian instrument played in India from the 16th to the 19th
It is made of one piece of carved wood, the neck is fretless
and seriously big; and the bridge is seated on a skin stretched
on the body of the instrument.
It has 4 playing strings, 2 rhythm strings, 4 strings placed on a flat bridge near
the neck, and at last 13 sympathetic strings.
Strings are plucked with a pick made of coconut shell.
It sounds abit like a Guzheng, but with a lighter and livelier timbre.


A tambura is a long-necked Indian lute, unfretted and
It has four or five (rarely: six) wire strings all played open
which are plucked to make a drone sound.
Since the tambura is an accompanying instrument of a
drone style, it does not play melodies.
It sounds like an extremely twangy guitar.


The santoor is the oldest known string instrument of India.
The santoor is classified as a hammered dulcimer (like a piano)
It has 24-100 strings, commonly 80 though.
It is struck with two tiny wooden hammers.
It sounds very much like the Guzheng.


Bowed instrument of North India.
Became popular in mid-17s.
It has a soundboard made of goatskin, a neck as wide as
the soundboard and has no frets.
Has 3-4 main playing strings as well as 30-40
sympathetic ones.
Used to accompany vocals.
Played with a bow.
Sounds like a fiddle, but dirtier.


It is a pair of small drums placed side by side on the
floor in front of the player.
Their main role is to keep the time, but they sometimes interact with the soloist
and have short solos.
The heads are made out of goatskin with a central area made of iron fillings and
rice flour.
The smaller drum is known as the dayan.
It is played with the fingertips of the right hand.
It is quite high in pitch.
The larger drum is known as the bayan.
It is played with the heel of the left hand which can be pressed into the drum
to alter the pitch.


It is a bamboo flute with no keys.
One of the oldest known musical instruments in the world.
It is North Indian.
Bansuri has a mouthpiece that is played in a similar way as the western
transverse flute and either 6 or 7 finger-holes.
Sounds like a flute but slightly rustier.


It is a reed organ.
It was brought to India during the 19
Sound is produced by air, supplied by foot-operated or
hand-operated bellows, being blown through sets of free
It produces a sound similar to an accordion.

Section Instruments What Happens Here?
Alap Sitar
This is the opening section where the soloist
introduces the raga.
The soloist is accompanied only by the drone.
The raga is explored, slowly and serenely.
The improvisation on the raga has a free
sense of rhythm with no distinct pulse or
Jhor Sitar
This section is still only the soloist and the
The improvisation becomes more elaborate.
This section is slightly faster.
A sense of rhythm emerges in the
improvisation, with a clear feeling of pulse
or beat.
Jhala Sitar
This section is signalled by the entrance of
the tabla (or other drum).
The tala is stated by the drummer and the
soloist improvises on the raga in the set
rhythmic structure of the tala.



If you hear lots of metallic sounds, it has GOT TO BE gamelan music.
The main instruments are gongs, metallophones and drums.
Comes from Java and Bali.
It is played at celebrations and religious events and is thought to be magical
and spiritual.
Balinese gamelans consist of 4-40 instruments, whereas, Java gamelans consists
of 15-20 instruments.
It also has a lot of repetition, variations in tempo and long notes on gongs.
Gamelan music isnt written down. It is learnt through listening, watching and


The five-note gamelan scale is called Slndro. It goes like C, D, E, G, A.
The seven-note gamelan scale is called Plog. It goes like E, F, G, A, B, C, D.


A rhythmic cycle is called a gongan.
A bar is called a keteg.
Each bar consists of four beats.
Gongans are usually written with the lowest instruments and the top and the
highest ones at the bottom.


There are four main parts.
All parts work around a main tune, called the balungan (Java) or the pokok
The tune is repeated over and over by the metallophone, creating a rhythmic
The texture is heterophony.


Balungan The main melody, played sometimes by the Saron

Penerusian Metallaphones, such as the Gambang

Drum Layer Kendung

Gong Layer - Gongageng


A metallophone which has a metal bar for
each note of an octave. The bars rest on
hollowed-out wooden cradles. You hit the
bars with a wooden mallet.


Narrow keys made of bronze with
bamboo pipes below to resonate the


A xylophone with wooden bars.


A 2-stringed fiddle.


A plucked instrument abit like a mini-harp.


A bamboo flute.


Cone-shaped drums which are played


Refers to the islands that lie in the Caribbean Sea between North and South
It includes the islands of Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, The Dominican Republic, Puerto
Rico, Trinidad and many others.
Caribbean music uses a host of percussion instruments, many of which are of
African origin. They are often called Latin Percussion.


Catchy rhythms, ostinatos
Lively dances
Use of percussion instruments
Fast tempo
Diversity of styles
Close association between music and dance


Charango Spanish
Guiro, congas, bongos
Agogo Bells


The tango is a style of dance and song, which originates from Argentina but saw equal
popularity in Europe in the early twentieth century.

The main feature of the tango is a 2/4 rhythm, which can be notated as follows:

Instrumental ensembles which performed tangos varied, but generally included a violin,
flute and guitar or accordion (or bandonon a type of accordion).

Earliest form of Chinese music based on pentatonic note
Used in festivals/celebrations/ceremonies

No harmony
Sometimes no metre
Instruments play in unison
Use of repeated melodies and pitch-bending.
Heterophonic texture, where musicians elaborate on a single melodic line, is a
particular characteristic of the music of the Han Chinese. Other music can have
a homophonic texture, with vocal melodies, for example, doubled at
an interval of a fourth or fifth by accompanying instruments.
Melodies tend to be highly ornamented.



21 stringed instrument that is plucked by picks called
Has a movable bridge strings used to be made of silk, but
now metal. Also has a large resonant cavity.
Strings are tuned to the pentatonic scale G and D are the
most common keys. It has a range of 3 octaves.
The left-hand controls the pitch and the right-hand does the tremolo.

Er Hu

2 stringed bowed instrument that contains a resonator covered with python skin
and no fingerboard.
It has a range of about 3 5 octaves.
The bow is made of horse hair and is un-detachable from the instrument.
High pitched - usually plays solo.

Gu Qin

7 stringed zither instrument that is plucked.
Ranges 4 octaves with the lowest note being two octaves below middle C.
Does not contain a bridge.
Uses lots of glissando and harmonics.
More bass sound than Guzheng.


4 stringed instrument with 12-26 frets.
Plucked with plectrums (fake nails).
Pear shaped body sounds like an electric guitar.


A bamboo flute with a range of 2 octaves
Has a buzzing timbre.
Circular breathing (a technique that involves using cheek
muscles to push air through the instrument and maintain the
note for a long period; whilst inhaling through the nose).