Scheme of assessment

Find past papers and mark schemes, and specimen papers for new courses, on our website at aqa.org.uk/pastpapers

This specification is designed to be taken over one or two years.

This is a linear qualification. In order to achieve the award, students must complete all assessments at the end of the course and in the same series.

AS exams and certification for this specification are available for the first time in May/June 2017 and then every May/June for the life of the specification.

All materials are available in English only.

Our AS exams in Music include questions that allow students to demonstrate their ability to:

  • draw together their knowledge, skills and understanding from across the full course of study
  • provide original practical responses
  • provide short and extended written responses.

Synoptic assessment of AS Music should require students to:

  • develop a broad understanding of the connections between the knowledge, understanding and skills set out in the specification as a whole
  • demonstrate their understanding of the relationships between theory and practice.

Aims and objectives

Courses based on this specification should encourage students to:
  • engage actively in the process of music study
  • develop performing skills to demonstrate an understanding of musical elements, style, sense of continuity, interpretation and expression
  • develop composing skills to demonstrate the manipulation of musical ideas and the use of musical devices and conventions
  • recognise the interdependence of musical knowledge, understanding and skills, and make links between the integrated activities of performing, composing and appraising underpinned by attentive listening
  • broaden musical experience and interests, develop imagination and foster creativity
  • develop and extend the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to communicate effectively as musicians
  • develop knowledge and understanding of a variety of instruments and styles, and of relevant approaches to both performing and composing
  • develop awareness of music technologies and their use in the creation and presentation of music
  • appraise contrasting genres, styles and traditions of music, and develop understanding of musical contexts and a coherent awareness of musical chronology
  • develop as effective, independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds
  • reflect critically and make personal judgements on their own and others’ music
  • engage with, and extend appreciation of, the diverse heritage of music in order to promote personal, social, intellectual and cultural development.

Assessment components

Component 1: Appraising music (Assessment objectives AO3 and AO4)

Appraising music is an externally marked exam in three sections lasting two hours. It is marked out of a total of 96 and constitutes 40% of the total marks for the qualification.

Section A: Listening (Assessment objectives AO3 and AO4)

Students will be assessed on their ability to analyse and evaluate the music heard in the exam and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of musical elements and musical language to make critical judgements (see Subject content).

Students must answer two sets of questions:
  • one set of questions on Area of study 1: Western classical tradition 1650–1910, one of which will require aural dictation
  • one set of questions from a choice of five options covering Areas of study 2–6.

Each set of questions will contain four excerpts of unfamiliar music by the named artists/composers for each area of study.

One question in each set will be an extended answer and require students to use knowledge of appropriate musical elements and musical language to make critical judgements relating to the context of an artist's/composer's work in the area of study.

The paper will instruct the student to spend a suggested amount of time on each section. However, students will be able to access their own excerpts relevant to their options digitally and control how many times they hear each excerpt in order to answer the questions.

Section B: Analysis (Assessment objectives AO3 and AO4)

Students will be required to answer one set of linked questions, including short answers and extended writing, on one extract of the set works from the two selected strands in Area of study 1. The question paper will include scores of the extracts.

Students will be able to access the excerpts relevant to their options digitally on an individual basis and control how many times they hear each excerpt in order to answer the question.

Students will be assessed on their ability to analyse and evaluate the music heard and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of musical elements and musical language to make critical judgements. (See Subject content.

Section C: Essay (Assessment objective AO4)

Students will be required to answer one essay question on one area of study from a choice of Areas of study 2–6.

Students will be assessed on their critical understanding across the genres, styles and traditions studied and their ability to show sophisticated connections between the music and its context. Students will need to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of two of the named artists/composers and at least two published or recorded works (see Subject content).

Component 2: Performance (Assessment objective AO1)

Performance is externally marked by AQA out of 50 and constitutes 30% of the total marks for the qualification.

Each student must select, following discussion with their teacher, the piece or pieces that the student will perform during the assessment. The performance must meet the specified duration of six minutes.

If the student’s performance does not meet the required duration a penalty is applied to the mark (the size of the penalty depends on the severity of the timing infringement). It may also result in schools or colleges being investigated for maladministration. Teachers must check the final performance for assessment of each student's work to ensure it meets the minimum duration requirement.

There is no maximum duration for performance.

The student can perform through one of the following methods, or through a combination:

  • instrumental/vocal solo and/or in an ensemble
  • production via technology.

Teachers are responsible for ensuring the following requirements are met in administering the performances for assessment:

  • performances must take place between 1 March and the NEA deadline date given at aqa.org.uk/keydates
  • performances should take place in a suitable venue
  • performances should be recorded using good quality audio equipment
  • performances must be under the supervision of a teacher for authentication purposes
  • recordings of performances and production must be submitted complete and without post-performance editing or augmentation
  • where available a copy for assessment of either the score(s) or lead sheet(s)must be submitted with the performance assessment. Where a written score or lead sheet does not exist other means of showing the performance intention should be submitted. For example annotation(s), guide recording(s) or written evidence (production via technology) must be submitted with the performance for assessment.

Assessment evidence

Audio recordings and performance documentation must be submitted as evidence as well as a signed Candidate record form (CRF).

Assessment evidence for this component will be marked using the Component 2: Performance assessment grids .

Audio recording of performance

Performances should be saved digitally and must be produced in accordance with the AQA Guidance for audio recording of music performance AS and A-level at aqa.org.uk

Recordings of performances must be submitted without post-performance editing.

Each student's recording of the performance for assessment must be kept under secure conditions until it is sent to AQA by the specified date given at aqa.org.uk/keydates

Performance documentation

The performance documentation is referred to by examiners when marking the audio recording of the performance. Students must submit one or a combination of the following, as appropriate, for each of the pieces performed for assessment.

Evidence type Requirement

Notated score

Providing full performance information through musical notation.

Lead sheet

Providing a detailed framework giving structure and musical substance from which a performance can be produced that meets the composer’s intentions.

Guide recording

(If no score or lead sheet available)

If students have based their own performance on a recording of another performance of the same piece, this must be submitted digitally so that the file can be easily accessed by the examiner.

Annotation

(Production only)

Including details of the processes, devices and techniques used, showing how the areas detailed in Component 2: Performance assessment grids contributed to the final performance. Students must provide details of the hardware and software used.

Component 3: Composition (Assessment objective AO2)

Composition is externally marked by AQA out of 50 and constitutes 30% of the total marks for the qualification.

Each student must compose two pieces. One composition must be in response to an externally set brief and the other composition is freely composed by the student.

Composition 1: Composition to a brief

The composition must be in response to one brief from a choice of six externally set briefs. The briefs will be released on or as near as possible to 15 September of the year of certification. Students must be given the externally set briefs in their entirety; they must not be edited, changed or abridged in any way.

The briefs may include different stimuli, such as:
  • a poem or a piece of text
  • photographs, images or film
  • notation.

Composition 2: Free composition

Free compositions need not reference areas of study or a given brief.

Compositions 1 and 2

Together, the compositions must last a combined minimum time of four and a half minutes.

If the student’s combined compositions do not meet the required duration a penalty is applied to the mark (the size of the penalty depends on the severity of the timing infringement). It may also result in schools or colleges being investigated for maladministration.

There is no maximum duration for the composition.

For each student, teachers are responsible for ensuring the following requirements are met in administering the final compositions for assessment:

  • the final compositions for assessment of each student's work meet the minimum duration requirement
  • the audio recordings of the final compositions must be recorded from start to finish
  • the student is not required to perform the composition but may do so if they wish
  • the student’s composition that is being assessed must be identified by name and candidate number at the start of the recording.

Supervising students

Students must have sufficient direct supervision to ensure that the work submitted can be confidently authenticated as their own.

You may provide guidance and support to students so that they are clear about the requirements of the tasks they need to undertake and the marking criteria on which the work will be assessed.

You should encourage students to reflect upon and evaluate their own music, including considering the success of meeting the brief/intent, during their composition process.

Teachers are expected to follow the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) instructions regarding the provision of feedback to students.

See also Non-exam assessment administration.

Assessment evidence

Audio recordings and composition documentation must be submitted as evidence for both compositions as well as a signed Candidate record form (CRF).

The audio recordings are marked alongside the composition documentation, to derive an overall mark for the component, using Component 3: Composition assessment grids.

Audio recording of compositions

The student is not required to play on the recording but may do so if they wish.

The audio recordings of the final compositions for assessment must be:

  • recorded from start to finish
  • saved digitally
  • kept under secure conditions until sent to AQA for assessment by the specified date given at aqa.org.uk/keydates
  • submitted complete and in their final state as completed by the student without any further editing or augmentation.
Composition documentation

For both compositions, students must be able to present written evidence that details the composition’s structure and musical substance.

Programme note
For both compositions students must provide a Programme note of approximately 150 words that identifies:
  • the compositional intention, including the intended audience/occasion
  • details of the software and hardware used in the compositional process.

For both compositions, students must also be able to present one or more of the following which details the composition’s structure and musical substance.

Evidence type Requirement

Notated score

Providing full performance information through musical notation, detailing, for example, dynamics, tempo, and techniques where appropriate.

Lead sheet

Providing a detailed framework giving structure and musical substance from which a performance can be produced that meets the composer’s intentions eg a melody line with chord symbols and lyrics.

Aural guide

A written account which provides a detailed guide through the aural experience of the piece which will highlight structure and musical ideas, including the ways in which they have been explored.

Assessment objectives

Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all AS Music specifications and all exam boards.

The assessments will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

Assessment objective weightings for AS Music

Assessment objectives Weighting (approx %)
AO1 Interpret musical ideas through performing, with technical and expressive control and an understanding of style and context. 30
AO2 Create, develop and refine musical ideas with technical and expressive control and coherence. 30
AO3 Demonstrate and apply musical knowledge. 15
AO4 Use analysis and appraising skills to make evaluative and critical judgements about music. 25
Assessment objectives Component weightings (approx %) Overall weighting

(%)

Component 1: Appraising Component 2: Performance Component 3: Composition
AO1   30   30
AO2     30 30
AO3 15     15
AO4 25     25
Overall weighting of components 40 30 30 100

The marks awarded on the papers will be scaled to meet the weighting of the components. Students’ final marks will be calculated by adding together the scaled marks for each component. Grade boundaries will be set using this total scaled mark. The scaling and total scaled marks are shown in the table below.

Component Maximum raw mark Scaling factor Maximum scaled mark
Appraising music 96 1 96
Performance 50 1.44 72
Composition 50 1.44 72
Total scaled mark 240

Assessment criteria

The assessment criteria below details the mark bands with descriptors for the assessment of students' work.

Component 2: Performance assessment grids

The performance evidence will be marked as a whole out a total of 50, with the overall mark comprising four assessment grids.

Mark Assessment grids
5 Ambition of project
15 Technical control
15 Expressive control
15 Performance quality
50 Total

Please note: for students performing a combination of instrumental/vocal and technology, examiners will assess each performance against the corresponding assessment grid. Examiners will take an average of the two marks to derive the total mark. If students perform using both forms, care should be taken to ensure the duration of each performance is sufficient to ensure adequate coverage of required content and the full range of criteria in the grid.

The assessment grids refer to the individual part performed by the student either as soloist or as part of an ensemble.

Ambition of project

The following assessment grid shows the comparable levels of demand for all performance types.
  • Instrumental/vocal grades refer to nationally recognised accredited music grades.
  • For non-standard instruments the levels of demand for instrumental/vocal must be applied.

Teachers must refer to online exemplification materials which show how marks are awarded for each level of demand across all performance types. Please refer to e-AQA

Both the common level descriptor and additional descriptors, as appropriate to the type of performance, should be used to locate the correct mark.

Mark Instrumental/vocal Production
5

The chosen programme will make high musical and technical demands.

The standard expected will be greater than grade six or its equivalent and will demonstrate expressive variety across the programme.

The chosen programme will demonstrate a highly complex texture and considerable expressive variety.

4

The chosen programme will make a substantial range of musical and/or technical demands.

The standard expected will equate to grade six or its equivalent with expressive variety across the programme or greater than grade six or its equivalent without expressive variety.

The chosen programme will demonstrate complex texture and expressive variety.

3

The chosen programme will make a reasonable range of musical and/or technical demands.

The standard expected will equate to grade five or its equivalent with expressive variety across the programme or equate to grade six or its equivalent without expressive variety.

The chosen programme will demonstrate moderately complex texture and some degree of expressive variety.

2

The chosen programme will make a range of musical or technical demands.

The standard expected will equate to grade five or its equivalent without expressive variety.

The chosen programme will demonstrate relatively simple texture and little or no expressive.

1

The chosen programme will make some musical or technical demands upon the student.

The standard expected will equate to grade four or its equivalent with expressive variety across the programme.

The chosen programme will demonstrate rudimentary texture and basic skills.

0 No work submitted or worthy of credit.

Technical control

Instrumental/vocal: assessment of pitch (including intonation), rhythm and quality of tone (including breathing and diction, bowing, pedalling etc).

Production: assessment of pitch, rhythm, articulation, phrasing and clarity of capture.

Mark Instrumental/vocal Production
13–15
  • at the top of the band there will be no discernible flaws and pitch/intonation will be completely secure
  • towards the bottom of the band inaccuracies will be limited to small, but noticeable errors
  • a performance which is entirely fluent and rhythmically secure, without any hesitations
  • the techniques demanded are fully mastered with a mature tone quality across the whole range.
  • excellent accuracy of pitch and control of all rhythmic elements to produce a musically satisfying recording
  • detailed and musically effective articulation and phrasing
  • well considered choice and placement of microphones which have produced a clear, clean capture for all tracks with no noise or distortion.
10–12
  • a performance which is generally accurate in pitch and security of intonation
  • rhythmically stable with only a few small errors not affecting the overall fluency
  • tone production is generally good but the quality suffers at the extremities of the pitch range, or at moments of technical difficulty, or is uneven between registers
  • techniques demanded by the music are met.
  • a few minor slips which do not inhibit the overall musicality or fluency of the recording
  • close attention to all performance detail with effective articulation and phrasing
  • appropriate choice and placement of microphones, a few tracks have occasional clipping or a slight noise.
7–9
  • a performance which achieves consistency of pitch overall with reasonably secure intonation
  • weaknesses of rhythm or pulse may be evident
  • evidence of good tone quality over most of the pitch range but with occasional weaknesses
  • in general technical demands are met but there will be evidence of some loss of integrity.
  • slips in pitch and rhythm become increasingly frequent interrupting the fluency of the recording
  • generally effective articulation and phrasing
  • largely appropriate choice and placement of microphones, however some tracks are not captured cleanly.
4–6
  • a performance in which the basic outline of the music is appreciable but either errors of pitch are significant and intonation may be consistently flat or sharp or rhythmic problems are sufficient enough to interrupt the flow
  • tone production is inhibited, with only some technical demands being met.
  • more significant errors in pitch and rhythm affecting the overall sense of ensemble
  • some attempts, which are not always successful, to create articulation and phrasing
  • some appropriate choice of microphones but not all placement is appropriate
  • there is likely to be some intrusive noise or distortion.
1–3
  • a performance which achieves limited consistency of pitch and rhythm or fluency
  • accuracy is only evident in the more straightforward passages
  • intonation is rarely secure and is inconsistent
  • technique and tone production are problematic.
  • significant lapses in the accuracy of pitch and rhythm resulting in an unmusical performance
  • mechanical with limited attention to articulation and phrasing
  • poor microphone choice and placement results in a noisy and problematic recording.
0 No work submitted or worthy of credit.

Expressive control

Instrumental/vocal: assessment of tempo, dynamics, phrasing and articulation.

Production: assessment of choice of timbres, dynamics, dynamic processing including compression and EQ.

Mark Instrumental/vocal Production
13–15
  • a highly musical performance in which tempo is entirely appropriate throughout
  • the composer’s expressive and performance directions have been fully observed resulting in accurate, effective and broad-ranging dynamics, phrasing and articulation
  • subtlety and control will be a feature at the top of the band.
  • well-chosen timbres which have been appropriately edited
  • excellent management of dynamics in ways completely appropriate to the music
  • dynamic shaping appropriately used
  • compression and EQ have been used appropriately to good effect.
10–12
  • musical performance in which the main chosen tempi are appropriate, but there are one or two misjudged moments
  • the majority of the composer’s expressive and performance directions have been carefully observed
  • dynamics, phrasing and articulation are successfully varied and mostly effective.
  • appropriate choice of timbres but without further editing
  • good overall dynamic contrast but lacks some shaping
  • some occasional miscalculations of over or under use of compression so tracks do not sit well in the mix
  • there are some slight errors in the use of EQ.
7–9
  • a performance in which the main chosen tempi are be slightly misjudged and the performance is feel mechanical on occasion
  • the composer’s expressive and performance directions have been largely observed and phrases are generally well shaped
  • articulation and dynamics are mostly accurate, if rather bland.
  • the majority of chosen timbres are appropriate
  • some misjudgements with dynamic contrast and shaping
  • there are some occasional intrusive misjudgements with the use of compression and more frequent errors in the application of EQ.
4–6
  • a performance in which the main chosen tempi are generally misjudged and the performance is very mechanical
  • there is a basic control of phrasing, articulation and dynamics; these are often misjudged.
  • partially successful choice of timbres
  • sections where attempts to create dynamic contrast and/or the dynamic processing is misjudged and EQ has been applied inconsistently.
1–3
  • the main chosen tempi are inappropriate
  • there is little or no application of dynamics, phrasing and articulation.
  • chosen timbres are largely inappropriate
  • limited dynamic contrasts
  • a mechanical or unmusical result
  • limited or no use of dynamic processing and EQ.
0 No work submitted or worthy of credit.

Performance quality

Instrumental/vocal: assessment of musical style and communication.

Production: assessment of style, balance, blend, panning and use of effects.

Mark Instrumental/vocal Production
13–15
  • an engaging and commanding performance in which the student demonstrates total involvement in the music with real flair
  • a mature and sensitive understanding of both period and style is evident; communicated through an assured, convincing and well-projected performance.
  • complete awareness of the stylistic requirements of the music including musical shaping
  • excellent sense of balance and effectively blended throughout the recording
  • musically appropriate use of the stereo field
  • excellent and judicious use of stylistically appropriate effects.
10–12
  • performance which is mostly commanding and convincing
  • there is clear commitment and the performance is mostly assured
  • a good sense of style is evident but there is lack individual flair.
  • a consistent sense of style with attention to musical detail
  • most tracks are well balanced and blended with some minor slip
  • effective placement in the stereo field
  • well controlled use of appropriate effects.
7–9
  • a performance which demonstrates some level of commitment but lacks an overall assurance
  • there is still an overall sense of conviction
  • the style of the music is appropriate with a clear sense of character.
  • broadly successful creation of the required style
  • more frequent miscalculations as to balance and blend
  • largely effective use of the stereo field but with some misjudgements
  • occasional miscalculations as to the use of effects.
4–6
  • a performance which lacks conviction and commitment on occasions
  • there is limited sensitivity to the demands of the music although there is a general understanding of the overall character.
  • some sense of the required style but achieved inconsistently
  • there are also inconsistencies in balance and blend with key tracks or features obscured
  • largely inappropriate use of the stereo field
  • inconsistency in the application of effects.
1–3
  • a performance which is limited in conviction and displays rudimentary sensitivity to the style of the music
  • there is a limited sense of assurance leading to an anxious experience for performer and listener.
  • limited sense of style with little attention to musical detail
  • poorly balanced resulting in a misjudged final product
  • little or no use of the stereo field
  • inappropriate use of effects.
0 No work submitted or worthy of credit.

Component 3: Composition assessment grids

The composition evidence is marked out of a total of 50 marks. Each of the two compositions is out of a maximum of 25.

Mark Assessment grids
25 Composition 1: Composition to a brief
25 Composition 2: Free composition
50 Total

Composition 1: Composition to a brief

There are five bands of achievement and there are five marks available for each band. The lower mark indicates the lower level of achievement.

Mark Composition 1: Composition to a brief

Requirements

Brief 1 – Chorales

Requirements

Briefs 2–6

21–25 an authoritative composition
  • lower marks in the band suggest some less imaginative elements or passages, and/or some inconsistencies in the supporting written material.
  • stylistic detail is evident throughout, using imaginative and interesting features
  • cadences are varied and there is an inventive exploration of keys
  • a wide variety of chords is used fluently and with few significant errors
  • grammatical errors are insignificant and part-writing is fluent and sophisticated.
  • the composition has a sustained mastery of technical control
  • the quality of contrasting ideas and their development creates a commanding structure that is more than just a standard form, providing a musical journey
  • musical elements are used with flair and imagination, complementing each other with strong creative purpose to give a consistently fluent and successful result
  • the style of the composition is convincing, fluent and used perceptively to give a compelling musical experience
  • imaginative use of the brief fundamentally informs the composition
  • the music is communicated fluently on paper with comprehensive score or commanding annotation.
16–20 a confident composition
  • higher marks in the band represent music that has some signs of imagination
  • lower marks in the band suggest greater inconsistencies in technical control and/or elements of the style.
  • there is interesting stylistic detail but the result is secure rather than imaginative
  • main keys and cadences are well-chosen but there is scope for more interest and variety, for example with passing modulation
  • chord choice is mostly secure and varied with some adventurous moments
  • some grammatical errors occur but they have little effect on the aural result
  • part-writing has melodic direction and few difficulties.
  • the composition has a largely successful technical control
  • the quality of contrasting ideas and/or their development has led to a successful musical structure
  • musical elements are used with variety and secure handling, though some may be used with more creative purpose than others, combining to give a largely successful, if not always consistent, result
  • the style of the composition is assured and used proficiently to give a clear musical experience
  • interesting use of the brief significantly informs the composition
  • the music is communicated clearly on paper with a good score or helpful annotation, despite some imprecision
  • this band may also be appropriate for compositions of top band compositional quality which have very weak supporting written material (score or annotation).
11–15 a secure composition
  • higher marks in the band represent music that has some signs of creative exploration or a superior score/annotation
  • lower marks in the band suggest greater concerns with technical control, little creative exploration or a less convincing sense of style.
  • stylistic awareness is evident at times, but inconsistently, throughout the composition
  • cadences are largely effective despite some errors; key choices may lack some variety
  • chord choice is often suitable but there will be errors and some lack of variety
  • there is some awareness of part-writing, but errors are frequent, and there is a lack of interest.
  • the composition has largely competent technical control
  • there is a clear musical structure, though this may lack effective contrast or development of ideas
  • musical elements are used with moderate effectiveness and some control, providing evidence of creative purpose, which is not always fully explored or realised, to give a partially successful result
  • the style of the composition is evident but used in a generic manner to give a predictable musical experience
  • satisfactory use of the brief informs the composition
  • the music is communicated on paper through a score of annotation, but not always clearly, accurately or with sufficient detail.
6–10 a composition of some limitations
  • higher marks in the band represent music that has more signs of technical competence and/or a stronger sense of intended style
  • lower marks in the band suggest serious concerns regarding technical control or music with no discernible sense of style.
  • stylistic awareness is apparent only occasionally
  • some understanding of cadences, but errors frequently occur and the key is insecure at times
  • chord choice is weak and progression is often ineffective
  • errors are significant but a few passages have successful part-writing.
  • the composition has some persistent issues with technical control
  • there are some signs of a musical structure, but these are not always clear
  • musical elements are used with some effectiveness, but there are sustained difficulties in some aspects and little sense of creative purpose leading to a composition of limited success
  • there is evidence of an intended style in the composition but this is dilute, inconsistent or ineffectively contradictory, leading to a restricted musical experience
  • limited use of the brief is evident at times
  • the music is only partially communicated on paper through an incomplete, confusing or only outline version provided as score or annotation.
1–5 a rudimentary composition
  • higher marks in the band represent music that has a few signs of musical awareness
  • lower marks in the band represent compositions that have strongly random elements and/or are very simplistic, scant or short.
  • there is no evidence of stylistic awareness
  • important key centres have not been grasped; cadences are mostly inaccurate
  • chords are often incomplete, inaccurate or inappropriate
  • errors are frequent and there is little awareness of part-writing.
  • the composition is dominated by issues with technical control
  • there is little or no evidence of musical structure
  • musical elements are used with little control, making genuine creative intentions hard to discern in a rudimentary or confused result
  • there is no sense of style evident in the composition, leading to a lack of a musical experience
  • rudimentary use is made of the brief
  • the written material in no way enhances the composition and is likely to be poor in its detail and layout (whether score or annotation).
0 No work submitted or worthy of credit

Composition 2: Free composition

Mark Composition 2: Free composition Requirements
21–25

an authoritative composition

  • lower marks in the band suggest some less imaginative elements or passages, and/or some inconsistencies in the supporting written material.
  • the composition has a sustained mastery of technical control
  • the quality of contrasting ideas and their development creates a commanding structure that is more than just a standard form, providing a musical journey
  • musical elements are used with flair and imagination, complementing each other with strong creative purpose to give a consistently fluent and successful result
  • the style of the composition is convincing, fluent and used perceptively to give a compelling musical experience
  • the music is communicated fluently on paper with comprehensive score or commanding annotation.
16–20 a confident composition
  • higher marks in the band represent music that has some signs of imagination
  • lower marks in the band suggest greater inconsistencies in technical control and/or elements of the style.
  • the composition has a largely successful technical control
  • the quality of contrasting ideas and/or their development has led to a successful musical structure
  • musical elements are used with variety and secure handling, though some may be used with more creative purpose than others, combining to give a largely successful, if not always consistent, result
  • the style of the composition is assured and used proficiently to give a clear musical experience
  • the music is communicated clearly on paper with a good score or helpful annotation, despite some imprecision
  • this band may also be appropriate for compositions of top band compositional quality which have very weak supporting written material (score or annotation).
11–15 a secure composition
  • higher marks in the band represent music that has some signs of creative exploration or a superior score/annotation
  • lower marks in the band suggest greater concerns with technical control, little creative exploration or a less convincing sense of style.
  • the composition has largely competent technical control
  • there is a clear musical structure, though this may lack effective contrast or development of ideas
  • musical elements are used with moderate effectiveness and some control, providing evidence of creative purpose, which is not always fully explored or realised, to give a partially successful result
  • the style of the composition is evident but used in a generic manner to give a predictable musical experience
  • the music is communicated on paper through a score of annotation, but not always clearly, accurately or with sufficient detail.
6–10 a composition of some limitations
  • higher marks in the band represent music that has more signs of technical competence and/or a stronger sense of intended style
  • lower marks in the band suggest serious concerns regarding technical control or music with no discernible sense of style.
  • the composition has some persistent issues with technical control
  • there are some signs of a musical structure, but these are not always clear
  • musical elements are used with some effectiveness, but there are sustained difficulties in some aspects and little sense of creative purpose leading to a composition of limited success
  • there is evidence of an intended style in the composition but this is dilute, inconsistent or ineffectively contradictory, leading to a restricted musical experience
  • the music is only partially communicated on paper through an incomplete, confusing or only outline version provided as score or annotation.
1–5 a rudimentary composition
  • higher marks in the band represent music that has a few signs of musical awareness
  • lower marks in the band represent compositions that have strongly random elements and/or are very simplistic, scant or short.
  • the composition is dominated by issues with technical control
  • there is little or no evidence of musical structure
  • musical elements are used with little control, making genuine creative intentions hard to discern in a rudimentary or confused result
  • there is no sense of style evident in the composition, leading to a lack of musical experience
  • the written material in no way enhances the composition and is likely to be poor in its detail and layout (whether score or annotation).
0 No work submitted or worthy of credit.