IB Music Listening Paper
The Listening Paper consists of 4 questions for Standard Level candidates to be answered in 2 hours. It is divided into section A and section B, with an additional section C for Higher Level candidates. All questions are worth 20 marks each. Candidates will be provided with an unmarked score of the prescribed work and will be provided with a CD with unidentified tracks.
Candidates can refer to unmarked scores of the prescribed work in the examination room. No listening tracks will be provided. The first two questions are each based on one of the two prescribed works, and both the Standard and Higher Level candidates have a choice between the two. The third question is one in which a comparison between the two prescribed works is required for higher level students only. Therefore, standard level students can study only one of the set works.
The prescribed works for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 examinations are "Brandenburg Concerto, No. 2 in F Major" (BMV 1047) by Johann Sebastian Bach and "Dances of Galanta" by Zoltan Kodaly. For the 2017 November exams, we have chosen to study Bach's "Brandenburg Concerto, No. 2 in F Major". The following are additional sample questions to help you prepare for the exam:
- Describe Bach’s use of structure and tonality in the 1st movement of Brandenburg Concerto no. 2.
- Describe themes and motifs incorporated by Bach in the 1st movement of the Brandenburg Concerto no. 2 and how he introduces them throughout the movement.
- Discuss Bach’s use of texture and harmony in the 1st movement of his Brandenburg Concerto no. 2.
- Brandenburg Concerto No.2 is regarded as an example of how Bach's music represents the hight of the Baroque style. Discuss at least three contrasting passages that illustrate this view.
- Bach uses a wide range of instrumental timbres and textures in Brandenburg Concerto no. 2. Discuss and illustrate this view, making detailed references to the score.
- Discuss the changing relationship between the soloists' and ripieno parts across each of the three movements of Brandenburg Concerto no. 2. Refer in detail to specific passages of music.
The four questions in this section are based on extracts on an accompanying CD provided during the examinations. These can be from any time period, genre or culture. Standard Level candidates have a choice between question 3 and 4 (3 has a score with it and 4 does not) based on "Western Art" music. Additionally both, questions 5 and 6 (based on jazz, pop and/or world music) must be answered.
The Generic IB Music Question
Analyze what you hear in this extract in terms of relevant:
- Musical Features: such as (but not limited to) harmony, melody, rhythm, instrumentation
- Structural Features: such as (but not limited to) form, phrases, motifs, texture
- Contextual Features: such as (but not limited to) style, time, culture, geography, history
For high marks all three of the above features must be addressed in detail using accurate musical terminology.
The activity required to answer the IB Music question is threefold:
- Listen to and analyze the music
- Write down the details of what you hear
- Prove your answer / Explain the details
Below is a breakdown. There are specific comments and questions you need to figure out. This is not a complete list, however, and the question states several times, “but not limited to” when prompting your response.
Monody (none) / Polyphony / Major / Minor / Modal / Dissonance / Atonal Describe it / Pick out characteristics / Pitch or tonality
The medium – Solo / What kind of ensemble is performing the piece – be specific.
• Phrases • Motifs
The structure of the musical events in the music – can you figure this out? Make a diagram to show what you hear – don’t write it out in sentences. What is happening in the phrases? Short repeated melodic or rhythmic segments of music – are there any? Texture is an artistic word referring to the characteristic quality or essence of the music. Is the texture heavy, pointillist, fragmented, light, scant, etc? If it’s a vocal piece, what is the text or language used?
Geography and History - What style is the piece? Is there a specific style you can attach to it? This refers to when it was composed – can you figure it out? What was the culture of the area or time it was composed? Where was it composed? What was happening in place this piece was composed?
Visit the following links below to find listening examples:
1) Piano Sonata in E minor Hob. 34, 1st movement (0'00"'-2'07"), no score
2) Concerto for Two Trumpets in C (3'56"-5'53"), score provided
3) Missa Brevis, Sanctus (0'0"-2'12"), no score
4) The Drinking Song (0'00-2'06"), no score
5) The Four Sections, 4th movement (0'00"-2'00"), no score
6) All You Need is Love (0'00"-1'53"), no score
7) Walk This Way (0'05"-2'06"), no score
8) Malwe Da Jatt (0'00"-2'00"), no score
9) Taqsim for Arghul (1'00-2'30"), no score