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Great leap forward

Music GCSEs are more relevant now than they were in 1985, when pupils studied a narrow range of classical works by composers such as Bach and Schubert, a study by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has concluded.

The exams now include everything from 16th-century choral music to modern jazz, popular and world music, and even Andrew Lloyd Webber.

But since the switch from O-level in 1988, GCSEs have become less demanding, with candidates no longer required to study musical techniques such as melody, harmony and counterpoint. GCSE students faced a "very real"

leap to AS-level, the authority concluded.

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