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Tricky and eclectic

Higher and Advanced Higher papers require candidates to listen carefully to musical excerpts covering several genres, before answering a series of increasingly tricky questions

Higher and Advanced Higher papers require candidates to listen carefully to musical excerpts covering several genres, before answering a series of increasingly tricky questions

Higher and Advanced Higher papers require candidates to listen carefully to musical excerpts covering several genres, before answering a series of increasingly tricky questions. Eric Geddes, head of music at private school Hamilton College, believes both levels were a fair test this year.

Higher music has been tightened up, following criticism that it was too straight-forward. A question on musical literacy, for example, requires everyone to be able to read standard sheet music, including guitar players and drummers. Previously, they could get away without such knowledge.

Candidates also had to pick three out of nine options in Question 1. "In the past, it might have been five - which meant you could pick the first five and you'd probably get a few right," Mr Geddes said.

This year's paper was eclectic and accessible in its sources: Question 6 featured contemporary genres, such as jazz-funk and minimalism, while the final question involved excerpts from a modern musical. "It was a good way to finish."

The latter questions in the Advanced Higher paper provided a stern test. Question 7 gave candidates four minutes to write continuous prose on an excerpt of baroque music.

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