Listening & Appraising

Listening and Appraising is the part of the course that is examined in the form of a listening exam.  The exam is 1 hour 30 minutes long and is worth 40% of the Edexcel GCSE course in total.

Students will study the Set Works below in lesson time through a mixture of practical and listening and analysis activities.  The set works are from a variety of musical styles and are as follows (these are the styles which are intended to inspire students’ composition work):

Western Classical Music 1600-1988

  • Handel – Chorus ‘And the Glory of the Lord’ from the oratorio Messiah
  • Mozart – 1st movement from Symphony No.40 in G minor
  • Chopin – Piano Prelude No.15 in D flat major, Op.28

Music in the 20th Century

  • Schoenberg – ‘Peripetie’ from Five Orchestral Pieces, Op.16
  • Bernstein – ‘Something’s Coming’ from West Side Story
  • Reich – 3rd movement (fast) from Electric Counterpoint

Popular Music in Context

  • Miles Davis – ‘All Blues’ from Kind of Blue
  • Buckley – ‘Grace’ from Grace
  • Moby – ‘Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?’ from Play

World Music

  • Capercaillie – ‘Skye Waulking Song’ from Nadurra (Folk)
  • Rag Desh (Indian Classical)
  • Koko – Yiri (African)

The Exam

The exam is consists of 8 listening questions each taking one side of A4 and each on a different set work, as listed above.  The exam finishes with a short essay question asking students to describe the use of certain musical elements in a particular set work and is worth 10 marks.  There will be a choice of two essay questions each on a set work that has not featured within the listening questions in the first part of the exam.


A much recommended revision guide is: Edexcel; GCSE Revision Guide; Rhinegold Education – Alan Charlton (available on Amazon).

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