Home » Articles posted by Tom Pankhurst

Author Archives: Tom Pankhurst

Year 12 Homework w/c 9th December

Composition (for Tuesday 17th)

Complete at 16-bar compound period (like the Haydn) for strings only that will lead into your tonic noise (and therefore should obviously be in the same key, tempo etc.). Remember to use the WCT Composing Hub to get ideas for textures, check your harmonic progressions make sense etc.

Structure is as follows:

  • 4-bar basic idea (go back and read the advice here and remember too the DYNAMICS AND ARTICULATION are a vital part of the music)
  • 4 bar cadential idea ending on an imperfect cadence. These four bars must include some parallel motion in the form of either parallel thirds or sixths OR falling first inversion chords before the cadence
  • Exact repeat of bars 1-4
  • Modified repeat of bars 5-8 this time ending on V that will make a perfect cadence with the beginning of your tonic noise

Development of the Symphony Research (for first lesson back after Xmas)

Use the list of symphonies in your Development of the Symphony booklet plus the material on A level music (here) and any other wider reading (e.g. the Rhinegold study guide) to create a set of notes on Topic F: Development of the Orchestra. There will be a review activity and timed essay in the new year.

Year 12 HW w/c 3rd December


Review Haydn Minuet and Trio for a test next WEDNESDAY 11th NOVEMBER (use the annotated score on Moodle to make sure that yours is up to date and do some of the quizzes)

Composition – Tonic Noise (for Tuesday 10th December)

Write eight or more bars of ‘tonic noise’ as specified below:

  • Instrumentation should be at least ‘a 8’: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello and Bass (playing the same thing), 2 horns (on the same line) and 2 oboes or flutes PLUS timpani. You may add other woodwind and brass if you wish
  • It must have a tonic pedal and some suitable chords with/against it (list of chords here)
  • You should also include at least a few of:
    • tutti tonic chords
    • short, repetitive phrases
    • some octave unison
    • rising thirds against the pedal
    • repeated notes rather than held pedal
  • Start and end on the tonic chord
  • It is all about gesture and energy rather than writing a nice tune


Year 12 Homework w/c 25th November

Composition (for Tuesday 3rd December)

Your blank six bars should be filled as follows:

1. A single bar based on the same chord that you landed on at the end of your A section (should be chord I of the dominant of your original key) leading to …

2. A partial circle of fifths in the original key as follows:

  • iii – vi ii – V (one chord per bar)
  • write a two-bar melody / texture that draws on your original idea in some way and fits with iii-vi and then sequence it exactly a step down for the next two bars (ii-V)

3. Finally, one bar of an augmented sixth that resolves onto the beginning of your dominant pedal

Optional extensions:

  • re-orchestrate it for ‘a 8’ early Classical orchestra (strings plus two horns and two flutes or oboes)
  • write a contrasting Trio in a different key that follows a similar template


  • 1-8 – modulating period to the dominant (via secondary dominant) [repeat marks at the end of bar 8]
  • 9 – One bar continuing in the dominant
  • 10-13 – circle of fifths in original key: iii – vi – ii – V
  • 14 – augmented sixth onto …
  • 15-18 Dominant pedal
  • 19-26 – As bars 1-8 but staying in the tonic

Haydn / Western Classical

Prepare for an essay on the development of Third Movements on Wednesday 4th. Your essay should talk about roughly three earlier symphonies, Haydn 104 and three or so later symphonies, making your references clear and accurate.

Year 12 Homework w/c 18/11

Composition (for Tuesday 26th November)

  • Make corrections on your modulating period
  • For the LAST eight bars of your piece you need to rewrite this period so that it has no secondary dominant and does not modulate. Make sure you finish with an idiomatic cadence like I6/4 V I or ii6 – V – I and end on the FIRST beat of the final bar
  • To lead into the final eight bars, you need to write four bars (or more) of dominant pedal. You must use at least two different dissonant and chromatic harmonies discussed in class (from the WCT Fingerprints page)
  • Leave a gap of six bars or so before, so the whole structure will be:
    • Modulating period
    • 6 blank bars
    • dominant pedal with harmonies over it
    • Modified non modulating period

History (for Wednesday 27th November)

You need to use your Development of Symphony Essay booklet to research Third movements (Topic D). Read the introductory material and then use the list provided for this topic to guide you to reading about and listening to the symphonies on The Development of the Symphony pages on alevelmusic.com. You will need to do this before Wednesday, when we will discuss the topic in class ready for an essay the following week.

Year 13 Homework and revision planner


For THIS week (Monday 2nd/Wednesday 4th)

If I have not yet seen a continuous draft of the development, I would like to see progress towards this, otherwise you can submit either Composition 1 or Composition 2, depending on what needs the most work.


  • For NEXT week
    • Reading task on Patronage and Commission here on Moodle – (A group Thursday 12th / B group Friday 13th)
    • Test on Poulenc (A group Tuesday / B group Thursday)
    • Review of AoS E Core Wider Listening (Ravel / Webern / Poulenc – notes are in revision book, scores in green book)

End of term revision check

Please hand in the following in the lesson on THURSDAY 12th DECEMBER (I shall return them the next day)

  • Notes on all essay topics (either in revision booklet or in your own format)
  • Haydn annotated score
  • Poulenc annotated score
  • Debussy annotated score

Year 12 HW w/c 11th November

Composition (for TUESDAY 19th)

Minuet Composition – First Eight Bars

Write eight bars of minuet that is:

  • in 3/4
  • in a major key
  • a period
  • in a string quartet score start with a melody and a bass line in the cello and chord labels (THESE ARE COMPULSORY). THEN you can fill in with a simple texture taken from the Basic String Quartet textures on www.alevelmusic.com
  • modulate to the dominant in the second half of the phrase
  • Use standard chord progressions including at the cadences


Please update your new Haydn scores from your photocopies/notes so far.

Year 13 Homework (w/c 4th Nov.)

Composition (A: Monday / B Wednesday)

Please complete corrections and suggestions from feedback on Piece 1 and start thinking about what you are going to do for Piece 2


Please review the following:

  • Haydn fourth movement
  • Fourth movements of Wider Listening Symphonies
  • FOR the following week, you need to start reviewing the Debussy Nocturne.