Hsc Music Topics For Essays

  • Demonstrating technical skills including technical fluency, competence and delivery.
  • Developing your stylistic interpretation of repertoire chosen to address both mandatory and additional topics. This requires deep first-hand knowledge of the complexities and features of the style(s) you are performing, so listen to a range of expert practitioners and performers to capture stylistic nuances.
  • Developing a sense of musical expression and sensitivity. Sophisticated personal expression can be achieved by integrating articulation, dynamics and expressive techniques.
  • Interacting as a soloist or ensemble member will demonstrate an understanding of your role throughout the work as intended by the composer.

To prepare

  • Practise and rehearse with purpose, on your own or to a small audience, in small sections or the entire performance.
  • Critically evaluate and refine your performance and respond to feedback constructively.
  • Record it to check you are communicating the desired musical detail.
  • Collaborate with your accompanist or your ensemble team as regularly as possible.
  • Listen to other musicians to get ideas for your own musical interpretation.
  • Know the time limits, exam rules and procedures and topic requirements.
  • Make sure your instrument is in tune and warm up before your performance.

Remember to let your love of music shine through in your performance!


By now you should be well under way but this is a good time to reflect and review your:

  • Topic restrictions and time limits
  • Main theme/motif/idea – "how have I manipulated my material" and "Is there anything new added to provide contrast?"
  • Sense of idiomatic writing for your instrument/s.
  • Texture eg: sharing of material between instruments / voicings, layering of ideas and harmonies etc.
  • Directions to performers: are they clear and concise and do these show a strong awareness of the specific instrument/s written for?
  • Music concepts - have I achieved unity and variety / maintained interest?
  • Composition as if it were being sent to professional musicians in another place and time. Ask yourself, would it contain all the necessary details to ensure it would be performed exactly as you had intended?
  • Remember it is the score that is marked, not the recording.

MUSIC 1 Musicology Viva Voce

The viva voce is a two-way discussion with your examiners and is an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding and knowledge. Make what you want to talk about clear on your summary sheet.

  • Choose areas you are interested in.
  • Prepare examples to explain concepts and support your discussion.
  • Organise and have your examples at your fingertips so you don't waste time.
  • Practise in the 10-minute time frame regularly.
  • Examiners will ask questions to probe how deep your knowledge and understanding is. They will ask open-ended questions that require more than single responses.

Aural Exam

  • Read the question carefully as there could be some useful information in the title.
  • Know your music concepts and associated terminology.
  • Use the first listening in the exam to gain an overview of the piece for outline and structure.
  • Focus on analysis rather than narrative.
  • Use clearly explained diagrams / graphs in your response if relevant.
  • Include examples such as structural outlines, performing media and roles/devices involved where appropriate.

MUSIC 2 Musicology/Aural Exam

You have to be able to make swift judgments to respond to questions 1-3 as they are on works you have not studied.

  • Practise reading a score and identifying the music concepts before hearing it.
  • Practise interval recognition, melody dictation and sight singing. Try sites including auralworkshop.com/, musictheory.net/exercises/ear-interval and good-ear.com/.
  • Hum or sing the intervals / melodies before giving the answer.
  • Use both the score and the recordings to respond to the questions. Include specific score references.

Question 4 requires advance preparation.

  • Organise your notes – for example into music concepts or particular sections so you can quickly adapt your points to suit the exam question.
  • Choose clear examples to support your comments and explain different points/concepts (that are quick to notate or describe).
  • Add notated examples in your response or on manuscript paper. (Practise so you can notate quickly and accurately.)

Musicology Elective

Prepare by:

  • Listening to and analysing a wide range of related works before developing a clear musicological focus based on your own ideas.
  • Researching primary and secondary sources thoroughly and include them in your references.
  • Editing and proofreading your response. Use page numbers and stick to the word limit.

MUSIC EXTENSION, Musicology Elective

You need to demonstrate your independent and creative thinking and in-depth knowledge of your chosen in-depth area of study in Music Extension. Do this by:

  • Thoroughly researching primary and secondary sources.
  • Structuring your essays sequentially with well-developed arguments and detailed analysis.
  • Using annotated examples and score examples where relevant.

Written Exam: general information for all courses:

  • Address the musical concepts and context and use relevant terminology.
  • Provide musical evidence and use relevant examples.
  • Support observations with clear concise explanations.
  • Annotate any diagrams to make them clear.

Morning & Afternoon Newsletter

Delivered Mon–Fri.

The Music Room 2 is designed for students enrolled in the Preliminary and HSC Music 2 courses.


Throughout the Music 2 course, students are required to listen to musical works actively, challenging their skill in articulating responses to aural stimuli, short answer questions and essay topics. Students are also challenged to develop their understanding of the six concepts of music, as well as developing their ability to listen and notate musical .excerpts.

There are many contributors who have provided excellent resources, ranging from incredible theory exercises and examples by Professor Michael Adduci, Mr. Andrew Herft and Mr. Max Woods with Music 2 and ALARM, student projects and performances and my own notes collected over many years of teaching Music. It is a free resource that has been widely utilised by schools and students throughout Australia with a unique log in available by request. I hope students and teachers find the contents both interesting and useful. Best wishes,

Chris Mortimer

“The Music Room 2 is an excellent resource for the upper secondary school. It is particularly useful in the area of aural training, offering numerous graded melodic dictation and sight singing exercises that will be appreciated by both music students and their teachers”

 – Ian Dorricott, writer of In Tune With Music series of teaching texts, Music Educator and musical writer.


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