Leaving Cert 2019: 'Layout of first question of higher level music may have confused students'

Teachers expressed concern that Leaving Cert higher level Music candidates may have been thrown by the first question on the Composing paper.

Dr Susan McCormick of Dublin’s Institute  of Education and ASTI subject representative Siofra Cox agreed that the layout  of the question may have caused confusion. .

Ms Cox said  it featured a four bar phrase that  ‘spilled over’ onto the second stave and may have confused students who had not studied an example of this layout before. It was last seen in  2002 or 2003.

She said the papers, at both  higher and ordinary levels, were, in general, straightforward exams “with a couple of tricky corners to challenge the higher level students.”

Overall,  Ms Cox, of Convent of Mercy Secondary School,  Roscommon town, said  the Composing questions were “quite manageable and students should not have had problems in attempting them”.

Dr McCormick noted that Q5, in a minor key, was very similar to the question that appeared in 2018.  “ It was a nice question. The cadences were clear and the bass line was arpeggiated. Students had to make use of the dominant seventh cord, and there was call for the use of an inversion”, she said

On the Listening paper, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture came up as the main question, and Ms Cox said students “should have found it  manageable”. It involved  dictation of the main ‘strife’ theme.

She said students would have been reasonably challenged by some sections of Qs 2 & 3, which tested their familiarity and aural memory of the overall works – asking for comparison with other sections of the works not heard on the CD. 

In Q5, she said students would have been happy to see Irish dance music, as the other choices were less popular titles from previous exam papers.

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