Music Technology

Music Technology is the practical science of capturing, recording and reproducing music and sound, using computers and other hardware devices. It is a highly faceted and perpetually developing subject that is becoming increasingly popular at both school and university level. Music Technology is a prerequisite for many recording and composition courses and is a highly valued qualification when applying for traditional music courses when studied alongside Music A Level. It also has direct application in technical aspects of theatre production or anything that involves live or recorded performance, with career potential in the music industry, theatre and media. 

Music Technology is a cutting edge A Level course at Gresham’s and the subject will play an increasingly prominent role in the school as the arrival of the new Britten Music School draws nearer. The state of the art recording studio and high tech performance spaces will offer wonderful teaching and learning opportunities and there is huge additional potential for student involvement via the close links with the Auden Theatre, cross-curricular links forged with other departments, enrichment sessions, Grasshopper Radio projects, individual lessons in music technology and song writing and much more. 

Studying Music Technology at Gresham’s focuses on the development of the following skills:

  • Creating original compositions and effects in a range of styles.
  • Recreating performances using listening skills.
  • Creating lifelike computer generated performances.
  • Understanding, recognising and applying recording techniques and effects.
  • Analysing different musical styles from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Edexcel A Level Music Technology content

Component 1: Recording
Non-examined assessment: externally assessed 20% of the qualification 60 marks

Content overview
Production tools and techniques to capture, edit, process and mix an audio recording.

Assessment overview

  • One recording, chosen from a list of 10 songs provided by Pearson, consisting of a minimum of five compulsory instruments and two additional instruments, released on our website on 1st June in the calendar year preceding the year in which the qualification is to be awarded.
  • Keyboard tracks may be sequenced.
  • Total time must be between 3 minutes and 3½ minutes.
  • Logbook and authentication form must be supplied

Component 2: Technology-based composition
Non-examined assessment: externally assessed 20% of the qualification 60 marks

Content overview
Creating, editing, manipulating and structuring sounds to produce a technology-based composition.

Assessment overview

  • One technology-based composition chosen from three briefs set by Pearson released on our website on 1st September in the calendar year preceding the year in which the qualification is to be awarded.
  • Synthesis and sampling/audio manipulation and creative effects use must be included.
  • Total time must be 3 minutes.
  • Logbook and authentication form must be supplied

Component 3: Listening and analysing
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes 25% of the qualification 75 marks

Content overview

  • Knowledge and understanding of recording and production techniques and principles, in the context of a series of unfamiliar commercial recordings supplied by Pearson.
  • Application of knowledge related to all three areas of study:

– recording and production techniques for both corrective and creative purposes o principles of sound and audio technology

– the development of recording and production technology.

Assessment overview

  • This paper comprises two sections: A and B and all questions are compulsory.
  • One audio CD with the unfamiliar commercial recordings to accompany questions on the paper will be provided per student.
  • Section A: Listening and analysing (40 marks) – four questions, each based on unfamiliar commercial recordings supplied by Pearson (10 marks each).
  • Section B: Extended written responses (35 marks) – two essay questions. One comparison question, which uses two unfamiliar commercial recordings from the CD (15 marks). The second essay uses the final unfamiliar commercial recording on the CD (20 marks).

Component 4: Producing and analysing
Written/practical examination: 2 hours 15 minutes (plus 10 minutes setting–up time) 35% of the qualification 105 marks

Content overview

  • Knowledge and understanding of editing, mixing and production techniques, to be applied to unfamiliar materials provided by Pearson in the examination.
  • Application of knowledge related to two of the areas of study:

– recording and production techniques for both corrective and creative purposes

– principles of sound and audio technology.

Assessment overview

  • This paper comprises two sections: A and B and all questions are compulsory.
  • Each student will be provided with a set of audio/MIDI materials for the practical element of the examination, to include:

– audio files relating to three instrumental/vocal parts.

–  a single MIDI file from which a fourth instrumental part will be created or synthesised.

  • Students will correct and then combine the audio and MIDI materials to form a completed mix, which may include creating new tracks or parts from the materials provided.
  • Section A: Producing and analysing (85 marks) – five questions related to the audio and MIDI materials provided that include both written responses and practical tasks.
  • Section B: Extended written response (20 marks) – one essay focusing on a specific mixing scenario, signal path, effect or music technology hardware unit.