Sunday, 9 December 2012

A224 Music TMA02 Pointless

Well I've just sent off what must have been the most pointless TMA I've ever done for an OU course.
This is for my music course. The exercise consists of listening to three short songs and trying to write some coherent sentences about them. The first was OK as it had the music and we were asked to identify it's phrase structure, key and other things including whether or not the word setting was syllabic or melisismatic.

However the other two did not and we had to identify the role various instruments played, the texture and so forth. It's really not clear (or at least to me) what the point of the exercise was. I mean apart from saying things like the flute plays some twiddly bits at 1"03 it gets louder at 2"43 what was the point. I'm afraid after having listened to the second song endless times and putting some half coherent sentences together I gave up. I really feel that this has been a total waste of time.

It's not as if we haven't done any thing which could have been tested such as some counterpoint exercises or basic harmony. I appreciate that say 1 third of the TMA could have been devoted to the exercise but why not also test the theoretical aspects as well. That is certainly what happend in A214.

The next TMA will involve setting a verse to music so hopefully I will find that a lot more interesting but really asking people to say something about music without the score in front so you can analyse it must be one of the most futile things I've ever been asked to do.

On a much brighter note at the invitatiion of a friend I heard the Scottish Ensemble play at Greyfriars Kirk a safe haven from the Christmas Bling of princes Street. The main piece was an arrangement of Bach's Goldberg variations for strings the concert was one of the most uplifting I've been to for a long time.

Next post I'll talk about the first TMA for the fluids course

(By  the way this is now post 100 so I'm just under 1 a week on average thanks to all my readers).


  1. You may just be suffering from some culture shock, moving into the liberal arts from physics with the OU.

    I found that when I did my ou humanities courses, they often seemed 'wooly' in the nature of what they were asking; such as discussing the qualitative timbre of a piece, rather than any empirical enquiry about note lengths or key etc. Even so, I always found it difficult to score more than 80 in any tma, so I do wonder if there is a 'science' or nack behind answering those sorts of questions.

    I did also find that it did force me to start listening a little closer to how the texture or mood of a piece, could be recreated by the interplay of different instruments, keys etc. Although, I do agree with you that it can be a little tedious.


  2. yeah well give me the score and I will analyse the piece its doing it with out the score that I didn't enjoy.
    Anyway got 45% with substition I'll be able to bump this up provided I get grade at least grade 2 in the other assignments. Next one is our first go at composing a song for a given lyric should be a lot more interesting and I hope to give a first go at it over the Christmas break

    I'm working on a spreadsheet which should tell you whether or not you have parallel fifths and octaves between two chords.
    It will be a bit tedious to use as it involves converting the melody to numbers but no more tedious than checking by eye.