Section 8: CSET: Music Subtest II
Sample Constructed-Response Questions
Extended Assignment Directions
For the following questions, you are to prepare a written response of approximately 250 to 350 words.
Read each assignment carefully before you begin to write. Think about how you will organize what you plan to write.
Sample Extended-Response Assignments
Listen to the musical excerpt to complete the exercise that follows.
(Audio: a one-minute excerpt from a Baroque concerto grosso)
Using your knowledge of the cultural and historical contexts of music, write a response of approximately 250–350 words in which you:
- identify the cultural and historical contexts (e.g., geography, time, place, style, social conditions) of this excerpt;
- explain how a listener's response to the work could be informed by the work's structure and context; and
- analyze and describe how this excerpt uses at least two of the elements of music (e.g., melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, dynamics, timbre, text), relating them to aesthetic effectiveness in the excerpt.
Use the information below to complete the exercise that follows.
Feelings or emotions can function as sources of inspiration for creating musical works.
Using your knowledge of visual art, prepare a response of approximately 250–350 words in which you address each of the following points:
- identify a specific feeling or emotion that could inspire the creation of a new musical work;
- describe at least two elements to be included in the new musical work, connecting them to expressive intent and purpose;
- describe how a listener might respond to the new musical work, considering how context, personal interests and experience, knowledge, and ideas will inform the response; and
- relate the new musical work to at least one existing work (e.g., a musical, dramatic, visual, or literary work) with a similar expressive intent and purpose.
Examples of Strong Extended Responses
With the use of harpsichord and basso continuo, this piece of music most certainly comes from the Baroque Era, 1600-1750. The Baroque Era began in Italy when a member of the Medici family (the wealthy Italian banking family of Venice) married Prince Charles V of France. For the occasion, the Medicis commissioned an opera written in a simple texture called monody to celebrate the wonders of Italian culture. As time evolved, music was written for St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice, Italy, and its dual choir lofts allowed for antiphonal and imitative music to develop. Out of this conversing style came the concerto (from the Italian concertare meaning "to reach agreement").
This musical selection is an example of concerto grosso form. In a concerto grosso, a small group of solo instruments (concertino) alternates playing with a large ensemble (concerto grosso). This selection begins with a short introduction followed by an imitative section in which one voice is imitated by a second and third voice.
In the melody, various motives are repeated and developed through imitation, and there is an ascending sequence toward the end of the excerpt. This selection is in a major key and concludes with a half cadence. The orchestration consists of a string orchestra with a basso continuo. Solo strings alternate with tutti strings.
One especially visceral emotion that inspires music is fear, and to understand how to create fear in music one must understand how to do the opposite. In Western Classical music traditions, feelings of peace and joy are usually evoked using consonant intervals, consistent tempi, and predictable phrase lengths and entrances. Disrupting these expectations can create feelings of anxiety; suspense and dread can be simulated by placing long or unpredictable silences between phrases, and discomfort can be simulated by using dissonant intervals and chords, with minor seconds, tritones, Major sevenths, and diminished chords being especially dissonant.
These musical features are often present in horror productions, so a listener interested in and familiar with horror will be particularly familiar with how these sounds are paired with fear and anxiety. Also, a listener with additional music education may recognize some of these features in reference to music history. Listeners familiar with the theory that tritones were once considered the Devil's interval will have a more enriched experience when hearing Saint-Saens' Danse macabre or Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain; listeners familiar with the Gregorian death chant Dies irae will recognize it in works evoking death or danger, such as in Berio's Sinfonia or horror movies including Jurassic Park and The Shining. This knowledge may help listeners recognize these materials as representing evil or doom, and as such may enhance feelings of anxiety and dread.
A related musical example can be heard in the Jaws soundtrack. Its famous theme begins with a dissonant minor second interval punctuating long silences of unequal and unpredictable lengths. This creates a feeling of anxiety which grows even stronger as the silences become shorter, evoking the feeling of something dreadful coming closer. Similar devices are used in Verdi's opera Otello. Otello's entrance into Desdemona's bedroom is accompanied by a slow, mournful melody punctuated by a short, fast-paced motive that appears at unpredictable but increasing intervals. This creates suspense leading to Desdemona's murder, which is accompanied by a diminished seventh chord harmony. Both Jaws and Otello use unpredictable phrase entrances to create suspense, and dissonant harmonies to create feelings of discomfort or fear.
Extended-Response Assignment Performance Characteristics
The following performance characteristics will guide the scoring of responses to the extended-response constructed-response questions on CSET: Music Subtest II.
|Purpose||The extent to which the response addresses the constructed-response assignment's charge in relation to relevant CSET subject matter requirements.|
|Subject Matter Knowledge||The application of accurate subject matter knowledge as described in the relevant CSET subject matter requirements.|
|Support||The appropriateness and quality of the supporting evidence in relation to relevant CSET subject matter requirements.|
|Depth and Breadth of Understanding||The degree to which the response demonstrates understanding of the relevant CSET subject matter requirements.|
Extended-Response Assignment Score Scale
Scores will be assigned to each response to the extended-response constructed-response questions on CSET: Music Subtest II according to the following scoring scale.
|Score Point||Score Point Description|
The "4" response reflects a thorough command of the relevant knowledge and skills as defined in the subject matter requirements for CSET: Music.
The "3" response reflects a general command of the relevant knowledge and skills as defined in the subject matter requirements for CSET: Music.
The "2" response reflects a limited command of the relevant knowledge and skills as defined in the subject matter requirements for CSET: Music.
The "1" response reflects little or no command of the relevant knowledge and skills as defined in the subject matter requirements for CSET: Music.
|U||The "U" (Unscorable) is assigned to a response that is unrelated to the assignment, illegible, primarily in a language other than English, or does not contain a sufficient amount of original work to score.|
|B||The "B" (Blank) is assigned to a response that is blank.|
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