IB Music/Exam/Listening Paper

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The Listening Paper consists of 5 questions for Standard Level candidates and 7 questions Higher Level candidates, to be answered in 2 hours, 15 minutes and 3 hours, respectively. It is divided into section A and section B, with an additional section C for Higher Level candidates. All questions are worth 20 marks each. Candidates will have to bring in unmarked scores of the prescribed works, but will be provided with a CD with unidentified tracks.

Section A (Standard and Higher Level)

The three questions in this section are based upon the prescribed works. Candidates can take unmarked scores of the prescribed works into the examination room. No listening tracks will be provided. The first two questions are each based on one of the two prescribed works, and both the Standard and Higher Level candidates have a choice between the two. The third question is one in which a comparison between the two prescribed works is required.

Prescribed Works

The prescribed works for the 2011 and 2012 examinations are "El Salón México" by Aaron Copland and "Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K.551 ("Jupiter")" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The prescribed works for the 2013 examinations are "Yellow River Piano Concerto" by Yin Chengzong and Yu Wanghua (based on Xian Xinghai's "Yellow River Cantata") and "Symphony No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25 ("Classical Symphony")" by Sergei Prokofiev.

Section B (Standard and Higher Level)

The four questions in this section are based on extracts on an accompanying CD provided during the examinations. These can be from any time period, genre or culture. Questions are usually along the following lines: 'Describe what you hear in this extract, relating to appropriate issues concerning musical, structural and contextual characteristics.' Standard Level candidates have a choice between question 1 and 2 (based on Western art music), but must additionally answer questions 3 and 4 (based on jazz, pop and/or world music). Higher Level candidates must answer all four questions.

Section C (Higher Level)

The question in this section asks Higher Level candidates to compare and contrast two of the selections heard in "section B", with regard to two specific musical links.