Preparing for the Musicology/ Aural skill examination

Strategies for the melodic dictation:

Practise by listening to a diverse range of music

Listening to a diversity of styles and instrumentation will help you in the preparation for this question. Try not to restrict your practise to piano examples, explore all instrumental and vocal excerpts. Past papers will give you an idea of the range and degree of difficulty of the melodic dictations.

Try and memorise the melody

A helpful technique is to try and memorise the melody by the end of the first playing as well as starting to write, this will enable you to hear the melody in between playing’s so that you can utilise the time effectively by singing (silently) intervals and patterns.

Establish the tonic and dominant

This is important as you can mentally refer to these notes throughout the playing of the excerpt and in your own (silent) singing through of the melody between playing’s.

Noting the rhythm.
Is the rhythm given or do you have to notate it as well? If the rhythm is not given, map it out quickly above the melody line during the first playing. Identify repetition of rhythmic patters, unusual note groupings (ie.triplets, syncopated patterns) and check the number of beats per bar.

Recognising chromatic notes

Is the excerpt wholly diatonic or does it include chromatic notes? Is there a modulation to a related key? If you hear a note that sounds different, sing the interval between the previous note and the note you are having trouble with.

Looking for melodic patterns and shapes

Is there a sequence or pattern or definite shape in the melody? Where does the pattern or sequence start? Does it move by tone, semitone or by a leap of a wider interval?

Making use of given notes

The notes preceding the excerpt will give you a tonality guide. Sing the interval to determine what it is. Are guide notes given as a start or finish to the excerpt? The accompaniment may provide some...