Monthly Mixtape #13: Ethereal

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Hi again, and welcome to Monthly Mixtape, a music feature created by me, Eve @ Twist in the Taile, and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into.

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the previous prompts as well if you like. The next Monthly Mixtape will hopefully be up in the first week of June! And this month’s prompt is…

#13: ethereal

Add or view playlist links HERE

*whispers* I would love to see some more playlists from other people! I don’t think we got any last time so it would be really nice to see some this month.

A foggy view of rolling hills which blend into the background. The text 'ethereal' in white in the centre.

listen on spotify

geyser – mitski
handmade heaven – marina
born to die – lana del rey
saint claude – christine and the queens
pendulum – fka twigs
extrasolar – baths
i saw you in a dream – the japanese house
k&f thema – apparat

I’m really feeling this month’s playlist! It includes some artists I haven’t listened to in a while. In a previous draft I also included some very good clarinet music but it wasn’t fitting, so HOPEFULLY in the future. Are there any music releases you’re enjoying/looking forward to at the moment? I’ve been listening to Lizzo’s new album Cuz I Love You and I’m also pretty darn hyped for new Carly Rae Jepsen music this month. It’s all go here.

 

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Monthly Mixtape #12: Grow

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Hi again, and welcome to Monthly Mixtape, a music feature created by me, Eve @ Twist in the Taile, and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into.

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the previous prompts as well if you like. The next Monthly Mixtape will hopefully be up in the first week of April! And this month’s prompt is…

#12: grow

Add or view playlist links HERE

I did actually remember to put a new link this month so hurrah for that. (You are allowed to put links in there! Or indeed make playlists at all!) Can we talk about Carly Rae Jepsen’s new singles? Because I am really in love with them. I think I might like them more than Party For One. I mean, I enjoyed that and it’s definitely a bop, but these are more my thing.

A field of yellow flowers with the text 'grow'.

listen on spotify

roots – orla gartland
everything goes (wow) – broods
want you back – haim
juice – lizzo
now that I found you – carly rae jepsen
coloring outside the lines – misterwives
grow – conan grey
first love/late spring – mitski

Have you been listening to any new music lately? Like, me, are you also excited for new music from Lizzo, Carly Rae Jepsen AND Orla Gartland? I really am so excited. Thank you to the universe for blessing me with today. I am also very much looking forward to spring because I NEED SUNSHINE IN MY LIFE. (And not just a weird 2 days of sunshine in February). Hope you enjoy! 🙂

GCSE Music Revision Tips

The text '#evestudies gcse music revision tips' over a photo of a notebook strewn with coloured pens.

Hi there! Do you take Music GCSE? Then this post is for YOU! Please imagine me pointing at you like in one of those posters. Okay, no, for real — I’m currently in Year 12, having taken my GCSEs last year, and one of the most frustrating things was being the first group to take the course in almost all my subjects. There were very few resources or guides available, and even the teachers didn’t really know what to expect from marking.

Unfortunately I don’t know exactly how they marked my exam, but I was really happy with my music result as I got a 9 (A* equivalent). I thought it would be useful for me to share some of the resources, methods and ti[s that worked for me. This post is going to be focusing on the written exam — I took Edexcel GCSE, which is the one where you have 8 set pieces and the exam is worth 40% of the total mark. But if you’re taking another exam board then the techniques will be similar. Do feel free to check out the other posts in my #evestudies series too.

It’s really important that you figure out what works best for you, though — I know you’re probably sick of people saying it but all of us work in different ways and what works for me might not work for you.

The three main areas that I would focus on for the written exam are learning the features of the set pieces, developing musical theory/analysis skills and practicing exam technique. I’ll be going through them one by one.

#1: features of set the set pieces

Firstly, learning the features of the set pieces. Although this does tie into developing your analysis skills, since you have to be able to write about the features, a lot of it really is just getting familiar with the pieces and memorising features. The amount of memorising versus being able to analyse music on the spot will vary on the piece; for example, there’s a lot more to remember about the classical pieces in terms of the names of forms, particular techniques and genres, whereas for a work like Release (a fusion) it’s more about being able to talk about the changing dynamics and texture from the extract that they give you.

For every set work I created a grid of features with the headings Structure, Tonality & Harmony, Instrumentation, Texture, Melody, Tempo, Rhythm and metre, and Other. I filled them in with all my notes from lessons, then the features from the textbook, answers to practice questions we did in class and from any other sources I could find. This was my main source of note-taking.

The ‘Other’ section usually covered things particular to that section of study; eg in the Bach and Beethoven context about the development of the harpsichord to the piano and how that affected Romanticism, or the significance in the plot of Defying Gravity. I’ve put all my typed notes up on a Google Drive if you want to take a look or use them for your own revision.

It’s really important that you know the difference between these elements because in the exam the question will usually ask you to talk about one or a few of them. Even if you say something valid, if it’s about a musical element they didn’t ask for then you won’t get a mark. There’s a good BBC Bitesize Guide on it here. Really get used to the kinds of features and words that you see coming under each musical element.

For this section I would VERY strongly recommend using the Edexcel GCSE Music Student Book. We got given it as our textbook for the course and it was so useful — it goes in depth into the features of each set work and also has a bit about composition and performance at the start. I also found annotating the anthology with the blank scores in is extremely useful. That’s is where I wrote all of my notes from class. At the start of my revision session, I would follow the score as I listened to the piece. You can also listen to all the pieces with the scores at the same time on Youtube.

Additionally, Edexcel actually have a support guide for each set work which covers the musical features in detail. I only discovered this like a day before the exam and I got really stressed out about the amount I didn’t recognise — so remember that these are probably more in detail than you’ll be asked for!

#2: musical theory and analysis

Secondly, developing musical theory and analysis skills. This definitely does overlap with the previous section. However, it will also help you with the unheard piece you have to answer questions on. As I said, it’s extremely important you become familiar with the different musical elements you might be asked to talk about and what kind of things you can say for each one. In class we made a mindmap of what you can talk about with each heading and it was great

For example, for rhythm you could think about: does this have lots of fast rhythms? dotted notes? triplets? is there a repeated rhythm? is it syncopated?

If you’re talking about texture, there are some great words you can use: monophonic (only one line of music, there’s only moments of these in the pieces), polyphonic (lots of different equally important lines of music) or homophonic (everything else). You might also say it has a fugal texture (the Bach), or a thin or thick texture.

You might have to go into further detail and talk about the effect this has, for example the triplet rhythms at the start of Star Wars give it a military and heroic feel, or a thinner texture might feel more intimate. It doesn’t have to be a whole English essay though.

Honestly, I found the unprepared listening section pretty difficult, especially if it asks you to give a chord or something. But you can sometimes use your powers of deduction to figure it out. The best way to develop your musical theory technique is to practice…which brings me nicely on to my final point.

#3: exam practice

Finally, practicing your exam technique is key. You can know a million musical features and still be stumped about how to answer a question in the exam. I know there aren’t that many past papers online which sucks. At school we used selections from this and this set of papers which seemed to work OK. Use the official Edexcel sample paper well.

This doesn’t just need to be actually doing exam questions; it might be thinking what questions they could ask you whilst revising and the analysis you might do. For the fusion they do enjoy asking about what genres the works ‘fuse’ so that’s always a good one. I personally like playing the pieces to someone else, and stopping it as we go through so I can explain what effect a particular feature has.

Also, this might sound simple but remember to read the question! I’ve been told that a thousand times but I misread the 12-marker at the end and had to frantically change my answer which I do not recommend. To practise for the 12-marker, you can go through the wider listening in the textbook, you can pick a piece in the same genre as one of the set works to get more practise.

PHEW! This really was a long post! I hope these tips help you and good luck with your exam and all your coursework. Remember to take breaks from work and take care of yourself as well. 🙂

Monthly Mixtape #11: Harmony

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Welcome again to Monthly Mixtape, a music feature created by me, Eve @ Twist in the Taile, and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into.

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the previous prompts as well if you like. The next Monthly Mixtape will hopefully be up in the first week of March! And this month’s prompt is…

#11: harmony

Add or view playlist links HERE

OK, my playlist this month has kind of a strange energy but I love it a LOT. I started off basically picking songs with harmonies that I’m obsessed with and it grew from there. Like there are just certain bits in a song where I listen over and over because it’s SO GOOD. The first time I fully listened to The World’s Best Kisser and it got to the section with the drums it was Woah. It was very difficult for me to find an album picture to represent the specific feeling of listening to a great harmony haha.

A bunch of deep red flowers with the text 'harmony' in script font.

listen on spotify

the world’s best kisser – darwin deez
on a level – tove lo
killer queen – queen
good friend – emily king
when the chips are down – original cast of hadestown
hot knife – fiona apple
human – dodie
making time – georgie west

I’m really loving some new discoveries Emily King & Hadestown — the album that the song When the Chips are Down is from which is a folk-jazz musical about Orpheus & Eurydice. I KNOW. SAME — in addition to my wonderful friend Georgie West’s new album. It’s such a BOP, guys.

I look forward to listening to more of your wonderful playlists! Thanks Miriam @ Shadowriverdaleharley for the great playlist in response to our last prompt Beginning. 🙂 Enjoy!

 

 

January Favourites!

The words January Favourites over a purple watercolour splash.

I say ‘January favourites’, but really I mean ‘favourites over the winter period up till now’ because I haven’t done a recap in ages and also I have no concept of time so can’t remember when exactly I did stuff. It’s all good!

Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse I am late to the party on yelling about this movie online but please know that it was SO GOOD and I enjoyed it SO MUCH. I just adore all the Spiderpeople. Although I love a number of superhero characters, most superhero movies (except for the more recent Black Panther & Spiderman: Homecoming) are somewhat likeable but still kind of…meh for me. I guess I’m just not that really into blowing things up? Spiderverse represented exactly the kind of joy, excitement & wonder that I want to feel when I’m watching a superhero movie. I can’t wait to watch it again.

Foreign Objects by Georgie West I have been extremely blessed by music this month, oh my goodness! This album is so gorgeous and brings so many different things — soft guitars! great lyrics! surprising harmonies! straight up tunes! beats! — whilst still being cohesive. You should definitely check it out ASAP,

Human EP by Dodie I love all of the songs on this EP so much!! Aah! I especially loved getting to hear a produced version of She after all this time. :’)

The Inheritance  I saw this play at the start of this month and it was a real Experience. Despite its length it was, somehow, extremely watchable, perhaps due to the excellent acting. As time goes on I’m beginning to feel as though I perhaps liked it more for that experience than for the play itself? It was just so good to be present in an audience of many other LGBTQ+ people, immersed in a queer story. But it wasn’t perfect play, and I was frustrated by the way it presented a very particular white male cis experience of being gay as The Definitive Queer Experience. I’m glad I went, though.

Catullus I…am into poetry again? It’s so nice to be back? I got out a book of Catullus from the library with parallel texts (is that how I say it? where it has translation on one side and the original Latin besides) and it was GOOD. Even if I was confused by some of the translation choices.

BBC Les Mis Okay, I’m probably going to have to write a whole post on this one because I have some…Opinions… But honestly I’m overall enjoying it. I see many people in the online fandom getting angry about it and I totally get that, but I like watching the show despite its issues.

Company  I was lucky enough to see a few excellent shows this holiday, one of which was the Sondheim musical Company. This version was reimagined to see the wonderful Rosalie Craig playing Bobbie in the main role. I hadn’t actually listened to Company before seeing this so it was wonderful to go in and be like…OH this is so good and it’s going to be a new obsession. Also the production was really nice!! What good lighting!

It was so great to do a recap post again! Somehow I’ve managed to find the time among the swathes of schoolwork that I am once again consumed by. Over the holidays I seemed to have forgotten how much it really was. Coming up on the blog this month I have the next edition of Monthly Mixtape and a GCSE music revision tips post so look out for those! 🙂

have you watched/read/listened to any of these? how was your january? are you looking forward to anything next month?

 

 

 

Monthly Mixtape #10: Beginning

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Monthly Mixtape is back! We took a little break from Monthly Mixtape but we are BACK and READY with a rebrand. If this is your first time here, Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by me, Eve @ Twist in the Taile, and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into.

This time around we’re going to be trying a new style of prompt! Instead of giving a definition this time we picked a broader theme (because you know, new year and all, I do like a bit of renewal). Please do let us know what you think of it 🙂

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the previous prompts as well if you like. The next Monthly Mixtape will hopefully be up in the first week of February! And this month’s prompt is…

#10: beginning

Add or view playlist links HERE

I had a lot of fun making this playlist! I kind of decided to go for a bit of reflection by picking songs about the past and also songs that I listened to obsessively some time ago. Is it a law that I am drawn to include a Mitski and Ted Leo song for every playlist I make? I guess so. There’s something in there about using the past to make a new beginning… But anyway. I hope you enjoy.

Sunlight streaming out through a tree in the mountains. The word 'beginning' in a script font.

listen on spotify / youtube

this year – the mountain goats
someone new – darwin deez
if i’m being honest – dodie
every time i hear that song – brandi carlile
old friend – mitski
plea from a cat named virtute – the weakerthans
new year’s day – u2
biomusicology – ted leo and the pharmacists

I’m looking forward to listening to more of your wonderful playlists! And if you fancy sharing any music recommendations or what you’ve been listening to lately, I’d love to hear it. (I’m not gonna lie, I’m still obsessed with Thank U, Next; I’m sure it’ll be coming to a Monthly Mixtape soon haha.)

Monthly Mixtape #9: Duende

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Hello, it’s Monthly Mixtape time again! Sorry for the delay in both this being published and, well, really any posts being published. Life and starting sixth form have been keeping me busy. From now on, you should probably expect less frequent posting since I don’t think I’ll be able to do as much blogger as I used to. (Though you can maybe expect a forthcoming post on that??)

Anyways! Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by Eve @ Twist in the Taile (that’s me) and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into.

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the prompts going forward, not just the current months, but you won’t be able to add your link once the new prompt is up. The next Monthly Mixtape will be (hopefully) up in the first week of October! And this month’s prompt is…

#9: duende

duende, noun: : the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm

Add or view playlist links HERE

Duende is a Spanish word, and you can read more about its origins and how it’s difficult to strictly define in English here and here! I haven’t managed to make a playlist yet for this month, but I decided that if I tried to do that then this probably wouldn’t be posted until next week, so HERE WE ARE. Please forgive me.

how’s it going for you today? are you back to education (like me)? let’s have a chat!

Monthly Mixtape #8: Dernier cri

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Hello, it’s Monthly Mixtape time again! Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by Eve @ Twist in the Taile (that’s me) and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into.

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the prompts going forward, not just the current months, but you won’t be able to add your link once the new prompt is up. The next Monthly Mixtape will be up in the first week of September! And this month’s prompt is…

#8: dernier cri

dernier cri, noun: the very latest fashion

Add or view playlist links HERE

For this playlist, I sort of went with the vibe of LOUD and GLITZY POP which also happens to be a genre I very much enjoy. And I know, I know, another Carly Rae Jepsen song…shall we play a game called ‘how many times can Eve use a Carly Rae Jepsen song in their playlists?’ It’s been like 8 months and I am just still very obsessed with the album Emotion, okay. IT’S SO GOOD.

A face that is covered with glow in the dark paint spots and glitter. The words 'dernier cri' in brush font.

listen on spotify

crazy, classic life – janelle monae
perfect places – lorde
gucci on my body – baby ariel
la hallucinations – carly rae jepsen
hugs not drugs (or both) – brendan maclean
karma – years & years
doesn’t matter – christine and the queens
nobody – mitski

I hope you enjoy this, and do check out playlists made by Evi, Holly, and Shadowriverdaleharley for the last prompt Constellate. Just to let you all know this is a scheduled post at the moment I am away with no access to internet until the 20th of August. So although I appear to be here, in fact this is past me talking to you! You’re engaging in time travel! I can’t wait to listen to your playlists and reply to your comments when I get back. 🙂

Monthly Mixtape #7: Constellate

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Hi there! I’m back with actual playlists for Monthly Mixtape! Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by Eve @ Twist in the Taile (that’s me) and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into.

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the prompts going forward, not just the current months, but you won’t be able to add your link once the new prompt is up. The next Monthly Mixtape will be up in the first week of August! And this month’s prompt is…

#7: constellate

constellate, verb: 1 : to unite in a cluster
2 : to set or adorn with or as if with constellations

Add or view playlist links HERE

It took me a while to think of where I wanted to go with this one, but I’m pleased with the final result — it’s sort of a combination of space-themed songs and songs that make me think of unity. I also had a random craving to listen to Life on Mars so that’s in there, but it’s a bop so WHY NOT. Also, Talk to Me has one of my favourite lyrics, ‘there’s a universe inside your head, constellations are the things you left unsaid’. I think that’s such cool imagery. ANYWAYS.

A starry night sky over a hill with the word 'constellate' in brush script.

listen on spotify / youtube

talk to me – lauren aquilina
us – regina spektor
life on mars – david bowie
somebody else – the 1975
the space tapes – shura
i like that – janelle monáe
science fiction – christine and the queens
give yourself a try – the 1975

I hope you enjoy this, and do check out playlists made by Evi, Holly, and Shadowriverdaleharley for last month’s prompt Hamartia if you’re looking for more. 🙂

Monthly Mixtape #6: Hamartia

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by Eve @ Twist in the Taile (that’s me) and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into.

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the prompts going forward, not just the current months, but you won’t be able to add your link once the new prompt is up. The next Monthly Mixtape will be up in the first week of July! And this month’s prompt is…

#6: hamartia

hamartia, noun: tragic flaw

Add or view playlist links HERE

And WordPress bloggers, you can also tag your post on with ‘monthly mixtape’. 🙂If you’d like to read a bit more about the use of hamartia in literature then check out this page (or just google it, it’s very interesting). I’ve got around two more weeks of exams to go, but after that I soon to be back and blogging properly, especially as I’m excited by this prompt! Meanwhile, I encourage you to check the playlists made by Shadowriverdaleharley and Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff. Hope you have a good week and start to June — and happy Pride Month!