Examiner responses to Fair Phyllis I saw

By Sunday, December 12, 2010 No tags 0

Exam Session November 2007

Track Three – Fair Phyllis I saw (J. Farmer)

Score included


Response Number One

Examiner comments are presented in italics.


This piece is four [sic] voices.  Somewhat accurate  – more detail is needed


People are singing.  Accurate, somewhat redundant, and more detail is needed


There are men and women parts and there are no instruments.  This is more specific, but more detail is needed.


This song is short but has different parts.  Accurate  – more detail is needed.  ‘Parts’ could refer to the voices or the form of the composition.


Sometimes the men sing, sometimes the women sing, and sometimes they sing all together.

This statement is more specific than the previous, but still needs more detail.


The women start the song and then everyone sings.    Which part?


The song keeps going with the women parts starting first.  Greater clarity is needed


Sometimes the voices are fast and sometimes they are slow.  More accurate language is needed.


This piece sounds old and is by John Farmer.  Why does the piece sound old?


There are strange symbols at the beginning of each part.  This statement needs more specific detail.  Greater justification is needed


The men and women have strange names on the paper.  Additional justification and relevance is needed


I liked this piece.  Unnecessary and irrelevant


A – 1

This response needs many additional discussions with greater amounts of detail regarding the musical elements.  This response only mentioned male and female singers.


B – 1

The structural features mentioned were few.  This response mentions different ‘parts’ and some entrances by female singers.


C – 1

Although there were no specific misuses of musical terminology, the response did not use specific musical terms to describe key elements regarding this composition.


D – 1

This response stated that the piece sounded ‘old’.  The candidate did mention the name of the composer, but this information is presented in the examination booklet and in the score.  Greater amounts of information and justification are needed.



Response Number Two


This piece is for four voice parts and is sung in English.  Accurate


The piece is by John Farmer who must have been an English Composer.  Greater justification is needed


The piece uses a normal layout as this piece looks like other pieces I have sung in choir.  More detail is needed.


The piece starts and ends on Do, which is F.  As the piece stays on Do most of the time, the piece is in F major.  Accurate


Each part stays in its own range and the parts are not too high or too low.  Accurate, but more specific detail is needed.


The soprano section starts the song.  Accurate


It does not sound like there are many sopranos, or that there are many voices on the other parts.  Accurate


I think there are two or three people singing each part, so this is a smaller group than my choir.  Accurate


The parts in this song repeat, so we hear each phrase more than once.  Accurate – more detail is needed.


There are changes in volume and the parts are sometimes smooth and sometimes jumpy.

Accurate – more detail is needed.


Towards the end of the piece the counting changes its feel and the piece seems to slow down and then speed up. Accurate – more specific detail is needed.


When the sections sing ‘up and down’ the bass part gets longer than all of the other parts.  The other parts are jumpy.  Accurate – more detail is needed.


I think this piece is older, perhaps around the time of Mozart.  This piece is in F and stays in F.  It cannot be a Renaissance piece because Renaissance pieces did not always have Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Do.  The spacing between the notes was different.  This piece is not newer, because there only one natural and it was always B natural (Fi).  If the piece had been newer, it would have had more sharps and flats added.

Good discussion – not entirely accurate regarding the era


A – 2

There were good discussions regarding the key tonal area, but more specific

detail is needed.


B – 2

The candidate discussed repeated thematic material, but in a general manner


C – 2

The discussion concerning solfeg is precise, but there are other discussions that use vague and general terminology.


D – 3

The candidate presents a good argument regarding the tonal organisation of the

piece.  Mozart belongs to a different era than Farmer.



Response Number Three


This piece is for an SATB choir and is in F major.  Accurate


The meter is in 2/2 but changes in the third section of the song.  How does the metre change?


There is an accidental in the piece, and this indicates a modulation to the five – C major, but then the piece goes back to the one – F major.  Accurate – more specific location detail is needed.


The parts mostly do not cross, but sometimes the soprano will start lower than the alto for two beats, or the tenor may enter higher than the alto for two beats.  The bass tends to stay low.  Accurate – more specific location detail is needed and/or an example.


The piece is sung in English and is funny.  Accurate


The piece is about a girl who is watching sheep and then wanders away looking for her lover.  Her lover is also looking for her, finds her, and then kisses her.  Accurate, but needs to be more musically relevant.


I don’t think either Phyllis or her lover is smart.  Accurate, but this statement is unnecessary.


We hear this whole story two times.  Accurate


The piece is split into three sections.  Accurate


There is the first section, which lasts for seven measures (mm 1-7).

The sopranos and the altos start the song on a unison line, which is funny because the text says ‘Fair Phyllis I saw sitting all alone’ where ‘alone’ is represented by the unison line.  The entire choir answers with ‘feeding her flock near to the mountainside’.  This section/phrase is repeated piano.  Accurate


The second section starts with a round.  The sopranos start and then each part imitates the soprano line in descending order, first soprano, then alto, then tenor, than bass.  Accurate – more specific detail is needed.


The imitation is not exactly the same, but each part jumps up (measure 7-11).  The next phrase is the same, but the order is alto, soprano, tenor, and bass.  The lines are not exactly the same but they are somewhat the same (measure 12-17).  Accurate – more specific detail is needed.


The next phase continues imitating but the bass stays on long low notes.  The text is ‘up and down’ and the lines go up and down.  Accurate – much more specific detail is needed.


The tempo slows down when the lover finds Phyllis but this is not marked in the score.  When he finds her the third section begins.  Accurate – location details (measure numbers) are needed.


The second and the third sections repeat and then the piece ends.  Accurate


I think this piece is early classical because it stays in a key.  It reminds me of Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell, an English Baroque composer.  More justification is needed.


A – 4

The candidate demonstrated good oral perception and has located a good number

of musical elements.

B – 4

The structural discussions were detailed but the detail needed to be more consistently presented.


C – 3

The response uses some musical terminology but more specific usage is needed.


D – 2

The candidate incorrectly identified the era, but was able to mention an English

composer who demonstrates some of the characteristics found in Fair Phyllis.  However, the candidate needed to discuss these characteristics.

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