What should I include in a music essay?

A strong A-Level music essay should mainly contain the identification and analysis of some of the key musical features within the given piece, and should also provide some information about the musical period in which it was written and how the period links to those features.

A helpful way to begin finding points for a music essay is to remember the mnemonic "MRS HITT". This stands for all the important musical features that you will want to address within your essay; M- melody, R - rhythm, S - structure, H- harmony, I- instrumentation, T- texture, T- tonality. Identify features of the given piece of music using these headings to guide you; for example, in Debussy's Sarabande, this might include commenting on the fact that the texture of the piece is largely homophonic, or the harmony is non-functional. To make this a coherent and flowing piece of work, you will want to expand on these basic points and give some examples of them in the work using bar numbers.

After outlining each point, providing a comment linking to the historical and musical context will help to strengthen your answer. This will require learning about the different musical periods and being able to identify the features of each. To use Debussy's Sarabande as an example, you might choose to comment on the fact that the harmony is non-functional, and then go on to say that this is characteristic of the 20th Century/Impressionist style in which Debussy was writing, as they aimed to use chords for colour and expression, rather than having a specific harmonic function, as in the Classical period.

Lila B. GCSE Music tutor, A Level Music tutor, GCSE English Literatur...

1 year ago

Answered by Lila, an A Level Music tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


Shannon G. A Level Music tutor, GCSE Music tutor, GCSE German tutor
View profile
£22 /hr

Shannon G.

Degree: Music (Bachelors) - Manchester University

Subjects offered: Music, German


“About meI am a second year Music student at the University of Manchester. My principal instrument is Trumpet, but my degree involvestheory, composition and history of music, in addition to practical performance. I love talking about ...”

Erik A.
View profile
£20 /hr

Erik A.

Degree: Music (Bachelors) - Oxford, The Queen's College University

Subjects offered: Music, History+ 2 more


“About Me I am a music student at Oxford University. I have always had a real passion for arts and humanities, and I hope my tutorials will encourage you to love them too!  I am very patient and friendly. I have been teaching singing,...”

Adam T. GCSE Music tutor, A Level Music tutor, IB Music tutor, GCSE M...
View profile
£20 /hr

Adam T.

Degree: Music (Bachelors) - York University

Subjects offered: Music, Maths


“About me: I am a Masters student at the University of York. Music is the main and most potent passion in my life, and the study of which I shall pursue for the rest of my life. I have a patient and friendly temperament, and have work...”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

Lila B. GCSE Music tutor, A Level Music tutor, GCSE English Literatur...
View profile
£22 /hr

Lila B.

Degree: Music (Bachelors) - Bristol University

Subjects offered: Music, -Personal Statements-

-Personal Statements-

“I know how to break down concepts into easily understandable chunks, and I know that I can always remain calm and patient when teaching! :) ”

You may also like...

Other A Level Music questions

Explain the role of JS Bach in the development of Equal Temprament

What should I include in a music essay?

How do I approach Bach Chorales?

How do I develop a composition?

View A Level Music tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss