KS3 Music Quiz
Musical Cliches 01
A fast musical passage is most representative of a high speed chase in a film.

Musical Cliches 01

In everyday language, a cliché is a phrase which is often used, or overused, some might say. Clichés are said to show a lack of imagination. In the world of music, things are slightly different. A musical cliché is often a matter of audience interpretation as opposed to following a set of firm rules and definitions. This KS3 music quiz looks at the use of clichés in musical composition, particularly in film and television scores.

Glissando and tremolo are two types of musical cliché. A glissando is a glide from one pitch to another, usually a continuous slide up or down between two notes - think of the sound made by the Clangers. These are glissandos played on swannee (or slide) whistles. A tremolo is a 'trembling' effect brought about by rapidly repeating a note or by varying its loudness.

If you watch a lot of films then you should do well in this quiz. You'll know already how different types of music can affect the mood of a scene, whether happy, romantic, exciting or frightening! Have a go at this quiz and see if you know your musical clichés. Good luck!

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  1. In terms of cliché, what type of music sounds 'happy'?
    Major keys seem to conjure up positive, happy feelings
  2. What type of music sounds 'sad'?
    Remember, major = happy, minor = sad
  3. Musical cliché can be found in .......
    And more! Think about it - most music is full of cliché
  4. What is the purpose of musical cliché in film?
    The same can be said in games, music, tv etc.
  5. What effect might a glissando best serve in film?
    A glissando could also be used to represent sirens
  6. The use of tremolo in film is most commonly found in .......
    This is particularly true of 1960s classic horror films
  7. A fast musical passage is most representative of .......
    First and foremost, it is highlighting tension
  8. What is the function of a sudden dynamic in a film?
    I'm sure you'll have seen a film in which a character is creeping around to slow, quiet music. Suddenly, a face appears in front of them, making you jump, and a loud burst of music adds to the effect
  9. Which is likely to have high sounding string parts?
    It is usually other factors which affect mood, like key, dynamics and the like
  10. What is the function of syncopation in film score?
    Syncopation is, in essence, rhythmic tension

Author: Thomas Daish

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