Stage 2 | Subject Outline | Versions control

Music Performance — Solo Stage 2
Subject outline

Version 4.0 - For teaching in 2024.
Accredited in June 2017 for teaching at Stage 2 from 2019.

Stage 2 | Subject outline | Supporting document

Music Performance — Solo supporting document

Elements Theoretical concepts


  • Notes and rests: whole note to 1/16 note (semibreve to semiquavers), dots, ties, and tuplets
  • Simple meter (e.g. 2/4, 3/4, 4/4) 
  • Irregular meter (e.g. 5/4, 7/8) 
  • Compound meter (e.g. 6/8, 9/8, 12/8) 
  • Understanding of beat groupings for notes and rests
  • Syncopation and accents
  • Tempo and pulse

Pitch — melody/harmony

  • Treble, bass (TAB, drum, C clef)
  • Major and minor scales (harmonic, natural, melodic), blues scale, pentatonic scale and modes 
  • Atonal 
  • Transpositions
  • Melodic contours and structures (inversions, sequences, chord-voicing, voice-leading)
  • Balanced phrasing and irregular phrase lengths 
  • Fragmentation and melodic extension 
  • Countermelodies (similar, contrary, parallel and oblique motion) 
  • Climax points 
  • Melodic setting of text 
  • Layering of harmonies including vocal harmonies 
  • Chord and non-chord notes 
  • Chord nomenclature (chord symbols or Roman numerals)
  • Ostinati, pedal notes, drones 
  • Relationship to text and harmony (e.g. word painting) 
  • Standard chord progressions 
  • Dissonance
  • Extended chords 
  • Modulation to closely related keys
  • Cadences — perfect, imperfect, plagal and interrupted

Dynamics and expression

  • Dynamic shaping and associated markings (symbols) 
  • Expressive articulation and associated markings (symbols) 
  • Style indications (swing, rubato, Latin)
  • Tempo indications (e.g. quarter note = 120 BPM)

Form and structure

  • Binary, ternary, 12-bar blues, strophic (song), sonata, rondo, through-composed, theme and variations, sectional or mosaic, dance forms 
  • Standard form and notation symbols (e.g. repeats, 1st and 2nd time endings, coda)
  • Aleatoric/chance 
  • musical shape of sections and climaxes
  • live looping


  • The use of varied and contrasting tone colours
  • Traditional and non-traditional ensembles or groups
  • Capabilities of instruments/voices including vibrato

  • Balance between parts/accompaniment 
  • Contrast between single lines and blocks of sound or between simple and complex textures: monophonic, homophonic, polyphonic, and heterophonic textures 
  • The varied roles of accompanying instruments/voices