Unit 4 Q4 – The History of Music Technology – what do I need to know?

A2 Music Tech Exam Questions – The History of Music Technology

Question 4 of the A2 Music technology exam is worth 16 marks (20% of the exam) and is based on the history and development of music technology. In my opinion this is the hardest part of the A2 Music Technology exam, as it is so broad.

In the exam you will have a choice between two questions. You need to allow about 20 minutes to complete the question. To gain full marks you will need to include 16 different relevant points with use of appropriate technical terms and vocabulary.

The question will relate in some way to the audio content that you have been given for the rest of the exam.

The best way to approach this question is to study the various music technologies (start with the big ones) e.g. Samplers, Synthesizers, Production Effects, Electric Guitars, Drum machines, DAWs / Multi-tracking and Microphones. List the 10 key points of each topic, then practice writing a well-structured essay based on these points.

You will need to cover the following topics:

1. ELECTRIC GUITARS (& BASS GUITARS) & AMPLIFICATION

2. MICROHPONES

  • Describe the history and development of the microphone
  • Describe how a microphone works?
  • Polar patterns and uses
  • Miking techniques – stereo mic – XY, wide spaced etc

3. SAMPLING & DRUM MACHINES

  • The development of the sampler and uses

4. SYNTHESIS & SYNTHESISERS

5. MIDI 

  • how it works
  • advantages and disadvantages Vs audio
  • history

6. EFFECTS UNITS AND PROCESSORS OVER TIME

7. DIGITAL AUDIO

8. DISTRIBUTION FORMATS

  • Vinyl
  • Tape
  • CD
  • Minidisk
  • MP3

9. THE INTERNET – HOW HAS IT SHAPED MUSIC?

10. HISTORY Of THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE DAW

  • How has the development of the DAW, sequencing and computer based production shaped pop music

11. MULTITRACK RECORDING, DEVELOPMENTS OVER TIME