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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Appoggiatura and the Eleven Plus

All the eleven plus parents, and their eleven plus children, who have studied music, are fully aware of the importance of `appoggiaturas’. This means a leaning towards and refers to a note which resolved to a weaker beat. As a general rule it moves to the next note above or below when it resolves.

All those mother and fathers who have been paying due attention, and those eleven plus children who have listened with great attention will be able to equate this to rounding. (Remember five and upwards – round up. Four and below and you need to round down.)

The general rule for the length of an appoggiatura is that it takes half the value of the following note if it is duple and two thirds if it is a triple. I know that words like `duple’ will trip off the tongue of every eleven plus parent – but they will not be used all that often on the X Factor.

An appoggiatura needs to be played with conviction – because you don’t want it to distort the underlying melody.

By now you will be wondering the significance of the appoggiatura to the eleven plus. Very often it can be discerned in the voice of a child crying: “Oh Mum! Do I really have to do this now?” Where would you put the stress? Does it go on the word `Mum” or on the word “really”? Where could the notes slide together to give greater impact?

Seriously though, some eleven plus questions appear to be so abstruse and unconvincing that it must be like learning a bunch of esoteric terms for some children.

I like to return to my 1963 copy of `Essential of Verbal Reasoning’ by O.B. Gregory. Exercise 92 on page 51 gives:

If CSZEL means MITRE, what does ZESELCL mean?

We are told that the ability to deconstruct codes is a sign of ability. We know too that once an eleven plus child has been taught the `method’ that it then becomes easier to cope with decoding.

If decoding, however, is in many practice papers then it seems likely that a wide number of eleven plus children will have met and conquered how to cope with different types ao nefarious codes. All the poor examiner can do is to try to make the codes more demanding and place the child under more pressure of time.

As your child enters the playground, on that walk towards the examination, whisper very loudly so that every one can hear. “Remember appoggiatura.” The other children will come running over towards you.

The playground mothers and fathers will lean towards you.

Your best friend will say: “What on earth is appoggiatura?”

You will reply that it is well known eleven plus advice meaning that when a question looks a little hard then it is time to slide onto the next question – or even review, very quickly, the previous question.

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