Harry achieves full marks for his EPQ

Photo of Upper Sixth student Harry Baldwin sat in front of a computer

Harry Baldwin (Upper Sixth) is delighted to have achieved full marks in his Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), which he chose because of his love of music, science and art and his ambition to study architecture.

Harry's EPQ focused on the interplay between music and architecture and whether he could create a piece of music from an architectural standpoint, focusing on both phenomenological (qualitative) experiences and mathematical (quantitative) data.

He chose to create a piece of music based on the buildings of The Royal Grammar School (RGS) Newcastle because he has such a personal understanding of the space.

"Architecture, to me, is encapsulated by much more than simply buildings, but by the life within the building," said Harry.

"RGS holds a great significance for me and has been important to my development during the ten years I have been a student there. During this time, I have also seen development of the school buildings.

"With regards to the architecture of RGS, I believe for it to fully represent the community of people, culture and history of the school, the music must have a strong phenomenological thread."

Harry chose areas of the school which were most important to him and created the structure of the music based on the order in which he typically travelled through the school. There are six sections with a repeating promenade motif to illustrate his journey along corridors or between buildings.

The main building of the current RGS site was built in 1906, yet brings with it the School’s 500 year history. Numerous additions have been made to the school, with a more contemporary design encapsulating the School’s ethos of looking forward in its aspirations. In his composition,  the instrumentation reflected the different periods in which the spaces were built or refurbished. The structure and style of the buildings informed the structure and style of the composition.

Harry translated the measurements of spaces into musical pitches by assigning a whole metre to represent a whole tone, and a half metre, a semitone. He used middle C, the centre of the piano, as the centre point of measurements to avoid pitches that were too high or too low. The longer the measurements, the lower the assigned pitch, and conversely, the smaller the measurement, the higher the musical pitch.

He also recorded the sounds of fellow students walking around the school, chatter and sounds from the sports pitches.

Harry continued: "Mathematics was helpful in creating the artefact basis, but when listening to my initial composition, it didn’t fully reflect my school experience. For the music to truly capture the essence and architecture of the building, and what it means to me, and I suspect all Novocastrians, the qualitative experience of the school was vital."

Watch the video Harry created by clicking here.

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