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Cello Grade 1 Cello

Cello Grade 1 exams consist of three pieces, scales and arpeggios, sight-reading, and aural tests.

Total marks in all individual Practical exams are 150. You need 100 marks to achieve Pass, 120 marks to pass with Merit and 130 marks to pass with Distinction.

Cello Grade 1 (2020–2023)

Pieces

Musicians learn to play an instrument to explore and perform repertoire, which is why pieces are at the core of the exam – candidates are asked to present three at each grade. The syllabus repertoire is organised into three lists which explore different traditions and styles, dating from the Renaissance period to the present day.

Choosing one piece from each list gives candidates the opportunity to play a balanced selection and demonstrate a range of skills. In this syllabus, the pieces are broadly grouped into lists by the characteristics of the music:

  • List A pieces are generally faster moving and require technical agility
  • List B pieces are more lyrical and invite expressive playing
  • List C pieces reflect a wide variety of musical traditions, styles and characters.

Most of the pieces require an accompaniment, as interacting with other musicians is an important musical skill, but there are also opportunities to choose solo pieces and develop confidence with unaccompanied playing.

We hope that by offering this variety in the syllabus, candidates will find music that inspires them and that they enjoy learning and performing.

Grade 1 Pieces

Candidates choose three pieces, one from each list (A, B and C) – 30 marks each. The full requirements and information for the pieces are explained after the lists.

List A

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Arbeau
arr. Huws Jones
Mattachins
from Orchesographie
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 Campion
arr. Black and Harris
What is it all?
from Third Booke of Ayres
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 Trad. Irish
arr. Huws Jones
John Ryan's Polka
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 Kathy Blackwell and David Blackwell Patrick's Reel (PF/VC)
No. 43 from Cello Time Joggers, arr. K. and D. Blackwell
OUP

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No. 43 from Cello Time Joggers, Piano accompaniment book, arr. K. and D. Blackwell
OUP

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No. 43 from Cello Time Joggers, Cello accompaniment book, arr. K. and D. Blackwell
OUP

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5 Blow
arr. Bruce and Wells
Air
More Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 1, arr. Bruce and Wells
ABRSM

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6 Corrette
arr. Thorp and Blackman
Minuet (PF/VC)
(p. 6 version)
P. 6 from A Flying Start for Strings, Cello Book 3, arr. Thorp
Flying Strings

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A Flying Start for Strings, Piano accompaniments to Cello Books 1, 2 & 3, arr. Thorp
Flying Strings

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7 Purcell
arr. Nelson
Rigadoon
(with repeat)
No. 24 from Piece by Piece 1 for Cello, arr. Nelson
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1200312)

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8 Trad.
arr. Nelson
Dance to your daddy
No. 13 from Piece by Piece 1 for Cello, arr. Nelson
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1200312)

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9 Janice Tucker Rhoda A Shakespeare Play
No. 51 from The ABC's of Cello, Book 1, arr. Rhoda
Carl Fischer

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10 Suzuki
arr. Mooney
Andantino (PF/VC)
No. 12 from Suzuki Cello School, Vol. 1
Alfred (0479S)

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No. 12 from Suzuki Cello School, Vol. 1, Piano accompaniment
Alfred (0480S)

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No. 12 from Suzuki Ensembles for Cello, Vol. 1, arr. Mooney
Alfred (0296S)

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List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Rodgers and Hammerstein
arr. Bullard
Edelweiss
from The Sound of Music
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 Schubert
arr. Blackwell
Wiegenlied (Lullaby)
D. 498
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 Trad. Irish
arr. Bullard
Star of the County Down
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 T. H. Bayly
arr. Suzuki and Mooney
Long, Long Ago (PF/VC)
No. 10 from Suzuki Cello School, Vol. 1
Alfred (0479S)

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No. 10 from Suzuki Cello School, Vol. 1, Piano accompaniment
Alfred (0480S)

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No. 10 from Suzuki Ensembles for Cello, Vol. 1, arr. Mooney
Alfred (0296S)

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5 Kathy Blackwell and David Blackwell Rocking Horse (PF/VC)
No. 42 from Cello Time Joggers, arr. K. and D. Blackwell
OUP

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No. 42 from Cello Time Joggers, Piano accompaniment book, arr. K. and D. Blackwell
OUP

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No. 42 from Cello Time Joggers, Cello accompaniment book, arr. K. and D. Blackwell
OUP

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6 Carse A Little Reverie
Carse: Two Short Pieces
Stainer & Bell (2201)

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7 Katherine Colledge and Hugh Colledge Full Moon
No. 22 from Waggon Wheels
No. 22 from Katherine Colledge and Hugh Colledge: Waggon Wheels for Cello
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1200302)

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8 Thomas Gregory Alpine Waltz
No. 11 from Vamoosh Cello, Book 2, arr. Gregory
Vamoosh (VAM22)

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No. 11 from Vamoosh String Book 2, Piano accompaniment, arr. Gregory
Vamoosh (VAM52)

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9 Lully
arr. Feuillard
Ariette
Le jeune violincelliste, Vol. 1A, arr. Feuillard
Edition Delrieu

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10 Trad. English
arr. Koeppen
Scarborough Fair (PF/VC)
(upper part)
Cello Method: Tune Book 1, arr. Koeppen
Schott (ED 22504)

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List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 James MacMillan March
No. 1 from Northern Skies
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 Sheila Nelson Flag Dance
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 Trad. American
arr. Blackwell
Turkey in the Straw
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 1 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 Benoy and L. Burrowes Victory March (DUET)
(upper part)
The First-Year Violoncello Method, arr. Benoy and Burrowes
Novello

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5 Alan Bullard Hungarian Dance
from Party Time!
Alan Bullard: Party Time! for Cello
ABRSM

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6 Katherine Colledge and Hugh Colledge Lollipop Man
No. 26 from Waggon Wheels
No. 26 from Katherine Colledge and Hugh Colledge: Waggon Wheels for Cello
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1200302)

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7 Thomas Gregory Fiery Fiddler
(with repeats)
No. 25 from Vamoosh Cello, Book 1, arr. Gregory
Vamoosh (VAM21)

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No. 25 from Vamoosh String Book 1, Piano accompaniment, arr. Gregory
Vamoosh (VAM51)

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8 Edward Huws Jones Toodle-Pip
No. 18 from Ten O'Clock Rock
No. 18 from Edward Huws Jones: Ten O'Clock Rock for Cello
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1200366)

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No. 18 from Edward Huws Jones: Ten O'Clock Rock, Piano accompaniment
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1000653)

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9 Trad. American
arr. K. and D. Blackwell
Pick a Bale of Cotton (DUET)
(upper part)
No. 8 from Cello Time Runners, arr. K. and D. Blackwell
OUP

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10 Trad. Congolese
arr. Bruce and Wells
Banaha
More Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 1, arr. Bruce and Wells
ABRSM

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Cello requirements and information: Pieces

Programme planning: Candidates must choose one piece from each of the three lists (A, B and C). In the exam, candidates should tell the examiner which pieces they are performing, and they are welcome to use the Exam programme & running order form for this.

Every effort has been made to feature a broad range of repertoire to suit and appeal to candidates of different ages, backgrounds and interests. Certain pieces may not be suitable for every candidate for technical reasons or because of wider context (historical, cultural, subject matter of the larger work from which it is drawn, lyrics if an arrangement of a song etc.). Pieces should be carefully considered for their appropriateness to each individual, which may need consultation between teachers and parents/guardians. Teachers and parents/guardians should also exercise caution when allowing younger candidates to research pieces online (see www.nspcc.org.uk/onlinesafety).

Accompaniment: A live piano or string (where the option is listed) accompaniment is required for all pieces, except those which are published as studies or unaccompanied works (these are marked SOLO in the lists above).

At Grades Initial–3, candidates may perform some or all of their pieces with a string accompaniment. Pieces that are published as duets (or with string accompaniment only) are marked DUET in the lists above. Pieces that are published with piano and string accompaniment options are marked PF/VC in the lists above, and may be performed with either accompaniment in the exam.

Candidates must provide their own accompanist(s), who can only be in the exam room while accompanying. The candidate’s teacher may accompany (examiners will not). If necessary, an accompanist may simplify any part of the accompaniment, as long as the result is musical. Recorded accompaniments are not allowed.

Exam music & editions: Wherever the syllabus includes an arrangement or transcription (appearing as ‘arr.’ or ‘trans.’ in the syllabus list), the edition listed in the syllabus must be used in the exam. For all other pieces, editions are listed for guidance only and candidates may use any edition of their choice (in- or out-of-print or downloadable). For full details on sourcing exam music, see Obtaining exam music.

Interpreting the score: Printed editorial suggestions such as fingering, bowing, metronome marks, realisation of ornaments etc. do not need to be strictly observed. Whether the piece contains musical indications or not, candidates are encouraged to interpret the score in a musical and stylistic way. Examiners’ marking will be determined by how control of pitch, time, tone, shape and performance contributes to the overall musical outcome.

Vibrato: The use and control of vibrato, and its effect on tone and shape, will be taken into account by examiners, who will be assessing the overall musical outcome. Pieces that are heavily reliant on vibrato for their full musical effect tend not to appear in the syllabus before around Grade 5.

Repeats: Unless the syllabus specifies differently, all da capo and dal segno indications should be followed but other repeats (including first-time bars) should not be played unless they are very short (i.e. a few bars).

Cadenzas & tuttis: Cadenzas should not be played unless the syllabus specifies differently. Accompanists should cut lengthy orchestral tutti sections.

Performing from memory: Candidates may perform any of their pieces from memory; if doing so, they must make sure that a copy of the music is available for the examiner to refer to. No extra marks are awarded for playing from memory.

Page-turns: Examiners will be understanding if a page-turn causes a lack of continuity during a piece, and this will not affect the marking. Candidates (and accompanists) may use an extra copy of the music or a photocopy of a section of the piece (but see ‘Photocopies’ below) to help with page-turns. Candidates and accompanists at Grades 6–8 may bring a page-turner to the exam if there is no solution to a particularly awkward page-turn (prior permission is not required; the turner may be the candidate’s teacher). Examiners are unable to help with page-turning.

Photocopies: Performing from unauthorised photocopies (or other kinds of copies) of copyright editions is not allowed. ABRSM may withhold the exam result where it has evidence of an illegal copy (or copies) being used. In the UK, copies may be used in certain limited circumstances – for full details, see the MPA’s Code of Fair Practice at www.mpaonline.org.uk. In all other cases, application should be made to the copyright holder before any copy is made, and evidence of permission should be brought to the exam.

Cello Grade 1 Cello

Cello Grade 1 exams consist of three pieces, scales and arpeggios, sight-reading, and aural tests.

Total marks in all individual Practical exams are 150. You need 100 marks to achieve Pass, 120 marks to pass with Merit and 130 marks to pass with Distinction.

Cello Grade 1 (2016–2019)

Pieces

Three pieces: one chosen by the candidate from each of the three Lists, A, B and C - 30 marks each

List A

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Anon. French
arr. Lengyel and Pejtsik
download download Bourrée
 
No. 9 from Violoncello Music for Beginners 1, arr. Lengyel and Pejtsik
Editio Musica Budapest (Z.6312)

More details
2 Arbeau
arr. Black and Harris
download download Branle des Sabots
from Orchésographie
 
Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 1, arr. Black and Harris
ABRSM

More details
3 Kathy Blackwell and David Blackwell download download Patrick's Reel
 
No. 43 from Cello Time Joggers, arr. Blackwell
OUP

More details

Piano accomp. published separately as Cello Time Joggers Piano Accompaniment, arr. Blackwell
OUP
4 Haydn
arr. Erhart-Schwertmann
download download Divertimento
Hob. II:14
 
P. 2 from Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven for Cello, arr. Erhart-Schwertmann
Doblinger (DOBL 33756)

More details
5 Haydn
arr. Bruce and Wells
download download Poco adagio
from String Quartet ('Emperor'), Op. 76 No. 3
 
More Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 1, arr. Bruce and Wells
ABRSM

More details
6 Suzuki download download Andantino
 
No. 12 from Suzuki Cello School, Vol. 1
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (0479S)

More details

Piano accomp. published separately as Suzuki Cello School, Vol. 1 Piano Accompaniment
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (0480S)

List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 T. H. Bayly download download Long, Long Ago
 
No. 10 from Suzuki Cello School, Vol. 1
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (0479S)

More details

Piano accomp. published separately as Suzuki Cello School, Vol. 1 Piano Accompaniment
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (0480S)
2 Kathy Blackwell and David Blackwell download download Rocking Horse
 
No. 42 from Cello Time Joggers, arr. Blackwell
OUP

More details

Piano accomp. published separately as Cello Time Joggers Piano Accompaniment, arr. Blackwell
OUP
3 Katherine Colledge and Hugh Colledge download download Full Moon
No. 22 from Waggon Wheels for Cello
 
Katherine Colledge and Hugh Colledge: Waggon Wheels for Cello
Boosey & Hawkes

More details
4 Fauré
arr. Bruce and Wells
download download Berceuse
from Dolly, Op. 56
 
More Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 1, arr. Bruce and Wells
ABRSM

More details
5 Saint-Saëns
arr. Black and Harris
download download The Elephant
from The Carnival of the Animals
 
Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 1, arr. Black and Harris
ABRSM

More details
6 Schubert
arr. Lengyel and Pejtsik
download download Waltz
 
No. 20 from Violoncello Music for Beginners 1, arr. Lengyel and Pejtsik
Editio Musica Budapest (Z.6312)

More details

List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Katherine Colledge and Hugh Colledge download download Waggon Wheels
No. 23 from Waggon Wheels for Cello
 
Katherine Colledge and Hugh Colledge: Waggon Wheels for Cello
Boosey & Hawkes

More details
2 Sheila Nelson download download Mad as a Hatter
 
No. 10 from Piece by Piece 1 for Cello, arr. Nelson
Boosey & Hawkes

More details
3 Ros Stephen download download Stoppin' off in Louisiana
No. 2 from Cello Globetrotters
(easier version)
 
Ros Stephen: Cello Globetrotters (piano accomp. printable from companion CD)
OUP

More details
4 Trad. Congolese
arr. Bruce and Wells
download download Banaha
 
More Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 1, arr. Bruce and Wells
ABRSM

More details
5 Tim Wells download download The Ghost
from Cello Scenes
 
Tim Wells: Cello Scenes
Cramer

More details
6 Frank Wunsch
arr. Deserno
download download Dorian Blue
 
No. 19 from My First Concert for Cello, arr. Deserno
Schott (ED 20881)

More details

Cello requirements and information: Pieces

Programme planning: Candidates must choose one piece from each of the three lists (A, B and C). In the exam, candidates should tell the examiner which pieces they are performing, and they are welcome to use the Exam programme & running order form for this.

Every effort has been made to feature a broad range of repertoire to suit and appeal to candidates of different ages, backgrounds and interests. Certain pieces may not be suitable for every candidate for technical reasons or because of wider context (historical, cultural, subject matter of the larger work from which it is drawn, lyrics if an arrangement of a song etc.). Pieces should be carefully considered for their appropriateness to each individual, which may need consultation between teachers and parents/guardians. Teachers and parents/guardians should also exercise caution when allowing younger candidates to research pieces online (see www.nspcc.org.uk/onlinesafety).

Accompaniment: A live piano or string (where the option is listed) accompaniment is required for all pieces, except those which are published as studies or unaccompanied works (these are marked SOLO in the lists above).

At Grades Initial–3, candidates may perform some or all of their pieces with a string accompaniment. Pieces that are published as duets (or with string accompaniment only) are marked DUET in the lists above. Pieces that are published with piano and string accompaniment options are marked PF/VC in the lists above, and may be performed with either accompaniment in the exam.

Candidates must provide their own accompanist(s), who can only be in the exam room while accompanying. The candidate’s teacher may accompany (examiners will not). If necessary, an accompanist may simplify any part of the accompaniment, as long as the result is musical. Recorded accompaniments are not allowed.

Exam music & editions: Wherever the syllabus includes an arrangement or transcription (appearing as ‘arr.’ or ‘trans.’ in the syllabus list), the edition listed in the syllabus must be used in the exam. For all other pieces, editions are listed for guidance only and candidates may use any edition of their choice (in- or out-of-print or downloadable). For full details on sourcing exam music, see Obtaining exam music.

Interpreting the score: Printed editorial suggestions such as fingering, bowing, metronome marks, realisation of ornaments etc. do not need to be strictly observed. Whether the piece contains musical indications or not, candidates are encouraged to interpret the score in a musical and stylistic way. Examiners’ marking will be determined by how control of pitch, time, tone, shape and performance contributes to the overall musical outcome.

Vibrato: The use and control of vibrato, and its effect on tone and shape, will be taken into account by examiners, who will be assessing the overall musical outcome. Pieces that are heavily reliant on vibrato for their full musical effect tend not to appear in the syllabus before around Grade 5.

Repeats: Unless the syllabus specifies differently, all da capo and dal segno indications should be followed but other repeats (including first-time bars) should not be played unless they are very short (i.e. a few bars).

Cadenzas & tuttis: Cadenzas should not be played unless the syllabus specifies differently. Accompanists should cut lengthy orchestral tutti sections.

Performing from memory: Candidates may perform any of their pieces from memory; if doing so, they must make sure that a copy of the music is available for the examiner to refer to. No extra marks are awarded for playing from memory.

Page-turns: Examiners will be understanding if a page-turn causes a lack of continuity during a piece, and this will not affect the marking. Candidates (and accompanists) may use an extra copy of the music or a photocopy of a section of the piece (but see ‘Photocopies’ below) to help with page-turns. Candidates and accompanists at Grades 6–8 may bring a page-turner to the exam if there is no solution to a particularly awkward page-turn (prior permission is not required; the turner may be the candidate’s teacher). Examiners are unable to help with page-turning.

Photocopies: Performing from unauthorised photocopies (or other kinds of copies) of copyright editions is not allowed. ABRSM may withhold the exam result where it has evidence of an illegal copy (or copies) being used. In the UK, copies may be used in certain limited circumstances – for full details, see the MPA’s Code of Fair Practice at www.mpaonline.org.uk. In all other cases, application should be made to the copyright holder before any copy is made, and evidence of permission should be brought to the exam.

Publications & audio

Supporting applications

Violin Practice Partner

Violin Practice Partner is a simple way to make practising pieces for your ABRSM exam more musical, enjoyable and fun.

Scales Trainer

Scales Trainer helps increase fluency with ABRSM scales and arpeggios requirements.

 

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