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Prerequisite

Candidates for Grade 6, 7 or 8 exams must already have passed ABRSM Grade 5 (or above) in Music Theory, Practical Musicianship or a solo Jazz instrument. For full details including a list of accepted alternatives, see Regulation 1d.

Syllabus

Cello Grade 6 Cello

Cello Grade 6 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 6 (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 6 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 J. S. Bach Menuet 1 And Menuet 2 (SOLO)
from Suite No. 1 in G, BWV 1007
J. S. Bach: Six Suites for Violoncello Solo
Bärenreiter (BA 320)

More details
J. S. Bach: Six Suites for Violoncello Solo
Peters (EP238)

More details
J. S. Bach: Six Suites for Violoncello Solo (Urtext)
Peters (EP9054)

More details
2 Boismortier Allemanda
1st movt from Sonata in G minor, Op. 26 No. 5
(upper part in single edn)
Boismortier: Sonata in G minor, Op. 26 No. 5
Schott (CB 98)

More details
Famous Original Pieces for Violoncello and Piano
Schott (ED 22072)

More details
3 B. Marcello Allegro
4th movt from Sonata in C, Op. 2 No. 5
Famous Original Pieces for Violoncello and Piano
Schott (ED 22072)

More details
B. Marcello: Six Sonatas, Op. 2
Peters (EP4647)

More details
4 Boni Allegro
1st movt from Sonata in F, Op. 1 No. 5
(ornamentation optional)
Cello & Piano 2, arr. Pejtsik
Editio Musica Budapest (Z. 14637)

More details
5 De Fesch Siciliano And Allemanda
1st movt And 2nd movt from Sonata in D minor, Op. 8 No. 3
De Fesch: Cello Sonatas, Op. 8 Nos. 4 & 3
Peters (EP7239)

More details
Best of Cello Classics
Schott (ED 21998)

More details
6 D. Gabrielli Grave And Allegro
1st movt And 2nd movt from Sonata in A
D. Gabrielli: The Complete Works for Violoncello
Bärenreiter (BA 10920)

More details
7 Jean Baptiste Loeillet
arr. Rapp
Gavotte und Musette
No. 2 from Melodies by Old Masters for Young Cellists, Vol. 2, arr. Rapp
Schott (ED 5533)

More details
8 Pergolesi Allegro
2nd movt from Sinfonia in F
Ten Italian Sonatas for Cello and Continuo
Ricordi (141566)

More details
9 A. Scarlatti Allegretto
2nd movt from Sonata No. 2 in C minor
A. Scarlatti: Three Sonatas for Cello
G. Schirmer (GS26226)

More details
10 Telemann Largo And Allegro
3rd movt And 4th movt from Sonata in D, TWV 41:D6
Telemann: Sonata in D, TWV 41:D6
Bärenreiter (HM 13)

More details
Cello & Piano 1, arr. Pejtsik
Editio Musica Budapest (Z. 14636)

More details

List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Cui Orientale
No. 9 from Kaleidoscope, Op. 50
Cello Solos
Amsco (Am 40205)

More details
2 Davidoff Romance sans paroles
Op. 23
Davidoff: Romance sans paroles
Schott (ED 11059)

More details
3 Goltermann Notturno (Nocturne)
No. 3 from Quatre morceaux caractéristiques, Op. 43
Cellissimo: Appassionato
Schott (ED 22354)

More details
4 Grieg Intermezzo
EG 115
Principal Cello
ABRSM

More details
5 attrib. Paradis
arr. Gout and Legg or arr. Dushkin
Sicilienne
Paradis: Sicilienne for Violin or Cello, arr. Dushkin
Schott (ED 11197)

More details
Learning the Tenor Clef, arr. Legg and Gout
Faber (0571519172)

More details
6 Romberg
arr. Jansen
Allegro non troppo
1st movt from Sonata in E minor, Op. 38 No. 1
(cello 1 part in Alfred edn)
Romberg: Cello Sonata in E minor, Op. 38 No. 1
Dowani (DOW 03503)

More details
Romberg: Sonata in E minor, Op. 38 No. 1, arr. Jansen
IMC (IMC3697)

More details
Solos for Young Cellists, Vol. 3
Alfred (21030X)

More details
7 Saint-Saëns Romance in F
Op. 36
Saint-Saëns: Romance, Op. 36
IMC (IMC1521)

More details
P. 10 from Saint-Saëns: The Complete Shorter Works
Faber (0571518079)

More details
8 Sibelius Romance
No. 2 from Four Pieces, Op. 78
Sibelius: Romance, Op. 78 No. 2
Hansen (2201)

More details
9 Tchaikovsky
arr. Rose
Valse sentimentale
Op. 51 No. 6
Tchaikovsky: Valse Sentimentale, Op. 51 No. 6, arr. Rose
IMC (IMC1644)

More details
Cello & Piano 1, arr. Pejtsik
Editio Musica Budapest (Z. 14636)

More details
10 Villa-Lobos Song of the Black Swan
Steven Isserlis's Cello World
Faber (0571518850)

More details
Julian Lloyd Webber: Cello Song
Chester (CH60883)

More details

List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Adorian Spanish Dance
No. 1 from Serenade Basque
Solos for Young Cellists, Vol. 3
Alfred (21030X)

More details
2 Bartók
trans. Silva
Joc cu bâtă And Buciumeana
No. 1 And No. 4 from Romanian Folk Dances
Bartók: Romanian Folk Dances for Cello, trans. Silva
Universal (UE13265)

More details
3 Bunting Dance Caprice
Principal Cello
ABRSM

More details
4 Adriana Figueroa Mañas Pieza No. 1
from Tres piezas en clave de tango
No. 1 from Adriana Figueroa Mañas: Tres piezas en clave de tango
Hildegard

More details
5 Glazunov Sérénade espagnole
No. 2 from Deux morceaux, Op. 20
Glazunov: Sérénade espagnole, Op. 20 No. 2
Belaieff (BEL 204)

More details
Glazunov: Sérénade espagnole, Op. 20 No. 2
IMC (IMC1345)

More details
6 Hindemith Lebhaft
No. 3 from Drei leichte stücke
Cellissimo: Arietta
Schott (ED 22353)

More details
7 Julian Jacobson Hip Hip Bourrée
Unbeaten Tracks for Cello
Faber (0571519768)

More details
8 Kabalevsky March (SOLO)
No. 2 from Five Studies in Major and Minor
No. 2 from Kabalevsky: Five Studies in Major and Minor, Op. 67
Peters (EP4765)

More details
No. 2 from Kabalevsky: Five Etudes in Major and Minor Keys, Op. 68
Sikorski

More details
9 Aaron Minsky Varsity Days (SOLO)
No. 1 from Pop Goes the Cello
No. 1 from Aaron Minsky: Pop Goes the Cello
OUP

More details
10 Squire Danse rustique
Op. 20 No. 5
Squire: Danse rustique, Op. 20 No. 5
Stainer & Bell (2281)

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.

Cello Grade 6 Cello

Cello Grade 6 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 6 (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 J. S. Bach download download Menuet 1 and Menuet 2
from Suite No. 1 in G, BWV 1007
 
J. S. Bach: Six Suites for Violoncello Solo
Bärenreiter (BA 320)

More details
J. S. Bach: Six Suites for Violoncello Solo
Peters (EP 238)

More details
J. S. Bach: Six Suites for Violoncello Solo (Urtext)
Peters (EP 9054)

More details
2 B. Marcello download download Largo and Allegro
3rd movt and 4th movt from Sonata in F, Op. 2 No. 1
 
Marcello: Sonata in F, Op. 2 No. 1 for Cello
Peters (EP 7393)

More details
No. 1 from Marcello: Six Sonatas, Op. 2 for Cello
Peters (EP 4647)

More details
3 B. Porta download download Allegro
2nd movt from Sonata in B♭
 
Three 18th-Century Sonatas for Cello
Faber

More details
4 A. Scarlatti download download Largo and Allegretto
1st movt and 2nd movt from Sonata No. 1 in D minor
 
A. Scarlatti: Three Sonatas for Cello
G. Schirmer (GS26226)

More details
The Cello Collection, Intermediate Level
G. Schirmer (HL50486141)

More details
5 Telemann download download Largo and Allegro
3rd movt and 4th movt from Sonata in D, TWV 41:D6
from Der getreue Musikmeister
 
Telemann: Sonata in D for Cello
Bärenreiter (HM 13)

More details
Cello & Piano 1, arr. Pejtsik
Editio Musica Budapest (Z. 14636)

More details
6 Vivaldi download download Largo and Allegro
1st movt and 2nd movt from Sonata in E minor, RV 40
 
Vivaldi: Two Sonatas for Violoncello (RV 40 & RV 46)
Bärenreiter (BA 6995c)

More details
Vivaldi: Complete Sonatas for Violoncello
Bärenreiter (BA 6995)

More details

List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Glazunov
arr. Wells and Moncrieff-Kelly
download download Mélodie arabe
Op. 4 No. 5
 
Principal Cello
ABRSM

More details
2 Goltermann download download La Foi (The Faith)
Op. 95 No. 1
 
Goltermann: La Foi (The Faith), Op. 95 No. 1
IMC (3056)

More details
3 Halvorsen
arr. Bruce and Wells
download download Veslemøy's Song
from Suite Mosaïque
 
More Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 2, arr. Bruce and Wells
ABRSM

More details
4 Rachmaninov download download Lied
(mute optional)
 
Steven Isserlis's Cello World
Faber

More details
5 Romberg download download Allegro non troppo
1st movt from Sonata in E minor, Op. 38 No. 1
 
Romberg: Cello Sonata in E minor, Op. 38 No. 1
Dowani

More details
Romberg: Cello Sonata in E minor, Op. 38 No. 1
IMC (813)

More details
Solos for Young Cellists, Vol. 3 (cello 1 part)
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (21030X)

More details
6 Verhey download download Idylle
Op. 37
 
Verhey: Idylle, Op. 37
Broekmans & Van Poppel (BRP 1845)

More details

List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 F. Austin
arr. Bruce and Wells
download download Captain Cockchafer
from The Fairy Ring
 
More Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 2, arr. Bruce and Wells
ABRSM

More details
2 Bartók
trans. Silva
download download Joc cu bâtă and Buciumeana
No. 1 and No. 4 from Romanian Folk Dances
 
Bartók: Romanian Folk Dances for Cello, trans. Silva
Universal (UE 13265)

More details
3 Gavin Bryars download download With Miriam by the River
 
Spectrum for Cello
ABRSM

More details
4 Bunting download download Dance Caprice
 
Principal Cello
ABRSM

More details
5 Carl Davis download download Elegy
 
Unbeaten Tracks for Cello
Faber

More details
6 Squire download download Bourrée
Op. 24
 
Solos for Young Cellists, Vol. 3 (cello 1 part)
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (21030X)

More details
The Squire Cello Solo Collection
Carl Fischer

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/DB 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

Speedshifter

A practice tool that allows you to vary the speed of audio without altering the pitch.

 

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