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Violin Grade 3 Violin

Violin Grade 3 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.

Violin Grade 3 (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 3 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 Handel
arr. ABRSM
La réjouissance
4th movt from Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 Haydn
arr. Alexander and Carson Turner
Theme and Variation
from Symphony No. 94, Hob. I:94, 2nd movt
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 attrib. Mozart
trans. Jones
Contredanse
No. 1 from 12 contredanses, K. 269b
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 Boyce
arr. Wade
Gavotte
3rd movt from Symphony No. 4 in F, Op. 2 No. 4
The Young Symphonist, Vol. 2, arr. Wade
Spartan Press (SP1182)

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5 Holmstad Lett på fot (Light-footed) (SOLO)
(with 1st repeat)
Holmstad: Gamle danser blir som nye
Norsk Musikforlag (13255)

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6 Kling
arr. Gazda and Clark
March (DUET)
(upper part)
No. 15 from Compatible Duets for Strings, Vol. 2: Violin, arr. Gazda and Clark
Carl Fischer

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7 F. Küchler Allegro assai
3rd movt from Concertino in D, Op. 15
F. Küchler: Concertino in D, Op. 15
Bosworth (BOE003502)

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8 Mascitti Gavotta
4th movt from Sonata in E minor, Op. 2 No. 10
Baroque Violin Pieces, Book 1
ABRSM

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9 Mozart
arr. de Keyser and Waterman
Duo (DUET)
from 12 Duos, K. 487
(upper part)
No. 17 from The Young Violinist's Repertoire, Book 3
Faber (0571508189)

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10 Telemann Bourrée
from Wedding Divertissement
The Best of Grade 3 Violin
Faber (057153693X)

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List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Fauré
arr. Blackwell
Theme from Berceuse
from Dolly, Op. 56
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 Piazzolla and H. Ferrer
arr. Huws Jones
Chiquilín de Bachín (Little Boy of Bachín)
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 Rieding Andante
2nd movt from Concerto in B minor, Op. 35
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 Bizet
arr. K. and D. Blackwell
Habanera (PF/VN)
from Carmen
No. 35 from Fiddle Time Sprinters, arr. K. and D. Blackwell
OUP

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No. 35 from Fiddle Time Sprinters, Piano accompaniment book, arr. K. and D. Blackwell
OUP

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No. 35 from Fiddle Time Sprinters, Violin accompaniment book, arr. K. and D. Blackwell
OUP

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5 G. Concone
arr. Gazda and Clark
Andante pastorale (DUET)
(upper part)
No. 8 from Compatible Duets for Strings, Vol. 2: Violin, arr. Gazda and Clark
Carl Fischer

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6 Gebirtig
arr. Rowlands
Moishele Mayn Fraynd (Little Moishe, My Friend)
No. 5 from Klezmer Fiddle Tunes (piano accomp. printable from companion CD)
Schott (ED 13492)

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7 Barbara Heller
arr. Mohrs
Lalai - A Lullaby to Awaken You? (Lalai - Schlaflied zum Wachwerden?)
No. 14 from My First Concert for Violin
Schott (ED 21467)

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8 Elton John and Tim Rice
arr. Galliford and Neuburg
Can You Feel the Love Tonight?
from The Lion King
Top Hits from TV, Movies & Musicals for Violin, arr. Galliford and Neuburg (piano accomp. printable from companion CD)
Alfred (45186)

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9 Papini
trans. Applebaum
Theme And Variation 1 And Variation 2
from Theme and Variations
Solos for Young Violinists, Vol. 1
Alfred (0988)

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10 Friedrich Seitz Adagio
2nd movt from Student Concerto No. 2 in G, Op. 13
Friedrich Seitz: Student Concerto No. 2 in G, Op. 13
Bärenreiter (BA 8972)

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List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 N. Brown and A. Freed
arr. Iles
Singin' in the Rain
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 Rachel Stott Shadow Wizard
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 Ros Stephen Relaxing in Rio
No. 3 from Violin Globetrotters
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 3 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 Bartók Pillow Dance (DUET)
No. 14 from 44 Duos
(upper part)
No. 14 from Bartók: 44 Duos for Two Violins, Vol. 1
Universal (UE10452A)

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5 L. Bernstein
arr. Wastall
I feel pretty
from West Side Story
(solo part)
No. 7 from Session Time for Strings: Violin
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1000627)

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No. 7 from Session Time for Strings: Piano accompaniment
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1000628)

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6 Katherine Colledge and Hugh Colledge Stiffkey Blues
No. 21 from Shooting Stars
No. 21 from Katherine Colledge and Hugh Colledge: Shooting Stars for Violin
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1000688)

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7 C. Dancla Chasse du jeune Henry (SOLO)
No. 17 from 36 études mélodiques et faciles, Op. 84
No. 17 from C. Dancla: 36 Melodious and Easy Studies, Op. 84
Schott (ED 21126)

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8 Grechaninov The Joker
No. 3 from Early Morning, Op. 126a
No. 6 from The Young Violinist's Repertoire, Book 3
Faber (0571508189)

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9 Thomas Gregory Vamoose
No. 33 from Vamoosh Violin, Book 2, arr. Gregory
Vamoosh (VAM2)

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No. 33 from Vamoosh String Book 2, Piano accompaniment, arr. Gregory
Vamoosh (VAM52)

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10 Sheila Nelson Toad in the Hole (PF/VN)
(upper part; without improvisation)
Technitunes for Violin, arr. Nelson
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1000395)

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Technitunes, Piano accompaniments, arr. Nelson
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1000394)

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Violin 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/VN 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.

Violin Grade 3 Violin

Violin Grade 3 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.

Violin Grade 3 (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 attrib. Henry VIII
arr. Huws Jones
download download Pastime with good company
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 3
ABRSM

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2 Mozart
arr. Forbes
download download Polonaise
No. 4 from 12 Duos, K. 487
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 3
ABRSM

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3 Telemann download download Presto
3rd movt from Sonatina No. 6 in F, TWV 41:F1
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 3
ABRSM

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4 J. S. Bach download download Gavotte 1
from Gavotte in D
 
No. 6 from Suzuki Violin School, Vol. 3
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (0148S)

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Piano accomp. published separately as Suzuki Violin School, Vol. 3 Piano Accompaniment
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (30099)
5 F. Duval
arr. Mohrs
download download Un peu gay
 
No. 3 from My First Concert for Violin, arr. Mohrs
Schott (ED 21467)

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6 Handel
arr. de Keyser and Waterman
download download Bourrée
 
No. 11 from The Young Violinist’s Repertoire, Book 4, arr. de Keyser and Waterman
Faber

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List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg
arr. Barnes
download download Over the Rainbow
from The Wizard of Oz
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 3
ABRSM

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2 Paganini
arr. Bornemann
download download Theme and Variation
from 24 Caprices, Op. 1
(observing repeats)
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 3
ABRSM

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3 Trad. Irish
arr. Kelly
download download The Lark in the Clear Air
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 3
ABRSM

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4 Neil Mackay download download German Folk Song and Swiss Air
from A Tuneful Introduction to the Third Position
 
Neil Mackay: A Tuneful Introduction to the Third Position
Stainer & Bell (1857)

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Piano accomp. published separately as 24 Piano accompaniments to A Tuneful Introduction to the Third Position
Stainer & Bell (H419)
5 Moniuszko
arr. de Keyser and Waterman
download download Baika
 
No. 3 from The Young Violinist’s Repertoire, Book 4, arr. de Keyser and Waterman
Faber

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6 J. Strauss II
arr. Huws Jones
download download The Beautiful Blue Danube
(violn melody; omitting DC)
 
The Viennese Fiddler, arr. Huws Jones
Boosey & Hawkes

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List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Trad. American
arr. Cooper
download download Pig Ankle Rag
(solo)
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 3
ABRSM

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2 Bernstein
arr. Lanning
download download America
from West Side Story
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 3
ABRSM

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3 Trad. French
arr. Huws Jones
download download The Folk from the Mountain
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 3
ABRSM

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4 Roy McCormack download download Louis
No. 10 from Let's Swing for Violin
 
Roy McCormack: Let's Swing for Violin
Spartan Press (SP1280)

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5 Monty Norman
arr. Galliford and Neuburg and Edmondson
download download James Bond Theme
 
James Bond 007 Collection for Violin, arr. Galliford and Neuburg and Edmondson
Alfred (IFM0401CD)

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6 Ros Stephen download download Tango in San Telmo or African Jamboree
No. 7 or No. 12 from Violin Globetrotters
 
Ros Stephen: Violin Globetrotters (piano accomp. printable from companion CD)
OUP

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Violin requirements and information: Pieces

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

Accompaniment: A live piano accompaniment is required for all pieces, except those which are published as studies or unaccompanied works. Candidates must provide their own accompanist, who may remain in the exam room only while accompanying. The candidate’s teacher may act as accompanist (examiners will not). If necessary, the accompanist may simplify any part of the piano accompaniment, provided the result is musically satisfactory.

Exam music & editions: Wherever the syllabus includes an arrangement or transcription, the edition listed in the syllabus must be used in the exam; in all such cases the abbreviation ‘arr.’ or ‘trans.’ appears in the syllabus entry. For all other pieces, the editions quoted in the syllabus are given for guidance only and candidates may use any edition of their choice (in- or out-of-print or downloadable).

Interpreting the score: Printed editorial suggestions such as fingering, bowing, metronome marks, realization of ornaments etc. need not be strictly observed. Whether the piece contains musical indications or not, candidates are always encouraged to interpret the score in a stylistically appropriate manner. Ultimately, examiners’ marking will be determined by consideration of pitch, time, tone, shape and performance, and how control of these 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 whose full musical effect is heavily reliant on vibrato tend not to appear in the syllabus before around Grade 5.

Repeats: All da capo and dal segno indications should be observed but all other repeats (including first-time bars) should be omitted unless they are very brief (i.e. of a few bars) or unless the syllabus specifies otherwise.

Cadenzas & tuttis: Cadenzas should not be played unless the syllabus specifies otherwise. Lengthy orchestral tutti sections should be cut.

Performing from memory: Candidates are free to perform any of their pieces from memory; in such cases they must ensure that a copy of the music is available for the examiner to refer to if necessary. No additional 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. A variety of solutions for awkward page-turns exists, including the use of an additional copy of the music or a photocopy of a section of the piece (but see ‘Photocopies’ below). In cases where candidates believe there is no solution to a particularly awkward page-turn, they may apply to bring a page-turner to the exam. The request must be made to the Syllabus Department no later than the closing date for entry, and details of the piece, edition and nature of the difficulty should be given. If permission is granted, a confirmation letter will be issued which must be taken to the exam as verification. Examiners are unable to help with page-turning. In a Grade 8 exam, a candidate’s accompanist is permitted to bring a page-turner to assist with page-turns in the piano part (prior permission is not required).

Photocopies: Performing from unauthorized 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 received 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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