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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

Violin Grade 8 Violin

Violin Grade 8 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 8 (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 8 Pieces

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

List A

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Mendelssohn Allegro
3rd movt from Concerto in D minor
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 F. M. Veracini Allegro
1st movt from Sonata in E minor, Op. 2 No. 8
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 Vivaldi Allegro
1st movt from Concerto in F, 'L'autunno', Op. 8 No. 3, RV 293
(violin to play in tuttis)
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 J. S. Bach Allemanda (SOLO)
1st movt from Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004
J. S. Bach: Three Sonatas and Three Partitas, BWV 1001–1006
Bärenreiter (BA 5116)

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5 J. S. Bach 1st movt
from Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041
(violin to play in tuttis)
J. S. Bach: Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041
Henle (HN 671)

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J. S. Bach: Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041
Bärenreiter (BA 5189-90)

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6 Beethoven Allegro vivace
3rd movt from Sonata in G, Op. 30 No. 3
Beethoven: Sonatas for Piano and Violin, Vol. 2
Henle (HN 8)

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7 Corelli Vivace And Adagio And Allegro
3rd movt And 4th movt And 5th movt from Sonata in F, Op. 5 No. 4
(ornamentation in 4th movt optional)
Corelli: Violin Sonatas, Op. 5, Vol. 1
Wiener Urtext (UT50235)

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Corelli: 12 Sonatas, Op. 5, Vol. 1
Schott (ED 4380)

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8 Kammel Tempo giusto
3rd movt from Sonata in A, Op. 10 No. 2
(bb. 44–45, 102–3 & 110–111 may be separately bowed)
Bohemian Violin Sonatas, Vol. 1
Henle (HN 334)

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9 Mozart Largo–Allegro
1st movt from Sonata in B♭, K. 454
Mozart: Sonatas for Piano and Violin, Vol. 3
Henle (HN 79)

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Mozart: Complete Works for Piano and Violin, Vol. 2
Bärenreiter (BA 5762)

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10 Schreivogel Larghetto And Vivace
2nd movt And 1st movt from Sonata in E♭
Schreivogel: Sonata in E♭
Edition HH (HH431)

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List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 C.-A. de Bériot Adagio
2nd movt from Concerto No. 9 in A minor, Op. 104
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 Bloch Vidui (Contrition)
No. 1 from Baal Shem (Three Pictures of Chassidic Life)
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 Fauré Andante
Op. 75
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 Albéniz
arr. Kreisler
Tango
Op. 165 No. 2
Albéniz: Tango for Violin, arr. Kreisler
Schott (BSS 31932)

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Fritz Kreisler Repertoire
Schott (ED 8658)

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5 Brahms Presto agitato
4th movt from Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108
Brahms: Sonata in D minor, Op. 108
Bärenreiter (BA 9433)

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Brahms: Sonata for Piano and Violin, Op. 108
Wiener Urtext (UT50013)

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6 Lalo Andante
4th movt from Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21
Lalo: Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21
Peters (EP3797)

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Lalo: Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21
Henle (HN 709)

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7 Florentine Mulsant Chant (SOLO)
3rd movt from Suite pour violon, Op. 50
Florentine Mulsant: Suite pour violon, Op. 50
Furore Verlag (10149)

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8 Saint-Saëns Élégie
Op. 143
Saint-Saëns: Élégie, Op. 143
Durand (9389)

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9 Tchaikovsky Canzonetta: Andante
2nd movt from Concerto in D, Op. 35
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35
Peters (EP3019a)

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Three Romantic Violin Concertos
G. Schirmer (2117)

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10 Trad. Hebrew
arr. Andrew
Hatikvah
Hatikvah, arr. Andrew
Queen's Temple Publications (QT167)

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List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Chaminade Capriccio
Op. 18
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 Trad. Japanese
arr. Kaneko Millar
Sakura (Cherry Blossom) (SOLO)
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 C. C. White Levee Dance
(with printed cadenza)
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 8 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 Bartók
trans. Székely
Buciumeana And Poargă românească And Mărunțel
No. 4 And No. 5 And No. 6 from Romanian Folk Dances
No. 4 from Bartók: Romanian Folk Dances for Violin, trans. Székely
Boosey & Hawkes (BHI 35002)

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No. 4 from Bartók: Romanian Folk Dances for Violin, trans. Székely
Universal (UE8474)

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5 L. Boulanger D’un matin de printemps
L. Boulanger: D'un matin de printemps
Faber (0571516467)

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L. Boulanger: D'un matin de printemps
Hildegard (949-02575)

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6 Chen Yi Fisherman's Song
Chen Yi: Fisherman's Song
Presser (114-40950)

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7 Finzi Hornpipe rondo
3rd movt from Concerto for Violin
Finzi: Violin Concerto
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1000989)

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The Boosey and Hawkes Violin Anthology
Boosey & Hawkes (BHI 10532)

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8 G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin & Heyward
trans. Heifetz
It ain't necessarily so
from Porgy and Bess
Porgy and Bess Selections for Violin, trans. Heifetz
Faber (0571530850)

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9 ten Have Allegro brillant
Op. 19
ten Have: Allegro brillant, Op. 19
Bosworth (BOEOO4560)

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Solos for Young Violinists, Vol. 4
Alfred (0991)

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10 Joby Talbot November: Eleven (SOLO)
from Once Around the Sun
(with repeat)
Joby Talbot: November: Eleven for Violin
Chester (CH70158)

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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 8 Violin

Violin Grade 8 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 8 (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 Adagio
1st movt from Sonata No. 1 in G minor for Solo Violin, BWV 1001
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 8
ABRSM

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2 Haydn download download Allegro moderato
1st movt from Concerto in G, Hob. VIIa/4
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 8
ABRSM

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3 Vivaldi download download Preludio and Corrente
1st movt and 2nd movt from Sonata in C minor, RV 6
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 8
ABRSM

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4 J. S. Bach download download 1st movt
from Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041
(violin to play in tuttis)
 
J. S. Bach: Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041
Henle (HN 671)

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J. S. Bach: Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041
Bärenreiter (BA 5189-90)

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5 Corelli download download Adagio and Vivace
1st movt and 2nd movt from Sonata in G minor, Op. 5 No. 5
(observing repeats and with Roger's embellishments on the repeats in Adagio)
 
Corelli: Violin Sonatas, Op. 5, Vol. 1
Wiener Urtext (UT 50235)

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6 Geminiani download download Sonata in D
Op. 5 No. 4
(complete; observing repeats)
 
Geminiani: Sonata in D, Op. 5 No. 4
UT Orpheus (EX 1)

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Geminiani: Six Sonatas, Op. 5, Vol. 2
UT Orpheus (PEG 4)

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7 Mozart download download Largo–Allegro
1st movt from Sonata in B♭, K. 454
 
No. 13 from Mozart: Sonatas for Piano and Violin, Vol. 3
Henle (HN 79)

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Mozart: Complete Works for Piano and Violin, Vol. 2
Bärenreiter (BA 5762)

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List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Brahms download download Allegretto grazioso
3rd movt from Sonata in A, Op. 100
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 8
ABRSM

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2 Tchaikovsky download download Scherzo
No. 2 from Three Pieces, Op. 42
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 8
ABRSM

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3 Wieniawski download download Obertass
No. 1 from Two Mazurkas, Op. 19
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 8
ABRSM

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4 Beethoven download download Allegro
1st movt from Sonata in F ('Spring'), Op. 24
 
No. 5 from Beethoven: Sonatas for Piano and Violin, Vol. 1
Henle (HN 7)

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5 Bruch download download No. 13 and No. 14 and No. 15
from Schwedische Tänze, Op. 63 Vol. 2
 
Bruch: Schwedische Tänze, Op. 63, Vol. 2
Simrock (EE 3111)

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6 Elgar download download Allegro
1st movt from Sonata, Op. 82
 
Elgar: Sonata Op. 82
Novello (NOV120026R)

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7 Franck download download Allegretto poco mosso
4th movt from Sonata in A
 
Franck: Sonata in A
Wiener Urtext (UT 50174)

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List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Copland download download Hoe-Down
from Rodeo
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 8
ABRSM

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2 Helen Grime download download Romance
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 8
ABRSM

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3 Michael Nyman download download Full fathom five
from On the Fiddle
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 8
ABRSM

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4 Janáček download download Balada
2nd movt from Sonata
 
Janáček: Works for Violin and Piano
Bärenreiter (BA 9508)

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5 Kabalevsky download download Allegro molto e con brio
1st movt from Concerto in C, Op. 48
 
Kabalevsky: Concerto in C, Op. 48
Peters (EP 4618)

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6 Kodály
arr. Fejgin
download download The Kálló Double-Dance
(complete; lower line optional in arco stopped passages in 1st movt)
 
Kodály: The Kálló Double-Dance, arr. Fejgin
Editio Musica Budapest (Z.3231)

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7 Kreutzer download download Étude No. 10 in G (Allegro) or Etude No. 35 in E♭ (Marcia: Moderato)
from 42 Études ou Caprices for Solo Violin
 
Kreutzer: 42 Études ou Caprices for Solo Violin
Peters (EP 284)

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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.

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