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Violin Grade 2 Violin

Violin Grade 2 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 2 (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 2 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 Mozart
arr. Scott-Burt
Allegretto
from Clarinet Quintet, K. 581, 4th movt
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 C. Petzold
arr. Huws Jones
Menuet in G
BWV Anh. II 114
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 Purcell
arr. Blackwell
Minuett
No. 7 from The Double Dealer, Z. 592
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 J. S. Bach
arr. Suzuki
Musette
No. 2 from Suzuki Violin School, Vol. 2
Alfred (0146S)

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No. 2 from Suzuki Violin School, Vol. 2 Piano accompaniment
Alfred (30098)

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5 Boismortier
arr. Mohrs
Rigaudon (DUET)
(upper part)
No. 3 from Duets for Fun: Violins
Schott (ED 13882)

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6 Finger
arr. Mohrs
Air
(trill optional)
No. 2 from My First Concert for Violin
Schott (ED 21467)

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7 Haydn
arr. Nelson
Minuet and Trio
(without DC)
Piece by Piece 1 for Violin, arr. Nelson
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1000577)

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8 G. B. Martini
arr. de Keyser and Waterman
Gavotte
The Best of Grade 2 Violin
Faber (0571536921)

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No. 5 from The Young Violinist's Repertoire, Book 1, arr. de Keyser and Waterman
Faber (0571506186)

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9 Trad. Irish
arr. Huws Jones
Red-Haired Boy (PF/VN)
(violin melody)
The Fiddler Playalong Violin Collection 2, arr. Huws Jones
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1002658)

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Jigs, Reels & Hornpipes, arr. Huws Jones
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 12405)

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10 Trad. Scottish
arr. Nelson
Soldier's Joy (DUET)
(upper part)
Tunes You Know 2 for Violin Duet, arr. Nelson
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1000548)

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List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Mahler
arr. Gritton
Theme
from Symphony No. 1, 3rd movt
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 Trad. Chinese
arr. Huws Jones
Bamboo in the Breeze
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Jean-Marc Natel and Herbert Kretzmer
arr. Bullard
Castle on a Cloud
from Les Misérables
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 Katherine Colledge and Hugh Colledge Weeping Willow
No. 10 from Fast Forward
No. 10 from Katherine Colledge and Hugh Colledge: Fast Forward for Violin
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1000587)

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5 Edward Jones
arr. Huws Jones
Glwysen (The Fairest One) (PF/VN)
(violin melody)
The Fiddler Playalong Violin Collection 2, arr. Huws Jones
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1002658)

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The Celtic Fiddler, arr. Huws Jones
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 12403)

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6 Mozart
arr. Gazda and Clark
Theme (DUET)
from Sonata in A, K. 331, 1st movt
(upper part; grace notes optional)
No. 21 from Compatible Duets for Strings, Vol. 2: Violin, arr. Gazda and Clark
Carl Fischer

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7 Offenbach
arr. Gregory
Barcarolle
from The Tales of Hoffmann
(with repeats)
No. 25 from Vamoosh Violin, Book 2, arr. Gregory
Vamoosh (VAM2)

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No. 25 from Vamoosh String Book 2, Piano accompaniment, arr. Gregory
Vamoosh (VAM52)

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8 Tchaikovsky
arr. Cohen
Waltz
from The Sleeping Beauty
Superpieces, arr. Cohen
Faber (0571518702)

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The Best of Grade 2 Violin
Faber (0571536921)

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9 Trad. North American
arr. Waterfield and Beach
Simple Gifts
The Best of Grade 2 Violin
Faber (0571536921)

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O Shenandoah! for Violin, arr. Waterfield and Beach
Faber (0571522246)

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10 Trad.
arr. Nelson
Greensleeves (DUET)
(upper part)
Tunes You Know 1 for Violin Duet, arr. Nelson
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1000547)

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List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Katherine Colledge and Hugh Colledge The Ceilidh
No. 20 from Fast Forward
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 Timothy Kraemer Angry Tango
from More Mood Swings
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 Trad. Hungarian
arr. Szervánszky
Hol háltál az éjjel cinegemadár (Where did you sleep last night little bird?)
No. 5 from Tíz Könnyű Hegedű-Zongoradarab
Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Violin Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 2 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 Arlen & Harburg
arr. Davey, Hussey and Sebba
We're off to see the wizard (PF/VN)
from The Wizard of Oz
No. 70 from Abracadabra Violin (Third Edition), arr. Davey
Collins Music

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No. 70 from Abracadabra Strings, Book 1, Piano accompaniments, arr. Hussey and Sebba
Collins Music

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5 Bartók Play Song (DUET)
No. 9 from 44 Duos
(upper part)
No. 9 from Bartók: 44 Duos for Two Violins, Vol. 1
Universal (UE10452A)

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6 Kathy Blackwell and David Blackwell Jacob's Dance (PF/VN)
No. 8 from Fiddle Time Sprinters, arr. K. and D. Blackwell
OUP

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No. 8 from Fiddle Time Sprinters, Violin accompaniment book, arr. K. and D. Blackwell
OUP

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No. 8 from Fiddle Time Sprinters, Piano accompaniment book, arr. K. and D. Blackwell
OUP

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7 Thomas Gregory Smooth Operator
No. 20 from Vamoosh Violin, Book 2, arr. Gregory
Vamoosh (VAM2)

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No. 20 from Vamoosh String Book 2, Piano accompaniment, arr. Gregory
Vamoosh (VAM52)

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8 Ferdinand Seitz Gypsy Dance (PF/VN)
(ending at b. 47)
Violin Recital Album, Vol. 2
Bärenreiter (BA 9669)

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9 Trad.
arr. Huws Jones
Jack Tar (PF/VN)
(violin melody)
The Seafaring Fiddler, arr. Huws Jones
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 12763)

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10 Pam Wedgwood Siberian Galop
The Best of Grade 2 Violin
Faber (0571536921)

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No. 12 from Up-Grade! Violin Grades 1–2, arr. Wedgwood
Faber (0571519547)

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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 2 Violin

Violin Grade 2 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 2 (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 Corelli download download Sarabanda
3rd movt from Sonata in E minor, Op. 5 No. 8
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 2
ABRSM

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2 Haydn
arr. de Keyser and Waterman
download download German Dance
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 2
ABRSM

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3 Purcell
arr. Forbes
download download Rigaudon
Z. 653
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 2
ABRSM

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4 Caix d’Hervelois
arr. Huws Jones
download download Monsieur de Caix’s Fanfare
 
Violin Star 3, arr. Huws Jones
ABRSM

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Piano accomp. published separately as Violin Star 3 Piano accompaniment, arr. Huws Jones
ABRSM
5 Charpentier
arr. Blackwell
download download Prelude
from Te Deum
 
No. 24 from Fiddle Time Runners, arr. Blackwell
OUP

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Piano accomp. published separately as Fiddle Time Runners Piano Accompaniment, arr. Blackwell
OUP
6 Milán
arr. Mohrs
download download Pavane
 
No. 1 from My First Concert for Violin, arr. Mohrs
Schott (ED 21467)

More details

List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Carse download download Afloat
from The Fiddler's Nursery
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 2
ABRSM

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2 Reinecke
arr. de Keyser and Waterman
download download Ländler
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 2
ABRSM

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3 Scott Skinner
arr. Huws Jones
download download The Flower of the Quern
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 2
ABRSM

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4 Lehár
arr. Huws Jones
download download No. 2: from Two Waltzes
from Gold and Silver
(violin melody)
 
The Viennese Fiddler, arr. Huws Jones
Boosey & Hawkes

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5 E. Pütz
arr. Mohrs
download download Spiritual
 
No. 13 from My First Concert for Violin, arr. Mohrs
Schott (ED 21467)

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6 Tchaikovsky
arr. Cohen
download download Waltz
from The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66
 
Superpieces, arr. Cohen
Faber

More details
The Best of Grade 2 Violin
Faber

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List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Kathy Blackwell and David Blackwell download download Song from the Show
No. 4 from Fiddle Time Sprinters
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 2
ABRSM

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2 Dorothy Howell download download An Important Person
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 2
ABRSM

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3 Trad. Chinese
arr. Yiu
download download Si Ji Ge (Song of the Four Seasons)
(observing slides)
 
Violin Exam Pieces, 2016–2019, Grade 2
ABRSM

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4 Kabalevsky
arr. de Keyser or Sorokin
download download Galop
 
No. 13 from Violin Playtime, Book 3, arr. de Keyser
Faber

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No. 5 from Kabalevsky Album Pieces, arr. Sorokin
Peters (EP 4783)

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5 Trad.
arr. Wedgwood
download download Raggle Taggle Gypsies
 
No. 3 from Up-Grade! Violin Grades 2–3, arr. Wedgwood
Faber

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6 Trad. klezmer
arr. Huws Jones
download download Oh Father!
 
Violin Star 3, arr. Huws Jones
ABRSM

More details

Piano accomp. published separately as Violin Star 3 Piano accompaniment, arr. Huws Jones
ABRSM

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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