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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

Viola Grade 6 Viola

Viola 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.

Viola 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
trans. Rowland-Jones or trans. Forbes
Menuet 1 And Menuet 2 (SOLO)
from Cello Suite No. 1 in G, BWV 1007
J. S. Bach: Six Cello Suites, trans. Rowland-Jones
Peters (EP7489)

More details
J. S. Bach: Six Cello Suites, trans. Forbes
Chester (CH01401)

More details
2 Caix d’Hervelois
arr. Classens
La marche du Czar
No. 17 from L'Alto classique, Vol. C, arr. Classens
Combre (P04438)

More details
3 Leclair
arr. Classens
Tambourin
No. 16 from L'Alto classique, Vol. C, arr. Classens
Combre (P04438)

More details
4 Handel
trans. Pilkington
Andante larghetto And Allegro
1st movt And 2nd movt from Sonata in G minor, Op. 1 No. 6
Handel: Sonata in G minor, Op. 1 No. 6, trans. Pilkington
Stainer & Bell (H244)

More details
5 Robin Ireland Allegro (SOLO)
from Étude No. 2
(starting at b. 39)
Robin Ireland: Concert Etudes for Viola
Spartan Press (SP1237)

More details
6 Kalliwoda Notturno No. 2
from Six Nocturnes, Op. 186
No. 2 from Kalliwoda: Six Nocturnes for Viola, Op. 186
Peters (EP2104)

More details
Concert Pieces for Viola
Bärenreiter (BA9697)

More details
7 Senaillé
arr. Morgan
Allegro
2nd movt from Sonata in G minor, Op. 5 No. 9
Senaillé: Sonata in G minor, Op. 5 No. 9, arr. Morgan
Stainer & Bell (H380)

More details
8 Telemann Allegro
2nd movt from Sonata in A minor, TWV 41:a6
Telemann: Sonata in A minor for Viola da Gamba or Viola
Schott (ED 10357)

More details
Telemann: Two Sonatas for Viola da Gamba or Viola (Essercizii Musici), TWV 41:e5 & 41:a6
Amadeus (BP 0640)

More details
9 Telemann Allegro
2nd movt from Concerto in G, TWV 51:G9
Telemann: Concerto in G, TWV 51:G9
Bärenreiter (BA5878-90)

More details
10 Vivaldi
arr. Bársony and Nagy
Allegro
1st movt from Concerto in G minor, RV 417
Vivaldi: Concerto in G minor, RV 417, arr. Bársony and Nagy
Editio Musica Budapest (Z.12616)

More details

List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Albéniz
arr. Classens
Tango
No. 2 from España, Op. 165
No. 12 from L'Alto classique, Vol. C, arr. Classens
Combre (P04438)

More details
2 Brahms
arr. Lamb and Meredith
Andante
from String Sextet No. 1, Op. 18
More Time Pieces for Viola, Vol. 2, arr. Lamb and Meredith
ABRSM

More details
3 Rebecca Clarke Lullaby
P. 2 from Rebecca Clarke: Shorter Pieces for Viola
OUP

More details
4 Fauré
arr. Sassmannshaus
Berceuse
Op. 16
Concert Pieces for Viola
Bärenreiter (BA9697)

More details
5 Viotti
arr. Ritter
Andante
Concert Pieces for Viola
Bärenreiter (BA9697)

More details
6 Joachim No. 1
from Hebräische Melodien, Op. 9
(lower 8ve optional bb. 58–59)
No. 1 from Joachim: Hebrew Melodies for Viola, Op. 9
IMC (IMC3272)

More details
No. 1 from Joachim: Hebrew Melodies for Viola, Op. 9
Breitkopf & Härtel (MR 1828)

More details
7 Mendelssohn
arr. Forbes
Song without Words
Op. 38 No. 2
P. 11 from Chester Music for Viola, arr. Forbes
Chester (CH00817)

More details
8 Schubert
arr. Birtel
Ave Maria
Op. 52 No. 6
Classical Highlights for Viola, arr. Birtel
Schott (ED 21697)

More details
9 Schumann No. 4
from Märchenbilder, Op. 113
No. 4 from Schumann: Märchenbilder for Viola, Op. 113
Peters (EP2372)

More details
No. 4 from Schumann: Märchenbilder for Viola, Op. 113
Henle (HN 632)

More details
10 Schweikert
trans. La-Deur
Romanze
Schweikert: Romanze for Cello (Violin/Viola), trans. La-Deur
Furore Verlag (10092)

More details

List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 A. Beach
trans. Grant
Berceuse
No. 2 from Three Pieces, Op. 40
No. 2 from A. Beach: Three Pieces for Viola, Op. 40 , trans. Grant
Spartan Press (SP1389)

More details
2 Beethoven
arr. Forbes
Rondo
WoO 41
Beethoven: Rondo for Viola, WoO 41, arr. Forbes
Schott (ED 10562)

More details
3 R. R. Bennett
arr. Jacobs
The Czar of Muscovy
No. 6 from Six Country Dances
No. 6 from R. R. Bennett: Six Country Dances for Viola, arr. Jacobs
Novello (NOV090750)

More details
4 C. Dancla
trans. Barber
Fantasia – La Cenerentola
Op. 86 No. 7
Solos for Young Violists, Vol. 2
Alfred (18590X)

More details
5 Patsy Gritton Presto for Frankie
No. 2 from Character Pieces, Book 3
No. 2 from Patsy Gritton: Character Pieces, Book 3
SJ Music (D2006-2)

More details
6 A. H. Hill Novelette
(with repeat)
A. H. Hill: Two Pieces for Viola
Stainer & Bell (H179)

More details
7 B. Hummel Presto
3rd movt from Kleine Suite, Op. 19c
B. Hummel: Kleine Suite for Viola, Op. 19c
Simrock (EE 2954a)

More details
8 Pascal Proust Avril
Pascal Proust: Avril
De Haske (DHP1175828-401)

More details
9 Vaughan Williams Carol
No. 2 from Suite for Viola, Group 1
Vaughan Williams: Suite for Viola
OUP

More details
10 Weill and Brecht
arr. Reiter
Mack the Knife
from The Threepenny Opera
More Time Pieces for Viola, Vol. 2, arr. Lamb and Meredith
ABRSM

More details

Viola 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/VA 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.

Viola Grade 6 Viola

Viola 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.

Viola 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
trans. Rowland-Jones or Forbes
Menuet 1 and Menuet 2
from Cello Suite No. 1 in G, BWV 1007
J. S. Bach: Six Cello Suites, trans. Rowland-Jones
Peters (EP 7489)

More details
J. S. Bach: Six Cello Suites, trans. Forbes
Chester (CH01401)

More details
2 Caix d’Hervelois
arr. Classens
La Marche du Czar
No. 17 from L’Alto classique, Vol. C, arr. Classens
Combre (P04438)

More details
3 Fiocco
trans. Arnold
Allegro
Fiocco: Allegro, trans. Arnold
Viola World (VWP000015)

More details
4 Mozart
trans. Piatigorsky
Allegro
1st movt from Divertimento in C
Solos for Young Violists, Vol. 2
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (18590X)

More details
5 Telemann Allegro
2nd movt from Concerto in G, TWV 51:G9
Telemann: Viola Concerto in G, TWV 51:G9
Bärenreiter (BA 5878-90)

More details
6 Telemann
arr. Bergmann and Forbes
Courante and Double
6th movt from Suite in D
(viola to play in tuttis)
Telemann: Suite in D, arr. Bergmann and Forbes
Schott (ED 10196)

More details

List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Albéniz
arr. Classens
Tango
Op. 165 No. 2
No. 12 from L’Alto classique, Vol. C, arr. Classens
Combre (P04438)

More details
2 Brahms
arr. Lamb and Meredith
Andante
from String Sextet No. 1, Op. 18
More Time Pieces for Viola, Vol. 2, arr. Lamb and Meredith
ABRSM

More details
3 Bridge Serenade
Bridge: Four Pieces for Viola
Faber

More details
4 Kalliwoda No. 1
from Six Nocturnes, Op. 186
Kalliwoda: Six Nocturnes for Viola, Op. 186
Peters (EP 2104)

More details
5 Seitz Allegro moderato
1st movt from Student Concerto in D (transposed to G), Op. 22
Seitz: Student Concerto in D (transposed to G), Op. 22
Bärenreiter (BA 8986)

More details
6 Sitt No. 4
from Album Leaves, Op. 39
Solos for Young Violists, Vol. 4
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (18750X)

More details
Sitt: Album Leaves, Op. 39
IMC (1048)

More details

List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Dancla
trans. Barber
Fantasia – La Cenerentola
Op. 86 No. 7
Solos for Young Violists, Vol. 2
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (18590X)

More details
2 Ehrensperger Ma belle, si tu voulais
from Suite über französische Volkslieder
Ehrensperger: Suite über französische Volkslieder
Amadeus (BP 1926)

More details
3 B. Hummel Presto
3rd movt from Kleine Suite, Op. 19c
B. Hummel: Kleine Suite for Viola, Op. 19c
Simrock (EE 2954a)

More details
4 Joplin
arr. Birtel
The Easy Winners
(observing double-stops; upper line in bb. 83–84)
Joplin: Three Ragtimes, arr. Birtel
Schott (ED 20459)

More details
5 Vaughan Williams Carol
No. 2 from Suite for Viola, Group 1
Vaughan Williams: Suite for Viola
OUP

More details
6 Weill and Brecht
arr. Reiter
Mack the Knife
from The Threepenny Opera
More Time Pieces for Viola, Vol. 2, arr. Lamb and Meredith
ABRSM

More details

Viola 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

Speedshifter

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

 

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