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Cello Grade 5 Cello

Cello Grade 5 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 5 (2020–2023)

Cello requirements and information

Our Cello requirements and information summarise the most important points that teachers and candidates need to know when taking ABRSM graded Cello exams. They are explained in the exam sections below (Pieces, Scales and arpeggios, Sight-reading and Aural tests) and are also available to download as a PDF.

Further administrative information about our exams are given in our Exam Regulations which you should read before booking an exam.

Entering for an exam

Eligibility: There are nine grades of exam for Cello. Candidates may be entered for any grade at any age and do not need to have taken other grade(s) in Cello. Candidates for a Grade 6, 7 or 8 exam must have already 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 Prerequisite for Grades 6–8.

Access: ABRSM is committed to providing all candidates with fair access to its assessments by putting in place access arrangements and reasonable adjustments. There is a range of alternative tests and formats as well as guidelines for candidates with specific needs. For full details, see Specific Needs. Where a candidate’s needs are not covered by the guidelines, each case is considered individually. Further information is available from the Access Co-ordinator.

Exam booking: For full details of exam dates, location, fees and how to book an exam, see Exam Booking.

Instruments

Candidates are required to perform on acoustic instruments (electric instruments are not allowed) and any size of instrument may be used. Examiners apply the marking criteria (which include the assessment of pitch, tone and musical shaping) to assess musical outcomes without reference to the specific attributes of the instrument.

In the exam

Examiners: Generally, there will be one examiner in the exam room; however a second examiner may be present for training and quality assurance purposes. Examiners may ask to look at the candidate’s or accompanist’s copy of the music before or after the performance of a piece; a separate copy is not required. Examiners may stop the performance of a piece when they have heard enough to make a judgment. They will not issue or discuss a candidate’s result. Instead, the mark form (and certificate for successful candidates) will be issued by ABRSM after the exam.

Order of the exam: The individual sections of the exam may be taken in any order, at the candidate’s choice, although it is preferable for accompanied pieces to be performed consecutively at the beginning of the exam.

Tuning: At Grades Initial–5, the teacher or accompanist may tune the candidate’s instrument (or advise on tuning) before the exam begins. At Grades 6–8, candidates must tune their instruments themselves. Examiners are unable to help with tuning.

Seating: A chair/stool will be provided for cello candidates at ABRSM public venues.

Music stands: All ABRSM public venues provide a music stand, but candidates are welcome to bring their own if they prefer. The examiner will be happy to help adjust the height or position of the stand.

Assessment

Exams are marked out of 150. 100 marks are required for a Pass, 120 for a Merit and 130 for a Distinction. Candidates do not need to pass each section to pass overall. For full details, including the marking criteria used by examiners, see Graded music exam marking criteria.

Sourcing exam music

Exam music is available from music retailers and online, including at the ABRSM music shop. Every effort has been made to make sure that the publications listed will be available for the duration of the syllabus. Candidates are advised to get their music well before the exam in case items are not kept in stock by retailers. Non-exam related questions about the music (e.g. editorial, availability) should be addressed to the relevant publisher. For a complete list of publisher contact details, see Obtaining exam music.

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 5 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 Passionei Allegro
2nd movt from Sonata in C, Op. 1 No. 8
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 Boismortier Aria
2nd movt from Sonata in G minor, Op. 26 No. 5
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 Vivaldi Allegro
4th movt from Sonata in E minor, RV 40
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 B. Bernardi Sonata in G minor
(upper part; complete)
9 Sonate facili
Editio Musica Budapest (Z. 14110)

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5 Boccherini
arr. Suzuki
Minuet
(without DC)
No. 3 from Suzuki Cello School, Vol. 3
Alfred (0483S)

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No. 3 from Suzuki Cello School, Vol. 3, Piano accompaniment
Alfred (0484S)

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6 Bréval Allegro
1st movt from Sonata No. 1 in C
Bréval: Sonata No. 1 in C
Stainer & Bell (5502)

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Bréval: Sonata in C, arr. Schroeder
IMC (IMC1883)

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Best of Cello Classics
Schott (ED 21998)

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7 Caldara Presto
4th movt from Sonata in D
Caldara: Sonata in D
Schott (CB 124)

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8 Haydn
arr. Pejtsik
Scherzando
1st movt from Trio in G, Hob. XI:70
Cello & Piano 1, arr. Pejtsik
Editio Musica Budapest (Z. 14636)

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9 B. Marcello Allegro
2nd movt from Sonata in E minor, Op. 2 No. 2
B. Marcello: Sonata in E minor
Stainer & Bell (H436)

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

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10 S. Paxton
arr. Buschmann
Allegro moderato
1st movt from Sonata in G, Op. 3 No. 1
S. Paxton: Two Sonatas from Op. 3, arr. Buschmann
Simrock (EE 1276)

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List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Bridge Spring Song
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 Nölck Legende
No. 4 from Zehn Originalstücke, Op. 116
(mute optional)
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 Trowell Chanson villageoise
No. 11 from 12 morceaux faciles, Op. 4
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 Borodin
arr. Lanning
Nocturne
from String Quartet No. 2
Classic Experience Encores for Cello, arr. Lanning
Cramer (90558)

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5 Flotow
arr. B. and R. De Smet
M'appari
from Martha
No. 1 from Cello Canto, arr. B. and R. De Smet
Fentone (DEHF697401)

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6 Goltermann Marche funèbre
No. 2 from Sechs tonbilder, Op. 97
Cellissimo: Arietta
Schott (ED 22353)

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Best of Cello Classics
Schott (ED 21998)

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7 Mendelssohn
arr. Amsco
Consolation
Cello Solos
Amsco (Am 40205)

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8 Pergolesi
arr. Pejtsik
Nina
No. 11 from Violoncello Music for Beginners, Vol. 3, arr. Pejtsik
Editio Musica Budapest (Z. 14037)

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9 Schubert
arr. Bruce and Wells
Ständchen
from Schwanengesang
More Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 2, arr. Bruce and Wells
ABRSM

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10 Tchaikovsky
arr. Legg and Gout
Chanson triste
No. 2 from 12 morceaux, Op. 40
Learning the Tenor Clef, arr. Legg and Gout
Faber (0571519172)

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List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Marie Dare Echoes
(mordent optional in b. 32)
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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2 Janáček
arr. Harrison
Three Moravian Folk Songs
(complete)
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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3 E. Pütz Stomping Boys
No. 8 from Short Stories
Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score & Part)
ABRSM

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Cello Exam Pieces 2020–2023, Grade 5 (Score, Part & CD)
ABRSM

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4 Jonathan Cole Elegy
Spectrum for Cello
ABRSM

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5 Gershwin
arr. Gout
Summertime
from Porgy and Bess
Play Gershwin for Cello, arr. Gout
Faber (0571516238)

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6 Jacob Robots' March
More Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 2, arr. Bruce and Wells
ABRSM

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7 James MacMillan Sabre Dance
No. 6 from Northern Skies
No. 6 from James MacMillan: Northern Skies
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1200533)

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8 Trad. Irish
arr. Davis
The Frieze Breeches (SOLO)
No. 26 from Irish Folk Tunes for Cello, arr. Davis
Schott (ED 13654)

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9 Villoldo
arr. Speckert
El Choclo
Tango Classics for Cello, arr. Speckert
Bärenreiter (BA 10632)

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10 Pam Wedgwood Survivor
from After Hours
Pam Wedgwood: After Hours for Cello
Faber (0571569749)

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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.

Scales and arpeggios

Playing scales and arpeggios is important for building strong technical skills such as reliable finger movement, hand position, co-ordination and fingerboard fluency. It also helps to develop tone, pitch and interval awareness, and familiarity with keys and their related patterns. This leads to greater confidence and security when sight-reading, learning new pieces and performing – from a score or from memory, as a solo musician or with others.

Grade 5 Scales and arpeggios – 21 marks

The full requirements and information for scales are explained after the table.

 

 

range

bowing requirements

rhythm pattern

Scales

Eb, E, Ab, A majors

E, G, A minors
(harmonic or melodic, at candidate’s choice)

2 octaves

separate bows or slurred
(2 beats to a bow) at examiner's choice.

even notes or long tonic, at candidate's choice

C major

3 octaves

separate bows or slurred
(2 beats to a bow) at examiner's choice.

even notes or long tonic, at candidate's choice

Arpeggios

Eb, E, Ab, A majors

E, G, A minors

2 octaves

separate bows or slurred
(3 notes to a bow) at examiner's choice.

even notes

C major

3 octaves

separate bows or slurred
(3 notes to a bow) at examiner's choice.

even notes

Dominant sevenths
(resolving on tonic)

In the key of Bb

1 octave

separate bows or slurred
(4 notes to a bow) at examiner's choice.

even notes

In the keys of F and G

2 octaves

separate bows or slurred
(4 notes to a bow) at examiner's choice.

even notes

Diminished sevenths

Starting on C and G †

1 octave

separate bows

even notes

Chromatic scales

Starting on C, C# and D

2 octaves

separate bows or slurred
(4 notes to a bow) at examiner's choice.

even notes

† Starting on open strings

Scale speeds

The scale speeds below are given as a general guide.

Grade 5

Scales

Crotchets and quavers

Crotchet

Arpeggios

Three quavers

Quaver

Dominant sevenths / Diminished sevenths

Four quavers

Crotchet

Chromatic scales

Four quavers

Crotchet

 


Cello requirements and information: Scales

Memory: All requirements should be played from memory.

Range: All requirements should be played from the lowest possible tonic/starting note unless the syllabus specifies differently. They should ascend and descend according to the specified range (and pattern).

Rhythm: For most major and minor scales (and double-stop scales in parallel sixths/octaves) candidates may choose between two rhythm patterns: even notes or long tonic. The scale to a fifth (Initial Grade) should be played in even notes.

Patterns: Arpeggios and dominant sevenths are required in root position only. All dominant sevenths should finish by resolving on the tonic. Examples of scale/arpeggio etc. patterns found in this syllabus are available to download as a PDF. Fully notated versions of the requirements are published by ABRSM and are available to buy from our music shop.

Fingering: Candidates may use any fingering that produces a successful musical outcome.

Speed: Bowing will generally dictate the tempi of slurred scales and arpeggios. Separately-bowed requirements should be played briskly, using no more than half the bow length. The speeds in the table above are given as a general guide.

In the exam

Initial Grade candidates should play all three requirements when asked for their scales. The examiner will prompt the keys/ranges where necessary.

At Grades 1–8, examiners will usually ask for at least one of each scale/arpeggio (etc.) type. They will ask for majors followed by minors within each type, and also ask to hear a balance of the separately-bowed and slurred requirements. When asking for requirements, examiners will specify:

  • the key* (including minor form – harmonic or melodic – in the Grade 6–8 scales) or the starting note
  • separate bows or slurred (except for where the requirements are to be prepared with separate bows only – e.g. Grade 1 arpeggios).

* Where keys at Grades 6–8 are listed enharmonically – Db/C# and Ab/G# – the examiner will use the flat spelling when asking for major keys and the sharp spelling for minor keys.

Sight-reading

Sight-reading is a valuable skill with many benefits. Learning to sight-read helps to develop quick recognition of keys, tonality and common rhythm patterns. Strong sight-reading skills make learning new pieces quicker and easier, and also help when making music with others, so that playing in an ensemble becomes more rewarding and enjoyable.

Cello requirements and information: Sight-reading – 21 marks

Candidates will be asked to play a short unaccompanied piece of music which they have not seen before. They will be given half a minute to look through and, if they wish, try out all or any part of the test before they are asked to play it for assessment. The table below shows the elements that are introduced at each grade.

Grade

Length
(bars)

Time

Other features that may be included

Initial Grade

4

4/4

  • 1st position
  • crotchet and two quavers beamed together
  • crotchet rests
  • notes separately bowed
  • mf dynamic mark

6

2/4

(as above)

Grade 1

4

3/4

  • minim and four quavers beamed together
  • f and p dynamic marks

 

Grade 2

8

  • dotted minim
  • minim rests
  • simple two-note slurs
  • mp dynamic mark
  • cresc. and dim. hairpins

Grade 3

  • accidentals (within minor keys)
  • dotted crotchet, quaver and dotted quaver, semiquaver patterns
  • simple semiquaver patterns
  • quaver rests
  • tied notes
  • staccato; pizzicato (at end)

Grade 4

c. 8

6/8

  • Cello: shifts between 1st and 4th positions
  • chromatic notes
  • anacrusis
  • hooked bowing
  • tenuto, accents
  • pause sign
  • pp and ff dynamic marks

Grade 5

c. 8-16

  • shifts as required to cover range
  • simple syncopation
  • changes between arco and pizzicato
  • slowing of tempo (at end)
  • Cello: simple chords (at end)

 

For practice purposes, sample sight-reading tests are published by ABRSM and are available to buy from our music shop.

Aural tests

Listening lies at the heart of music-making and the ability to hear how music works helps with all aspects of musical development. Aural skills help with gauging the sound and balance of playing, keeping in time and playing with a sense of rhythm and pulse. These skills also help to develop a sense of pitch, musical memory and the ability to spot mistakes.

Grade 5 Aural tests – 18 marks

  1. To sing or play from memory a melody played twice by the examiner. The melody will be within the range of an octave, in a major or minor key with up to three sharps or flats. First the examiner will play the key-chord and the starting note and then count in two bars. (If the candidate chooses to play, the examiner will also name the key-chord and the starting note, as appropriate for the instrument.) If necessary, the examiner will play the melody again and allow a second attempt (although this will affect the assessment).
  2. To sing six notes from score in free time. The candidate may choose to sing from treble or bass clef. The notes will be within the range of a fifth above and a fourth below the tonic, in a major key with up to two sharps or flats. The test will begin and end on the tonic and will not contain intervals greater than a third, except for the rising fourth from dominant to tonic. First the examiner will name and play the key-chord and the starting note. If necessary, the examiner will help the candidate by playing and identifying the correct note if any note is sung at the wrong pitch. 
  3. (i) To answer questions about two features of a piece played by the examiner. Before playing, the examiner will tell the candidate which two features the questions will be about. The first will be one of the following: dynamics, articulation, tempo, tonality, character; the second will be style and period.

    (ii) To clap the rhythm of the notes in an extract from the same piece, and to identify whether it is in two time, three time or four time. The examiner will play the extract twice (unharmonized), after which the candidate should clap back the rhythm. The examiner will then ask whether the music is in two time, three time or four time. The candidate is not required to state the time signature.

 


Cello requirements and information: Aural tests

Listening lies at the heart of all good music-making. Developing aural awareness is fundamental to musical training because having a ‘musical ear’ impacts on all aspects of musicianship. Singing, both silently in the head and out loud, is one of the best ways to develop the ‘musical ear’. It connects the internal imagining of sound, the ‘inner ear’, with the external creation of it, without the necessity of mechanically having to ‘find the note’ on an instrument (important though that connection is). By integrating aural activities in imaginative ways in the lesson, preparation for the aural tests within an exam will be a natural extension of what is already an essential part of the learning experience.

In the exam

Aural tests are an integral part of all Graded Exams in Music Performance.

The tests are administered by the examiner from the piano. For any test that requires a sung response, pitch rather than vocal quality is being assessed. The examiner will be happy to adapt to the vocal range of the candidate, whose responses may be sung to any vowel (or consonant followed by a vowel), hummed or whistled (and at a different octave, if appropriate).

Assessment

Some tests allow for a second attempt or for an additional playing by the examiner, if necessary. The examiner will also be ready to prompt, where helpful, although this may affect the assessment.

Marks are not awarded for each individual test or deducted for mistakes; instead they reflect the candidate’s overall response in this section. For full details, including the marking criteria used by examiners, see Graded music exam marking criteria.

Sample tests

Examples of the tests for Grades Initial–8 are given in Specimen Aural Tests. More examples for Grades 1–8 are given in Aural Training in Practice.

Deaf or hearing-impaired candidates

Deaf or hearing-impaired candidates may choose alternative tests in place of the standard tests, if requested at the time of entry. For full details, including the syllabus for the alternative tests, see Specific Needs.

Cello Grade 5 Cello

Cello Grade 5 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 5 (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 Bréval
arr. Schroeder
download download Allegro
1st movt from Sonata No. 1 in C
 
Bréval: Sonata in C, arr. Schroeder
IMC (1883)

More details
Bréval: Sonata No. 1 in C, arr. Schroeder
Stainer & Bell (5502)

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2 Handel
trans. Palaschko
download download Largo
from Xerxes
 
Handel: Xerxes, trans. Palaschko
Schott (ED0 7549)

More details
3 Gérard Hekking download download Menuet pour Casals
 
Gérard Hekking: Menuet pour Casals
Durand

More details
4 Lully download download Gavotte
 
No. 2 from Suzuki Cello School, Vol. 3
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (0483S)

More details

Piano accomp. published separately as Suzuki Cello School, Vol. 3 Piano Accompaniment
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (0484S)
5 B. Marcello download download Allegro
2nd movt from Sonata in E minor, Op. 2 No. 2
 
B. Marcello: Sonata in E minor
Stainer & Bell (H436)

More details
6 Purcell
arr. Bruce and Wells
download download Music for a while
from Oedipus
 
More Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 2, arr. Bruce and Wells
ABRSM

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List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Bazelaire download download Bourrée d'Auvergne or Chanson de Bresse
1st movt or 3rd movt from Suite Française, Op. 114
 
Bazelaire: Suite Francaise, Op. 114
Schott Freres (SF 7936)

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Solos for Young Cellists, Vol. 4
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (21110X)

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2 Brahms
arr. Salter and Geringas
download download Wie Melodien zieht es mir
Op. 105 No. 1
 
No. 2 from Brahms Six Songs, arr. Salter and Geringas
Simrock (EE 5197)

More details
3 Gabriel-Marie download download La Cinquantaine
 
No. 9 from Suzuki Cello School, Vol. 3
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (0483S)

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Piano accomp. published separately as Suzuki Cello School, Vol. 3 Piano Accompaniment
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (0484S)
Concert Pieces for Cello, arr. Sassmannshaus
Bärenreiter (BA 9695)

More details
4 Schubert
arr. Bruce and Wells
download download Ständchen
from Schwanengesang
 
More Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 2, arr. Bruce and Wells
ABRSM

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5 Shostakovich
arr. Otty
download download Romance
from The Gadfly, Op. 97
 
Shostakovich: Romance from The Gadfly, arr. Otty
SJ Music

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6 Trowell download download Arlequin
No. 12 from 12 Morceaux faciles, Op. 4 Book 4
 
Trowell: 12 Morceaux faciles, Op. 4, Book 4
Schott (ED 11213)

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List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Bridge download download Spring Song
 
Bridge: Spring Song
Stainer & Bell (2196)

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2 Debussy
trans. Gretchaninoff
download download Romance
 
Solos for Young Cellists, Vol. 3
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (21030X)

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3 Gershwin
arr. Gout
download download Summertime
 
Play Gershwin for Cello, arr. Gout
Faber

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4 Jacob
arr. Bruce and Wells
download download Robots' March
 
More Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 2, arr. Bruce and Wells
ABRSM

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5 Joplin
arr. Bruce and Wells
download download Easy Winners
 
More Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 2, arr. Bruce and Wells
ABRSM

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6 James MacMillan download download Sabre Dance
No. 6 from Northern Skies
 
No. 6 from James MacMillan: Northern Skies
Boosey & Hawkes

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Cello 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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