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Grade 6 Theory - Exam Report with Discussion of Materials Used


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#1 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 16:28

I took my ABRSM Grade 6 Music Theory exam over the weekend, on Saturday, November 2nd.  I also had an adult student taking a Grade 5 Music Theory exam at the same time.  In this post, I will give my observations and experience, and also discuss the materials I used to prepare for the exam.

 

General Observations:

 

  • There were 50 candidates taking the exam, a great number more than when I took my Grade 5 in March, 2018.
  • Most of the candidates were children or young teenagers.  There were three adults (one Grade 5 and two Grade 6s, two Chinese and one American Indian) and one older Anglo-American teenager (G6).
  • There seemed to be quite a few children taking lower theory grades.  At my table there were two young boys taking Grade 3 and a girl taking Grade 5.  Those poor young folks had to sit with the old fogie taking Grade 6!
  • The vast majority were East Asian (predominantly Chinese, I think) but there were also quite a few South Asians (Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, etc.).  There were a few Anglo-Americans (up from absolutely zero when I took my Grade 5).  There was one American Indian (yours truly).
  • I was happy to see a diverse cross-section of young people taking the the exams.  However, this does not reflect the demographics of the community.  There were no African American or Hispanic candidates.  That saddens me, as I would like to see people of every race, creed, and colour enjoying and making attainments in Classical music.
  • The exam took place in a church gymnasium.  We were mostly sitting at round tables, which I think caused a little discomfort to some candidates.  The room was a little cold.  I sat at the far end of the room, away from the door, so I was not very cold.  My student, who was very close to the door, was cold throughout the exam.
  • A bunch of parents waited right outside the door.  They were very loud.  At some point, it sounded like a fight broke out - there was yelling in a language I could not identify.  This was not helpful.
  • There was not enough scratch paper.  The invigilators announced up front that everyone would get one piece of scratch paper, and there was no more available.  The scratch paper was supposed to be included in our exam packets.  My exam packet did not have the scratch paper.  An invigilator took one from the packet of a child who arrived late and gave that to me.  This is unacceptable.  I will be discussing this with our local ABRSM representative.

 

The Test Itself:

  • Question 1: Harmonization - I started working question 1a, but I was not satisfied with where my working was heading.  I erased all markings on 1a and switched to 1b.  I wound up very happy with my harmonization.
  • Question 2: Figured Bass Realization - I think this wound up being my weakest working overall.  I suspect I broke at least one doubling rule.  This is the only question I'm worried about.
  • Question 3: Composition - Going into the test, I was worried about composition.  However, I think I nailed it!  My approach was to use the given opening as an antecedent, then compose a consequent ending on an imperfect cadence.  I designated the given antecedent as A, and my consequent as B.  I then modified A to make a new antecedent, A', wherein I performed the required modulation.  Then I adapted my consequent B to make a new consequent B' in the new key, ending with a perfect cadence in the new key.
  • Question 4: Score Analysis - a string quartet.  No surprises.
  • Question 5: Orchestral Score Analysis - One surprise here.  There was an instrument that I had not seen in any of the practice questions I worked!  I had studied about that instrument, but had never seen it in a question.  I had a sneaky suspicion that it transposed in a unique way, so I treated it as such.  (I looked it up after the exam, and I was correct.  Whew!)

Materials Used in Preparation for the Test:

  • ABRSM's Theory Workbook, Grade 6 - excellent practice problems for all questions.  The score analysis questions in this book were more difficult than anything I encountered in the past papers or the exam itself.
  • ABRSM's past papers.  I completely worked four years' worth of past papers: 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.  This was excellent practice for the exam.
  • MyMusicTheory.com - Free online resource that I use for myself, and also with my students.

 

I particularly want to recommend MyMusicTheory's video course on Grade 7 Composition.  It cost £20 (about $26 U.S.) and it was worth every penny!  I purchased this course about a week before the exam and studied it just a few days before the exam.  I applied the techniques from this course on exam day, and because of that I feel extremely confident in, and dare I say proud of, my composition on the exam!


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#2 Crock

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 17:31

I took my ABRSM Grade 6 Music Theory exam over the weekend, on Saturday, November 2nd.  I also had an adult student taking a Grade 5 Music Theory exam at the same time.  In this post, I will give my observations and experience, and also discuss the materials I used to prepare for the exam.

 

General Observations:

 

  • There were 50 candidates taking the exam, a great number more than when I took my Grade 5 in March, 2018.
  • Most of the candidates were children or young teenagers.  There were three adults (one Grade 5 and two Grade 6s, two Chinese and one American Indian) and one older Anglo-American teenager (G6).
  • There seemed to be quite a few children taking lower theory grades.  At my table there were two young boys taking Grade 3 and a girl taking Grade 5.  Those poor young folks had to sit with the old fogie taking Grade 6!
  • The vast majority were East Asian (predominantly Chinese, I think) but there were also quite a few South Asians (Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, etc.).  There were a few Anglo-Americans (up from absolutely zero when I took my Grade 5).  There was one American Indian (yours truly).
  • I was happy to see a diverse cross-section of young people taking the the exams.  However, this does not reflect the demographics of the community.  There were no African American or Hispanic candidates.  That saddens me, as I would like to see people of every race, creed, and colour enjoying and making attainments in Classical music.
  • The exam took place in a church gymnasium.  We were mostly sitting at round tables, which I think caused a little discomfort to some candidates.  The room was a little cold.  I sat at the far end of the room, away from the door, so I was not very cold.  My student, who was very close to the door, was cold throughout the exam.
  • A bunch of parents waited right outside the door.  They were very loud.  At some point, it sounded like a fight broke out - there was yelling in a language I could not identify.  This was not helpful.
  • There was not enough scratch paper.  The invigilators announced up front that everyone would get one piece of scratch paper, and there was no more available.  The scratch paper was supposed to be included in our exam packets.  My exam packet did not have the scratch paper.  An invigilator took one from the packet of a child who arrived late and gave that to me.  This is unacceptable.  I will be discussing this with our local ABRSM representative.

 

The Test Itself:

  • Question 1: Harmonization - I started working question 1a, but I was not satisfied with where my working was heading.  I erased all markings on 1a and switched to 1b.  I wound up very happy with my harmonization.
  • Question 2: Figured Bass Realization - I think this wound up being my weakest working overall.  I suspect I broke at least one doubling rule.  This is the only question I'm worried about.
  • Question 3: Composition - Going into the test, I was worried about composition.  However, I think I nailed it!  My approach was to use the given opening as an antecedent, then compose a consequent ending on an imperfect cadence.  I designated the given antecedent as A, and my consequent as B.  I then modified A to make a new antecedent, A', wherein I performed the required modulation.  Then I adapted my consequent B to make a new consequent B' in the new key, ending with a perfect cadence in the new key.
  • Question 4: Score Analysis - a string quartet.  No surprises.
  • Question 5: Orchestral Score Analysis - One surprise here.  There was an instrument that I had not seen in any of the practice questions I worked!  I had studied about that instrument, but had never seen it in a question.  I had a sneaky suspicion that it transposed in a unique way, so I treated it as such.  (I looked it up after the exam, and I was correct.  Whew!)

Materials Used in Preparation for the Test:

  • ABRSM's Theory Workbook, Grade 6 - excellent practice problems for all questions.  The score analysis questions in this book were more difficult than anything I encountered in the past papers or the exam itself.
  • ABRSM's past papers.  I completely worked four years' worth of past papers: 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.  This was excellent practice for the exam.
  • MyMusicTheory.com - Free online resource that I use for myself, and also with my students.

 

I particularly want to recommend MyMusicTheory's video course on Grade 7 Composition.  It cost £20 (about $26 U.S.) and it was worth every penny!  I purchased this course about a week before the exam and studied it just a few days before the exam.  I applied the techniques from this course on exam day, and because of that I feel extremely confident in, and dare I say proud of, my composition on the exam!

Austin, it sounds as it went well!  Let us know the result... fingers crossed for you. What was the instrument in question 5 that so surprised you?

 

I would complain in no uncertain terms to the Board about the temperature and the noise outside (this is quite unacceptable, the invigilators should have asked them to move away).  The lack of rough (scratch) paper is also quite unacceptable - the exam fees are very large.  There was a complaint about this in another thread some time ago (sorry, I don't remember the details).   Please let us know how you get on!

 

Edit: In addition to taking the issue up with the Board's local representative I would also send an email to ABRSM in London.


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#3 mel2

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 17:42

Hope you did well despite the problems.

When I did it, it was high summer and so the windows were open onto a busy shopping street (at least we were 2 floors up!) with pop music being piped from loudspeakers in the shop doorway across the street.
The clock on the wall had stopped. Then it came on to rain heavily.
I know they were not to blame for the weather but I sometimes think the Associated Board haven't quite got the hang of how to run an exam.
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#4 thara96

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 11:06

I took my ABRSM Grade 6 Music Theory exam over the weekend, on Saturday, November 2nd.  I also had an adult student taking a Grade 5 Music Theory exam at the same time.  In this post, I will give my observations and experience, and also discuss the materials I used to prepare for the exam.

 

General Observations:

 

  • There were 50 candidates taking the exam, a great number more than when I took my Grade 5 in March, 2018.
  • Most of the candidates were children or young teenagers.  There were three adults (one Grade 5 and two Grade 6s, two Chinese and one American Indian) and one older Anglo-American teenager (G6).
  • There seemed to be quite a few children taking lower theory grades.  At my table there were two young boys taking Grade 3 and a girl taking Grade 5.  Those poor young folks had to sit with the old fogie taking Grade 6!
  • The vast majority were East Asian (predominantly Chinese, I think) but there were also quite a few South Asians (Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, etc.).  There were a few Anglo-Americans (up from absolutely zero when I took my Grade 5).  There was one American Indian (yours truly).
  • I was happy to see a diverse cross-section of young people taking the the exams.  However, this does not reflect the demographics of the community.  There were no African American or Hispanic candidates.  That saddens me, as I would like to see people of every race, creed, and colour enjoying and making attainments in Classical music.
  • The exam took place in a church gymnasium.  We were mostly sitting at round tables, which I think caused a little discomfort to some candidates.  The room was a little cold.  I sat at the far end of the room, away from the door, so I was not very cold.  My student, who was very close to the door, was cold throughout the exam.
  • A bunch of parents waited right outside the door.  They were very loud.  At some point, it sounded like a fight broke out - there was yelling in a language I could not identify.  This was not helpful.
  • There was not enough scratch paper.  The invigilators announced up front that everyone would get one piece of scratch paper, and there was no more available.  The scratch paper was supposed to be included in our exam packets.  My exam packet did not have the scratch paper.  An invigilator took one from the packet of a child who arrived late and gave that to me.  This is unacceptable.  I will be discussing this with our local ABRSM representative.

 

The Test Itself:

  • Question 1: Harmonization - I started working question 1a, but I was not satisfied with where my working was heading.  I erased all markings on 1a and switched to 1b.  I wound up very happy with my harmonization.
  • Question 2: Figured Bass Realization - I think this wound up being my weakest working overall.  I suspect I broke at least one doubling rule.  This is the only question I'm worried about.
  • Question 3: Composition - Going into the test, I was worried about composition.  However, I think I nailed it!  My approach was to use the given opening as an antecedent, then compose a consequent ending on an imperfect cadence.  I designated the given antecedent as A, and my consequent as B.  I then modified A to make a new antecedent, A', wherein I performed the required modulation.  Then I adapted my consequent B to make a new consequent B' in the new key, ending with a perfect cadence in the new key.
  • Question 4: Score Analysis - a string quartet.  No surprises.
  • Question 5: Orchestral Score Analysis - One surprise here.  There was an instrument that I had not seen in any of the practice questions I worked!  I had studied about that instrument, but had never seen it in a question.  I had a sneaky suspicion that it transposed in a unique way, so I treated it as such.  (I looked it up after the exam, and I was correct.  Whew!)

Materials Used in Preparation for the Test:

  • ABRSM's Theory Workbook, Grade 6 - excellent practice problems for all questions.  The score analysis questions in this book were more difficult than anything I encountered in the past papers or the exam itself.
  • ABRSM's past papers.  I completely worked four years' worth of past papers: 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.  This was excellent practice for the exam.
  • MyMusicTheory.com - Free online resource that I use for myself, and also with my students.

 

I particularly want to recommend MyMusicTheory's video course on Grade 7 Composition.  It cost £20 (about $26 U.S.) and it was worth every penny!  I purchased this course about a week before the exam and studied it just a few days before the exam.  I applied the techniques from this course on exam day, and because of that I feel extremely confident in, and dare I say proud of, my composition on the exam!

 

I took my ABRSM Grade 6 Music Theory exam over the weekend, on Saturday, November 2nd.  I also had an adult student taking a Grade 5 Music Theory exam at the same time.  In this post, I will give my observations and experience, and also discuss the materials I used to prepare for the exam.

 

General Observations:

 

  • There were 50 candidates taking the exam, a great number more than when I took my Grade 5 in March, 2018.
  • Most of the candidates were children or young teenagers.  There were three adults (one Grade 5 and two Grade 6s, two Chinese and one American Indian) and one older Anglo-American teenager (G6).
  • There seemed to be quite a few children taking lower theory grades.  At my table there were two young boys taking Grade 3 and a girl taking Grade 5.  Those poor young folks had to sit with the old fogie taking Grade 6!
  • The vast majority were East Asian (predominantly Chinese, I think) but there were also quite a few South Asians (Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, etc.).  There were a few Anglo-Americans (up from absolutely zero when I took my Grade 5).  There was one American Indian (yours truly).
  • I was happy to see a diverse cross-section of young people taking the the exams.  However, this does not reflect the demographics of the community.  There were no African American or Hispanic candidates.  That saddens me, as I would like to see people of every race, creed, and colour enjoying and making attainments in Classical music.
  • The exam took place in a church gymnasium.  We were mostly sitting at round tables, which I think caused a little discomfort to some candidates.  The room was a little cold.  I sat at the far end of the room, away from the door, so I was not very cold.  My student, who was very close to the door, was cold throughout the exam.
  • A bunch of parents waited right outside the door.  They were very loud.  At some point, it sounded like a fight broke out - there was yelling in a language I could not identify.  This was not helpful.
  • There was not enough scratch paper.  The invigilators announced up front that everyone would get one piece of scratch paper, and there was no more available.  The scratch paper was supposed to be included in our exam packets.  My exam packet did not have the scratch paper.  An invigilator took one from the packet of a child who arrived late and gave that to me.  This is unacceptable.  I will be discussing this with our local ABRSM representative.

 

The Test Itself:

  • Question 1: Harmonization - I started working question 1a, but I was not satisfied with where my working was heading.  I erased all markings on 1a and switched to 1b.  I wound up very happy with my harmonization.
  • Question 2: Figured Bass Realization - I think this wound up being my weakest working overall.  I suspect I broke at least one doubling rule.  This is the only question I'm worried about.
  • Question 3: Composition - Going into the test, I was worried about composition.  However, I think I nailed it!  My approach was to use the given opening as an antecedent, then compose a consequent ending on an imperfect cadence.  I designated the given antecedent as A, and my consequent as B.  I then modified A to make a new antecedent, A', wherein I performed the required modulation.  Then I adapted my consequent B to make a new consequent B' in the new key, ending with a perfect cadence in the new key.
  • Question 4: Score Analysis - a string quartet.  No surprises.
  • Question 5: Orchestral Score Analysis - One surprise here.  There was an instrument that I had not seen in any of the practice questions I worked!  I had studied about that instrument, but had never seen it in a question.  I had a sneaky suspicion that it transposed in a unique way, so I treated it as such.  (I looked it up after the exam, and I was correct.  Whew!)

Materials Used in Preparation for the Test:

  • ABRSM's Theory Workbook, Grade 6 - excellent practice problems for all questions.  The score analysis questions in this book were more difficult than anything I encountered in the past papers or the exam itself.
  • ABRSM's past papers.  I completely worked four years' worth of past papers: 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.  This was excellent practice for the exam.
  • MyMusicTheory.com - Free online resource that I use for myself, and also with my students.

 

I particularly want to recommend MyMusicTheory's video course on Grade 7 Composition.  It cost £20 (about $26 U.S.) and it was worth every penny!  I purchased this course about a week before the exam and studied it just a few days before the exam.  I applied the techniques from this course on exam day, and because of that I feel extremely confident in, and dare I say proud of, my composition on the exam!

Fingers crossed! 


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#5 -Victoria-

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 23:08

Thanks for the kudos and fingers crossed for you! The UK candidates sit tomorrow so please don't give too much away ????
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#6 Hildegard

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 13:37

Thanks for the kudos and fingers crossed for you! The UK candidates sit tomorrow so please don't give too much away ????

 

Good point, although I don't think UK and Overseas candidates take the same paper, because of the difference in dates and the consequent danger of security being compromised. Papers A, B and C are for the three UK dates and countries that have the same dates as the UK, while papers R, S and T (I think it is) are for countries with earlier dates. Paper S is included in the past theory paper collections - papers R and T have occasionally appeared with paper S as a separate collection.


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#7 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 19:31

I was thinking in a similar vein to Victoria, so I didn't want to give too many details about the exam.  I don't mind posting a few more details now that the UK exams are over.

 

The instrument that surprised me was the piccolo.  I don't recall answering any questions regarding the piccolo on any of the practice problems I worked.  I had to name an interval between the piccolo and another instrument, so it was important to know how the piccolo transposed.  I treated it as sounding an octave higher than written.  I double-checked it as soon as I got home, and sure enough I remembered correctly.  Whew!

 

The Grade 7 Composition course sure pulled my fat out of the fire for that question!  I had worked many, many Grade 6 composition practice problems, but I was rarely ever satisfied with my results.  I watched the videos in the course and memorized the recommended approach, but I did not have any opportunities to try it before the exam.  My first attempt at applying those techniques was in the exam itself!  Not optimal, for sure.  But the approach was sound, and one of the two openings on the test struck my fancy (from a theme by Mozart), and bam!  It just came together.

 

I'm no longer worried about composition going into Grade 7.  That course was worth every penny of the £20 I paid.

 

Now it's on to Grade 7 while I anxiously wait the Grade 6 results.  If I could only figure out suspension figuring...


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#8 Crock

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 23:28

I've sent you a PM


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#9 -Victoria-

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Posted 07 November 2019 - 08:39

 

Thanks for the kudos and fingers crossed for you! The UK candidates sit tomorrow so please don't give too much away ????

 

Good point, although I don't think UK and Overseas candidates take the same paper, because of the difference in dates and the consequent danger of security being compromised. Papers A, B and C are for the three UK dates and countries that have the same dates as the UK, while papers R, S and T (I think it is) are for countries with earlier dates. Paper S is included in the past theory paper collections - papers R and T have occasionally appeared with paper S as a separate collection.

 

 

Yes but I tend to think that there are far more exam dates worldwide than there are available papers, which suggests there must be some papers used on different dates. I teach students all around the world (via email) and I suspect this is the case. Just for example, the 2020 dates are

UK: 4/3, 13/6 and 10/11

Malaysia: 7/3, 15/8

Cyprus: 2/3, 22/6, 2/11

 

That's 8 different days just between three countries, and the exams are available in probably 60 or more countries.


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#10 Hildegard

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Posted 07 November 2019 - 09:51

 If I could only figure out suspension figuring...

 

 

4-3 means a root position triad in which the 3rd is replaced by a 4th suspended above the bass (which resolves by dropping to the expected 3rd).

7-6 means a first inversion triad in which the 6th above the bass is replaced by a suspended 7th (which resolves by dropping to the expected 6th).

9-8 means a root position triad in which a suspended 9th above the bass resolves by falling to an octave above the bass.

 

The notes can be in any octave, so a 4th above the bass could be an octave and a 4th or even two octaves and a 4th above the bass.

The note of resolution must not already be sounding in the chord, except in the last of these three examples.

You don't really need to memorise the three types of suspension as the numbers tell you the notes to use.


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#11 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 07 November 2019 - 19:09

 

 If I could only figure out suspension figuring...

 

 

4-3 means a root position triad in which the 3rd is replaced by a 4th suspended above the bass (which resolves by dropping to the expected 3rd).

7-6 means a first inversion triad in which the 6th above the bass is replaced by a suspended 7th (which resolves by dropping to the expected 6th).

9-8 means a root position triad in which a suspended 9th above the bass resolves by falling to an octave above the bass.

 

The notes can be in any octave, so a 4th above the bass could be an octave and a 4th or even two octaves and a 4th above the bass.

The note of resolution must not already be sounding in the chord, except in the last of these three examples.

You don't really need to memorise the three types of suspension as the numbers tell you the notes to use.

 

 

I understand that much, I think.

 

What I'm having trouble understanding is the correct figuring when you have a suspension in the bass.

 

Take for instance, the last example on this page: https://www.mymusict...sions-exercises

 

The first chord is a root position G major, easy enough.  It would be figured 5/3 if a figure were needed.

 

The second chord is D major with a dissonance in the bass.  I don't understand the figuring here.

 

The third chord is D major, in its first inversion, again, easy enough.  It would be figured with a 6.

 

For that second chord, we have the dissonant G in the bass and a D in the soprano.  When you mouse over that bar, it shows the figuring to be 5/2.  The explanation is "You have to figure the suspension as 5-2 (not just 5), to ensure that the realized chord is D major with a suspended G, and not a G major chord."

 

That's what I'm not really getting.  Why 5-2?  We have a dissonant G in the bass.  The 5 gives is the D, and the 2 gives us an A.  Those are the root and the fifth of the D major triad, respectively.  But why indicate an A and not an F#?  Is that because the F# (as the third) would be assumed?  Is there a "rule" that we should figure the root and the fifth of the chord when the bass has a dissonance, or only when there would be ambiguity?

 

Figured bass sometimes gives me a headache!


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#12 -Victoria-

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Posted 07 November 2019 - 22:31

Hi Dr Rogers
The F# is the resolution note in this suspension. The suspended note is the G in the bass, which resolves by step down as all suspensions do, in the next chord.
You need to put the figure 2 because the A is the other triad note necessary at this point. The F# must not be sounded at this point - so it doesn't appear in the figure.
Hope that makes a bit more sense! These suspensions don't come up in papers much any more - this lesson was written some time ago. You probably won't get such a figure in your exam, but on the other hand there is always a slim chance! Feel free to pm me if you want to ask more.
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#13 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 00:15

Now that makes sense!  How did I not see that?  Thank you, Victoria.


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#14 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 15:32

The certificates and mark forms from last November's theory exams arrived a couple of days ago.  I figured I would give some closure to this thread by posting the results, a mixture of joy and frustration.  "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep," etc.

 

I had submitted myself for Grade 6 Theory, and my overachieving adult student, a truly remarkable Chinese lady, for Grade 5 Theory.

 

First the joy: we both received Distinctions.

 

To put things into perspective, my adult student is currently working on her Grade 3 Piano.  I had initially suggested that she take Grade 3 Theory at the same time as I took my Grade 6, as she had groused about potentially being the only adult in the room (as I was when I took my Grade 5).  She thought it was a great idea to take a theory exam last November, but she didn't want to do Grade 3.

 

She wanted to do Grade 5.

 

Well, I thought that was very ambitious, but given my past experience with her I thought she could pull it off.  She worked very, very hard, studying materials I gave her and working practice problems.  She really impressed me with her hard work and dedication.  And she impressed me on the day of the exam - she was the only Grade 5 student to take the whole two hours allotted to her, checking and re-checking her work as much as possible.  English is not her first language, and she was worried about having trouble reading and understanding the test paper, but she took my advice and worked slowly and methodically, and went back to find and fix errors.

 

After the exam, she and I had a conversation about how we thought we did.  She told me that she thought she would get 97%, which I thought was very reasonable given her performance on practice tests (high 90s and a few 100s).  I told her that I thought I would get a 93%, since I knew I had made some illegal doublings on the figured bass question and had developed some doubts on my harmonization.

 

She scored 100% on her Grade 5.  I am so incredibly proud of her.

 

Now for the frustration: I received a 92%.  I'm not going to gripe too much about a Distinction, but one aspect of it rankles a little bit.

 

  • Harmonization - 13/15 -   No surprise here.  I was initially happy with my harmonization, but the more I thought about it the less happy I became.  I think I was a little too eager to shoe in a full circle of fifths when I probably should have stopped after I-V-ii-vi.
  • Figured Bass - 12/15 - Again no surprise.  I thought this was my weakest question.  I knew I doubled some major thirds, and the soprano part I came up with wasn't all that great, so I was expecting to lose points.
  • Composition - 17/20 - What?  WHAT???  How did I lose three points on this?  This was the question I was most confident about!  It was a theme by Mozart.  My composition had good shape and direction, a decent harmonic framework, performed the required modulation, AND was completely idiomatic (high Classical).  How did I lose three points on this?  Grrr!
  • String quartet score analysis - 25/25 - No surprise there.  Score analysis is my strong suit.
  • Orchestral score analysis - 25/25 - Ditto.  I actually enjoy doing score analysis.

So while I am generally happy with my score (who wouldn't be happy with a Distinction?), I'm rather frustrated that I lost three points on the composition question.  Maybe I made some notational mistake that I didn't catch.  Or maybe the grader just didn't like what I composed.  I suppose 17/20 is still a good score but still...

 

Okay, rant over.  Onward and upward!


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#15 -Victoria-

-Victoria-

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 18:41

Lol! Well, as we don't know what you wrote, it's obviously impossible to say, although I am certain the three points won't have been lost due to the examiner simply not liking your melody  :D

I have the model answers for 2019 but there is no Mozart opening given, so I can't see the exact question you got. The most help I can give would be to suggest possible reasons why you might have lost the marks.

1) there might have been a specific element in the given opening which they wanted you to re-use, e.g. a chromatic passing note, or an unusual interval like a 6th.

2) Your composition might not have been shaped towards a climax point

3) You might have written something un-idiomatic or out of range for the instrument, or may not have exploited the instrument's range sufficiently.

4) Your dynamics or articulation marks may have been unbalanced across the two phrases, or poorly marked (e.g. letter dynamics between notes, instead of under them).

5) You might have had some dodgy voice leading, e.g. leading notes which didn't rise to the tonic a semitone higher, if the implied harmony is V-I.

6) You may have written multiple leaps in the same direction, with notes that don't belong to the same implied harmony - this tends to sound dissonant. (E.g. if your harmony is C major - G major, and your melody is C-G-B, all rising, it will sound awkward).

There are plenty more things of course, but really, it doesn't matter. 17/20 is a great score!


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