50

So my only conclusion is that they didn't want me to play what was on the page. Correct. Standard notation is very flexible, but it often only allows for an approximation of how the piece might be expected to sound. What you may need to do is put in very slight timing and dynamics variations that, if notated accurately, would make the page a hideous mess ...


34

I don't believe in something called "putting feeling" into music. Can you tell the difference between a human and a midi sequencer performing the same piece? Yes, of course you can. The difference is feeling.** Allow me to elaborate. If you were to program the score into a midi sequencer, meticulously following all dynamic (via velocity), articulation (...


28

Have you ever seen a bad actor perform? Someone who has memorized all of their lines and goes through the appropriate motions on stage, but you just don't feel anything from their performance? Imagine taking a script from a play showing a highly emotional scene -- say, an argument, or a romantic scene. Now imagine reading all of the lines in a monotone -- ...


21

If you want the nuts and bolts of it, expressivity in music is probably boiled down to variations in the amplitude, timbre (how hard/soft you're hitting the strings, though this is obviously mingled with amplitude) of each note, and the time you put in between each note. Vary those and you'll have more expressive music. To put it in terms of playing "from ...


15

These brackets indicate a "first and second ending." The measures under the "1" are to be played the first time through and those under the "2" are to be played the second time. It's a nice method of notation and can be extended to more choices. There are also things like "dal segno" and "al fine" and others. You should check them out; search the internet ...


14

it sounded pretty nice to me. ... I don't believe in something called "putting feeling" into music. Bzzzt! Self-contradiction detected. ;) "It sounded nice" is a description of a feeling. What other feelings might there be, besides "nice"? Have you ever heard music that's ... passionate? Threatening? Sad? Irritating? Hopeful? Miserable? However, there'...


13

I organise an exam centre for guitar (electric/acoustic/classical) and bass exams. Whilst 80% of candidates are younger than 18 or so, that leaves 20% adults. Most of them come with a bundle of nerves, but I see them for the next, and the next,and so on. Frequently they say "I don't know why I'm doing this", but the main real reason seems to be that they see ...


9

There are great answers in this topic. Here is some more input: So my only conclusion is that they didn't want me to play what was on the page. Oh yes, you can play what is on the page, but a forte section or a piano section is not just about playing all the notes at an equal volume in that section. Focus on phrasing. Like you can go up and down in ...


9

This is called a grace note. Its duration can be stolen from either the note before or after it, depending on the stylistic context. I think the slash is intended to indicate "as fast as possible".


8

Triple flats and sharps do exist. They are extremely rare (never seen one in a piece myself), but theoretically you can use them. My guess is that the answer would be B triple flat or F triple sharp. Here is an example I found with a triple sharp: I found it on this website, where you can read some stuff about triple accidentals. And another example with ...


8

Watch the first five minutes of this demo by Evelyn Glennie of the difference between "reading the music and doing what it says" and "interpreting the music". There's not much "being expressive with her arms and swaying" involved. If you still don't "get" the difference, watch it again. The following 30 minutes are also well worth watching, of course


6

This is an old chestnut! 6/8 is compound time, so called because it's a sort of mixture. It can be counted in a slower two, or a faster six. ONE--TWO-- , or ONE two three FOUR five six. So, it's easy to get confused. It's more correctly called duple (double) rather than triple time, because it's made up of two dotted crotchets in each bar, but if it ...


6

As the title suggests, it's a theory exam. Lots of folk sit in a room at a desk each, and sit it together, with no reference to any musical instruments at all; rather like a GCE exam.in English or maths. It only tests your ability to envisage internally any music.Being deaf - you might as well be, for hearing yourself sing out won't be allowed! You could ...


5

It's a mistake in the book!! I just got an email back from RSL, the question is on the use of sharps/flats and double sharps/flats. 8va/vb notation was not supposed to be tested in this question and triple sharps/flats are outside of the syllabus. I've been informed that future versions of the book will now show an A rather than an Ab. Phew!


5

It isn't really that useful to think of the sightreading tests for a graded music exam in comparison to the performance pieces for graded music exams. This is because: the sightreading tests are much shorter, more like exercises than actual pieces. the sightreading tests are designed simply to test your ability to read notation and perform it at sight; ...


4

In my opinion, (this is a very opinion based question however it is a good question regardless.) It is all down to how well the musician grips an audience. Think about all of the talent shows kicking about on TV. These mass produced artist seem to me to have very little musical prowess... yet they gain a living in the music industry through fame and a record ...


4

The ABRSM theory example books are available, so there's no need to find a teacher, but, as Neil Meyer says, get one, at least for a few pointers. As a grade VIII player, you'll have a good idea of most of the theory, even if you're not aware of it, and could probably go in at grade III level initially. So in answer to the actual question, start by ...


3

I'm a music theory teacher who specialises in training students for the ABRSM exams. If you want to take the exams, then it's a good idea to begin at grade 1, even though it will be quite easy. I frequently take on students who want to take grade 5 (or higher) and have large gaps in their knowledge - things like how to beam notes correctly into groups, for ...


3

Is it perhaps a mistake in the clef? If that was a treble clef then you would be looking at an F flat which does have two enharmonic equivalents


3

On the assumption it's not written in treble or bass clef, but C clef instead, and you guessed it was treble, the Ab note would actually be a Bb. This then is enharmonically the same as A#, and also Cbb. That obviates the need for any (dubious in my opinion) bbb or #x. Otherwise, the only notes with 3 enharmonic names are Ax/B/Cb; B#/C/Dbb; Dx/E/Fb; E#/F/...


3

I don't have experience with RGT. But I have taken both ABRSM and Trinity exams. Although ABRSM do require a Grade 5 pass before continuing any practical Grade 6-8, Trinity do have extra exercises required for the grade that ABRSM don't have. Therefore I would say they are around about the same in terms of difficulty up through the grades. ABRSM exams ...


3

With the regime of ABRSM, it's necessary to pass grade V theory before taking VI, VII and VIII practical, on any instrument, but the other way round isn't a problem. You can take whatever you like, theory-wise. Not all exam boards have this stipulation in place. However, like with so many other theoretical things, it would tend to make more sense if there ...


3

I have been in similar situations in my youth, competing in state wide music competitions, and performing at gigs. In my opinion this is a hard thing to get right because it is not a quality of you and your playing only, but a quality of the relationship between you and the audience. For the moment let's not discuss what "feeling" really means. I choose ...


3

I think many beginner musicians struggle with this issue, myself included. The point is, music is an art, and art is a form of communication, a form of expression. We need a way to share music, so we've came up with this music notation, which is interesting in its own regard, but is not enough to convey emotion, and conveying emotion is the very point of ...


2

I've heard of the ABRSM and I know that their grades are equivalent to the US schools and Canadian schools. I live in Toronto, Canada, so we have the RCM (Royal Conversatory of Music). I will explain what the requirements are for the RCM and then you can compare and contrast that with your system. The following overview is from the perspective of the piano ...


2

Have a listen, and a look at Fly Me to the Moon. Written in 3/4, but far more commonly played and sung in 4/4. See how the notes are lengthened in each bar to accomodate the extra beat. Notice that the same word/note stays on beat 1, whichever time sig. is used.The same works in reverse from 4/4 into 3/4, with appropriate shortening of other notes in each ...


2

It is certainly possible to teach yourself using the ABRSM books. For up to grade 5, there's the pink book "The ABRSM Guide to Music Theory", which has all the stuff you need to learn, but in completely the wrong order. There's the little orange "First Steps in Music Theory", which is in the right order, but is a quick summary with little explanation. Put ...


2

"All items may be sung by any voice and in any key, published or transposed, suited to the compass of the candidate’s voice, except for those items from operas, operettas, oratorios, cantatas and sacred works in Grades 6–8 (Lists A and D) where a particular voice and key are specified (although original pitch may be adopted in Baroque pieces, if ...


2

Was your teacher playing from an ABRSM publication of sample tests? I doubt they'd throw you a curve ball in a Grade 2 exam! But if they do, and you clap 'fast 6' to a tune in 6/8, I'm sure the examiner would be kind. You might be excused for confusing one bar of 6/8 with two of 3/4. But be clear that 6/8 is described as 'compound duple', 2 beats to ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible