Grade Four is a an excellent preparation course leading to the all-important Grade Five Theory. Grade four introduces a new clef - the alto clef, a new note value - the breve (double whole note), as well as more complicated time signatures and the chromatic scale.
To see how grade four compares to the other grades in detail, take a look at our comparison chart for all the ABRSM music theory grades 1-5
Resources for Grade Four Music Theory
ABRSM Grade Four Music Theory Syllabus
As in preceding grades, with the addition of:
- All simple and compound duple, triple and quadruple time signatures, and the grouping of notes and rests within these times. The breve and its equivalent rest. Double-dotted notes and rests. Duplets. Questions will include the composition of a four-bar rhythm or (at candidate’s choice) the composition of a rhythm to given words.
- Alto clef (C clef centred on 3rd line). The identification of notes in the alto clef in any of the keys set for this grade, and the transcription at the unison of a simple melody from the treble or the bass clef to the alto clef, and vice versa. Double sharp and double flat signs, and their cancellation. Enharmonic equivalents.
- Scales and key signatures of all major and minor keys up to and including 8ve sharps and flats, with both forms of minor scales. Technical names for the notes of the diatonic scale (tonic, supertonic, etc.). Construction of the chromatic scale. All intervals, not exceeding an octave, between any two diatonic notes in any of the keys set for this grade.
- The identification and writing of triads (root position) on the tonic, subdominant and dominant notes in any of the keys set for this grade. The recognition of "5-3" (root position) chords on the tonic, subdominant and dominant notes in any of the keys set for this grade (the harmonic form of the scale will be used in minor keys).
- More terms and signs, including the recognition and naming (but not writing out) of the trill, turn, upper and lower mordent, acciaccatura and appoggiatura. Questions about a passage of music will include simple related questions about standard orchestral instruments.
Read the complete ABRSM music theory syllabus