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victoria Williams Music Theory

Victoria Williams

LmusTCL BA Mus (Hons) MISM

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14. Finding Deliberate Mistakes

Grade 3 Music Theory - Lesson 14: Finding Deliberate Mistakes


In the ABRSM Grade 3 Music Theory Exam, you might be given a short piece of music with about 5 deliberate mistakes in it. You need to rewrite the whole melody correctly on the given stave.

The kinds of mistake you need to look for include:

  • Wrongly placed clef
  • Wrongly placed sharps/flats in the key signature
  • Upside down time signature
  • Upside down symbols, e.g. pause mark
  • Accidentals placed on the wrong side of the note
  • Accidentals placed on the wrong line/space
  • Stems pointing in the wrong direction


Here’s an example:

The following passage contains five deliberate mistakes. Rewrite it correctly on the given stave.

  • Find all the mistakes BEFORE you start writing out the melody!
  • Write the notes directly underneath the originals, so that you don’t run out of space.
  • Use a ruler to draw note stems and beams.


The five mistakes in this passage are:

  • The clef is in the wrong position (the curly middle bit needs to circle the G line)
  • The time signature is upside down
  • In bar 1, the sharp is on the space for A, instead of on the line for B.
  • In bar 2, the quaver G should have its stem pointing upwards (because it’s below the middle line of the stave).
  • In bar 4, the pause symbol is upside down. (Pauses are written that way up if they are written under the stave.


Here is the same melody, rewritten with the mistakes corrected:



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