Join over 19,000 others and become a member of - it's free!

join for free

This site is written by

victoria Williams Music Theory

Victoria Williams

LmusTCL BA Mus (Hons) MISM

Learn more...

book cover notes


We have 3492 guests and 2 members online

Please note: this website is not run by the ABRSM and is a completely independent business.

Get the MyMusicTheory Course Book
Next UK ABRSM Paper-based Theory Exams Grades 6-8:
Tue 16th November 2021 [Grades 1-5 available online on demand from Aug 2021]
Next UK Trinity Paper-based Theory Exams Grades 1-8:
Sat 6th November 2021

Browse by Music Grade: Grade 1 | Grade 2 | Grade 3 | Grade 4 | Grade 5 | Grade 6 | Grade 7 | Grade 8 | DiplomasWhat Grade am I?

grade 5 music theoryDownload this Grade 5 Music Theory Course or buy the Printed Book Version

Buy Grade 5 Theory Past Papers

Get some help!

12. Composing a Melody: (General) Exercises

Grade Five Music Theory Lesson 12: Composing a Melody - Exercises [Archive]

Please note: The ABRSM Grade 5 syllabus no longer includes a composition question. 

  • This page contains a few exercises to test your understanding of how to tackle the composition question in the grade 5 music theory exam.
  • Exam style questions can be found in the next two lessons.
  • If you would like mymusictheory to mark any compositions which you have written, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or read about our marking services.


You can read the ABRSM's marking criteria for compositions here.

Move your mouse slowly over the light bulbs or staves (tap on mobile devices) to reveal the answers.


Exercise 1 - General Knowledge about Compositions 

1. Which of these is the ideal number of bars for a vocal composition in the grade 5 theory exam: 5 bars, 7 bars, 8 bars, 10 bars? lightbulbette

2. On which note of the scale should a composition end? lightbulbette

3. Which of these note values is ideal as the final note of a composition: minim (half note), quaver (eighth note), semiquaver (sixteenth note)?lightbulbette

4. Which of these are essential to add to your composition: tempo, dynamics, articulation (e.g. slurs)? lightbulbette

5. True or False: In order to get top marks in the composition question, you need to show a great deal of imagination and creativity. lightbulbette

6. If there is an up beat (or "anacrusis" or "pick up"), which bar do you count as bar 1? lightbulbette



Exercise 2 - Adapting an opening 

Find the odd one out: which bar would NOT be suitable to use in the same composition as the given bar? Give reasons for your choices.

a. Given bar:


Which bar wouldn't fit?

composition-odd-1 0 0composition-odd-1 0 1composition-odd-1 0 2composition-odd-1 0 3composition-odd-1 0 4


b. Given bar:


Which bar wouldn't fit?

composition-odd-2 0 0composition-odd-2 0 1composition-odd-2 0 2composition-odd-2 0 3



now on amazon topbanner normalamazon logo