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6th Sep 2023: Quizzes fixed, thanks for your patience.

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victoria Williams Music Theory

Victoria Williams

LmusTCL BA Mus (Hons) MISM

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Next UK ABRSM Paper-based Theory Exams Grades 6-8:
Sat 17th June 2023 [Grades 1-5 now available online on demand]
Next UK Trinity Paper-based Theory Exams Grades 1-8 & diplomas:
from Sat 4th Nov 2023

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 7 music theoryDownload this Grade 7 Music Theory Course or buy the Printed Book Version

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Grade Seven Music Theory Resources

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What's Tested at Grade 7 ABRSM Music Theory?

grade 7 music theory exam day

Grade 7 is a small step up from grade 6 music theory.

The knowledge of harmony that you built up in grade 6 is extended slightly, with a few more colourful chords, and the tasks you are asked to perform are a little bit more technical.

Your knowledge of how musical styles in the Western world changed over the eras will also be tested.


The exam is divided into 5 questions:

  1. Writing out chords in figured bass for a given bass/melody line.
  2. Reconstructing a piece of music based on the given harmonic outline and melodic ideas.
  3. Composition: either completing the melody for an instrument with a given piano accompaniment, or composing a melody based on a given opening/harmonic progression.
  4. Answering questions about a printed score, for any number of instruments. Questions could be about chords/harmony/cadences, structure, instruments, key/modulations, intervals, notation (symbols/foreign terms), ornaments & melodic decoration, style and so on.
  5. As question 4, but based on a different musical score.


The exam is marked out of 100, and 66 points are needed to be awarded a pass certificate. For 80-89 points you will be awarded a certificate with "merit" and for 90-100 points with "distinction". 


How Hard is Grade 7 Music Theory?

Anyone who has braved the jump from grade 5 to grade 6 should be relieved to find that grade 7 is not such a quantum leap! It is a stepping stone level between the very respectable grade 6 exam, and the highly prized grade 8.


What are the Benefits of Taking the Exam?

Undertaking formal music education does amazing things to your brain. Keeping your brain sharp in the music department can help you in many areas, including:

    • reading skillsbrain music
    • analytical skills
    • attention to detail
    • memory improvement

Apart from giving your brain a mental workout, studying music theory will improve your overall experience in music:

    • deeper understanding of the music you play and listen to
    • ability to make informed decisions in the way you interpret music
    • increased sensitivity to the music you are playing
    • greated confidence in your own abilities
    • sense of achievement

As with grade 6, a grade 7 music theory certificate will earn you useful UCAS points (UK university entrance points). A pass (66%) gets you 10 points, a merit (80% gets you 15, and a distinction (90%) earns you 20 points. Grade 7 music theory can make a real difference to your UCAS application form.


ABRSM Grade 7 Syllabus

The following is an excerpt from the ABRSM's published syllabus for Music Theory Exams Grade 7

As in preceding grades, with the addition of recognition of all diatonic secondary seventh chords and their
inversions, the Neapolitan sixth and the diminished seventh chords, and of all ?gures commonly used by
composers during the period c.1620–1790 to indicate harmonies above a bass part. Questions will cover:


  1. The indication of chords and movement of the inner parts by ?guring the bass in a passage in which both the melody and bass are given.
  2. Rewriting a given passage to include appropriate suspensions and notes of melodic decoration.
  3. Continuation of a given opening for solo instrument with keyboard accompaniment, which will be given in full throughout the passage, by completing the solo part, or(at the candidate’s choice) composition of a melody for a speci?ed instrument (a choice will be given) based on a given progression of chords or melodic ?gure.
  4. Questions on short extracts of music written for piano or in open score for voices or for any combination of instruments and/or voices, designed to test the candidate’s knowledge of the elements and notation of music, including the realization of ornaments, the identi?cation and notation of underlying harmonic structure, phrase structure, style, performance, and on the voices and instruments for which the works were written.


Click here to download the complete syllabus for grades 1-8 Music Theory.




Grade 7 ABRSM Figured Bass

figured bassIn the ABRSM Grade 7 Music Theory exam, the first question is always a figured bass question, and it's worth 15% of the whole exam.

You will be given a melody and bass line in the Baroque style, and will be asked to supply the likely harmony in the form of figured bass symbols, below the stave.

You are expected to be able to use the standard chords (5-3, 6-3 and 6-4), and will most likely also be confronted with some more complex harmony, such as added 7th chords, added 9th chords, suspensions and chromatically altered chords.

The chord progressions you choose will also need to be typical of those used in the Baroque period.

This question builds on the 4-part harmony knowledge acquired at grade 6. The wider vocabulary of chords reflects real-world practice more than the grade 6 questions do, and you will be expected to handle key changes with ease as well.


At the bottom of this page you will find links to our free online figured bass course. For best results, do the lessons in the order they are presented. If you need additional help, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - we can mark your exercises or provide other guidance.


ABRSM Grade 7 Music Theory - Free Figured Bass Course Syllabus


ABRSM Grade 7 Music Theory - Harmony Reconstruction

Question 2 in the ABRSM Grade Seven Music Theory Exam asks you to fill out a given harmonic outline with melodic decoration to create a complete piece.

There are two types of question - a Bach-style Chorale, or a Keyboard piece (could be Baroque or Classical style). You won't know which one you're going to get in the exam, and you are not given a choice, so make sure you practice both types of question before you sit the exam! This is what a Bach-style chorale in 4-part harmony looks like:

harmonies in

Use the links below to access our free online course, which explains everything you need to know about the harmony reconstruction question. We explain the various types of melodic decoration that you are expected to use (passing notes, auxiliary harmony note, suspension and so on), and give you detailed advice about how to tackle the exam question and maximize your marks.

You can also purchase the entire Grade 7 Course in PDF format - see for more details.


 Grade 7 Music Theory Harmony Reconstruction Course Syllabus

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