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bs8Grade 8 ABRSM Music Theory

Grade 8 is the final graded exam available from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM).

This advanced level exam is an enjoyable challenge for most students. Your knowledge of harmony and composition techniques are tested in a theoretical and practical sense, and you're expected to have experienced a wide range of scores of many genres of music.

The ABRSM syllabus states the following regarding grade 8 music theory:


The harmonic vocabulary expected will include all standard diatonic and chromatic chords.

Questions will cover:

1. Continuation of a given opening of a passage from a Baroque trio sonata for two treble instruments and basso continuo. The basso continuo part will be given throughout and fully figured (but a realization for keyboard will not be required).

2. Completion of an outline of a short passage for keyboard. Some knowledge of the styles practised by composers from the time of Haydn onwards will be assumed.

3. Continuation of a given opening of a melody for a specified instrument (a choice will be given).

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 identification and notation of underlying harmonic structure, phrase structure, style, performance, and on the voices and instruments for which the works were written.

Read the ABRSM syllabus for grade 8 here.


Grade 8 Music Theory Resources

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