What is the course about?
A course for those with good knowledge of the basics of music theory who wish to build on their knowledge. Using the ABRSM/Trinity Grade 4 syllabus, you will develop your understanding of rhythm, melody and simple harmony, and start to learn about different instruments and ornaments and embellishments.
This course may be used as preparation for an ABRSM music theory exam. Please contact the music office ([email protected]) if you would like to sit your exam at Build, which is an ABRSM Theory exam centre. ABRSM theory exam dates/fees are published online here: https://gb.abrsm.org/en/exam-booking/exam-dates-and-fees/ all grade exams are available three times per year, and it is usual to sit your exam the term after your course finishes.
What will we cover?
- all regular simple and compound metres
- more complex rhythmic patterns using double dots, duplets and the breve
- alto clef (used by the viola) and transcribing music between the three clefs
- major and minor keys up to five sharps/flats, including root position primary triads (chords on 1st, 4th and 5th scale degrees)
- double sharps / flats and their cancellation
- the principle of enharmonic equivalence
- technical names for scale degrees
- quantity and quality of all intervals up to an octave
- the chromatic scale
- terms and signs for melodic decoration and their application in instrumental music.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- read, write, hear, clap and play/sing complex rhythms in any regular metre
- read and write in alto clef, and transcribe music between clefs
- read, hear and write music in major and minor keys up to five sharps / flats, including using double sharps / flats where needed
- read and write root position primary triads
- technical names for scale degrees
- read, write, hear and sing/play intervals up to an octave
- understand terms and signs for melodic decoration and their application in instrumental music
- answer questions on a Grade 4 theory music exam paper.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
- You need to have completed Music theory: grade 3 or equivalent, and have good knowledge of rhythm, simple and compound metre, melodic structure, and tonic triads.
- You will need to follow written and verbal instructions in English, engage in class discussion and practical exercises, take notes in English and write staff notation.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Tutor presentation and explanation, occasional practical exercises (clapping, humming, playing) written exercises, tutor feedback, class discussion.
Written homework between sessions will help you practise and consolidate what you learn in class.
If you wish to sit a formal theory exam, Build operates as an ABRSM exam centre for music theory. Please ask your tutor about entering.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will need manuscript paper, pencil and eraser, notebook and pen.
Please buy and bring to class:
ABRSM Guide to Music Theory Part I (covers Grades 1–5) (c.£7) [external website].
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
This course leads to Music theory: grade 5
For more details about musicianship and music theory please visit our blog: Musicianship and music theory at City lit which lists our full sequence of musicianship and music theory classes.
General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details