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Music Theory Grades 1-5

Each Music Theory paper carries a total of 100 marks, 66 are required to achieve a pass, 80 to receive a merit and 90 for a distinction.

In the Music Theory papers at Grades 1–5 many of the questions are composite, testing various aspects of the syllabus, and the answers are often right or wrong. Marking is then usually a simple matter of calculation, i.e. by deductions from a maximum or by additions to zero, and this is particularly the case in such questions as naming notes, when 10 correct names are required for 10 marks. In these instances, the criteria are constructed using the principle of deducting marks for faults.

Composite questions covering more than one aspect of the syllabus are considered below in a subject-by-subject format. The criteria for questions which have a regular place in each paper and which require a degree of creativity on the part of the candidate, such as the composition of an answering rhythm, are set out in a mark-banded format.

It should be observed as a general principle that an answer to a question will not receive a pass mark (e.g. 7 out of 10) if it is fundamentally wrong (e.g. a wrong key signature or transposition to a wrong key), despite any merits that it might have; although the latter might well justify a mark which is near a pass (e.g. 6 out of 10).

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