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Prerequisite

Candidates for Grade 6, 7 or 8 exams must already have passed ABRSM Grade 5 (or above) in Music Theory, Practical Musicianship or a solo Jazz instrument. For full details including a list of accepted alternatives, see Regulation 1d.

Syllabus

Cello Grade 7 Cello

Cello Grade 7 exams consist of three pieces, scales and arpeggios, sight-reading, and aural tests.

Total marks in all individual Practical exams are 150. You need 100 marks to achieve Pass, 120 marks to pass with Merit and 130 marks to pass with Distinction.

Cello Grade 7 (2020–2023)

Pieces

Musicians learn to play an instrument to explore and perform repertoire, which is why pieces are at the core of the exam – candidates are asked to present three at each grade. The syllabus repertoire is organised into three lists which explore different traditions and styles, dating from the Renaissance period to the present day.

Choosing one piece from each list gives candidates the opportunity to play a balanced selection and demonstrate a range of skills. In this syllabus, the pieces are broadly grouped into lists by the characteristics of the music:

  • List A pieces are generally faster moving and require technical agility
  • List B pieces are more lyrical and invite expressive playing
  • List C pieces reflect a wide variety of musical traditions, styles and characters.

Most of the pieces require an accompaniment, as interacting with other musicians is an important musical skill, but there are also opportunities to choose solo pieces and develop confidence with unaccompanied playing.

We hope that by offering this variety in the syllabus, candidates will find music that inspires them and that they enjoy learning and performing.

Grade 7 Pieces

Candidates choose three pieces, one from each list (A, B and C) – 30 marks each. The full requirements and information for the pieces are explained after the lists.

List A

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Alborea Adagio And Vivace
3rd movt And 4th movt from Sonata in C
Alborea: Sonata C-Dur
Doblinger (DM1397)

More details
2 J. C. F. Bach Rondeaux
2nd movt from Sonata in G
J. C. F. Bach: Sonata in G for Violoncello
Bärenreiter (BA 3745)

More details
3 J. S. Bach Bourrée 1 And Bourrée 2 (SOLO)
from Suite No. 3 in C, BWV 1009
J. S. Bach: Six Suites for Violoncello Solo
Bärenreiter (BA 320)

More details
J. S. Bach: Six Suites for Violoncello Solo
Peters (EP238)

More details
J. S. Bach: Six Suites for Violoncello Solo (Urtext)
Peters (EP9054)

More details
4 Cervetto Allo moderato
2nd movt from Sonata in A minor, Op. 2 No. 5
(upper part)
Cervetto: Two Sonatas, Op. 2 Nos. 9 & 5
Bärenreiter (BA 6208)

More details
5 F. Couperin Siciliène And Air de diable
2nd movt And 5th movt from Pièces en concert
F. Couperin: Pièces en concert, arr. Bazelaire
Leduc (AL16920)

More details
Solos for Young Cellists, Vol. 5
Alfred (212X0)

More details
6 B. Marcello Adagio And Allegro
1st movt And 2nd movt from Sonata in G, Op. 2 No. 6
B. Marcello: Six Sonatas, Op. 2
Peters (EP4647)

More details
7 Platti Adagio And Presto
3rd movt And 4th movt from Sonata quarta
Ten Italian Sonatas for Cello and Continuo
Ricordi (141566)

More details
8 Telemann
arr. Rapp
Scherzo
No. 7 from Melodies by Old Masters for Young Cellists, Vol. 2, arr. Rapp
Schott (ED 5533)

More details
9 Ticciati Toccata (SOLO)
No. 5 from Studies in Style and Technique, Book 3
No. 5 from Ticciati: Studies in Style and Technique, Book 3
OUP

More details
10 Vivaldi Allegro
2nd movt from Sonata in B♭, RV 46
Vivaldi: Two Sonatas, RV 40 & RV 46
Bärenreiter (BA 6995c)

More details
Vivaldi: Complete Sonatas for Violoncello
Bärenreiter (BA 6995)

More details

List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 L. Berkeley Andantino
Op. 21 No. 2a
L. Berkeley: Andantino for Cello, Op. 21 No. 2a
Chester (CH00945)

More details
2 Borodin
arr. Stutschewsky and Thaler
Serenade in G
Borodin: Serenade in G, arr. Stutschewsky and Thaler
Peters (EP4222)

More details
3 Fauré Sicilienne
Op. 78
Fauré: Sicilienne, Op. 78
Cramer (90301)

More details
Cellissimo: Appassionato
Schott (ED 22354)

More details
4 Mendelssohn Lied ohne Worte (Song without Words)
Op. 109
Mendelssohn: Song without Words, Op. 109
Schott (CB 162)

More details
Mendelssohn: Song without Words, Op. 109
Bärenreiter (BA 10934)

More details
Cellissimo: Appassionato
Schott (ED 22354)

More details
5 Saint-Saëns Le cygne
from The Carnival of the Animals
Cellissimo: Appassionato
Schott (ED 22354)

More details
Saint-Saëns: Le cygne for Cello
Durand (DF0376700)

More details
Saint-Saëns: The Complete Shorter Works
Faber (0571518079)

More details
6 Goltermann Andantino
2nd movt from Concerto No. 4 in G, Op. 65
Goltermann: Concerto No. 4 in G, Op. 65
IMC (IMC1606)

More details
7 Lisznyai-Szabó Ősz (Autumn)
Lisznyai-Szabó: Ősz (Autumn)
Editio Musica Budapest (Z. 2525)

More details
8 Moeran Prelude
Moeran: Prelude for Cello
Novello (NOV120091)

More details
9 Pachulski Chanson triste
No. 3 from Trois morceaux, Op. 4
Principal Cello
ABRSM

More details
10 Trad. Scottish
arr. Clarke
I'll Bid My Heart Be Still
Rebecca Clarke: Shorter Pieces for Cello
OUP

More details

List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Adorian Poème
No. 2 from Serenade Basque
Solos for Young Cellists, Vol. 3
Alfred (21030X)

More details
2 Arensky Petite ballade
Op. 12 No. 1
Arensky: Petite ballade & Danse capricieuse, Op. 12
Fountayne Editions (FE65)

More details
3 A. Beach Berceuse
Op. 40 No. 2
A. Beach: Five Pieces for Cello and Piano
Hildegard

More details
4 Granados Andaluza
No. 5 from 12 Danzas Españolas
(following main line)
Granados: Danza Española No. 5, Andaluza for Cello
Unión Musical Ediciones (UME15743)

More details
5 Járdányi Sonatina
(complete)
Járdányi: Sonatina for Cello
Editio Musica Budapest (Z. 6528)

More details
6 Nicola LeFanu Prelude (SOLO)
Spectrum for Cello
ABRSM

More details
7 Douglas Mason Freefall
Douglas Mason: Freefall for Violoncello
Recital Music (RM659)

More details
8 Aaron Minsky The Train Whistle (SOLO)
No. 1 from Ten American Cello Etudes
No. 1 from Aaron Minsky: Ten American Cello Etudes
OUP

More details
9 Musorgsky, arr. Rachmaninoff
arr. Rémy
Gopak
from Sorochintsky Fair
(with ossia in b. 43)
No. 9 from Cellowise 2, arr. Rémy
Spartan Press (SP962)

More details
10 Squire Gavotte humoristique
Op. 6
Principal Cello
ABRSM

More details

Cello requirements and information: Pieces

Programme planning: Candidates must choose one piece from each of the three lists (A, B and C). In the exam, candidates should tell the examiner which pieces they are performing, and they are welcome to use the Exam programme & running order form for this.

Every effort has been made to feature a broad range of repertoire to suit and appeal to candidates of different ages, backgrounds and interests. Certain pieces may not be suitable for every candidate for technical reasons or because of wider context (historical, cultural, subject matter of the larger work from which it is drawn, lyrics if an arrangement of a song etc.). Pieces should be carefully considered for their appropriateness to each individual, which may need consultation between teachers and parents/guardians. Teachers and parents/guardians should also exercise caution when allowing younger candidates to research pieces online (see www.nspcc.org.uk/onlinesafety).

Accompaniment: A live piano or string (where the option is listed) accompaniment is required for all pieces, except those which are published as studies or unaccompanied works (these are marked SOLO in the lists above).

At Grades Initial–3, candidates may perform some or all of their pieces with a string accompaniment. Pieces that are published as duets (or with string accompaniment only) are marked DUET in the lists above. Pieces that are published with piano and string accompaniment options are marked PF/VC in the lists above, and may be performed with either accompaniment in the exam.

Candidates must provide their own accompanist(s), who can only be in the exam room while accompanying. The candidate’s teacher may accompany (examiners will not). If necessary, an accompanist may simplify any part of the accompaniment, as long as the result is musical. Recorded accompaniments are not allowed.

Exam music & editions: Wherever the syllabus includes an arrangement or transcription (appearing as ‘arr.’ or ‘trans.’ in the syllabus list), the edition listed in the syllabus must be used in the exam. For all other pieces, editions are listed for guidance only and candidates may use any edition of their choice (in- or out-of-print or downloadable). For full details on sourcing exam music, see Obtaining exam music.

Interpreting the score: Printed editorial suggestions such as fingering, bowing, metronome marks, realisation of ornaments etc. do not need to be strictly observed. Whether the piece contains musical indications or not, candidates are encouraged to interpret the score in a musical and stylistic way. Examiners’ marking will be determined by how control of pitch, time, tone, shape and performance contributes to the overall musical outcome.

Vibrato: The use and control of vibrato, and its effect on tone and shape, will be taken into account by examiners, who will be assessing the overall musical outcome. Pieces that are heavily reliant on vibrato for their full musical effect tend not to appear in the syllabus before around Grade 5.

Repeats: Unless the syllabus specifies differently, all da capo and dal segno indications should be followed but other repeats (including first-time bars) should not be played unless they are very short (i.e. a few bars).

Cadenzas & tuttis: Cadenzas should not be played unless the syllabus specifies differently. Accompanists should cut lengthy orchestral tutti sections.

Performing from memory: Candidates may perform any of their pieces from memory; if doing so, they must make sure that a copy of the music is available for the examiner to refer to. No extra marks are awarded for playing from memory.

Page-turns: Examiners will be understanding if a page-turn causes a lack of continuity during a piece, and this will not affect the marking. Candidates (and accompanists) may use an extra copy of the music or a photocopy of a section of the piece (but see ‘Photocopies’ below) to help with page-turns. Candidates and accompanists at Grades 6–8 may bring a page-turner to the exam if there is no solution to a particularly awkward page-turn (prior permission is not required; the turner may be the candidate’s teacher). Examiners are unable to help with page-turning.

Photocopies: Performing from unauthorised photocopies (or other kinds of copies) of copyright editions is not allowed. ABRSM may withhold the exam result where it has evidence of an illegal copy (or copies) being used. In the UK, copies may be used in certain limited circumstances – for full details, see the MPA’s Code of Fair Practice at www.mpaonline.org.uk. In all other cases, application should be made to the copyright holder before any copy is made, and evidence of permission should be brought to the exam.

Cello Grade 7 Cello

Cello Grade 7 exams consist of three pieces, scales and arpeggios, sight-reading, and aural tests.

Total marks in all individual Practical exams are 150. You need 100 marks to achieve Pass, 120 marks to pass with Merit and 130 marks to pass with Distinction.

Cello Grade 7 (2016–2019)

Pieces

Three pieces: one chosen by the candidate from each of the three Lists, A, B and C - 30 marks each

List A

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 J. S. Bach download download Bourrée 1 and Bourrée 2
from Suite No. 3 in C, BWV 1009
 
J. S. Bach: Six Suites for Violoncello Solo
Bärenreiter (BA 320)

More details
J. S. Bach: Six Suites for Violoncello Solo
Peters (EP 238)

More details
J. S. Bach: Six Suites for Violoncello Solo (Urtext)
Peters (EP 9054)

More details
2 Cervetto download download Caccia (Vivace)
2nd movt from Sonata in F, Op. 2 No. 9
(upper part)
 
Cervetto: Two Sonatas for Cello (Op. 2 Nos 9 & 5)
Bärenreiter (BA 6208)

More details
3 Couperin
arr. Bazelaire or Dunford
download download Siciliène and Air de diable
2nd movt and 5th movt from Pièces en concert
 
Couperin: Pièces en concert, arr. Bazelaire
Leduc (AL16920)

More details
Solos for Young Cellists, Vol. 5
Alfred–Summy-Birchard (212X0)

More details
4 Gounod download download Ave Maria
 
Gounod: Ave Maria
Schott (ED0 9674)

More details
5 Veracini download download Largo
 
Veracini: Largo for Cello
IMC (3176)

More details
6 Vivaldi download download Largo and Allegro
1st movt and 2nd movt from Sonata in F, RV 41
 
Vivaldi: Complete Sonatas for Violoncello
Bärenreiter (BA 6995)

More details

List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 F. Austin download download Titania
No. 1 from The Fairy Ring
 
Principal Cello
ABRSM

More details
2 Borodin
arr. Stutschewsky and Thaler
download download Serenade in G
 
Borodin: Serenade in G, arr. Stutschewsky and Thaler
Peters (EP 4222)

More details
3 Fauré
trans. Casals
download download Après un rêve
 
Fauré: Après un rêve, trans. Casals
IMC (540)

More details
Fauré: Après un rêve, trans. Casals
Hamelle (HA09037)

More details
The Casals Legacy
Carl Fischer

More details
4 Moeran download download Prelude
 
Moeran: Prelude
Novello (NOV120091)

More details
5 F. Neruda download download Slavisches Wiegenlied (Slavonic Cradle Song)
Op. 11
(mute optional)
 
Neruda: Slavisches Wiegenlied (Slavonic Cradle Song), Op. 11
Simrock (EE 3493)

More details
6 Popper download download Gavotte No. 2 in D
Op. 23
 
Popper: Gavotte No. 2 in D, Op. 23
IMC (1607)

More details

List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Goltermann download download Etude-Caprice
Op. 54 No. 4
 
Goltermann: Etude-Caprice, Op. 54 No. 4
IMC (3091)

More details
2 Walter Ernst Haberl download download Latin for Alex
 
Walter Ernst Haberl: Latin for Alex for Cello
Universal (UE 33349)

More details
3 Janáček download download Allegro
3rd movt from Pohádka (A Tale)
 
Principal Cello
ABRSM

More details
4 David Matthews download download Tango flageoletto
 
Unbeaten Tracks for Cello
Faber

More details
5 Squire download download Tarantella
Op. 23
 
Squire: Tarantella for Cello, Op. 23
Stainer & Bell (2287)

More details
The Squire Cello Solo Collection
Carl Fischer

More details
6 Trad. Irish
arr. Bruce and Wells
download download Londonderry Air
 
More Time Pieces for Cello, Vol. 2, arr. Bruce and Wells
ABRSM

More details

Cello requirements and information: Pieces

Programme planning: Candidates must choose one piece from each of the three lists (A, B and C) in each grade. In the exam, they should inform the examiner which pieces they are performing, and they are welcome to use the Exam programme & running order form (PDF) for this purpose.

Accompaniment: A live piano accompaniment is required for all pieces, except those which are published as studies or unaccompanied works. Candidates must provide their own accompanist, who may remain in the exam room only while accompanying. The candidate’s teacher may act as accompanist (examiners will not). If necessary, the accompanist may simplify any part of the piano accompaniment, provided the result is musically satisfactory.

Exam music & editions: Wherever the syllabus includes an arrangement or transcription, the edition listed in the syllabus must be used in the exam; in all such cases the abbreviation ‘arr.’ or ‘trans.’ appears in the syllabus entry. For all other pieces, the editions quoted in the syllabus are given for guidance only and candidates may use any edition of their choice (in- or out-of-print or downloadable).

Interpreting the score: Printed editorial suggestions such as fingering, bowing, metronome marks, realization of ornaments etc. need not be strictly observed. Whether the piece contains musical indications or not, candidates are always encouraged to interpret the score in a stylistically appropriate manner. Ultimately, examiners’ marking will be determined by consideration of pitch, time, tone, shape and performance, and how control of these contributes to the overall musical outcome.

Vibrato: The use and control of vibrato, and its effect on tone and shape, will be taken into account by examiners, who will be assessing the overall musical outcome. Pieces whose full musical effect is heavily reliant on vibrato tend not to appear in the syllabus before around Grade 5.

Repeats: All da capo and dal segno indications should be observed but all other repeats (including first-time bars) should be omitted unless they are very brief (i.e. of a few bars) or unless the syllabus specifies otherwise.

Cadenzas & tuttis: Cadenzas should not be played unless the syllabus specifies otherwise. Lengthy orchestral tutti sections should be cut.

Performing from memory: Candidates are free to perform any of their pieces from memory; in such cases they must ensure that a copy of the music is available for the examiner to refer to if necessary. No additional marks are awarded for playing from memory.

Page-turns: Examiners will be understanding if a page-turn causes a lack of continuity during a piece, and this will not affect the marking. A variety of solutions for awkward page-turns exists, including the use of an additional copy of the music or a photocopy of a section of the piece (but see ‘Photocopies’ below). In cases where candidates believe there is no solution to a particularly awkward page-turn, they may apply to bring a page-turner to the exam. The request must be made to the Syllabus Department no later than the closing date for entry, and details of the piece, edition and nature of the difficulty should be given. If permission is granted, a confirmation letter will be issued which must be taken to the exam as verification. Examiners are unable to help with page-turning. In a Grade 8 exam, a candidate’s accompanist is permitted to bring a page-turner to assist with page-turns in the piano part (prior permission is not required).

Photocopies: Performing from unauthorized photocopies (or other kinds of copies) of copyright editions is not allowed. ABRSM may withhold the exam result where it has evidence of an illegal copy (or copies) being used. In the UK, copies may be used in certain limited circumstances – for full details, see the MPA’s Code of Fair Practice at www.mpaonline.org.uk. In all other cases, application should be made to the copyright holder before any copy is made, and evidence of permission received should be brought to the exam.

Publications & audio

Supporting applications

Speedshifter

A practice tool that allows you to vary the speed of audio without altering the pitch.

 

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