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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

Double Bass Grade 6 Double Bass

Double Bass Grade 6 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.

Double Bass Grade 6 (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 6 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 Bottesini Study No. 50 (SOLO)
from Metodo completo per contrabbasso
No. 50 from Bottesini: Method for Double Bass, Part 1
Yorke (YE0076)

More details
2 Capuzzi Rondo: Allegro
3rd movt from Concerto in D
Capuzzi: Concerto in D
Yorke (YE0011)

More details
3 C. Dancla
arr. Close and Sassmannshaus
Polka
from Suite No. 1, Op. 123
Concert Pieces for Double Bass
Bärenreiter (BA9696)

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4 De Fesch
arr. Siebach and Schlenker
Menuett I And Menuett II
from Sonata in D minor
De Fesch: Sonata in D minor, arr. Siebach and Schlenker
Hofmeister (FH2003)

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5 Dragonetti Sarabanda: Allegro
from Solo in D minor 'After Corelli'
Dragonetti: Solo in D minor
Doblinger (DM120)

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6 Eisengräßer Introduction And Theme And Variation 1
from Variations on a Favourite Styrian Folk Song
(treble clef notes may be played 8ve lower)
Eisengräßer: Variations for Contra Bass on a Favourite Styrian Folk-Song
Recital Music (RM253)

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Festival Performance Solos: String Bass
Carl Fischer (BF5)

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Festival Performance Solos, Piano accompaniment for String Bass
Carl Fischer (BF6)

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7 attrib. Giovannino Staccato e arioso
3rd movt from Sonata in A minor
Giovannino: Sonata in A minor
Yorke (YE0008)

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8 B. Marcello Adagio (Andante) And Allegro
1st movt And 4th movt from Sonata in G, Op. 2 No. 6
B. Marcello: Sonata in G
IMC (IMC1159)

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B. Marcello: Six Sonatas
G. Schirmer (GS26269)

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9 S. Paxton
trans. Elliott
The Bush aboon Traquair (A Scots Air) And Vivace
2nd movt And 3rd movt from Sonata in D, Op. 3 No. 2
S. Paxton: Sonata in D, Op. 3 No. 2, trans. Elliott
Bartholomew (BMP 005)

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10 Vivaldi Largo
1st movt from Sonata No. 1 in B♭, RV 47
Vivaldi: Sonata No. 1 in B♭, trans. Zimmermann
IMC (IMC2302)

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Vivaldi: Complete Sonatas for Violoncello
Bärenreiter (BA 6995)

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Vivaldi: Six Sonatas for Violoncello
Schott (ED 4927)

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List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Beethoven
arr. Zimmerman
Sonatina
No. 6 from Solos for the Double Bass Player
G. Schirmer (GS33083)

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2 J. F. Burgmüller
arr. Heyes
Nocturne No. 1
J. F. Burgmüller: Nocturne No. 1, arr. Heyes
Recital Music (RM102)

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3 Gabriel-Marie
arr. Elliott or arr. Suzuki
La Cinquantaine
Gabriel-Marie: La Cinquantaine, arr. Elliott
Bartholomew (BMP 001)

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No. 6 from Suzuki Bass School, Vol. 4
Alfred (28359)

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No. 6 from Suzuki Bass School, Vol. 4, Piano accompaniment
Alfred (28360)

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4 Christian Gouinguené Adagio
Christian Gouinguené: Adagio
Leduc (AL25774)

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5 Keÿper Romance
No. 1 from Keÿper: Romance and Rondo
Yorke (YE0030)

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Concert Pieces for Double Bass
Bärenreiter (BA9696)

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6 L. Mendelssohn
arr. Close and Sassmannshaus
Menuett
Concert Pieces for Double Bass
Bärenreiter (BA9696)

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7 Anon., formerly attrib. Pergolesi
arr. Close and Sassmannshaus or arr. Zimmermann
Tre giorni
(with 1st repeat in Bärenreiter edn)
Concert Pieces for Double Bass
Bärenreiter (BA9696)

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Festival Performance Solos: String Bass
Carl Fischer (BF5)

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Festival Performance Solos, Piano accompaniment for String Bass
Carl Fischer (BF6)

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8 Merle Caballero
Festival Performance Solos: String Bass
Carl Fischer (BF5)

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Festival Performance Solos, Piano accompaniment for String Bass
Carl Fischer (BF6)

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9 Madenski Marzenie
No. 4 from Miniatures, Book 1
Recital Music (RM113)

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10 John Walton A Deep Song
John Walton: A Deep Song
Yorke (YE0005)

More details

List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 D. Bourgeois Allegro commondo (SOLO)
No. 3 from Fantasy Pieces for Double Bass
No. 3 from D. Bourgeois: Fantasy Pieces for Double Bass
Brass Wind (3404)

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2 Gavin Bryars Room 42
Time Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 2
ABRSM

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3 I. Carroll Fantasia in E minor
No. 1 from Three Pieces for Double Bass
No. 1 from I. Carroll: Three Pieces for Double Bass
Forsyth (FCI01)

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4 V. Elliott Odd Man Out
V. Elliott: Odd Man Out
Yorke (YE0015)

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5 Teppo Hauta-Aho A Little Waltz (Pieni Valssi)
Teppo Hauta-Aho: Teppo's Tunes
Recital Music (RM068)

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6 David Heyes Tapio (SOLO)
No. 3 from Finnish Sketches
No. 3 from David Heyes: Finnish Sketches
Recital Music (RM922)

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7 A. H. Hill The Jester
A. H. Hill: Four Pieces for Double Bass
Stainer & Bell (H202)

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8 Nölck
arr. Close and Sassmannshaus
Tempo di ballo
from Petit album de concert
Concert Pieces for Double Bass
Bärenreiter (BA9696)

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9 Pascal Proust Arcades
Pascal Proust: Arcades
Combre (C05483)

More details
10 Villoldo
arr. Tailor
El Choclo
Villoldo: El Choclo for Contrabass, arr. Tailor
Editions Marc Reift (EMR 2285Z)

More details

Double Bass 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/DB 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.

Double Bass Grade 6 Double Bass

Double Bass Grade 6 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.

Publications & audio

 

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