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Double Bass Grade 2 Double Bass

Double Bass Grade 2 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 2 (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 2 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 Beethoven
arr. Elliott
Ecossaise
Grade by Grade, Double Bass Grade 2
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 13602)
2 Trad. French
arr. Elliott
Song of the French Revolution
Grade by Grade, Double Bass Grade 2
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 13602)
3 Boccherini
arr. Slatford and Wells
Minuetto
from String Quartet in C, Op. 24 No. 4
Time Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 1
ABRSM

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4 C. Graupner
arr. Magolt
Bourrée
No. 5 from Easy Concert Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 1
Schott (ED 22551)

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5 Handel
arr. Elliott
Gavotte (PF/DB)
(upper part)
The Essential String Method, Double Bass Book 4
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1300175)

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The Essential String Method, Cello/Double Bass Books 3 & 4, Piano accompaniment
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 102380)

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6 Trad.
arr. Nelson
Upon Paul's Steeple
The Essential String Method, Double Bass Book 4
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1300175)

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The Essential String Method, Cello/Double Bass Books 3 & 4, Piano accompaniment
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 102380)

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7 Schumann
arr. Elliott or arr. Suzuki
The Merry Peasant (The Happy Farmer)
from Album for the Young, Op. 68
The Essential String Method, Double Bass Book 4
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1300175)

More details
The Essential String Method, Cello/Double Bass Books 3 & 4, Piano accompaniment
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 102380)

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No. 7 from Suzuki Bass School, Vol. 2, Revised Edition
Alfred (0371S)

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No. 7 from Suzuki Bass School, Vol. 2, Piano accompaniment
Alfred (0374S)

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8 Mozart
arr. Dehant
Passe-pied
(with repeats)
No. 9 from La Contrebasse classique, Vol. A, arr. Dehant
Combre (C05440)

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9 C. Petzold
arr. Elliott
Minuet in D
BWV Anh. II 114
The Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook for Double Bass, arr. Elliott
Bartholomew (BMP 009)

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The Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook for Double Bass, Piano accompaniment, arr. Elliott
Bartholomew (BMP 009a)

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10 Schumann
arr. Hartley
Soldiers' March (DUET)
from Album for the Young, Op. 68
(upper part)
No. 7 from Double Bass Solo 1, 2019 Edition, arr. Hartley
OUP

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List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Dvořák
arr. Mohrs
Largo
from Symphony No. 9, 'From the New World'
No. 16 from Easy Concert Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 1
Schott (ED 22551)

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2 Tchaikovsky
arr. Mohrs
Swan Lake
No. 15 from Easy Concert Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 1
Schott (ED 22551)

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3 Katrina Gordon Hungry Old Owl
No. 10 from Feathered Friends
No. 10 from Katrina Gordon: Feathered Friends
Recital Music (RM413)

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4 G. Nicks The Little Sailor
No. 3 from Yorke Solos for Double Bass, Vol. 1
Yorke (YE0087)

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No. 91 from Bass is Best! Yorke Mini-Bass Book 1
Yorke (YE0090)

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5 Tony Osborne Procession of Kings
No. 8 from The Double Bass Sings
No. 8 from Tony Osborne: The Double Bass Sings
Piper (PPDB002)

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6 Rodgers and Hammerstein
arr. Lillywhite, Marshall, Hussey and Sebba
Edelweiss (PF/DB)
from The Sound of Music
No. 50 from Abracadabra Double Bass, Book 1, arr. Lillywhite and Marshall
Collins Music

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No. 50 from Abracadabra Strings, Book 1, Piano accompaniments, arr. Hussey and Sebba
Collins Music

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7 Michael Rose Ballad I
Time Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 1
ABRSM

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8 M. Stanfield and S. Barlow
arr. Elliott
Friday's Child
Grade by Grade, Double Bass Grade 2
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 13602)
9 Trad. English
arr. Elliott
Greensleeves
The Essential String Method, Double Bass Book 4
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1300175)

More details
The Essential String Method, Cello/Double Bass Books 3 & 4, Piano accompaniment
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 102380)

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10 Trad. Welsh
arr. Nelson
All Through the Night (PF/DB)
(upper part)
The Essential String Method, Double Bass Book 4
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1300175)

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The Essential String Method, Cello/Double Bass Books 3 & 4, Piano accompaniment
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 102380)

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List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Arlen & Harburg
arr. Lillywhite, Marshall, Hussey and Sebba
We're off to see the wizard (PF/DB)
from The Wizard of Oz
No. 70 from Abracadabra Double Bass, Book 1, arr. Lillywhite and Marshall
Collins Music

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No. 70 from Abracadabra Strings, Book 1, Piano accompaniments, arr. Hussey and Sebba
Collins Music

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2 Keith Ramon Cole
arr. Elliott
Granite
Grade by Grade, Double Bass Grade 2
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 13602)
3 James Cruttenden Blues in D
No. 3 from Bow that Bass!
No. 3 from James Cruttenden: Bow that Bass!
Recital Music (RM511)

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4 Caroline Emery and Rodney Slatford Dinosaur Dance
No. 70 from Bass is Best! Yorke Mini-Bass Book 1
Yorke (YE0090)

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5 Rodney Slatford Welsh Hungarian Dance (DUET)
(lower part)
No. 104 from Bass is Best! Yorke Mini-Bass Book 1
Yorke (YE0090)

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6 Thomas Gregory Smooth Operator
No. 20 from Vamoosh Double Bass, Book 2, arr. Gregory
Vamoosh (VAM32)

More details
No. 20 from Vamoosh String Book 2, Piano accompaniment, arr. Gregory
Vamoosh (VAM52)

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7 Herz
arr. Slatford and Bullard
Galoppe
Time Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 1
ABRSM

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8 Giles Swayne Lazybones
Time Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 1
ABRSM

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9 Christopher Norton The Caretaker
No. 7 from Microjazz for Double Bass
No. 7 from Christopher Norton: Microjazz for Double Bass
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1300040)

More details
10 Trad.
arr. Elliott
March of the Kings (SOLO or PF ACCOMP.)
The Essential String Method, Double Bass Book 4
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1300175)

More details
The Essential String Method, Cello/Double Bass Books 3 & 4, Piano accompaniment
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 102380)

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 2 Double Bass

Double Bass Grade 2 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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