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Double Bass Grade 4 Double Bass

Double Bass Grade 4 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 4 (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 4 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 J. S. Bach
arr. Suzuki
March in G
No. 14 from Suzuki Bass School, Vol. 2, Revised Edition
Alfred (0371S)

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No. 14 from Suzuki Bass School, Vol. 2, Piano accompaniment
Alfred (0374S)

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2 attrib. J. S. Bach
arr. Elliott or arr. Suzuki
Minuet in C
BWV Anh. II 116
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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No. 2 from Suzuki Bass School, Vol. 3, Revised Edition
Alfred (0376S)

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No. 2 from Suzuki Bass School, Vol. 3, Piano accompaniment
Alfred (0377S)

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3 Bottesini Study No. 9 (SOLO)
from Metodo completo per contrabbasso
No. 9 from Bottesini: Method for Double Bass, Part 1
Yorke (YE0076)

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4 I. Carroll French Bourrée
from Five National Dances for Double Bass
I. Carroll: Five National Dances for Double Bass
Stainer & Bell (H290)

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5 Grieg
arr. Slatford and Wells
Hunting Song
No. 4 from Six Songs, Op. 4
Time Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 2
ABRSM

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6 Handel
arr. Slatford and Wells
Allegro
from Concerto Grosso, Op. 6 No. 8
Time Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 2
ABRSM

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7 attrib. Henry VIII
arr. Huws Jones
Pastime with good company
Grade by Grade, Double Bass Grade 4
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 13603)
8 Kummer
arr. Close and Sassmannshaus
Rondoletto con allegrezza
(upper part; with piano accomp.)
Early Start on the Double Bass, Vol. 3, arr. Close and Sassmannshaus
Bärenreiter (BA9663)

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9 A. Thomas
arr. K. and J. Hartley
Gavotte
from Mignon
No. 7 from Subterranean Solos, arr. Hartley
Bartholomew (BMP 006)

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No. 7 from Subterranean Solos, Piano accompaniment, arr. K. and J. Hartley
Bartholomew (BMP 006a)

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10 Trad.
arr. Magolt
Sailor's Hornpipe
No. 10 from Easy Concert Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 2
Schott (ED 22552)

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List B

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Bizet
arr. Dehant
Habanera
from Carmen
No. 5 from La Contrebasse classique, Vol. B, arr. Dehant
Combre (C5716)

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2 Frederick Boaden Elegy
2nd movt from Petite Suite
Frederick Boaden: Petite Suite
Yorke (YEC47358)

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3 Corelli
arr. Mohrs
Largo affetuoso
No. 3 from Easy Concert Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 2
Schott (ED 22552)

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4 Christine Donkin Serenade
No. 6 from Bass-Time Beginners
No. 6 from Christine Donkin: Bass-Time Beginners
Recital Music (RM410)

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5 S. Lancen Berceuse for Baby Hippopotamus
S. Lancen: Berceuse for Baby Hippopotamus
Yorke (YE0054)

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6 S. Lancen Si j'étais ... Moussorgsky
No. 13 from Yorke Solos for Double Bass, Vol. 1
Yorke (YE0087)

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7 Mozart
arr. Láska
A Little Melody
No. 23 from Yorke Solos for Double Bass, Vol. 1
Yorke (YE0087)

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8 Mendelssohn
arr. Slatford and Wells
Venetian Gondola Song
from Sechs Lieder, Op. 57
Time Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 2
ABRSM

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9 Tony Osborne Sweet Dreams
2nd movt from Suite for Eloise
Tony Osborne: Suite for Eloise
Recital Music (RM330)

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10 Michael Rose Reverie
from A Sketchbook for Double Bass
Michael Rose: A Sketchbook for Double Bass
ABRSM

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List C

No. Composer Piece information Publication(s)
1 Sébastien Beliah An Old-Time Rag
No. 4 from Pieces of Eight
No. 4 from Sébastien Beliah: Pieces of Eight
Recital Music (RM613)

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2 A. Benjamin
arr. Slatford and Wells
Jamaican Rumba
Time Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 2
ABRSM

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3 Kabalevsky
arr. Slatford and Bullard
Cavalryman
from 30 Children's Pieces, Op. 27
Time Pieces for Double Bass, Vol. 2
ABRSM

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4 Teppo Hauta-Aho Allegro moderato (SOLO)
1st movt from Jazz Sonatine No. 2
Teppo Hauta-Aho: Jazz Sonatine No. 2
Recital Music (RM333)

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5 Dennis Leogrande Hey, Mon!
No. 6 from Eight Progressive Solos for the Beginner Bassist
No. 6 from Dennis Leogrande: Eight Progressive Solos for the Beginner Bassist
Spartan Press (SP1330)

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6 James MacMillan Barn Dance
from Northern Skies
Grade by Grade, Double Bass Grade 4
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 13603)
7 Rona Porter Queen's Park Rag
(bass spin optional)
Grade by Grade, Double Bass Grade 4
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 13603)
8 Tony Osborne Jazz Rock
No. 6 from Junior Jazz Book 1
(pizz. or arco or combination)
No. 6 from Tony Osborne: Junior Jazz Book 1
Recital Music (RM037)

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9 Prokofiev
arr. Schofield
Troika
from Lieutenant Kijé Suite
Amazing Solos for Double Bass, arr. Schofield
Boosey & Hawkes (BH 1300041)

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10 Schlemüller
arr. Close and Sassmannshaus or arr. Price
Old Soldiers (March)
Op. 12 No. 5
Early Start on the Double Bass, Vol. 3, arr. Close and Sassmannshaus
Bärenreiter (BA9663)

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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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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 4 Double Bass

Double Bass Grade 4 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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