Music theory: grade 8

Course Dates: 25/02/19 - 08/07/19
Time: 10:45 - 12:45
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tutor: Malcolm Miller

Learn more complex elements of music such as writing two-part counterpoint above a given harmony, writing for keyboard in historical styles, writing melodies for instrument, and analysing a score (ornaments, harmonic structure, phrase structure, style, performance directions, use of voices and instruments). course dates: 25th Feb-1st April, 29th April, 13-20th May, 3rd Jun-8th July.


What is the course about?

Develop your understanding of musical language, style and notation to an advanced level using the ABRSM/Trinity Grade 8 syllabus. This course focusses on sophisticated harmony, and stylistic features of Baroque, Classical and early Romantic music, and music analysis.

This course will prepare students to sit the Grade 8 exam. Please contact the music office ( if you would like to sit your exam at City Lit, which is an ABRSM Theory exam centre. ABRSM theory exam dates are usually towards the end of each term and published online here: all grade exams are available each term.

What will we cover?

- all standard diatonic and chromatic chords in tonal music
- 18th century style counterpoint in two parts
- keyboard writing in Classical/early Romantic style
- melody writing for instruments
- analysis of music for piano or ensemble (e.g. ornaments, phrase structure, style, performance directions, use of voices and instruments).

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- analyse and use all standard diatonic and chromatic harmony in tonal music
- write two-part counterpoint in 18th century style over a given harmonic structure
- write keyboard music in Classical/early Romantic style
- compose instrumental melodies in Baroque, Classical or early Romantic style
- analyse music for piano or ensemble
- answer questions on a Grade 8 theory music exam paper.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

You need to have completed Music theory: grade 7 or equivalent, and have good knowledge of diatonic and chromatic harmony, the principal features of Baroque and Classical music including figured bass, and have score-reading and analytical skills.

You will need to follow written and verbal instructions in English, engage in class discussion and practical exercises, take notes in English and write staff notation.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Tutor presentation and explanation, written and practical exercises (clapping, singing, playing) written exercises, tutor feedback, class discussion.

Written homework between sessions will help you practise and consolidate what you learn in class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please buy and bring to class ABRSM Music Theory in Practice Grade 8, and Eric Taylor, ABRSM Guide to Music Theory Part II (covers Grades 6–8).
You will also need manuscript paper, pencil and eraser, notebook and pen.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You may wish to sit a formal music theory exam. City Lit operates as an ABRSM music theory exam centre; ask your tutor about entering.
You may also be interested in: Music theory: advanced topics, Music theory: counterpoint, Composition, Songwriting, or Keyboard harmony and improvisation, or one of our many Practical musicianship courses.

City Lit also offers a wide range of Music appreciation courses which will help you develop your understanding of musical style and periodisation.

For more details about musicianship and music theory please visit our blog: Musicianship and music theory at City lit which lists our full sequence of musicianship and music theory classes.

General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Book your place

Course Code: MG438

Mon, day, 25 Feb - 08 Jul '19

Duration: 15 sessions (over 20 weeks)

Full fee: £279.00
Senior fee: £223.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2630

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.