Music theory: grade 4
Time: 11:00 - 13:00
Location: Keeley Street
Course Code: MG454
Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)
Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.
What is the course about?
A course for those with good knowledge of the basics of music theory who wish to build on their knowledge. Using the ABRSM/Trinity Grade 4 syllabus, you will develop your understanding of rhythm, melody and simple harmony, and start to learn about different instruments and ornaments and embellishments.
This course may be used as preparation for an external ABRSM music theory exam.
- Music theory grades 1-5 are available as online examinations only
- Music theory grade 6 and upwards are available as paper-based exams at ABRSM exam centres
For latest information from ABRSM, including theory exam dates/fees, please click: https://gb.abrsm.org/en/exam-booking/exam-dates-and-fees/ [external website].
- All grade exams are available three times per year, and we recommend you sit your exam the term after your course finishes.
What will we cover?
- all regular simple and compound metres
- more complex rhythmic patterns using double dots, duplets and the breve
- alto clef (used by the viola) and transcribing music between the three clefs
- major and minor keys up to five sharps/flats, including root position primary triads (chords on 1st, 4th and 5th scale degrees)
- double sharps / flats and their cancellation
- the principle of enharmonic equivalence
- technical names for scale degrees
- quantity and quality of all intervals up to an octave
- the chromatic scale
- terms and signs for melodic decoration and their application in instrumental music.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- read, write, hear, clap and play/sing complex rhythms in any regular metre
- read and write in alto clef, and transcribe music between clefs
- read, hear and write music in major and minor keys up to five sharps / flats, including using double sharps / flats where needed
- read and write root position primary triads
- technical names for scale degrees
- read, write, hear and sing/play intervals up to an octave
- understand terms and signs for melodic decoration and their application in instrumental music
- answer questions on a Grade 4 theory music exam paper.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
- You need to have completed Music theory: grade 3 or equivalent, and have good knowledge of rhythm, simple and compound metre, melodic structure, and tonic triads.
- 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?
You will need your own copy of the course text-book (see below) and a computer or tablet with a webcam, microphone and reliable internet connection to take this class. We use GOOGLE CLASSROOM to share messages, documents, audio and video files and for you to submit any homework tasks.
Your tutor will use a variety of techniques:
- tutor explanation and demonstration via webcam / shared screen
- short revision videos and/or audio files (posted in Google Classroom)
- worksheets (posted in Google Classroom)
- group performing and individual demonstration tasks (e.g. clapping rhythms).
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will need manuscript paper, pencil and eraser, notebook and pen.
Please buy and bring to class:
ABRSM Guide to Music Theory Part I (covers Grades 1–5) (c.£6) [external website]
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
This course leads to Music theory: grade 5
Study of music theory is greatly enhanced by our Practical musicianship courses. 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.
Sarha is an experienced teacher and gigging musician, performing on the saxophone, arranging and composing on the piano, in classical, jazz and world music genres. Her principal band, Bollywood Brass Band, is the UK’s pioneering Indian-style wedding band, performing tunes and compulsively danceable rhythms of Bollywood films. Twice nominated for Songlines World Music Awards, the band has performed across the world in concerts, festivals, and Indian weddings in the UK, Europe, India, Thailand and South Africa. Sarha played with Ghanaian Highlife band Orchestre Jazira, and socialist big band, The Happy End. She also plays in the Charlie Mingus jazz cover band Hog Callin’, The Great Yiddish Parade marching band and Freylekh klezmer band. Sarha’s specialist area is World Music, and she has a PhD on the study of the Flattened Supertonic across different cultures. At CityLit she teaches jazz and classical piano, saxophone, world music styles (practical and academic courses), musicianship and music theory.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.