Grade 5 Theory BookPass Grade 5 Theory provides a comprehensive introduction to music theory which is accessible to students of all ages from 9 upwards.

Primarily intended to meet the needs of students working for the ABRSM Grade 5 theory examination, it also contains a wealth of useful material for students of Music and Music Technology at GCSE & A-level, including those who may not have had any formal musical training prior to starting their courses.

The author has extensive experience of teaching music theory both in schools and in private practice. This book is the product of that experience and the material in it has been used successfully with students of all ages from Year 6 to adult. It assumes no prior formal training in music theory.

Hand in hand with Pass Grade 5 Theory Answers it provides all the material needed to allow a student to pass the ABRSM Grade 5 Theory exam.

Students who require a slower introduction to music theory with more reinforcement of the basics before tackling the more advanced work required for the Grade 5 syllabus may wish to consider using the companion volume, Pass Grade 3 Theory, first.


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Product Details:

  • Spiral-bound: 198 pages
  • Publisher: dinglemusic (Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955395109
  • Product Dimensions: A4 (29.4 x 21.6 x 1.8 cm)
  • Category: Workbook with instructions & exercises
  • Level: Grades 0-5, ages 9 – adult

This book assumes that the student has not studied music theory before. Each topic is covered in detail from first principles and each musical term is defined when it is introduced.

There are 13 Units in the book. The order has been carefully planned in order to ensure that the student first gains a thorough understanding of the basics of pitch, key and rhythm. The topics of transposition, basic chord structure and cadences, and how to produce an effective composition then build on these foundations.

Anyone who takes the time and trouble to master all the topics will have a good grounding in the basic elements of music theory.

He or she will have a good grasp of the basics of musical literacy which will prove invaluable in studying for A-Level Music or Music Technology and will be ready to enter the Associated Board Grade 5 Theory examination if they wish.

The book may be kept for future reference and used to refresh the memory if the student comes across anything they do not understand in the music they are studying.

In Units 1 – 3 the only note-value used is a semibreve. This is in order to reinforce the concept that the position of the note-head on the stave defines pitch.

Unit 1: Pitch starts with a definition of pitch, followed by stave and then a clear explanation of what is meant by a note written “on a line” or “in a space”. The four clefs are introduced, together with an explanation of their relationship to one another. The Unit ends with a definition of accidentals.
Unit 2: Scales and Key Signatures introduces major keys and key signatures and provides a method for working out any major key signature. The concept of “relative minors” is then taught, followed by the two forms of the minor scale. Finally students learn how to write a chromatic scale.
Unit 3: Intervals allows the student to progress steadily from assigning a simple numerical value to a given interval at the start of the Unit through to being able to give a full technical description by the end. Clear flow-charts illustrate the relationship between the various types of interval.
Unit 4: Note-lengths and Rests introduces the basic note-values with their associated rests. The meaning and use of dots following notes and of ties is also taught. It finishes with a detailed explanation of the correct way to write notes on the stave – accurate positioning of the note-head, rules regarding stem direction, how to draw beams accurately.
Unit 5: Time Signatures explores the concept of beat and the use of time signatures to indicate the beat within a piece of music. Starting with Simple Time, the Unit then introduces Compound Time. In each case, following a definition of each with examples, rules are laid out for the correct grouping of notes to define the beat in both types of time. The unit ends with an explanation of how to distinguish between music in simple time and music in compound time.

Unit 6: Irregular Time Divisions introduces triplets and duplets and provides examples and exercises for re-writing music from simple to compound time and vice versa.
Once these basic concepts have been mastered the student is ready to learn to apply them.
Unit 7: Transposition builds on the student’s knowledge of intervals and keys with numerous examples which can be transposed with or without a key signature.
Unit 8: Introducing Chords gives an overview of triad theory and explains inversions.
Unit 9: Describing Chords gives a simple-to-use method for arriving at an accurate description of any given I, II, IV or V chord.
Unit 10: Suggesting Chords for Cadences introduces perfect, plagal and imperfect cadences and provides a simple-to-use method for working out the best chords to use for the cadences in a given melody.
Unit 11: Composing a Melody teaches the student to use simple techniques for achieving a musically satisfying result, whether completing a given opening or setting words to music.
Unit 12: Voices in Score introduces two different methods of notating 4-part choral music and provides practice in re-writing extracts from one method to the other.
Unit 13: General Questions contains a list of common ornaments with their names and suggested realisation, tables of orchestral instruments and their families, performance directions which only apply to certain instruments and other performance directions which are grouped with words of similar meaning in order to make them easier to learn.

  • The diagrams and explanations were really helpful and I got a distinction.–S (age 9), Wilts

  • This book’s fantastic! As well as helping with Grade 5 theory it’s explained so many things for A-level music.–N (age 18), Berks

  • Having been afraid of Grade 5 theory for 20 years, this book finally gave me the help I needed and I passed the exam with distinction!–Mrs F, Essex

  • I really like Mrs Dingle’s theory book – it explains things in a way I can understand.–TH (age 12), Hants

  • I wish this had been available when my two older children needed to pass grade 5 theory – it’s been wonderful for my younger daughter.–Mrs K, Berks