Back to listing

For all press and media enquiries please contact Jon Flinn on 07811 397122 or email [email protected]

Fresh repertoire for Violin, Viola and Cello

8 years ago

Today ABRSM releases its Bowed Strings Syllabus 2016–2019 with refreshed repertoire lists for Violin, Viola and Cello. Repertoire from the new lists can be used in ABRSM exams from January 2016. No changes have been made to the Double Bass repertoire or to the requirements for scales, sight-reading and aural tests for any of the four subjects.

Inspiring pieces

ABRSM’s syllabus selectors play through hundreds of pieces to arrive at this final selection, and in doing so try to ensure there’s something that will appeal to learners and teachers of all ages and levels. Jessica O’Leary, ABRSM examiner, syllabus moderator and violin teacher, describes the new repertoire lists as 'full of the most beautiful melodies ever written for strings’. ‘They contain both new and core repertoire that both teachers and learners will love,’ she says. ‘The excitement starts immediately with the Muppet Show at Grade 1, Pig Ankle Rag and Bach for solo violin, Sonatas (from Grade 2) to Concertos and show pieces. There’s quality music in its most flexible form – I can’t wait to get started!’

New resources

New books and recordings are now available for teachers and learners from music retailers worldwide and Audio downloads can also be found at


ABRSM has published eight volumes of Violin Exam Pieces, providing a selection of music for Grades 1 to 8. This is the first time that a volume for Grade 8 has been published. A new app called Violin Practice Partner has also been released, following the successful release of Piano Practice Partner last year. Students can use the new app to practise with a piano accompaniment, the violin part in isolation, or the duo ensemble recording at their own pace. Violin Practice Partner is available at


More Time Pieces for Viola, Volume 1ABRSM has also added to its body of published material for viola with two volumes of More Time Pieces for Viola, featuring pieces of many different styles for learners and teachers. Su Zhen, Professor at Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM) in Beijing, believes ‘there are wonderful pieces in the book that will make you fall in love with the viola.’


Principal Cello is also released today, complete with a variety of pieces ranging in styles and difficulty for Grades 6–8. Cello teachers and students can use recordings for Grades 1–8 to help select and practise their pieces. The recordings are available to download or on CD. Aleksei Kiseliov, principal cellist with the RSNO, Scotland's national symphony orchestra, and a former ABRSM scholar who performed on the Grade 8 recordings says he is struck by ‘the sheer diversity of the syllabus’. ‘The pieces illustrate a multitude of styles and techniques, from the glorious prelude to Bach's third cello suite, to the pop-folky Julie-O by Mark Summer.’

More about the pieces

There are some familiar classics for each instrument including the Adagio from Bach’s G minor solo sonata at Grade 8 for Violin, The Montagues and the Capulets from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet at Grade 5 for Viola and The Elephant from Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals at Grade 1 Cello. A tango for Violin by Argentinean composer Ramiro Gallo, two passionate Tchaikovsky arrangements for Viola and a rare Squire piece for Cello are some of the pieces on the higher grades which will test candidates’ technique. Movie themes are also a feature of the Bowed Strings syllabus with pieces from The Little Mermaid, The Pink Panther and Harry Potter. There are several pieces that teachers can use in lessons with mixed groups of bowed string players. Henry VIII’s ‘Pastime with good company’ is one of ten pieces, for example, which can be played on two – or even three – instruments in the same key.

Additional information about resources

Resource Grades / Format
Violin Exam Pieces
  • Score, part and CD (Grades 1-8)
  • Score and part (Grades 1-8)
  • Part only (Grades 1-5)

More Time Pieces for Viola

Mainly for Grades 1-5. There’s also additional repertoire at Grades 6 and 7, and piano accompaniments are included.

Principal Cello

Grades 6–8

Violin Practice Partner

Grades 1–7

Back to listing

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. By using our website, you are agreeing to our cookie policy and consent to our use of cookies. Find out more.