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Grade 3

Section 1 - Scales and Keys

Candidates are expected to have a good knowledge of the notes that make up scales - this is essential if the scales learnt in theory are to be used in a practical context.

All scales and key signatures are fully illustrated and explained in the grade handbooks - which also contain sample questions and answers. Find out more

Scales for Grade 3 Exam:

Scales to the range of 2 sharps and 2 flats:

  • Major, pentatonic major, natural minor and pentatonic minor.
  • Blues scales: C, G, D, F and Bb.

Section 2 - Chords

Candidates are expected to have a good knowledge of chord symbols and the notes that make up chords - this is essential if the chords learnt in theory are to be used in a practical context.

All chords are fully illustrated and explained in the grade handbooks - which also contain sample questions and answers. Find out more

Chords for Grade 3 Exam:

All major, minor and diminished triads from major and natural minor scales, within a range of keys to 2 sharps and 2 flats, plus:

  • Major 7th chords: C, G, D, F, Bb
  • Minor 7th chords: A, E, B, D, G
  • Dominant 7th chords: G7, D7, A7, C7, F7

Section 3 - Rhythm Notation

Candidates should have a practical understanding of time signatures, as well as note and rest values (including correct grouping).

Illustrations and explanations of all relevant aspects of rhythm notation are shown in the grade handbooks - which also contain sample questions and answers. Find out more

Rhythm Notation for Grade 3 Exam:

As for the previous grades plus:

  • 2/4 and 6/8 time signatures.

Section 4 - Knowledge of Popular Music

Candidates will be asked questions in three areas:

Further information on all aspects of this section of the examination is given in the grade handbooks - which also contain sample questions and answers. Find out more

Knowledge of Popular Music for Grade 3 Exam:

  • A knowledge of influential popular music groups, vocalists and instrumentalists from 1950 onwards (from a pre-set list of four comprising: Bob Dylan, The Sex Pistols, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd).
  • A good knowledge of instruments commonly used in popular music.
  • A good knowledge of common musical signs and terminolog

Section 5 - Harmony

Questions in this section largely focus on the candidate's ability to relate the knowledge of scales and chords, from Sections 1 and 2, to practical music-making situations - such as improvisation and composition of chord progressions.

Further information on all aspects of this section of the examination is given in the grade handbooks - which also contain sample questions and answers. Find out more

Harmony for Grade 3 Exam:

  • The pattern of triads built from major and natural minor scales, up to and including 2 sharps and 2 flats.
  • The technical terms for the I, IV and V chords.
  • V-I and IV-I cadences in major keys up to 2 sharps and 2 flats.
  • Constructing chord progressions in the keys of C, G and F major.
  • The application of major and natural minor scales in improvisation.

Section 6 - Transposition

In this section candidates will be asked to transpose, or identify transposed, chord progressions and melodies.

Further information on all aspects of this section of the examination is given in the grade handbooks - which also contain sample questions and answers. Find out more

Transposition for Grade 3 Exam:

  • Transposing a chord progression, presented in chord symbols, up or down one whole step (whole tone) within a range of keys up to 2 sharps and 2 flats.

Download Grade 3 Exam Past Papers

Practising with past exam papers can provide ideal preparation for your exam. Past papers also provide you with a clear example of the type and format of questions that may appear in the exam.

Click here to purchase Grade 3 Exam Papers.

grade 3 music theory bookGrade 3 Popular Music Theory Handbook

The fourth book in the highly regarded 7 part series of Popular Music Theory handbooks, this book is perfect for those seeking to improve their knowledge of popular music theory. This book will help you to improve your musicianship whether or not you intend to take the LCM examination. 

All topics are for the exam are covered in a way that is directly applies to the music you play, making music theory both relevant and practical.

You’ll learn about keys, chords, scales, rhythms, harmony and improvisation as well as developing a broad musical knowledge (including instrumentation, musical terms and the history of popular music).

Click here for more information or to purchase these books.

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