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Grade 5

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 5 Exam:

Scales to the range of 4 sharps and 4 flats:

  • Major, pentatonic major, natural minor, pentatonic minor and harmonic minor.
  • Blues scales: C, G, D, A, E, F, Bb, Eb and Ab.
  • Dorian modal scales: D, A, E, B, F#, G, C, F and Bb.
  • Mixolydian modal scales: G, D, A, E, B, C, F, Bb and Eb.

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 5 Exam:

As for the previous grades, but extended to a range of keys to 4 sharps and 4 flats, plus:

  • Major and minor 6th
  • Diminished 7th chords.
  • 1st and 2nd inversions of major and minor triads.
  • Dominant 7th chords from harmonic minor scales in a range of keys to 4 sharps and 4 flats.

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 5 Exam:

As for the previous grades plus:

  • Triplets
  • 9/8 and 12/8 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 5 Exam:

  • A broad knowledge of influential popular music groups, vocalists and instrumentalists from 1950 onwards (selected by the candidate from pre-set lists shown below) together with an awareness of how their music was influenced by performers from earlier periods.
  • An in-depth knowledge of instruments commonly used in popular music including: their ranges and functions; an understanding of transposing instruments; a basic knowledge of specialist notation systems including guitar and bass tablature and drum notation.
  • A broad knowledge and clear understanding of common musical signs and terminology.

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 5 Exam:

  • In a range of keys up to and including 4 sharps and 4 flats:
  • the patterns of major 7th, minor 7th, dominant 7th and minor 7thb5 chords built from major and natural minor scales;
  • constructing chord progressions using chords built from major and natural minor scales and the dominant 7th chord built from the harmonic minor scale;
  • constructing and identifying commonly occurring cadential chord movements;
  • the application of major, pentatonic major, natural minor, pentatonic minor and blues 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 5 Exam:

  • Transposing a chord progression, presented in chord symbols, into any key within a range of keys up to 4 sharps and 4 flats.

Download Grade 5 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 5 Exam Papers.

grade 5 music theory bookGrade 5 Popular Music Theory Handbook

The sixth book in the highly regarded 7 part series of Popular Music Theory handbooks, this book is perfect for those intermediate students 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 increase your knowledge of 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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