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Grade 8

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 8 Exam:

All requirements from all previous grades, plus in all keys:

  • Locrian modal scale.
  • Phrygian major modal scale.
  • Jazz melodic minor scale.
  • Lydian b7 (Lydian dominant) modal scale.
  • Altered scale.
  • Diminished scale.

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 8 Exam:

All requirements from all previous grades, plus in all keys:

  • Dominant 7ths with # or b9ths; minor 7ths with b9ths; major 7ths and dominant 7ths with #11ths.
  • Commonly used altered bass 'slash' chords (e.g. Am/F#).
  • Commonly used 'add' chords (e.g. Cadd9)

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 8 Exam:

As for previous grades, but of greater complexity, plus:

  • 2/2 3/2 6/4 7/4 3/8 and 7/8 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 8 Exam:

As for the previous grade, but in greater depth, and with a wide knowledge of the history and development of popular music throughout the 20th century, including the influence of other forms of music and the societal contexts.

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 8 Exam:

  • As for previous grades, but in greater depth and detail, plus:
  • using chord symbols to harmonise a melody which may change key (to near and related keys only);
  • the composition of chord progressions demonstrating modulation to a full range of keys;
  • analysing chord progressions that use non-diatonic chords;
  • the application of scales and modal scales from Section 1 to improvisation, including recognition of key changes to any key.

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 8 Exam:

  • Transposing chords, presented in chord symbols, into any key.
  • Transposing melodies into any key.
  • Transposing between the treble and bass clef.

Download Grade 8 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 8 Exam Papers.

grade 8 music theory bookGrade 8 Popular Music Theory Handbook

The seventh book the highly regarded 7 part series of Popular Music Theory handbooks and contains grades 6-8. This book is perfect for advanced students of popular music theory and will help you to gain deeper insight, improving 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 further develop your knowledge of keys, chords, scales, rhythms, harmony and improvisation as well as expanding your 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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