Topic: Will someone please explain the US bassoon works grading system to me?

I love reading the reviews of sheet music, but coming from the Southern hemisphere,  I have no idea what "3+"etc.  means.  I've hunted on the net but can't find a list of well known works with grades against them, or, alternately, the examination board's  own list.
That would help if anyone knows one.  Thanks.

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Re: Will someone please explain the US bassoon works grading system to me?

Gail Warnaar of the Double Reed Shop in Vermont has great catalogs for double reed music with the grades given for each piece.  You can contact her at http://www.theoldhomestead.com/reed.htm and request copies of the catalogs from her.  I hesitate to just list out info from her publication without permission-- plus, I just have her WWQ and oboe catalogs, not the bassoon one.

This next link, http://www.mmea-maryland.org/html/band.php?id=1 is for the Maryland Music Educator's Association website.  It has links for lists of solo festival music, and you can check out the bassoon music to see what grades the various solo works get.  This is geared to middle and high school kids, so you probably won't see too much outrageously hard stuff, but it will give you an idea of how the grading system works.

Happy hunting!


Later note:  Actually, in looking at Gail's catalogs--- I'm not sure it's the same grading system.  it may be-- hers appears to go up to VIII, whereas the band and solo music I remember from school stopped with grade VI being the highest.  You will see this if you go to the MMEA site, it goes only to VI.  It is possible I guess that the schools just don't bother with anything above VI? Or maybe Gail uses a different system?

Any high school music directors out there who would know??

Last edited by oboe1960 (2006-09-09 08:30:18)

Darlene

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Re: Will someone please explain the US bassoon works grading system to me?

Hi Trina:
I am not sure this grading system is the same as the US, but you may find it interesting to look through and I think you will recognize some of the works.  This is bassoon.  http://www.abrsm.org/?page=exams/gradedMusicExams/practical/bassoon/bassoon0203_G1.html  and if you click on "complete syllabus"  at this link you will get all the grades listed  http://www.abrsm.org/?page=exams/gradedMusicExams/latestSyllabuses.html     You can also see links for the oboe  .  Kent

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Will someone please explain the US bassoon works grading system to me?

Darlene, I'm not a high school director, but my husband is a college band conductor. Wind Ensemble music only goes up to grade 6 (being for exceptional collegiate ensembles/professional), as does standard solo grading (the catalog you refer to must use its own) in North America.

Generally, grading is based upon techinical difficulty (not always fast stuff, sometimes just a long blow), harmonic and rhythmic complexity, and also independence of parts in ensemble music. It is very very rare that high school students will see gr. 6 literature unless they are unbelievably exceptional. Most high schools play (or should play....) around the grade 3-4 range, possibly 5 (but that should only be attempted by a very skilled conductor).

My husband has a sheet that he gives out to his Wind Band Lit class that explains it in more detail. I think it is an article from The Instrumentalist. It applies to solo music just as music as ensemble. I will try to find it and get back to you with more details.

Alexis Janners.

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Re: Will someone please explain the US bassoon works grading system to me?

Thanks Alexis-- I was almost positive that was the case.  I guess Gail is using her own grading system, or maybe it is a European one.

Last edited by oboe1960 (2006-09-09 15:28:33)

Darlene

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Re: Will someone please explain the US bassoon works grading system to me?

Dear All repliers,
VERY many thanks, and I will follow up all your suggestions.  If Alexis finds the article from the Instrumentalist, that would be great too.  I was beginning to despair that anyone would ever answer me, so it was splended to see 4.
thanks again
Trina

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Re: Will someone please explain the US bassoon works grading system to me?

Hi everyone!

I did find the information that my husband passes around to his class (everyone say thank you to Erik, lol). It is not an Intrumentalist article as I thought, but rather in a book called "Music for Concert Band".

I want to make sure I give all the credit to the author and say that this is just an excerpt for a sort of educational use, because I don't want to be breaking any copyright.

This is taken from the introduction to "Music for Concert Band" by Joseph Kreines, published by Florida Music Service, copyright 1989.

" EASY - (grades 1-2 approx) - Basic rhythms, techinically limited with simple textures, effective doublings for ensemble security, limited solos.

  MEDIUM EASY - (gr. 3) More elaborate rhythms, increasing technical facility, expanded ranges, greater techinical independence, more solo and small-choir scoring.

MEDIUM - (gr.4) Varied rhythms, expanded technical demands, more complex harmonic and contrapuntal content, metric variety, greater range of keys, more musical and scoring subtleties.

MEDIUM ADVANCED - (gr.5 ) More substantial musical and technical requirements, maturity of tonal, rhythmic and stylistic concepts, soloistic capabilities.

ADVANCED - (gr.6) Fully developed musical and technical ranges, including complex rhythms and meters, intricacies of articulations, full dynamic spectrum, full solo and section capability."



So what I take out of this to apply it to solo music is just remove references to ensemble playing. However, there is still that to take into account, like in the Hindemith Sonata for Bassoon and Piano, 2nd movement, the bassoonist has to play independantly of the piano, rather than a piece where the piano plays the melody with the soloist or something like that. Also, the way he words this, you could add a grade 7 into it if a particular state includes that.

Hope this helps!

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