Grade 4
ABRSM 2021 & 2022


All 9: A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B3, C1, C2, C3





This Prelude was originally written for the lute, but works well on the keyboard too.


E-flat or D in bar 23

I grew up with the Eb-in-bar-23 version. My understanding is that we know about this piece through a copy made during Bach's lifetime by J. P. Kellner; we don't have a version in Bach's hand. In the Kellner version (available on it is clearly an Eb and his handwriting is very neat; there's no room for doubt here.

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Subsequent editors have questioned the Eb, presuming that Bach intended an uninterrupted D pedal. To my ear both work well, but if preparing students for an exam I would explain what we know, but encourage the D for an exam performance, simply because that is the ABRSM score. The story sheds light on questions of authenticty, the role of editors, and the importance of, or not (!) following the score.
Thanks for drawing my attention to this Elizabeth.

We can also see in this handwritten score the C clef placed on the bottom line of the upper stave. I'm not aware of any instruments using that clef nowadays. Perhaps it's a lute thing?







A Saraband was a much-loved dance during the Baroque by which point it had a slow, solemn and stately feel. This Saraband looks quite complicated in modern notation which tries to show us when to hold on to notes to build up the chords which also invariably overlap with one another creating suspensions.


Here's the original score in keyboard tablature .  If you can make head nor tail of this, you're ahead of me!

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C9 - Bulgarian Peasant Dance by V. Stoyanov
from The Joy of Modern Piano Music (Yorktown Music Press)



C10 - Shenandoah arr. Ned Bennett
from The Graded Piano Player: Grade 3-5 (Faber)