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I am looking for suggestions for piano repertoire at the ABRSM Grade 4 level (i.e., intermediate level) that were written by female composers (other than the few pieces that are in the current list for 2021/2022), and that are suitable for an adult (not obviously works for children).

Thank you for any suggestions.

Last edited by MiddleA; 04/11/21 07:07 PM.
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Check out this list for the grade 4 pieces:

http://www.chsg.org.uk/_files/subje...evel-Music-Difficulty-Levels-Booklet.pdf

The only ones I'm certain of is Elizabeth Maconchy's The Fair and Martha Mier's Persistent Rhythm. There are many other names who I haven't heard of, who might be female.


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You can take a look at the RCM syllabus. Grade 4 ABRSM would be something like grade 5 or 6 in RCM. Most pieces will be likely 20th century. Like Violet Archer, Amy Beach, susan Alcon, ....

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It's a real pity that the best-known female composers - Louise Farrenc, Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn, Cécile Chaminade, Amy Beach - wrote very little music which wasn't advanced (and beyond). Probably because they were composing for themselves.

Here's an article I found:

https://www.thecuriouspianoteachers.org/female-composers-at-the-keyboard-part-2/

Chaminade's Idyll and Barbara Arens's Moonbeams are probably on the ABRSM 2021 list already.

Even the pianist-composers who were prominent teachers like Marie Jaëll (who wrote a piano method still in use today) didn't compose easier music.


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I guess I am really not familiar with ABRSM...

When I saw the thread title, I thought of Lily Boulanger's Three Piano Pieces. Then I looked up the ABRSM grade... and it's 8. I didn't think music that sounds like not too difficult Debussy would be that difficult.


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Originally Posted by patH
I guess I am really not familiar with ABRSM...

When I saw the thread title, I thought of Lily Boulanger's Three Piano Pieces. Then I looked up the ABRSM grade... and it's 8. I didn't think music that sounds like not too difficult Debussy would be that difficult.
ABRSM and the other exam syllabi like RCM assume that the average student progresses at the rate of one grade a year. By Grade 8 ABRSM (= RCM level 10) students are playing the WTC and Beethoven sonatas, and have enough skills to keep progressing on their own, or go on to diplomas. Gifted students will romp through them (e.g. getting Grade 8 by age 12) and then straight into diplomas or conservatoires. Most of us here have forgotten how long - in terms of years of lessons - it took us to be able to play Für Elise properly (assuming that we ever learnt it, which I never did) which is Grade 5, the same as the easiest Debussy piece (Page d'album).

The exam pieces are not 'stretch pieces' for each grade - they are meant to be reasonably comfortable (like Rach 3 is for every Russian virtuoso), meaning that the student can give a decent account of it (technically & musically), rather than just hack bravely through it, hoping for the best.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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