Grade 5 Theory: Section 2

Section 2: Questions 2 and 3

You can find the practice paper I am going through here. We are looking at paper A.

Grade 5 Music Theory Practice Papers.pdf

I'll be referring to the keyboard a lot, so here is one!

Question 2



  • Count how many gaps there are between the two notes, counting the lowest note as no 1 - Write this down! Beware of the Clef!
  • Now work out whether this is major/minor/augmented/diminished/perfect. There are two ways of working this out:
    • Option 1: The option if you know your key signatures
      • Look at the lowest note. Imagine this is the tonic. Work out the major key signature of this note
      • Does the higher note appear in the major key of that tonic? If yes, the interval is major (if 2nd, 3rd, 6th or 7th) or perfect (if a 4th or 5th).
      • If not, work out minor key signature of the lowest note. Does the higher note belong to the minor key of that tonic? If yes, the interval is minor (if 2nd, 3rd, 6th or 7th)
      • If the answer is still no, the answer is augmented if sharpened and diminished if a flattened.
    • Option 2: The option if you don't!
      • Option one sound too complex? Use a keyboard picture to count all the notes between the two notes. Eg. D to G# (including D and G#) = 7
      • Relate this back to C major by counting 7 keys INCLUDING C. (in our example this would take us to F#)
      • Work out what the interval is in relation to C - so here F would be a perfect 4th but F# is one higher so this is an augmented 4th.

If the interval is more than an octave write 'compound' as the first work in your answer and deduct 7 from the number of notes in the interval e.g. augmented 9th becomes compound augmented 2nd.


For this question used the same knowledge of intervals, but create them instead. I like to use Option 2 in reverse to help me work these questions out.

Question 3


  • Key signatures
  • Transposing
  • Transposing instruments
  • Where your pencil and ruler you can use them!

You can find hints for this question in the drop down questions.

This task is mostly testing your drawing skills. You do however need to draw in the right key....

  • Only use the top line of stave for your answer
  • Try to keep your notes aligned with the notes above - this will make it easier
  • Draw in the bar lines
  • Draw in the clef and time signature

What should the new key be?

F major - One flat - Bb


Start by working now to work out what the key would be in the transposition requested. For example:

    • Bb instruments (Trumpet, Clarinet, Sop Sax) Starting in C transposing up a major 2nd would be D major
    • Eb instruments (Alto sax, Bari Sax) Starting in G transposing up a major 6th would be E major
    • F instruments (French Horn) Starting in F transposing down a perfect 5th would be Bb major
      • You can work this transposition out by counting the number of notes needed for that interval (e.g. perfect 5th=8) and using the keyboard to work out what your new starting key is.
    • Draw in the correct key signature unless it tells you not to!!!!

What degree of the scale is the first note?


    • Work out what degree of the scale the first note is. E.g. an A in F major is the third
    • Work out what note this would be in your new key and draw the notehead for this onto your stave

What should the first note be?

Middle C

  • Once you have the first note write the other note heads in by using the same intervals between the notes - if the next note is up by two lines, go up two lines. If it goes down 5, go down 5!
  • Draw in the stems and joining lines WITH A RULER
    • Remember, any note below the centre line has stems up, any above has stems up. B can go either way.
    • Group notes in the same size groups as in the example
    • Space any ledger lines evenly
  • Write in all accidents, dynamic markings, articulation and tempo markings
    • Add in any accidentals from the key signature if you were told not to write it at the start

Finished? Want the answers? Want more explanation?

Watch this video.

Forward to Section 3