Section A Using the voice well
1. Hymn Singing Maximum 15 marks (9 to pass)
Candidates should sing three verses (melody or their own voice part) from a prepared hymn (of at least four-line verses); the second verse should be sung unaccompanied.
[Note: This may be a hymn in their chosen language if not English]
2. Psalm Singing Maximum 15 marks (9 to pass)
Candidates should prepare and sing psalmody (melody or their own voice part), to music of their own choice in one of the three principally recitative styles as follows. This may be: eight verses of a Psalm and Gloria to Anglican Chant or Plainsong Tone; or the whole of a responsorial psalm, sung in recitative style (i.e. not a metrical psalm-song nor a hymn setting of a psalm).
[Note: This may be in their chosen language if not English]
3. Prepared item Maximum 20 marks (12 to pass)
Candidates should consult with their choir trainer and select an anthem, a solo or extract from an anthem, which they have already performed (or might potentially perform) in their own choir. The item chosen should be chosen from the repertoire at List-A.
The candidate may perform the melody or their own voice part. If they choose to sing the melody, altos and basses may use a transposed edition to suit their range.
Marks awarded will take account of the level of difficulty of the music, but more weight will be given to interpretation and musicality.
Throughout the above tests, the examiner will be looking for:
- Good unforced quality of tone with consistent control
- Good posture
- Good breath control with the ability to sustain to the end of a phrase
- Clear diction including good open vowel sounds
- Accurate intonation
- Rhythmic accuracy
- Good expressive and dynamic contrasts
- Evidence of comprehension of the text and mood of the piece All of the above should produce a sensitive and musical performance.
Section B Musical skills and understanding
1. Sight-reading Maximum 10 marks (6 to pass)
Candidates will be asked:
- To clap (or sing on one note) from sight, and unaccompanied, a simple rhythm, in simple time, which may include dotted notes. A second attempt will be allowed.
- To sing at sight, with accompaniment played by the examiner, a short melody (of about l0 notes), in a key of up to three sharps or flats, to a vowel or solfa (at the candidate’s choice). The key chord and first note will be given. A second attempt will be allowed.
2. Aural tests and Further Questions Maximum 10 marks (6 to pass)
2.1 Aural tests
Candidates will be expected to respond to any or all of the following tests:
- Clap the rhythm pattern of a 2-bar phrase played twice.
- Sing (in strict time) three simple 2-bar phrases, each heard only once. The key chord and the tonic will be sounded before the excerpt begins.
- Identify the following intervals each heard not more than twice (both notes played simultaneously): major and minor 3rd, perfect 4th and 5th. Two or three examples will be given within the candidate’s vocal range.
- Identify a passage as having 2, 3 or 4 beats in a bar on a single hearing.
2.2 Further questions
Using the prepared item from Section-A as a starting point, questions will be asked to ascertain candidate’s knowledge of:
- Notes of the stave most appropriate to their voice [SATB]
- Time values of notes
- Time signatures (simple time)
- Key signatures (up to three sharps and three flats)
- Simple Italian musical terms
Section C Repertoire Maximum 10 marks (6 to pass)
Candidates will be asked questions (appropriate to their age and/or experience) on their prepared pieces.
The topics for discussion should include:
- Text and music (origin, style, meaning, how the music reflects the text).
- Context (historical, musical, liturgical where relevant).
Note: A guide to more detail for Sections B & C, with sample questions may be found in the Voice for Life Choir Trainer’s Book and relevant Voice for Life work books (Light and Dark Blue) leading to the Bronze Award.
Section D Belonging to the Choir
There is no formal examination for this section and no marks are allocated. Nevertheless it remains a vital part of the bronze award. On application, candidates must present a written testimonial from their choir trainer, signed by the vicar/minister/head teacher/director of music, confirming their commitment to the choir (see ‘Pre-Requisites’).
Section E Choir in context Maximum 20 marks (12 to pass)
Candidates should bring two copies of any music, to which they refer in this Section E.
1. Candidates will be asked about any two [their choice] of the following church festivals and/or seasons: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Holy Week & Easter and Pentecost (Whitsuntide) and should be able to:
- suggest one of; a hymn, psalm or worship song suitable for each and to be prepared to sing a verse of one of them;
- show knowledge of the sections of the bible, which those festivals celebrate;
- name and show knowledge of a suitable anthem for either of the selected festival/season.
Note: Choices of music for this section should not be the same as those chosen for Section A.
2. Candidates will be asked to describe the sung parts of the form of Sunday service(s) at their own church, and to show awareness of their own responsibilities as choir members in these and in their choir/church generally.
Note: They may bring with them, and refer to, a service book or card as appropriate.
Note: The candidate’s understanding of the issues raised in this section will vary greatly according to age and experience; an adult beginner might be expected to show a greater understanding than a 10 year old, for example; though their musical and singing abilities might be on a par. Examiners will keep in mind that this is a first award.
List-A Repertoire List for Bronze Award
Make a choice from the following lists of anthems for the Prepared Item within Section A.
Anthems in the RSCM Bronze Collection approved for use as the Prepared Item for Section-A Bronze Award:
- Rutter —A Gaelic Blessing
- L. J. White — A Prayer of St Richard of Chichester
- Shephard — And didst thou travel light
- Lindley — Ave Maria
- Elgar — Ave verum corpus
- Ferguson — Away with gloom, away with doubt
- Sanger — Child in the manger
- How — Day by day
- How — Fairest Lord Jesus
- Ouseley — From the rising of the sun
- Harris — Glory, love and praise and honour
- Farrant — Hide not thou thy face
- Stainer — How beautiful upon the mountains
- Lole — I am the bread of life
- Aston — I give you a new commandment
- Barnard — In the heart where love is abiding
- Halsey — Let all the world in every corner sing
- Nazareth — Listen
- Wesley — Love one another
- Aston — Loving God
- Harper — May the peace of God the Father
- Stanford — O for a closer walk with God
- Lallouette — O mysterium ineffabile
- Tye — O Holy Spirit Lord of grace
- How — Praise, O praise thy God and King
- Weaver — Sent by the Lord am I
- Weaver — Steal away
- Shephard — The Easter song of Praise
- Ogden — The fruits of the land
- Archer — The Lord’s my shepherd
- Morley — This is the day
- Greene — Thou visitest the earth
- Attwood — Turn thy face from my sins
- Archer — We cannot measure
Other anthems in List-A approved as suitable for use as the Prepared Item for Section-A of the Bronze Award for the NW Europe Area:
- Archer — Let our praise to you
- Archer — My song is love unknown
- Bach — Awake, thou wintry earth
- Bach — Jesus, joy of man’s desiring
- Be still for the presence of the Lord
- Handel — Lord, I trust thee
- Harris — Come down, O Love Divine
- Hilton — Lord, for thy tender mercy’s sake
- How — Jesus is Lord
- Hurford — Litany to the Holy Spirit
- Ives — O for a closer walk
- Little — Before the ending of the day
- Mozart — Ave verum
- Mudd — Let thy merciful ears
- Ogden — Christ has no body now but yours
- Stanford — Magnificat in C
- Tallis — If ye love me
- Traditional — The angel rolled the stone away
- Tye — O come, ye servants of the Lord
- Rutter — God be in my head
- V. Williams — The Call
- Wesley — Lead me Lord