The Harmony Trail – Music Theory Grades 6-8

Here’s the follow-on book to THE THEORY TRAIL.  Once you’ve passed your ABRSM Grade 5 theory, think about what’s next!  Grade 6 work is different, exciting and challenging.  With THE HARMONY TRAIL you have everything you need to do really well, and then on to Grades 7 and 8 in no time.  University music degree courses increasingly want Grade 8 theory – GET IT with THE HARMONY TRAIL.  Order your copy here.

1.The Harmony Trail - Front Cover

New Theory Book!

It’s here!  My new theory resource – everything you need to know to get to Grade 5 ABRSM, all in one book, easy to use, easy to understand.1.The Theory Trail - Front Cover

It’s THE THEORY TRAIL, with step-by-step guides to all questions in all five grades.  Everything is explained clearly, with colour charts and diagrams to help you understand this and enjoy it.   Every so often along the Trail there’s a Camp where you can consolidate and revise what you’ve learnt, and then take a Theory Exam at the grade you’ve been studying.  Before you know it, you’ll have passed your Grade 5 Theory Exam. Congratulations!  Click here to order your copy of THE THEORY TRAIL.

Cadential 6/4 Progressions

This is an advanced theory resource, for students studying Grade 6 music theory and above, and for students of A-level music.  

Remember that a 6/4 chord is a second inversion chord.  You may only use second inversion chords at recognised places, such as in Cadential 6/4, Passing 6/4 and Auxiliary 6/4 progressions.  You will need to learn these thoroughly, and then be able to apply them to any key.

Keys and Tastes

When I was a child learning to play the piano, I always associated different major and minor keys with food or drink – the tastes seemed to go with the feel of music written in those different keys.  I never could understand the idea of the music sounding the same, no matter which key you played it in!  After all, you wouldn’t serve up Brussel sprouts with custard, would you?

Would Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony have been as powerful if it had been written in a different key?  A minor, for instance?  And when Bach wrote the ’48’, how did he go about it?  He had all those keys to play with, and a different prelude and fugue for each.  He must have had associations too – after all, that was the point of the Well-Tempered Clavier.  By making all the major and minor keys ever so slightly different, musicians could play in all of them!

So, as we say nowadays, let’s celebrate our differences!  Or as they used to say in the old days – ‘Vive la différence!’

Well, let me know what you think.


C maj:  fruit trifle with custard and whipped cream

A min:  sparkling water with a lime wedge

G maj:  vegetables – especially courgettes, kale, broccoli

E min:  fried breakfast

D maj:  picnic – sandwiches, salad, hard-boiled eggs

B min:  steak-and-kidney pudding

A maj:  Guinness

F# min:  too much alcohol

E maj:  fried breakfast, when you have a hangover

C# min:  vinegar

B maj:  plums

G# min:  herbs – lavender and sage

F# maj:  dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)

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