I Made a Graded Repertoire: What do you guys think? (I Revised The List According to You Guys)

Edited: December 26, 2019, 11:04 AM · So HI guys. I was really disappointed in all the graded repertoires I found on the Internet, so I made my own. I referred to a variety of sources:

SHAR Music Difficulty Ratings
ASTA Difficulty Ratings
Henle Difficulty Ratings

this random list that I found on Quora.


of course, Jubin's list.

The lists were all very different, with all their pros and cons. To be honest, the lists were all whack. They all seemed to hold together pretty well till the Accolay/Haydn in G level, then the lists all went absolutely chaotic, then somehow managed to come together on the Mendelssohn level again. Jubin's list was very inaccurate (at least in my perspective) on the pre-Bruch levels, and was one of the lists that was more personal though it had one of the most accurate ratings in the advanced level. The Quora list too was personal/inaccurate: it had the tendency to underestimate major works, though it was very accurate on the lower levels. The RCM Syllabus rating were the most accurate in my opinion, probably due to the fact that this isn't a graded list (well, it kinda is but still) and a test syllabus so it can't be personal. Violinmasterclass was an OK list, but it suffered from a lack of levels e.g. they placed Berg and Bruch on the same level. The Violinwiki list was arguably the worst because it was put together by random people who probably didn't really care.

What this list indicates is the time you're ready for the piece. For example, the Mozart Concertos, if had to be played flawlessly, it would probably belong in level 10 or even 10+, not level 5 or 6.

The list is in alphabetical order

This is the revised version


Level 1:

Rieding Concerto in B minor
Rieding Concerto in D major
Seitz Concerto No. 2
Seitz Concerto No. 5

Level 2:

Vivaldi Concerto in A minor
Vivaldi Concerto in G major

Level 3:

Marcello Concerto in D major
Seitz Concerto No. 3
Seitz Concerto No. 4
Vivaldi Concerto in G minor

Level 4:

Accolay Concerto
Bach Concerto No. 1
Bach Double Concerto
Haydn Concerto in G major
Komarowski Concerto No. 1
Nardini Concerto in E minor

Level 5:

Bach Concerto No. 2
de Beriot Concerto No. 9
Haydn Concerto in C major
Kabalevsky Concerto
Vivaldi Spring
Vivaldi Autumn

Level 6:

Mozart Concerto No. 2
Mozart Concerto No. 3
Rode Concerto No. 7
Rode Concerto No. 8
Vivaldi Summer
Vivaldi Winter

Level: 7

Bruch Concerto No. 1
Conus Concerto
Khachaturian Concerto
Mozart Concerto No. 4
Mozart Concerto No. 5 “Turkish”
Spohr Concerto No. 2
Spohr Concerto No. 8
Viotti Concerto No. 22
Viotti Concerto No. 23

Level 8:

Adams Concerto
Barber Concerto
Bartok Concerto No. 1
Glass Concerto
Hao-Kang Butterfly Lover’s Concerto
Lalo Symphonie Espagnole
Mendelssohn Concerto
Myakovsky Concerto
Penderecki Concerto
Rorem Concerto
Saint-Saens Concerto No. 3
Szymanowski Concerto No. 1
Szymanowski Concerto No. 2
Vieuxtemps Concerto No. 4
Vieuxtemps Concerto No. 5
Weinberg Concerto
Wieniawski Concerto No. 2

Level 9:

Dvorak Concerto
Glazunov Concerto
Goldmark Concerto
Korngold Concerto
Paganini Concerto No. 1
Paganini Concerto No. 2
Prokofiev Concerto No. 2
Shostakovich Concerto No. 2

Level 10:

Beethoven Concerto
Berg Concerto
Brahms Concerto
Britten Concerto
Elgar Concerto
Joachim Concerto No. 2
Prokofiev Concerto No. 1
Sibelius Concerto
Shostakovich Concerto No. 1
Stravinsky Concerto
Tchaikovsky Concerto
Walton Concerto

Level 10+:

Bartok Concerto No. 2
Ernst Concerto “Pathetique”
Gubaidulina Offertorium
Ligeti Concerto
Rozsa Concerto
Schoenberg Concerto
Wieniawski Concerto No. 1

Unaccompanied Violin:

Level 5:

Bach Partita No. 2 (-Chaconne)
Bach Partita No. 3

Level 6:

Bach Sonata No. 1
Bach Partita No. 1

Level 7:

Bach Sonata No. 2
Bach Partita No. 2 (+Chaconne)

Level 8:

Bach Sonata No. 3
Easiest Paganini Caprices

Level 9:

Easier Wieniawski Etude-Caprices
Intermediate Paganini Caprices
Ysaye Sonata No. 2
Ysaye Sonata No. 3
Ysaye Sonata No. 4

Level 10:

Hardest Paganini Caprices
Harder Wieniawski Etude-Caprices
Ysaye Sonata No. 1
Ysaye Sonata No. 5
Ysaye Sonata No. 6

Level 10+:

Bartok Unaccompanied Sonata
Cage Freeman Etudes
Ernst Last Rose of Summer
Paganini Nel Cor Piu Non Mi Sento
Schubert Erlkonig

Please be nice (a quote from Jubin)

P.S It would be great if you guys inform me on other works thats not on the list; currently I'm trying to figure out the Telemann Fantasias

Replies (29)

December 22, 2019, 5:22 AM · Nice - I think you missed the Bach Partita #2 movements other than the Chaconne. They should probably be (according to your scale) Level 5 Bach solo (the first to work on).
December 22, 2019, 5:30 AM · Oops, there was a mistake and now it's fixed; I did add the Partita No. 2 minus the Chaconne though. Thanks!
December 22, 2019, 7:55 AM · May I respectfully suggest that listing alphabetically within a level makes no sense. For example, the Vivaldi G Major is significantly easier than the Vivaldi a minor. I also disagree with listing the Sibelius among the hardest works being performed...I learned it right after Saint-Saens #3 and Mendelssohn, and it's sometimes taught to the better high school students. Prokofiev 1 is harder than 2, I agree, but among the hardest works being performed? (And where is Tchaikovsky? I couldn't find it.)
December 22, 2019, 8:56 AM · I hope I'm not being too picky, but I would definitely also separate the Preludio from Partita #3 to Level 6.
December 22, 2019, 9:28 AM · Do what I did - join an orchestra and put every list I ever made in the recycling!
December 22, 2019, 10:01 AM · Mary Ellen, there are arguments for listing pieces alphabetically within levels. Such an ordering--in fact a random sequence as concerns difficulty--avoids endless debates about small gradations of limited practical importance. I agree for example that Vivaldi G is easier than Vivaldi a*. But the difference of each to a work on a different level is still larger than the difference between the two. Would you really argue that having a student study a-minor before G would be a serious error?

*I know from personal experience: I did the G-Major as a "rogue project" (not authorized by not known to my teacher) after (officially) the a-minor and got on rather quickly with it.

December 22, 2019, 11:31 AM · You definitely need to add Vieuxtemps (at least #5; probably 4 as well). I would put #5 as an early Level 9 or late Level 8. #4 would probably be a 7 or 8.

Personally, I think your levels 7 and 8 could be conflated, or maybe I would separate them out differently. I personally think Mendelssohn is easier than Wieniawski #2, St Saens #3, or the majority of Lalo SE. Also Barber I might move back a level.

On your unaccompanied list, I would bring in the easier Paganini Caprices earlier. They are definitely playable at the same level as Bach Sonata 2/3.

Overall it is is a nice list, though!

Edited: December 22, 2019, 12:15 PM · Nice List and good work. Of course all of this can be an entertaining debate. I have a version of a technical list for use at my college job. Beethoven concerto; I will differ with the majority opinion and put it on the same technical level as Bruch-Mendelsohn-Lalo. The difficulty is mainly physical, like performing 3 Mozart concertos back to back. I know this because I have played the solo part during an orchestra rehearsal as substitute soloist, and I am definitely not a high level player. Brahms and Tchaikovsky are out of my league.
The Modern concertos have the added difficulty of memorizing and tuning in a non-tonal context.
Bach S.&P; There are 3 levels of difficulty 1) singe-note movements, 2) double-stop and chords movements, 3) The Fugues and the Chaconne.
December 22, 2019, 2:39 PM · Thanks guys for your replies.

Mary Ellen, I do agree that the vivaldi G major is easier than the a minor, but its a step up from the Seitz concertos, and it would not make sense to add a level just for it. I also disagree that Sibelius isn't in top tier because for all I know, the Sibelius is one of the hardest concertos out there. The same goes with the Prok 1

Susan, thanks for informing me on the Vieuxtemps Concertos. I added then to the list. I've been looking for it for ages. Thats exactly the type of comments I need. I also expanded the Paganini's span of difficulty.

Joel, I know Beethoven's technical demans are low, but to make it sound not boring... goodness its a nightmare.

December 22, 2019, 4:13 PM · If you want another syllabus to check against try New Zealand's.


December 22, 2019, 4:14 PM · With respect, Sibelius is not even close to being one of the hardest concertos out there. I don't think you'll find much disagreement among pros on this point.
Edited: December 22, 2019, 9:45 PM · Scottish Fantasy by Max Bruch didn’t even make the list that has included a lot of obscure works.
Edited: December 22, 2019, 10:14 PM · As to Beethoven: One of my teacher once said: You can sight read the Beethoven. Then you practice it for a year and you can't play it any more. There are difficulties in it that are unrelated to technical performance.

You could make an entirely different list: The first group would consist of concertos where the technical difficulty is irrelevant: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Shostakovich No. 1 for example. Followed by one or several "middle" group(s). The group at the other end would be those for which the technical difficulty is the raison d'être: Paganini's being the prime example.

December 22, 2019, 10:13 PM · I don't know about your placement of the Four Seasons; they're not all of equal difficulty. Winter is one of the hardest of the set for sure. Nailing down those virtuoso 32nd notes at the end is exceptionally hard to do. It's not just flourishes which you can get away with fudging a bit; you need absolute precision. And if you're playing it up to a reasonable tempo, it just *flies* past. Also it's in F minor which is an unfriendly key anyway.

It should also be noted that, while I agree that Kabalevsky is a good student concerto and I agree with your placement of it on your list, no student should be expected to play Kabalevsky *up to tempo* the first time they learn it. The marked tempi are simply obscene. Even Oistrakh sometimes cheats and takes it a tiny bit under-tempo (never by any more than about 10%, but still) in his recordings. It is a good idea to eventually get it up to tempo, but it may take quite a while and that's OK.

December 22, 2019, 10:28 PM · The Beethoven's technical difficulties are nontrivial if you intend to play it as cleanly as it needs to be played. Zero room for intonation errors, including lots of perfect intervals which have to be dead-on, just about every shift needs to be silent, no convenient places to shift, and tons of places where if you want to avoid a color-change you have to use a very inconvenient fingering. Mozart concertos lie well in the hand. Beethoven doesn't.

December 23, 2019, 3:26 AM · I think Viotti 23 should move up considerably.
Edited: December 23, 2019, 5:49 AM · The New Zealand site is very interesting, as it is far more comprehensive than the ABRSM (subjectivity and varying performance standards aside).

NZ has, just for Kreutzer, the following: -

Grade 4: No. 2; No. 5
Grade 6: No. 8; No. 10; No. 11; No. 13; No. 15; No. 16
Grade 7: No. 12; No. 14; No. 17; No. 37
Grade 8: No. 26; No. 30; No. 34; No. 35; No. 38

Whereas the ABRSM merely has 10 and 30 (historically to boot) both at grade 8, and that's about their lot, I think. I look forward to learning 29. It's not listed, but it will be in the vicinity. Also the list above confirms a suspicion I have about Whistler's preparing for Kreutzer - he basically seems to tell us that, before considering running a marathon, we need to run 26 miles.

Edited: December 23, 2019, 11:55 AM · I question the purpose of this list. If it's supposed to be about a sensible pedagogical order, then I think it's kind of in a weird order, and if it's sort of just about the difficult tricks that pieces have, it's also kind of in a weird order.

It seems like in America, students play Mozart waaaay earlier than in Europe (at least the Russian school), I think, to the detriment of the music. I played Wieniawski 2 before Mendelssohn, but I'm not sure if it's really easier, and I understand and agree with my teacher's logic in that order.

The Suzuki approach seems to throw endless baroque music at you (and falsely give you the idea that Handel sonatas are student pieces that don't require good bowing skills) and then move you through time, while my teacher (from a Russian background) seems to see romantic works as the place to build technique.

I don't think anyone is playing Khachaturian before Mendelssohn, even if you could debate about the difficulties. It looks like Szymanowski is way too early, and Saint-Saens 3 is generally played after Mendelssohn.

I think a list like this sort of misses the point of why teachers assign what they do and in what order, and would only serve to give particularly unthoughtful teachers another way to turn their brains off, or to give ADHD students license to do a bunch of pointless and potentially harmful exploring (self-teaching) instead of listening to what their teachers are telling them.

December 23, 2019, 1:05 PM · I would respectfully suggest that anyone who would come up with a list like this should (at least) have heard every piece of music on the list in its entirety.

I am not sure if the OP has done that.

December 23, 2019, 2:57 PM · Not merely heard, but personally played and preferably taught all the repertoire on the list. But I agree that OP does not seem to have personal familiarity with the advanced repertoire.
December 23, 2019, 4:44 PM · > Summed up as impossible

See, that's the problem there. None of those works listed are impossible. Spend a summer at any of the major music festivals and there are many college/conservatory students who can fire them out at a respectable level.

December 25, 2019, 9:09 AM · I'm going to say that I don't think the poster's performed many of these. But he seems (he?) to have done due diligence and brings out a lot of fairly obscure works. I suspect he's young(ish) and some of it is hyperbole. "Impossible" doesn't mean "can never be played" in that style of speaking.

I'm torn between saying, "Good to see what's ahead and have some appreciation for the range of difficulty " and the temptation to think, "Oh, good, a whole bunch of boxes that he thinks he needs to check off to be validated and appreciated."

It's certainly better than some teens I know who really just want to learn violin because they need the high school credit or because they really, really like the theme music from "Frozen", or think that Stirling is one of the greatest violinists of all time and truly "high art".

This kind of list is also really helpful for people who are still learning (of whatever age) and who don't perceive the distance between levels. I started violin. It was a shock to realize I wouldn't be playing Bach's Chaconne after a couple of years. Even a basic curriculum would have allowed me (and my newish teacher at the time) to be informed as to what to expect, how to gauge progress, and what was a reasonable goal for the next year or five years. There were printed curricula, but you had to know they existed and where to find them. My teacher, an Eastman graduate, knew her training but any one teacher's training tends to be narrow by necessity, and their teaching shouldn't just recapitulate their experience in detail.

Edited: December 25, 2019, 9:41 AM · What we have here is basically a meta-analysis. Considering the number of lists already out there, a metastudy seems a quite reasonable project. I'd rather the OP had a PhD in statistics than violin performance.
December 25, 2019, 9:49 AM · Not sure which Penderecki you mean because if you mean the metamorphosen written for Anne Sophie mutter that work is of insane technical skill as it was written for such a fantastic violinist.
December 25, 2019, 7:59 PM · The next person who can write a few nice sounding concerti at the Seitz level is going to make a mint.
Edited: December 26, 2019, 11:29 AM · Hey guys, I revised the list according to you guys' suggestions. I also removed the accompanying texts since ya'll didn't seem to like it and caused, let's say unhappy people.

Susan, I merged level 7 with level 6 and 8.

Christian, your comment really helped a lot. I realized that level 5 was way too big, and moved Mozart 3 and other ASTA graded 5 to a level above. Also as above, I moved Wieniawski, Khachaturian, the Szymanowski's and the Saint-Saens above with the Mendelssohn.

Sean, like above, I realized that level 5 five was way too big. I moved the harder Four Seasons up.

Gene, as Tim said impossible is just an exaggeration.

Tim, thanks for the comment. It was really encouraging, especially since there were many negative comments. Oh yeah, I am a he and I am young(I'm 13.)

David, this list is for concertos or unaccompanied works only. Maybe I'll add another list later.

December 28, 2019, 9:00 AM · On the unaccompanied repertoire list, I'd put the Telemann fantasias in levels 4 to 6. Some are pretty easy and worth playing by intermediate learners, some are more difficult than the 'early' Bach.

Also I would put any of the Bach fugues in level 7 at least, and the Chaconne in level 8.

For more variety in the solo works I'd put Biber's Passacaglia in level 5 or 6.

Edited: December 28, 2019, 9:19 AM · Jaehee, any list you make for didactic purposes will be abandoned by you after less than 6 months, so don't waste a lot of time assuming you can plot your future progress - you'll find levels will be skipped, different interests will develop as you get older (you might hate a composer now and love them in 12 months' time or love one now and hate them later). And any piece will have a combination of a) technically difficult passages, b) length, c) musical content. The longer a piece, the easier it will be technically, but it will require stamina instead. Different examiners will have different ideas about the relative importance of the three ingredients when they make their own lists, and whether in their view teaching or performance should be the primary concern.
December 28, 2019, 10:41 AM · Elise, I think you underestimate the difficulty of the Loure from Partita No 3 - I think it's at least as difficult as the Praeludio - And that's WITHOUT the challenges of how to bring out the imitation that begins each half, and keep long notes sounding as long as they should.

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