Having an impending ABRSM tuba Grade 4 exam looming I thought it might make sense to see what means of playing with accompaniment were available to me (short of kidnapping a piano player). I’d heard that somewhere there might be some download options available. Unfortunately for me, or rather anyone with a tuba, I didn’t find anything to help me. I did, however, find that the ABRSM does itself now have a ‘download shop’.
The ABRSM Audio Download Shop (http://www.abrsm.org/audioshop) provides the ability to download the piano part for Grades 1 - to 8 for the piano (!) [2009-2012], violin [2008 - 2011], clarinet [2008-2013] and flute [2008-2013]. Individual downloads are GBP 0.79 (79 pence) each or there’s an offer of 1 from each of the A, B and C lists (i.e. your complete exam) for GBP 1.95 available once per grade. Pretty cheap and a lot less hassle than trying to persuade the computer to create a backing track.
From the ABRSM site:
An expanding range
Launched in 2008 with recordings of ABRSM’s Piano syllabus (2009 & 2010), the download service has already proved highly popular with pianists. It now includes almost every piece from ABRSM syllabuses for Violin (2008–2011), Flute and Clarinet (both 2008–2013).
Amongst the huge range of repertoire, violinists will find Howard Blake’s jovial Dance of the Snowmen (from the famous animated film) at Grade 5, and can make new discoveries, such as the charming Sentimental Romance by Wilhelm Stenhammar (sometimes known as ‘the Swedish Elgar’) at Grade 8.
Individual movements from Koechlin’s 14 pieces were reintroduced to the Flute syllabus in 2008, and flautists at Grades 1, 2, 4 and 5 can enjoy these beautiful pieces. Grade 3 clarinettists can discover the highly effective transfer of Mendelssohn’s Song without Words. The Arabesque by Germaine Tailleferre (the only female member of the early 20th-century French group of composers, Les Six) is a wonderful find at Grade 7.
New features and offers
The preview facility allows all users to try out 10 seconds of any track before making the decision to purchase. Recordings of pieces set at Grades 1–5 are priced at 79 pence each, and those at Grades 6–8 are 99 pence each.
For the price of what is normally a single track, those purchasing Violin, Flute or Clarinet exam repertoire will actually receive two tracks: the exemplar recording of solo instrument with piano accompaniment, and a bonus track that includes just the piano accompaniment alone, for playalong practice.
This doesn’t help anyone on any other instrument, including the tuba. Are there any other sites out there than can provide accompaniment downloads for ABRSM (or Guildhall) exams?