Dictation

Dictation is one of the most difficult elements of aural tests, but also one of the most useful - it's fantastic to be able to listen to a melody and write it down.

Sometimes it can be difficult to find a friend, a piano and a space to practice so our Dictation Resource gives you the chance to sharpen up your skills at any time of the day, anywhere you can get online.

Instructions

  1. Select an exercise using the options to the right or at the bottom of this page.
  2. Once it has loaded you will be able to listen to an extract from a famous classical work.
  3. Once you have listened to the piece use your mouse to drag the relevant notation on to the stave.
  4. When you are happy with your answer, simply click on the 'Answer' button to reveal the correct positioning of the notes.

Guide

Dictation isn't as hard as it seems! Remember these golden rules...

  • Start with the rhythm - you can write it above the stave to help. All of our examples give you the time-signature and bars, so use that to help you work and make sure you've got the right number of beats in each bar!
  • Once you've got the rhythm try to work out the pitches of the notes. Notes that are conjunct (next to each other) are often easier to fill in, but don't be put off by bigger leaps. If you try and 'hum' the notes in your head and 'count' the distance in between you can work out where you're going. Alternatively, try our handy interval guide to help you.
  • Look out for bits you've heard before! Music often repeats itself, so whether it's a recognisable rhythm, note or interval then make sure you use it to your advantage.
  • Don't panic. it's easy to hear something, think "there's no way I can write that" and give up all hope. But practising really helps, and by breaking the piece into manageable chunks and using logic then it's always possible.
  • With the excercises above feel free to listen as many times as you like until you're happy. You can then check your answer and see if you've gone wrong anywhere.

For Teachers

Teachers can download a free lesson plan (pdf) for A level students. The lesson plan is designed to help students recognise intervals, develop rhythmic perception and practice dictation exercises.

Lessons