Classical Guitar Examination. Trinity Grade 1

The Trinity examinations aim to provide a framework to enable and encourage progress and enjoyment in guitar technique as well as in guitar musical performance. They assess aural competence, musical performance, and technical ability. 

The Classical Guitar Examination by Trinity Guildhall Classical consists of three components :

  • Technical work which tests guitar technique and constitutes a maximum of 14 marks (9%) of the total 150 marks allocated to the classical guitar examination.
  • Three performance pieces with each allocated a maximum mark of 22 (15% of the total). The performance pieces provide a range of options and the aim is to select and present a balanced performance in their examination. 
  • Two technical tests with Technical Test 1 constituting 21 marks (14%) and Technical Test 2 constituting 18 marks or (12%) of the total. 

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Performance Requirements

  • All pieces must be prepared in full and as provided in the Trinity Grade 1 music book.
  • While all da capo and dal segno instructions should be observed, repeats of more than a few bars should not be played.
  • It is important that all tempo and performance markings are observed.
  • While it is not necessary that candidates perform their pieces from memory, it aids performance comfort for candidates to do so. 

Composition Techniques Required in Grade 1

In Grade 1 candidates are expected to show the following understandings and competencies in their performance:

  • Use of different rhythmic values
  • Ability to distinguish and clearly present the melodic line
  • Use of keys as stipulated for technical work at this grade
  • The ability to show dynamic contrast s that exist in the piece
  • Simple syncopation or other rhythmic feature  as present in the sheet music 

Solo Classical Guitar Examination Pieces for Trinity Grade 1

Pick three pieces from the pieces provided below. It is important to select a range of pieces in terms of dynamic, musical style and - if possible - musical key. 

One piece may be replaced by the candidate's own composition provided that it is of a suitable length and standard for Grade 1. 

Up to two duets may be chosen in the examination. The accompaniment must be played in the examination. 

Trinity Guildhall Grade 1 Pieces



    Carulli: Vals

    Grieg arr. Baulch: In the Hall of the Mountain King

    Montoya arr. Thorlaksson: El conde olinos

    Gagnon: Marrakech

    Sollory: The Moon's a Balloon

    Ryan: Day of the Match

    Ryan: Habanera Era

    Preiss: Olinda (Frevo)

    Cracknell: Olé José

Duets for Grade 1

Lully arr. Sollory

Trad. Mallorcan arr. Preiss

Trad. arr. Tholaksson

Tchaikovsky arr. Sollory




Mateixas d'es Figueral

Mareta (Valencia Folk Song )

Old French Song op.39 no.16

El Caballo


Alternative pieces for this grade








Trad. arr. Garcia                               

Trad. Irish arr. Fiorentino              


Kingston Calypso (from Travelling in Style: The Start)

Menorca (from Travelling in Style: The Start)

Tango (from Simply Guitar book 1)

Baroque & Roll (from The Real Guitar Book Vol 3)

Impossible Mission (from The Real Guitar Book Vol  1)

Study op.60 no.2 (from Complete Studies for Guitar)

Tumbalalaika (from First Guitar Pieces)

The Wild Colonial Boy (from Celtic Music for Classical Guitar)

    Attaignant: Tourdion

    Burden: Kingston Calypso

    Burden: Menorca

    MacDonald: Tango

    Powlesland: Baroque & Roll

    Sollory: Impossible Mission

    Sor: Study op. 60 no. 2

    Trad. arr. Garcia: Tumbalalaika

    Trad. Irish arr. Fiorentino: The Wild Colonial Boy

You'll need to go a little deeper into music theory as you proceed. The best online resource for this is Guitar Theory Revolution. It recognises that music theory is very hard for guitarists because music theory has till now been located in the piano paradigm. The Guitar Theory Revolution overthrows the piano paradigm that is holding you back and embraces the attributes of the guitar to unpack music theory. In fact, it goes further and allows you to see that the guitar is one of the best instruments for learning theory. 

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