Example Improvisation Tests: Motivic

Trinity exams offer a range of supporting tests, allowing candidates to play to their strengths. Candidates choosing the improvisation test can select between three types of improvisation: harmonic, motivic or stylistic. The examples on this page are all of the motivic stimulus, in which the candidate improvises unaccompanied in response to a short melodic fragment.

Sample tests can be downloaded from our general resources page. The parameters for the test at each grade (e.g. rhythmic features, intervals and keys) and assessment criteria are given in the Strings Syllabus.

Viola – Grade 2

Watch an example of a Grade 2 Viola improvisation test (motivic stimulus) performed by Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is awarded a pass mark for her improvisation. This started with a good sense of rhythmic integrity and understanding of the harmonic structure. It was based on the stimulus and was within the required length. However the fluency was lost at the end and so it rather lost direction to finish.

Cello – Grade 3

Watch an example of a Grade 3 Cello improvisation test (motivic stimulus) performed by Finlay.

Finlay is given a pass mark for his improvisation. This is of the correct length and uses the stimulus well. It is a little limited in 'creativity' but certainly shows some sense of developing some elements of the given stimulus.

Filmed at Cheadle Hulme School, Cheshire, November 2016.

  • Further examples of the Motivic improvisation test can be found on our Youtube playlist — covering higher grades and other instruments.

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