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Leveling Guidelines

Adapted from Scanlan, M. K. (1988). The development of guidelines to assess the relative difficulty of intermediate level romantic piano repertoire (EdD Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). Dissertation Abstracts, 50/02, 297.


Early Intermediate
Late Intermediate


1. 5-finger patterns

1. Scale Passages up to two octaves 1. Scale Passages of two octaves or more

2. Scale Passages up to an octave

2. Blocked chords in all positions 2. Blocked chords in all positions

3. Blocked chords in the same position

3. Broken chords spanning up to two octaves 3. Broken chords spanning up to four octaves with non-harmonic elaboration

4. Broken chords contained within the octave

4. Repeated double thirds 4. Consecutive double thirds and sixths

5. Hands shifts are infrequent; adequate time allotted to carry out hand shifts

5. Hand shifts are frequent 5. Hand shifts are frequent, occurring at a quick pace



1. Melody in the right hand, accompaniment in the left

1. Two voices in one hand 1. Two voices in both hands

2. Occasional shift of melody between the hands.

2. Textures and harmonic rhythms are inconsistent 2. Prominence given to inner voices

3. No modulation

3. Modulation can occur 3. Modulations can occur frequently

4. Consistent harmonic rhythm

4. Frequent hand crossing 4. Frequent hand crossing

5. Prominently two-voice textures

5. Use of finger substitution for legato playing  


1. Melodic movement has skips of a fifth or less

1. Melodic movement of skips up to an octave 1. Melodic movement of skips greater than an octave

2. Little or no ornamentation

2. Use of trills, turns, and glissando 2. Frequent use of ornamentation and other melodic elaboration

3. Consistent phrasing

3. Some inconsistent phrase patterns 3. Asymmetric phrasing

4. Consistent articulation between hands

4. Some inconsistencies in articulation 4. Different articulations can occur between the hands
Pedaling and Dynamics

1. Sustain pedal only used periodically

1. Frequent use of sustain pedal 1. Use of all three pedals

2. Consistent dynamic range

2. Large dynamic range 2. Frequent, abrupt changes in dynamics


1. Consistent rhythm

1. Rhythm fluctuation 1. Rhythm fluctuation

2. Consistent tempi

2. Tempo fluctuation 2. Tempo fluctuation
3. Rhythmic subdivisions of duplets, triplets, and quadruplets 3. Rhythmic subdivisions greater than quadruplets 3. Asymmetric rhythmic subdivisions