MSF | Music rules
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Music rules



a. OPEN CLASSES. Classes designated ‘open’ are open to all ages of competitor, but they must be amateurs. Please see General Rule on Status in the syllabus which clarifies this.

b. ENSEMBLE. The term `Ensemble’ implies more than one performer to a part and may be conducted, as distinct from a Chamber Music group, which is one to a part.

c. LEVELS. Where indicated, in Instrumental and piano classes, Elementary is of Grade 1-2 standard; Transitional: Grades 3-4; Intermediate: Grades 5-6; Advanced: Grade 7 & above (any examining board).




a. The use of photo or other facsimile copies of printed music without the publisher’s permission is forbidden as contrary to law. However, when a work is part of a volume and not published separately, a paper copy may be made for the adjudicator and the official accompanist, provided that the competitor has already purchased a copy and the photocopy is retained and then destroyed by the Festival.

b. No arrangement of music still under copyright is permitted, unless with written consent from the publisher.

c. Songs from the Shows. All performances using music from shows in current production
are subject to copyright law but may be sung as a concert item without the need for copyright permission.


Choice of music


It is suggested that performers announce chosen items before performing; as well as being courteous, it adds greatly to the interest and enjoyment of listeners.

a  Your choice of music to be performed should be specified on the entry form with all particulars (title, composer, publisher and duration).

b  Competitors may not offer the same item in different classes.

c. A paper copy of music to be performed must be provided on the day for the Adjudicator
and also one in advance for an Official Accompanist, if required. This music must be sent
to the relevant entry secretary by Monday 6th February 2023.


Choirs, Orchestras etc


Only amateur musicians (as defined in general rule 1) are eligible to take part in choirs, bands
and orchestras etc other than as conductors or accompanists, or as permitted by the class
description. Please refer to the General Rule 1 on Status on p 7.


Time limits


Time limits, where applicable, are clearly stated in the syllabus. Where a performance exceeds
the allocated time limit, one mark is deducted for each period of 30 seconds after the initial 15 seconds.


Entering more than one class


a. Where similar classes are designated Elementary, Transitional, Intermediate and Advanced,
no one may enter more than one such level unless offering different instruments.

b. In duet and trio classes entrants may enter more than once in the same class as long as it is
with different partners and performing different pieces.




a.  Official Accompanists are available for Vocal and Instrumental classes by advance request to the relevant Entry Secretary and on receipt of payment. Any request for an official accompanist should be made at the time of entry and no later than two weeks before the start of Music week to be considered.

The programme will indicate by (A) which competitors have paid for this service.

It is possible to arrange for a rehearsal with this accompanist at a fee to be negotiated privately.

b. Accompanist’s fees payable at the time of entry: £7.00 or £10.00 for Young Adult Vocal Recital

c. Please assist the Official Accompanist as follows:

  • Mark copies clearly with the competitor’s name and class number.
  • Indicate speed required by adding (or altering) a metronome mark.
  • If using temporary photocopies, these should be sent in a collated playable format (no staples please).  The official copy should be available for the accompanist on the day of the class
  • Send own choice music to the appropriate Entry Secretary by Monday 6th February 2023
  • Competitors should provide a pianist (who is not adjudicated) for Repertoire, Advanced and Concerto classes in the Instrumental section

Format of Classes


The Music Committee reserves the right to cancel, combine or split classes according to the number of entries (very small classes may be cancelled or combined; very large classes may be split).The committee may also make any alterations to the rules or entry criteria as are deemed necessary.


Electrical Equipment


All personal electrical equipment taken to a venue must be pre-tested and approved safe (PAT tested) and marked to this effect. This applies to anything that uses a mains socket , eg amp, CD player. The Portable Appliance Test can be routinely carried out by a local electrician.

Failure to comply with the Music Rules may result in a performance being adjudicated but not placed



General Information


Warm up facilities


Where possible, the Festival will aim to provide warm up rooms for performers, but please note this is for warm up of instruments and use of a piano is not guaranteed.




In line with the recommendations from the British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance & Speech there will be 6 categories of evaluation for Music: Fair, Moderate, Merit, Commended, Distinction and Outstanding. Marks are also given.

CERTIFICATES and adjudication sheets will be given for all performances

TROPHIES are awarded at the adjudicator’s discretion, but generally only for categories Commended and above. please see General Rule 8. Only certain classes have trophy awards, the majority of awards now being non-returnable framed certificates, medals or badges.