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SMP Level Guidelines

Our new Sheet Music Plus levels are designed to help you select music in the correct difficulty level. Each piece that includes a Sheet Music Plus level has been carefully evaluated to ensure that it follows the level guidelines below. Since each individual piece is reviewed by hand, only a small subset of titles currently includes level information. However, we are constantly reviewing additional titles to expand our selection of graded music.

SMP Level Positions and Scales Chords and Rhythms Examples Other
(Early Elementary)
  • Very beginning music
  • Five-finger patterns
  • Almost no hand position movement
  • No chords
  • Quarter, half, and whole notes
  • May be labeled as "5-Finger"
  • Very easy note reading with some letter names written in the notes
Level 1
  • Five-finger patterns with a little hand movement
  • Simple hands-together playing
  • Some 3-note chords
  • 1 chord per measure 
  • Quarter, half, dotted half, and whole notes, some eighth notes
  • Easy note reading. 
Level 2
(Late Elementary)
  • Limited hand movement
  • Some hand position changes and finger extensions
  • 3-note chords
  • More than 1 chord per measure
  • Quarter, half, dotted half, and whole notes, and eighth notes
  • May be labeled as "Big Note"
Level 3
(Early Intermediate)
  • Independent movement of the left hand
  • Hands in parallel and contrary motion
  • Multiple chords in a measure
  • More variety of chords
  • Eighth to whole notes, triplets, dotted rhythms
  • Staff size smaller than previous levels
  • Reading notes in most major and minor keys
Level 4
  • Scales moving up and down the keyboard at a faster tempo
  • Arpeggios covering 2 octaves
  • Many chords, some 4-note
  • More complex rhythms
  • Sixteenth notes
  • May be labeled "Easy Piano"
Level 5
  • Scale passages over several measures
  • Melodies may be in both hands
  • More variety of chords including seventh chords
  • More complex rhythms, including sixteenth notes and dotted rhythms
  • More difficult note reading, with ledger lines above and below the staff
Level 6
(Late Intermediate)
  • Longer scale passages, some in octaves
  • Melodic lines in both hands
  • Full four note chords in both hands, requiring large hand stretches, large leaps
  • Irregular rhythmic groups between the hands
  • More complicated patterns
  • More difficult note reading, with full chords sometimes on opposite ends of the keyboard
Level 7
(Late Intermediate)
  • Scales in octaves in both hands
  • Melody and accompaniment in same hand
  • Full four- to five-note chords in both hands
  • Large leaps and broken octaves
  • Polyrhythms and complex rhythmic patterns
  • Moving melodic lines in both hands requiring greater technical facility
Level 8
(Early Advanced)
  • Scales in 3rds, 10ths and octaves, whole tone scales and modes
  • Intricate melodic lines
  • Four- and five-note chords spanning more than an octave, rolled chords in 10ths
  • Intricate rhythms
  • Difficult music for smaller hands with more melody and accompaniment lines in same hand
Level 9
  • Extensive scale passages incorporated into pieces with active accompaniment patterns
  • All types of major, minor, diminished and augmented chords spanning more than an octave
  • Intricate rhythms
  • Complex meter
  • Difficult music requiring greater velocity and overall technical facility
Level 10
  • Intricate melodic lines often requiring extremely fast tempos
  • Complex broken-chord patterns, full chords, and large hand extensions
  • More complicated polyrhythms
  • Complex meter
  • Complicated melodic figures
  • Very advanced level, very difficult note reading, frequent time signatures changes, virtuosic level technical facility needed
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