Since 1912, the Syllabus has been used as the foundation of the SMFA Festival System listing thousands of classes offered in the district festivals across the province. Produced every three years, the SMFA Syllabus contains many class options in a multitude of disciplines. Please note that this is a three-year Syllabus and changes will occur.  Changes and corrections are updated as needed and posted below.

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FOR REFERENCE ONLY; Classes/Class numbers no longer apply. The following Test Piece lists from past syllabi are posted here to assist teachers and students in selecting appropriate repertoire and are intended as suggestions only.

2024 Canada West Performing Arts Festival – Rules & Syllabus




Glossary of Terms

To be used as a guideline for terms referred to in the SMFA Syllabus

Accompaniment: A subordinate part for instruments, voices or orchestra.
Acoustic: Refers to a musical instrument whose sound is not electronically modified.
Action Song: A song having definite actions that all the children are expected to perform.
Adult: Of legal age in Saskatchewan.
Amateur: A person whose principal means of livelihood is not obtained from the performance of music in the particular discipline in which he or she is competing. This stipulation does not, however, preclude such a person having occasionally received remuneration for musical services rendered, even in the area in which he or she is competing.
Anthem: A choral composition in English with a religious text.
Aria: An elaborate, accompanied, vocal solo from an opera, operetta, oratorio or cantata.
Art Song: The Art Song was a creation of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and continues into the 20th and 21st centuries. These songs were written for voice with piano accompaniment. Composers such as Mozart, Schumann, Brahms, Schubert, Britten, Quilter, Barber, Bernstein, Rorem, Coulthard, Fleming, etc. were inspired to write music to enhance existing poetry.
Bach String Solo: A composition written for unaccompanied solo string instrument.
Ballad : Music with a slower tempo, often of a serious nature.
Ballad/Traditional Air: A narrative poem of popular origin, written in short stanzas and originally sung to a repeated tune.
Baroque Music: Music composed in or around the Baroque Period, circa 1600-1750. Brass Band: An ensemble of brass instruments.
Brass Instrument: A wind instrument such as trumpet and trombone, consisting of a brass tube blown directly by means of a cup or funnel-shaped mouthpiece.
Canadian Composer/ Author : A person born in Canada, one who has resided in Canada for at least five years, or a naturalized citizen.
Canadian Poetry: Published poetry written by a Canadian author (including those works that are in books printed at direct cost to the author).
Chamber Music: A term that originally referred to music not intended for the church, the theatre, or public concert hall. It no longer implies a place of performance, but refers to music written for two, three, four or more instruments played with one instrument to a “part”, all the parts having equal importance.
Changed Voice: Usually refers to a male singer whose voice has “broken” – changed from an adolescent to an adult sound.
Choir/Chorus : A group of vocalists performing as a single unit.
Choral Speech: Refers to a group speaking and interpreting as a choir. Variety may be achieved by the use of unison speaking, speaking in divided groups and the use of solo voices. The physical arrangement of the choir and the use of movement is at the artistic discretion of the director. Prime consideration must at all times be given to the text.
Church Choir : A choir whose selections must be appropriate for performance in church.
Classical: Refers to music of a serious nature, not pop, not Classical Period. Classical Guitar: A plucked stringed instrument originating in Spain.
Classical Period: Music composed approximately between 1750 and 1830.
Classroom Chorus : Denotes all students in the school classroom, or possibly all students in either grade in a split class, whose members are not auditioned. Singing is the main emphasis, but some movement and limited use of simple instruments is acceptable.
Community Band/ Choir/Chorus: A group of instrumentalists or singers performing as a unit. The term also refers to a group whose members come from 2 or more schools, and who have been selected on the basis of performing ability.
Community/ School Orchestra: A large group of instrumentalists usually consisting of string, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.
Concert Band: A group of musicians playing woodwind, brass and percussion instruments. They are highly organized, experienced bands under the sponsorship of community clubs or parent organizations. This includes extracurricular, after school bands, auditioned or not auditioned.
Concert Group: The opportunity for a vocalist or pianist to present a program of complimentary music that is related by theme, style or composer.
Concerted Work: Any composition originally written for solo instrument with orchestral accompaniment.
Concerto: A composition written in several movements usually for solo instrument with orchestral accompaniment. For the purposes of Music Festival the accompaniment of choice is piano.
Contemporary/ Modern: A work written from 1900 to the present. Creative Music: Music written by the competitor and not previously adjudicated at a Saskatchewan Music Festival.
Discipline: SMFA defines 12 groupings or disciplines for administrative purposes: Choral, Voice, Piano, String, Guitar, Woodwind, Brass, Percussion, Instrumental Ensemble/Band, Organ, School Music and Speech Arts. Duet: Two individuals performing different parts as a unit.
Duo-Piano: Denotes two pianos, two performers.
Duologue: A speech selection for two individuals performing different parts.
Ensemble: A small group, the required size of which depends upon the class entered.
Family Music: Music performed by a group all of whom, including the accompanist, are members of the same family.
Fireside Ensemble: A group of choral singers of two or more harmonic parts, whose seating/standing arrangement is more casual than the traditional choral placement.
Folk Guitar: Describes accompaniments of folk songs employing simple chords and arpeggios.
Folk Song: Music which has entered into the heritage of the people and which can usually be assigned to no composer, school or period. It has been fashioned and refashioned through many generations by countless individuals and is usually passed on orally.
Gesture: Movement of the body, especially hands and arms, that clarifies or emphasizes the meaning and emotional content of a performance.
Group Study: A method of teaching a group collectively rather than teaching each person individually.
Handbell: A musically tuned bell with a handle made of leather or plastic that allows it to be held in the hand.
Hand Prop: An object which is carried on stage by the performer and which MUST be part of the performance.
Hand/Tonechime: A metal tube slotted and cut to produce a musical sound.
Impressionism: The style of music composed at the time of Debussy and continued by his followers. It conveys moods and emotions aroused by the subject rather than portraying a detailed tone poem.
Instrumental: Generally refers to the string, woodwind, brass and percussion families, but includes the singing voice and the speaking voice as separate instruments. It also has a more specialized meaning as one of the disciplines (Instrumental Ensemble).
Jazz Ensemble: A group of instrumentalists performing in a musical style of the 20th century, characterized by syncopated rhythms and improvisation.
Lieder: A distinctive type of German vocal solo composition that was an outcome of the Romantic Movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In lieder the quality of the verse is very important. The piano part is more than an accompaniment and, as does the vocal part, demands artistic interpretation.
Madrigal: A composition for several voices, unaccompanied, the texts of which are usually secular.
Mime: The theatrical technique of expressing an idea or mood, or portraying a character entirely by gesture and bodily movement, without the use of words.
Mixed Choir/ Chorus: A group of female and male singers performing as a unit.
Modern/ Contemporary: See Contemporary/Modern. Motet: A short unaccompanied contrapuntal choral composition of the 13th through 15th centuries OR a choral piece, usually accompanied, written in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Multiple Percussion: One performer playing more than one percussion instrument in a selection.
Musical Theatre: A stage production of Musical Theatre repertoire, Broadway, Off Broadway, International Show/Revues, or Musical Movie Productions (including animated musical movies, such as Disney) that incorporates the elements of acting, song, movement, minimal props and appropriate costuming.
Novice: One who is inexperienced and in early instruction – for the purposes of organ class entries the stipulation is two years maximum training.
Opera: A drama set to music for voices and orchestra, presented with costumes and sets.
Operatic Solo: See Aria.
Operetta: A type of comic or lighthearted opera containing spoken dialogue.
Oratorio: Drama which may be sacred or secular and set to music. It contains all the elements of an opera, but is seldom staged.
Percussion Ensemble: A small group of percussionists performing as one unit.
Percussion Instrument: An instrument whose sound arises from the striking of materials.
Pianoforte Trio: A performance with the instruments of violin, cello and piano.
Piano Quick Study: A class in which a competitor performs a selection within 24 hours of receiving the music.
Piano Sonatina: A shorter version of the Sonata.
Plainsong: unaccompanied church music sung in unison in medieval modes and in free rhythm corresponding to the accentuation of the words, which are taken from the liturgy.
Prescribed Selection: A test piece that is listed in the current syllabus for a specific class.
Professional: A person whose principal means of livelihood is obtained from the practice of music, in the particular category in which he or she is competing.
Public Speaking: Presentation of a speech prepared by the individual.
Quartet: Four individuals performing different parts as a unit.
Quintet: Five individuals performing different parts as a unit.
Rhythm Band: A group of performers playing very simple instruments, usually percussive, found in the elementary school program.
Romantic Music: Music composed approximately 1830 to 1900.
Sacred Music: A selection using a religious theme or a religious text set to music.
Sacred Reading: The oral communication of a passage taken from any faith’s holy text.
School Band/Choir/ Chorus: A group of performers, usually from one school, performing as a unit.
Selection: A single movement composition or one or more movements of a multi movement composition. A song cycle is considered a multi movement work.
Select School Chorus: Denotes, for the purpose of festival entry, a special school choral group whose members have been chosen or auditioned.
Sight Singing/Reading/ Playing: The performance of a selection by a competitor who has had only a few minutes preparation.
Solo: A selection for one performer.
Solo Poetry/Verse: A composition of metrical writing presented by an individual.
Solo Scene: A scene from a play performed by one individual.
Sonata: A multi-movement composition for solo instrument, occasionally with piano accompaniment.
Song cycle: A group of songs that share a common theme or central idea and which have been designed to be performed as a unit.
Sonnet Sequence: Two sonnets with a similar theme, not necessarily by the same author.
Stage Band: A small group of individuals who perform in “big band” style.
Stage Prop: An object such as a table and chair, gate, mop and pail, window, etc., which is part of the stage setup before the performance begins. Minimal stage props are encouraged.
Story Telling: Stories may be original or part of a published work and can be taken from fairy tales, fables, essays, fiction or non fiction. The performance MUST be in the teller’s own words.
String Orchestra: A group of musicians playing only string instruments and performing as a unit.
Suite: A composition in several movements, may be written for solo instrument or voice, or for a group of instruments or voices.
Traditional Air/Ballad: See Ballad/Traditional Air.
Transcription: The arrangement of a composition originally written for one instrument but adapted for another.
Trio: Three individuals performing different parts as a unit.
Twentieth/Twenty-first Century Music: Refers to compositions written in these centuries.
Unaccompanied: A selection written for solo or group and performed without instrumental assistance.
Unchanged Voice: Refers to a singer, usually male, whose voice has not yet “broken” changed from an adolescent to an adult sound.
Up-Tempo: music with a lively tempo, often comedy.
Woodwind Instrument: An instrument originally made of wood, in which sound is produced by the vibration of air, including recorder, flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe and bassoon.