General Rules for 2023



1 Copyright (Spoken Word)

The Festival has entered into an agreement with the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society which means that competitors do not have to seek copyright permission for any poetry, prose or solo dramatic items to be performed, to a time limit of ten (10) minutes. Authors will, therefore, be directly reimbursed as a consequence of their work being performed at this Festival. (Duologues and group dramatic activity are not covered by this agreement and copyright for these items must be separately sought by performers at the time of entry). Solo dramatic items must be announced at the time of performance to qualify for copyright indemnity and the performer must not change the words or gender of the character.

2 Photocopying

a Spoken Word. It has been agreed with the Copyright Licensing Agency that a copy of own-choice poetry / prose may be made for the Adjudicator’s use. This copy must be destroyed upon completion of a class entry. Photocopying of other items by Competitors or teachers remains a matter between themselves and the Copyright Licensing Agency.

b Music. The Music Publisher’s Association Code of Practice on Photocopying Copyright Works makes the following concession. When an ‘own-choice’ work is selected from a publication containing several different works and which is not published separately, one copy may be made provided that the copy is retained by the Festival and destroyed immediately after the event. This permission specifically does not apply to set pieces. Infringement might lead to disqualification. Single copies of pieces of music may not be photocopied without the prior permission of the copyright holder.

3 Amateur Status

The Festival is open only to amateurs. For this purpose, an amateur is defined
as ‘a person who does not derive or has not derived a significant part of his/her
living by performing or teaching in the discipline involved. A teacher may be
allowed to enter, at the festival’s discretion, if performing a different discipline
from that upon which he/she makes his/her living.’ Persons beyond school leaving age studying music at a music college, conservatoire, university music department or similar establishment are ineligible for competitive classes other than Class 71 or 73.

4 Right of entry

The Festival reserves the right to refuse any entry without assigning a reason and also to withdraw or combine classes which have insufficient entries, and to transfer classes from one session to another, or from one day to another.

5 Age limit

In any class where an age restriction applies, unless otherwise specified, the ruling date shall be on 1st March in the year of the Festival, and the Festival reserves the right to require proof of age.

6 Performances

a) Order of performance is drawn by computer random selection.
b) All items must be performed in the order specified in the class details set out in the Syllabus.

c) Instrumental Solo: Competitors may perform once only in each class unless playing a different instrument.

d) Ensembles: In duet, trio or ensemble classes a competitor may perform more than once in each class provided a different piece of music is performed.

e) In any class where more than one piece is required, membership of any ensemble or group taking part shall be the same for each piece.

f ) Competitors may not perform the same item in more than one class, except as otherwise stated; neither may they perform items used by them in the previous year.

g) Improvisation is permitted only in those classes where the word ‘Improvisation’ is included in the title or description, or in the performance of a published piece where the score specifically requires improvisation to take place.

7 Date & time for performance

Competitors must perform on the day and at the time specified. Classes will not commence until the time stated in the programme but may occasionally start later in circumstances beyond the Festival’s control.

8 Entering a Class. Grades

Notwithstanding Rule 6d, competitors may perform in only one class. Competitors may not enter a class lower than the grade they have reached or achieved. Where no grades have been taken the piece chosen should be appropriate to that grade specified in the Class description. If a candidate has passed an exam higher than the grade specified for the class during the period between making an entry and the Festival, please contact the chairman on

9 Set music

In classes where set music is required, the specified edition must be used and adhered to, unless otherwise stated in the Syllabus. Transposition is not permitted.
In any case where a competitor cannot obtain the specified edition, the general secretary shall be informed and asked for a decision regarding alternative editions. A competitor using an edition other than that specified without permission, shall be adjudicated but have no marks awarded.

10 Choirs

All choirs participating in any class must be seated in the Church/Hall before commencement of any such class, unless otherwise directed by a steward.
Adult choirs may sing from the choir stalls, if so desired. However, they should note that the piano is on the ground floor. Permission to use the church organ or electronic piano must be obtained in advance from the Director of Music at Truro Methodist Church.

11 Piano

No competitor may play the pianos in the Church or adjoining rooms at any time without prior permission of the chairman or secretary of the Festival, except that competitors for classes 161, 162,163, 168, 175 (Advanced Piano classes) may take two (2) minutes to familiarise themselves with the instrument when time allows.

12 Fine tuning

Competitors in Ensemble Sections for Brass, Woodwind; String Solos; Instrumental Ensembles shall be permitted fine-tuning time as stated in the syllabus for that class. immediately prior to performance.

13 Time limits

In own-choice pieces all performances must comply with any time limits set. The Festival is tightly scheduled and pieces should be of the duration as stated in the syllabus or your performance may be stopped.


14 Group and Verse-Speaking classes

Competitors in Group Speaking Class 399, 400 and 421 Verse Speaking Classes 380 – 389, 402

– 407, 425 - 427. Classes 430 and 431 All Classes must perform from memory.

Classes 399, 400 and 421: More than one group may enter from any school. Groups should consist of not less than 10 young people who should perform without the assistance of a conductor or prompting from the floor.

15 Recording and Photography: SafeguardingPolicy.

The following will be strictly adhered to:

i)  The Law requires that NO photography, audio, video, or other recording by competitors or audiences can be permitted during any performance.

ii)  Permission to photograph any child must be obtained from a relevant teacher or adult beforehand and should be stated when making the entry.

iii)  On the entry form competitors / competitor’s parents or guardians are required to state whether they are / are not allowed to have their photo taken by the official photographer.

iv)  In ALL cases, permission of responsible teachers, parents or guardians MUST be obtained in advance.

v)  Audio / video recordings of GCSE performances is permissible only by the school or college performing for examination purposes by prior arrangement with the chairman.

vi)  Reporters, news media photographers and the public must all observe the usual protocols concerning photographing young people and naming them in media publications.

16 Seating

Competitors and audiences must remain seated and should only enter or leave the room between performances.

17 Music, verse & prose for Adjudicator

Scores of own-choice music and selections of own-choice verse and prose must be provided for the adjudicator prior to commencement of the respective class. These should be handed to the certificate writer or assistant on entering the performance space.

The music/verse copies should be prelabelled with the class number, name and performance number of the competitor, title of the own-choice piece (and page number where appropriate) on the front of the copy.

18 Own-choice entries

In all own-choice entries, quality of choice will be taken into consideration. ‘Own-choice’ piece may include two or more linked movements (e.g. Adagio & Allegro from a Handel Flute Sonata). All own-choice titles and composers must be stated online or on the postal entry form at the time of entry. ‘TBC’ will no longer be acceptable.

19 Adjudicator

No one may speak to the adjudicator before or during any performance unless requested to do so.

20 Adjudicator’s decision & right of protest

The adjudicator’s decision shall be final. Awards may be withheld in any case in which, in the adjudicator’s opinion, sufficient merit is not shown.
Any protest shall be made to the chairman, vice chairman or secretary prior to adjudication of the class in question.


21 Special Awards

Adjudicators are allowed to use their expertise and experience to recommend Special Award winners, regardless of the marks awarded.

22 Rules

In the case of an infringement of any rule, the adjudicator may be advised accordingly and shall adjudicate the entry but not award marks.

23 Marking

Cornwall Music Festival uses the marking system of the British and International Federation of Festivals, which is as follows:

  • 75 – 77 FAIR.  A performance limited in its communication

  • 78 – 80 MODERATE. A performance showing development of technique and/or communication

  • 81 – 83 MERIT. A capable performance showing some artistic appreciation and /or technical ability

  • 84 - 86 COMMENDED. A convincing performance technically and artistically

  • 87 – 89 DISTINCTION. An excellent performance technically and artistically

  • 90+ OUTSTANDING.  An exceptional performance technically and artistically


PLEASE NOTE..advance Notice. ..the mark scheme will change in 2025   

24 Schools

It is understood that the Department for Education has expressed willingness to allow time spent at the Festival by classes, choirs and teachers to be counted as school time.                                                   

25 Music stands

The Festival owns a stock of 20 strong music stands, although soloists and ensembles are welcome to provide their own if they wish. Larger ensembles are required to bring extra stands.

26 Certificates, Mark Sheets and all ‘own-choice’ music

Certificates and mark sheets will be given out at the end of the class. Own choice pieces of music adjudicator copies must be collected from the music collector’s / certificate writers table after the adjudication of each class. These cannot be posted to you.