Sheet Music

Sheet Music Database

Our Sheet Music database is very searchable using any or all of the following - Composer name, Title, Musical standard, Exam board and Grade of piece both that of the exam boards and also our own Stafford Guitar grading.

Our aim is to not only bring you the up to date exam syllabus but also a selection of music we have enjoyed over our years of playing. The Stafford Guitar grading is to help you when selecting new pieces to learn.

In addition you will find Selina’s review of a piece or book helpful and again these reviews are carried out to help with your choice.

We are also happy to obtain music that we currently do not stock so if there is a book or piece you would like call and we will attempt to find it for you.

Results 1 - 24 of 289

Sheet Music Database

310

Trinity Guitar 2016-2019 - Guitar Grade 4

Trinity College London

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Containing pieces required for the Trinity Guitar exam. Three pieces to be performed from those listed in this book, at least one from each group, or from the duets or alternative pieces listed for this grade, to form a balanced program. This is an excellent book even if you have no intention of taking the exams.

Skill Level
Intermediate
musgw4

The Guitarists Way Book 4

Peter Nuttall and John Whitworth

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In Book 4 we introduce new and interesting rhythms, continue to develop left and right hand technique, and explore a wider range of keys and musical styles. There is also opportunity for more expressive playing in some of the higher positions. The range of musical styles can be extended further in the follow-up books Diversions and Twelve Inventions.

Skill Level
Beginner
327

8 Compositions for Guitar Solo

Alonso Mudarra

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Alonso Mudarra (c. 1510 – April 1, 1580) was a Spanish composer of the Renaissance, and also played the vihuela, a guitar-shaped string instrument. He was an innovative composer of instrumental music as well as songs, and was the composer of the earliest surviving music for the guitar.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
musgiulianimetodo

Metodo Per Chitarra op.1

Mauro Giuliani

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These studies are a result of my labours ascertained by experience and practice; I dare present them to the public in an intimate persuasion that whoever wishes seriously to try them, will be able to play expressively all that was composed in a more correct style for this instrument. M. Giuliani

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

You may be initially put off when looking at the first few pages of this book with it’s pages of seemingly monotonous exercises, however if you have the patience, and hopefully help, to delve deeper the book is a fantastic resource for technique, reading skills, knowledge of the fingerboard and musicianship. There is a short biography at the beginning followed by the ‘Author’s preface to the first edition of the method”. This is brilliant, revealing Giuliani as simply a passionate guitarist!

“My favourite occupation was always the study of the guitar, and I aspired with all my powers to attain the highest perfection in the knowledge of this instrument.”

The book is in four parts and each can be used on many different levels; use of all the right hand fingers and combinations, balance, strength, speed, relaxation and movement to give a few examples.

These are basics of technique that are essential for strengthening technique and enjoying your playing.

PART ONE contains 120 arpeggio exercises with varying combinations that work on all aspects of your right hand from simple “p i m” to combinations of fingers with thumb, chords and more involved patterns. The key here is focus when you are practicing and recognizing what you would like to achieve rather than just bashing through the lot while watching telly as fast as possible! Depending on your level of skill they can be used in different ways and they divide nicely into groups making the prospect less daunting. At the moment I use them for prepare and play, balance and independence. As you become more familiar with the exercises you quickly begin to see their relevance to the repertoire and importance to your technique.

PART TWO is for the left hand with studies in 3rds, 6ths, octaves and tenths in the keys of C, G, D and A major. As you can imagine this covers a lot of fingerboard and is fantastic for preparation, anticipation, fluid movement and relaxation. The intervals used are an integral part of the way the guitar works and the way composers write for it so, again, invaluable technical development. The studies also improve your reading and fingerboard knowledge enormously! People often ask me how to improve their sight reading, particularly in higher positions – this is a good way! These studies do require patience and focus. There is plenty of musical shape related to harmonic movement but this can be difficult to find at first depending on how well you know your fingerboard already. Take it slowly and break the piece up – 2 or 4 bars at a time is usually a good bet – until you start to relax and move more easily. The effort is certainly worth it improving movement, stretch, touch and feel, and working all of your fingers.

PART THREE is made up of little studies working on different aspects of music related to musical effect, for example sustained notes, stopping strings for rests, ornaments, staccato and slurs or ‘legato’. These are lovely little pieces and particularly good for slurs and ornaments since we do not get much focussed practice on these techniques. PART FOUR consists of 12 progressive lessons, obviously showing how all the technical work that you have been working on is relevant and important for giving you the necessary skills to play fluently and enjoy your music.

Using this book is not necessarily easy. You have to have the correct focus and concentration as you are practicing and have a goal in mind. However the benefits are great and even if you only manage a few minutes of ‘study’ at a time you will eventually see the benefits and begin to enjoy yourself!

Selina.

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121

Solo Now Volume 3

Chanterelle

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The aim of the three Solo Now! books is to provide the elementary guitarist with a progressive and stimulating collection of pieces that specifically develop one of the most fundamental guitar techniques-that in which the right hand-thumb and fingers combine to play mainly broken chord configurations using the triando stroke. Volumes 1 and 2 take great care to try to minimize the demands made on the left hand so that the student can focus on the formations of a stable right hand technique.

Skill Level
Intermediate

The aim of the three Solo Now! books is to provide the elementary guitarist with a progressive and stimulating collection of pieces that specifically develop one of the most fundamental guitar techniques – that in which the right hand thumb and fingers combine to play mainly broken chord configurations using the tirando stroke.

The main principles behind the EGTA series of didactic music are establishing a good, balanced technique while not putting excessive demands on the hands of young players. Much of the 19th century teaching repertoire is focussed on developing the right hand but in doing so does make life difficult for the left hand! In these Solo Now books, the brief for composers was to concentrate on the right hand while keeping the left hand relatively simple.

Volume 1 concentrates on establishing the sense of “placement” of pima over a set of strings and maintaining a relaxed hand shape while playing across the strings. The left hand is mostly limited to placing one finger at a time, and keeps to 1st position.

In volume 2 the right hand is developed to include playing consecutive notes on a single string as well as more difficult arpeggio figurations. The left hand now has more double stopping and extensive use of 2nd and 3rd positions.

Volume 3 has a lot more left hand work including barre and slurring techniques, and movement over the first 5 positions. The right hand has more varied combinations of fingers, as you would find in most pieces, the culmination of the balanced and relaxed hand technique developed in the previous volumes.

When the aims of the books are laid out like this, it sounds like the pieces are going to be very dreary and technical but that is certainly not the case here. Nor are they very contemporary and difficult to interpret! In addition to the technical ideals, musicianship is the key.

There are lots of stories, feelings and pictures in the music with inspiring titles like “Chatterbox”, “Cowboy in the Saddle” and “Aquarium”. In fact, in looking through these books I have come to realise how important a title can be in giving us ideas and feelings to communicate in our playing.

There is extensive use of phrase lines throughout the series, wide ranging dynamics, articulation and musical indications that get progressively more detailed. There are excellent melodies, especially in the bass, and interesting rhythms that are contemporary but easily accessible through the titles.

In volume 1 “Toy Soldiers” starts the series with an excellent marching bass line maintained throughout; the “Stone Circle” requires thought and a picture to capture the majesty and “Three Ghosts” is marked “dark distant and cold”- a real challenge for the player! “Going for a Spin” at the beginning of volume 2 has a lovely, lilting quaver movement with the melody singing from the arpeggios; in “Ducks and Swans” you can really hear the difference between the graceful swans and quacking ducks – great fun! If you close your eyes at the beginning of “Circles in the Water” you can see the widening ripples and “Whirligig” makes you want to dance with a strong pulse and uplifting melody.

The pieces in volume 3 are a lot busier and more challenging but still continuing the original right hand arpeggio ideas within pieces with 2 and sometimes 3 voices. “Wishing Well” has a beautiful, relaxed melody with some scrunchy harmonies and in “Aquarium” you can follow the fish swimming over the arpeggio accompaniment! “Carillon” is a great finale to the series with a joyful stream of semiquavers forming arpeggios and melodies, syncopated bass notes and exciting harmonies.

These are just a few examples from a wide range of pieces in this series that are written with very important technical considerations in mind but also manage to inspire listening and musical invention, and are great fun to play! Ideal early repertoire.

Selina.

233

Circles End

Steve Marsh

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Eleven works altogether, eight of which were originally written as teaching pieces and three as concert items. Titles are: Mystery Waltz; The Rainbow; Song for a Gentle Maiden; Rush Hour; The Seagull; Carnival Time; Mountain Stream; When the Cats Waltz at Midnight; The Empty Attic; The Haunted Carousel; Circles End. Circle's End written in memory of the singer/songwriter, Harry Chapin and chosen by one critic as his 'Pick of the Year' piece in Classical Guitar magazine after it was included in their music supplement.

Skill Level
Intermediate

This is a lovely collection of pieces that bring out and highlight the very best that the guitar has to offer encouraging the musician within!

Steve Marsh is a guitarist and a teacher writing music on many different levels for guitarists from about a grade 3 standard, say 2 to 3 years playing experience. By this I mean that his pieces help us to develop our technique on the instrument as well as introducing new sounds and encouraging our communication skills and imagination.

In this collection the pieces are so interesting and full of character with lots of material for us to work with including simple melody and accompaniment, various arpeggio patterns with melody above, below or within, movement around the guitar, shifting rhythms, texture, movement and, most importantly, feel.

The Rainbow is simple in 2 and 3 voices with straightforward rhythm but is very uplifting. The harmonic movement and interest in this really carries the player along and this is true of all the pieces from the gentle rise and fall of flight in The Seagull to the bubbling arpeggio texture of the Mountain Stream and the macabre, spinning twists and turns of The Haunted Carousel.

A great sense of humour comes across in When the Cats Waltz at Midnight and the rhythm of Rush Hour reflects the title brilliantly.

The title piece Circles end is simply beautiful with lovely breadth and depth to the sound creating a big and emotional sound picture.

The key thing with this music is that it introduces an idea through the title that you can grasp quickly as you start to learn through the way the piece is written, and then allows you to let your imagination run free and encourages feeling and enjoyment.

Just what we need!

Selina.

80

Diversions

Peter Nuttall and John Whitworth

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An exciting collection of eleven guitar pieces that cover a wide range of popular styles; from folk to blues, Elizabethan music to Jazz and Classical. The mixture of arrangements and original compositions will ensure that this selection has something to offer players of all ages.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is a wonderfully varied little book.

For Diversions, Peter Nuttall and John Whitworth have written music within 5 different styles – Folk, Jazz, Elizabethan, Classical and Blues. The result is 11 pieces each with their own technical and musical challenges. This book is great for building repertoire; in their introduction Nuttall and Whitworth say that their aim is to ‘provide the intermediate guitarist with a repertoire of pieces covering a wide range of popular musical styles’, and many of the pieces introduce the player to different techniques that are used across the board in classical guitar music.

Nuttall and Whitworth have written an ‘introduction’ to each piece, in which they point out the prevalent musical characteristics, give advice on counting or ‘feel’, and provide some interesting context. From the off the player is introduced to swing rhythms and slides in ‘Inside Blues’, techniques that will pop up again later in the book. With the slides and accidentals, Inside Blues has a very fluid, gritty feel that will get any player into the groove! It is followed by a more mellow piece called ‘Celebration’, in which a lingering top line melody is supported by flowing right hand patterns. The melody switches to the bass halfway through the piece, so we get the chance to use the thumb to bring that out. ‘The Helston Floral Dance’ and ‘The Rakes of Mallow’ work well both separately and as a pair, and are both arrangements of traditional tunes that contain more technical semiquaver runs.

My favourite tunes in this book have to be in the Jazz Suite, a collection of three pieces designed to test the player’s musicality. The pieces all contain a certain amount of space and are open to a little more interpretation, from the improvisatory feel of ‘Lazy Afternoon’ to the syncopation and catchy melody of ‘Stomp’, finishing with ‘Night Piece’ with it’s irresistible energy and walking bass line.

There is so much scope in this book to develop ones musicality; each piece has its own character and is fun to play in its own way. What Nuttall and Whitworth have produced is music that is appealing to listen to and play, but also can help to improve ones technique.

Jess.

194

En La Playa

Isaac Albeniz

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Garden Music edition - Arranged for guitar by David Burden. En La Playa (on the beach) is the seventh and last piece from Recuerdos de Viaje (Souvenirs of Travel) Op71 written in 1887. This is one of Albeniz's most beautifully lyrical pieces and, like so much of his music, is guitaristic in its character and invention.

Skill Level
Advanced
33

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 8

ABRSM

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Recordings of pieces from the new ABRSM Guitar Syllabus, from 2009. Innovative and valuable resource for candidates preparing for ABRSM exams. All duos are accompanied by another guitar, and playalong tracks for these pieces are also included.

Skill Level
Advanced
guitaracademy2

Guitar Academy Book 2

Richard Corr

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This is a very well presented tutor covering many areas that others miss and providing clear explanations. Book 2 follows on nicely from book 1.

Skill Level
Beginner

This volume starts with a quick reference of notes, chords and accidentals followed by an introduction that takes the same format as in book one. It previews what there is to look forward to in book two, focussing particularly on free stroke and the importance of the improvisation and chord exercises in a students overall musical development.

There is an excellent introduction to free stroke describing where and why it is used, and the differences with rest stroke. There are pictures and written explanations on preparation for free stroke and correct and incorrect finger movements.

While many guitar teachers still disagree over the use of free and rest strokes in the early stages of learning (I start my pupils with free stroke) this book provides more information than is usual and so gives the pupil and teacher more choice. This introduction to free stroke is followed up by several exercises using chords in thirds and arpeggios helping the student to become familiar with the finger movements. The book then goes on to cover accidentals and key signatures, scales including the blues scale, ties, swing rhythm, dotted rhythms and 6/8 time signature.

Each new subject has clear written explanations, loads of pictures both amusing and technical, and plenty of exercises for practice. The section on playing fingers with thumb includes some very good open string exercises and even though it does move on to more difficult stretches, these are introduced in a way that makes them not seem so hard! The pieces at the end of the classical section are longer and more involved giving the student a real sense of progress and achievement. The chord supplement uses more involved strumming patterns, and introduces tablature.

297

Guitar Music from The Student Repertoire

John Mills

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A collection of sixty selected pieces, placed in graded sequence, offering a wealth of material for the student to study. In terms of musical and technical value all of these pieces are worthwhile for both personal pleasure and for public performance should you wish. Aguado, Carcassi, Dowland, Milan, Sor, Tarrega and more.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

This is a lovely collection of pieces, very well put together and thought out. It is a fantastic repertoire resource with pieces that are very enjoyable to play and listen too, while teaching you new techniques and ideas. As John Mills says in his forward, all sixty pieces also provide excellent performance material and can encourage students to play to others and widen their musical experience and knowledge.

There are 8 pages of study notes with information on style, structure, fingering, and techniques such as slurring and balance of voices in chords and counterpoint. These notes are helpful for students in understanding what they are working towards and to teachers for ideas, however in some cases there is a little too much detail.

For example the notes for no.20, Estudio no.1 by Tarrega start with “In this little right hand study the 4th, 7th, and 10th notes should be played using rest strokes.” The problem here is that there is no explanation - why should we use rest stroke? Obviously the intention is to highlight the notes, but this is not made clear.

My advice is to read the study notes as there is a lot of good information and advice included, and then use them to ask questions as you learn the music rather than just following ‘instructions’. We are all capable of listening to the music as we learn and deciding how we want to play it. Having so many pieces with so much variety in one book is great for developing these skills.

The difficulty is graduated through the book, starting with some lovely little pieces by Aguado, Giuliani, Carulli and Sor suitable for beginners of about 6 months to a years experience (depending on age, speed of learning, etc).

I would certainly recommend playing from the beginning even if you are at a higher level, there is much to be learnt from this music and it also provides great sight-reading practice!

There are many old favourites included in the collection; Giuliani’s Andante in C (Tales of the Riverbank), Estudio no.1 by Tarrega with the melody appearing from within the arpeggio texture, Carcassi’s gorgeous study in A (op.60, no.3), lots of Sor studies including the B minor op.35, no.22, and Adelita by Tarrega.

I loved coming back to the Milan Pavanes, lovely serene pieces with great depth and the particular challenge of playing long sustained notes and chords. I also really enjoyed the movements from de Visee’s D minor suite, an excellent introduction to the Baroque period and music that has stayed with me since I first playing it 35 years ago. A lot of these pieces are found in separate books and more obscure editions meaning that a lot of people do not get access due to availability and cost.

This book gives you the taster that can then lead you to explore further or simply enjoy the pieces you have. Particular favourites for me include a Passamezzo (Anon. no.29) with lovely voicing and harmony, Minuet by Diabelli (no.39) with exciting musical shaping and texture where you can be your own little orchestra, and most especially a fantastic little prelude by Tarrega.

My recommendation for this book is summed up by the fact that I am now going to learn this Prelude, and also return to look at Tarregas other preludes and studies (as well as the de Visee!)

A collection like this is so valuable in extending our experience of the Classical Guitar and its music, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do!

Selina.

muslemayprogressivevol5

Repertoire Progressif Volume 5

Les Productions dOZ

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These six volumes of progressive repertoire for classic guitar provide pieces that will please apprentice guitarists at both beginner and more advanced levels. The repertoire was chosen by a large number of Quebec teachers who have been working for many years at all levels of classic guitar instruction. Their precious help has brought quality, diversity and originality to this collection.

Skill Level
Intermediate
giuliani-rossiniana

Giuliani Rossiniana OP.119

Mauro Giuliani

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Returning to Italy in 1819 after years of success Giuliani found himself forced to rebuild his career in a musical environment dominated by opera. It was in this context that the six Rossiniane were created. Constituting one of the highlights of Giuliani's production they also offer an insight into the the reception of Rossini's work by his contemporaries. If this is new work for you then Rossiniana No 1 is a good starting point.

Skill Level
Advanced
musscarlatt_4sonatasUE29149

Four Sonatas UE 29149

Domenico Scarlatti

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Skill Level
Intermediate
95

Five Pictures of Sark

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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These five delightful pieces by Vincent Lindsey-Clark reflect the Channel Island of Sark. Maseline Harbour, Hvre Gosselin, Cycles in the Avenue, La Moinerie and Descent from La Coupee are expertly composed for solo guitar by this highly talented musician.

Skill Level
Intermediate

As with the "Simply" series, these pieces encourage experimentation, exploration and musicianship for all levels of ability.

Clarke somehow manages to make the guitar sound more expansive in scope than it is with the various ways that he writes melodies and, particularly, accompaniments. He achieves many different textures and moods, which are evocative and convincing, drawing real pictures of the scenery and life of Sark.

The music requires dynamic and tonal control and contrast, while the structure and harmony in the pieces introduces the player to a modern and "impressionistic" style.

We often talk about finding pictures to accompany your music and help you to communicate ideas - this music really helps and encourages you to do just that!

In Maseline Harbour the contrast in textures is fantastic, from the flowing arpeggios of the first section to a repeated chord accompaniment over a bass melody; this melody then expands into octaves bringing out wonderful dissonances and producing a big sound picture. The final section highlights a syncopated melody within the semiquavers that is a great exercise for the brain and finger independence. This creates an uneasy atmosphere before melting back into the opening arpeggios.

Havre Gosselin uses a simpler musical texture, mainly two voices, employing repeated notes in the melody to create long undulating phrases. This is a haunting piece; the dramatic centre section uses big jumps between first and seventh position to hold and release the tension in the music.

Cycles in the Avenue is the most cheerful of the pieces -the musical instruction is "scherzando"! The piece uses the whole fretboard and encourages a freedom of movement in the player. This is not easy as there is some challenging high position reading and quick moves. The contrasting middle section uses long slow chords with a "scrunchy" harmonic progression and voicing that requires one part to be staccato and the other legato.

La Moinerie is a beautiful, slow, expressive piece that requires good finger control to bring out the separate voices and fantastic harmonies. The phrases are long and flowing, excellent practice for the developing guitarist and the flow of the music is irresistible. A small phrase using artificial harmonics with other voices is a big challenge (a difficult technique) that is wonderful when mastered, and the way that the ending evaporates has a real "tingle" factor!

The final piece, Descent from La Coupee (304 steps) is the most dramatic, dissonant and exciting. The dissonances may take some time to get used to when you are learning the piece, but the effect they add to the driving rhythms conjures up many pictures including, for me, a thunderstorm, crashing seas and fright in the repeated chord section! The use of strumming and punctuated rhythm in the coda results in a big, dramatic ending.

This set of pieces would stand quite happily alongside more complicated and difficult works in performance and I think that any player would have fun (and benefit from) exploring them - I know that I do!

Selina.

222

Theory of Music Workbook Grade 8

Trinity Guildhall

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Designed for use during lessons or at home these workbooks contain all the requirements for Trinity Guildhall examinations. Each book also contains sample exam paper.

Skill Level
Advanced
4-venezuelan-pieces

Four Venezuelan Pieces

Rodrigo Riera

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Rodrigo Riera is a prominent Venezuelan guitarists/composer who attended many summer schools given by Segovia in the 1950's. These four pieces are among Riera's simplest works and are attractive student material at about Grade 4 level. All fingering and slurs in this edition are original.

Skill Level
Intermediate;
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English Suite

John Duarte

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This piece is obviously written for the guitar as it exploits all the best bits, but it certainly doesn’t give the performer an easy ride! An exciting addition to any advanced guitarist's repertoire. Duarte's English Suite contains three movements: 1) Prelude, 2) Folk Song and 3) Round Dance.

Skill Level
Advanced

This work is in three movements - Prelude, Folk Song and Round Dance, all of which are full of life and movement with a strong sense of the tradition upon which they are based.

The music in the Prelude is immediately bright, sunny and spirited and I was drawn to the full rich harmonies and varied texture. There is definitely a modal feel highlighting English folk influence in the music making it easy music to explore and develop. The melodies are expansive and ‘singing’ with plenty for the player to think about in shaping and shifting rhythms. I really like the slow, minor section with its interweaving lines making very evocative music.

The Folk Song is in two sections, firstly calm and expressive and then with a little more movement. There are some beautiful melancholy melodies combined with big harmonies, dotted rhythms and sweeping arpeggios requiring good left hand movement and freedom. The feel is full and almost majestic at times but always manages to maintain the ‘folk’ simplicity.

The Round Dance is lively and energetic with a contrasting lyrical section in the middle. There are plenty of changes in time signature with an overall 9/8 that really pushes the music along, with nothing being held back in physical movement for the performer.

This piece is obviously written for the guitar as it exploits all the best bits, but it certainly doesn’t give the performer an easy ride!

I think that it is great music for the imagination and for finding out about expression and especially texture in performance.

Selina.

musgoingplaces

Going Places

Peter Nuttall

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An attractive travelog of styles from around the world. Ideal simple recital pieces for early years students - melodic, varied and effective.

Skill Level
Beginner
scenesfromwildwest

Scenes from the Wild West

Gary Ryan

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A suite of 6 superb pieces by Gary Ryan. Ryan's lyrical and atmospheric style effortlessly draws on the inspiration of images of America's Wild West to provide an exceptionally attractive set of pieces which can be performed individually or as a suite lasting 25 minutes.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I wanted to write some technically challenging and tuneful contemporary repertoire that would hopefully be rewarding to play and at the same time encourage extrovert, rhythmic and entertaining playing.

This is Gary's opening intro to this unusual and extremely enjoyable set of pieces, and I think that he has succeeded in his wishes! In the suite he has explored a very wide range of techniques taken from many styles of guitar playing and American music.

There are references to steel, slide, plectrum, rhythm, electric and flamenco guitar as well as mandolin, banjo, country, western, gospel, jazz, rock, film soundtracks, classical and nursery rhymes to name but a few!

These pieces are not for the faint hearted, and you do have to be adventurous and willing to "have a go", but the results are such good fun to play and listen too that it is well worth the effort.

Gary has written a description and explanation of each piece at the beginning of the book which is extremely useful. There is no comprehensive list of how to execute the various techniques used in the music although he does include some brief comments on the score. This is probably because he wants it to come from the player as much as possible, and for us not to feel restricted in our interpretation.

I was nervous of this at first but eventually decided that I should get away from any strict "classical" and technical ideas and go for what sounded good! By doing this you get the most out of the music and learn to play with greater freedom, which can only improve your overall playing.

One of the most useful aspects of the pieces is that you need to be able to relax and enjoy playing technically and rhythmically demanding music. Guitarists are notoriously bad in my experience at counting rhythms, but here you have to go through that process to eventually be able to feel the rhythm and pulse and get the best out of the music by achieving the required fluency.

The music includes some of the more unusual guitar techniques such as strumming the strings behind the nut, scraping a fingernail along the length of a string and various sorts of tapping. Getting used to these techniques is great because it necessitates moving you hands and arms away from their set positions, which in turn means that you need to develop a relaxed and correct posture and playing technique. I would put the grade of the set at 7 to 8.

Railroad

"…portrays the long journey of a steam train gaining momentum as it winds its way along a mountain track. The piece is played with the lowest two strings of the guitar tuned to C and G and results in the three open bass strings being tuned in perfect fifths, like the cello. This allows greater freedom in the key of G major, facilitates more unusual 6 string chords and produces a rich bass sonority in the subdominant key centre of C major." This description really helps the interpretation of the music. After the slow introduction the train starts to move and once you have worked out your rhythms you can definitely hear the "chugging"! Techniques include slurred ornaments, strumming with the index finger and getting used to the unusual tuning, as there are many fingered noted on these strings.

Across the Plain

"…is quiet, lyrical and reflective, depicting a family on a wagon journey across the warm, wide-open plains and prairies of America. The musical feel is spacious and cinematic, reflecting the lyrical, sustained sounds of a string orchestra." This piece offers a wonderful opportunity to experiment with tone colours and shaping of phrases to make the most of the cinematic feel which is definitely there. Sustaining a legato line is very important and there are some harmonics to be worked out.

West Coast Breeze

"…combines a fast finger picking style and right hand string stopping with African and Latin American cross rhythms to depict the sunny 'beach lifestyle', freedom and wealth of California. It is partly influenced by Pat Metheny, a guitarist and composer whose music I enjoy." This is a very lively and energetic piece requiring some fast articulation, staccato control and excellent feel for a solid pulse! The rhythm is syncopated and written in 2 voices which makes it difficult to work out at first but great fun when you have done the leg work and can really feel and hear it.

Rockweed

".. is inspired by the intense desert heat of Monument Valley, Arizona and is a musical word play on the tumbleweeds that blow around the landscape. The style draws upon the music of Bobby McFerrin, James Brown, Miles Davies and Steve Reich and uses many of the techniques in electronic dance music……, particularly building energy over time via the use of trance like repetitions and subtle rhythmic alterations." There are lots of directions and unusual effects in this piece but the "slow, spacious & improvisatory" marking at the beginning gives you the time and freedom to experiment and really add something of your own to the music. This is something that you may not be used to but that is so valuable to our musical development.

Rondo Rodeo

"… is a lively finale inspired by Aaron Copland, with many recurrent ideas suggesting the celebration and energy of the rodeo, complete with cowboys (and girls!), bucking bronco, farmyard noises, swinging saloon doors, honky tonk piano and the hoe-down!" This piece is simply great fun to play and helps you to develop confidence with rhythms and effects like glissando and different types of pizzicato. The naturally strong pulse of the music carries you along and the various special effects mean that you have to let go with your left hand quite a lot - very good practice!

Smoke Rising

"…was written for Trinity College London as a study for Grade 7….Extensive use is made of 'tamboura' and there are also some tricky slur combinations to execute. The music depicts a ritual Apache Indian dance around a campfire and contains a short section where the strumming should be improvised around a sequence of chords in the style of a rock track." The strumming technique used here is very useful as well as extremely effective to the music. Overall it is one of the easier pieces in the group and is musically very rewarding; shut your eyes and you can see and smell the campfire! You will be very satisfied when you realise that you can create the atmosphere without too much difficulty.

I would recommend this set of pieces to anybody; they are fresh and exciting and will help to build confidence in technique and musicianship.

Selina.

283

Progressive Reading for Guitarists

Stephen Dodgson and Hector Quine

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Only recently sight reading on the guitar was described as a nightmare. The traditional way of learning to play the guitar is to start in first position then gradually work up the fretboard. This book dispenses with this method. To obtain the best from this material read the Preface and introduction where there is information on how best to use the book. I have found this to be the best book written for becoming at ease with the guitar fretboard.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
musponce12preludes

12 Preludes

Manuel M Ponce

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This is what I would describe as ‘classic’ repertoire, from a composer who did an awful lot towards exploring new possibilities in composing for the guitar and widening the repertoire during a vital period in the guitars history and development. This is rewarding and essential repertoire that I hope many people will find and enjoy. Arranged by Andres Segovia, edition covers 16 pages. Published by Schott Music.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This is what I would describe as ‘classic’ repertoire, from a composer who did an awful lot towards exploring new possibilities in composing for the guitar and widening the repertoire during a vital period in the guitars history and development.

I am disappointed in myself for not having learnt to play these preludes sooner! They are lovely little miniatures with loads of musical detail and technical challenge packed in to pieces that individually last for 2 to 3 minutes but are still very rewarding to play and to listen to.

Very importantly they represent excellent opportunities for improving music reading and knowledge of the guitar fingerboard through exploration of key signatures and freedom of movement between positions. The keys range from C major to A flat and F sharp major, in other words up to 4 flats and 6 sharps. This is very good for guitarists, taking us out of our comfort zone and forcing us to use different and varied positions and to learn the geography of the fingerboard. As you play the Preludes you quickly discover that there are patterns in every key and if you name your notes and work out the patterns the, at first, seemingly uphill task of reading some of the music becomes fun and in fact very rewarding.

This variety of key signatures and the range of pitch used throughout means that the fingerboard is used in a very fluid way without blocks of notes in positions but constantly changing and also using all 6 strings in the higher positions rather than only the high notes.

For me this is a vital skill for a guitarist, one that gives you freedom of technique as well as musicianship. When learning pieces like these properly it does not take long to learn your fingerboard and become comfortable and at ease moving around.

There are a wide variety of tempos and emotions across the 12 pieces. Some have a more contemporary feel although I think that the majority are very melodic and full of character and storytelling.

Despite being small the Preludes have detailed musical requirements on the score with very clear rhythm and articulation, for example in the use of rests and rhythms crossing bar lines as well as important distinctions in voicing and counterpoint.

There is also a great deal of contrast from the tranquil and flowing lines of no.1 to the lively and bright fast movement of no.2. No.6, probably one of the best known, has a really beautiful, soulful and expressive melody set within a pulsing strummed chord really exploiting the tenor richness of the guitars inner strings, whereas no.8 has a continuous and fluid musical line in a lilting 9/8 time signature with the added challenge of 4 flats!

Particular highlights for me are no.9 which has a wonderful lightness and uplifting feeling with warm and almost ‘oriental’ harmonies forming from the semiquaver intervals, and no.10, a beautifully delicate and intricate sounding piece which is relatively simple to play.

The key to the enjoyment of these pieces is the combination of technical and reading challenges with the storytelling and freedom of expression required.

For me this is rewarding and essential repertoire that I hope many people will find and enjoy. I certainly intend to learn and record them so watch this space!

Selina.

muslerichsixpreludes

Six Preludes

Pierre Lerich

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These six preludes are a must for any aspiring player. I remember studying themin my earlier years and now having re visited them, I have to say they are still just as good. Musically expressive, and each with their own technical intricacies; but most of all great fun, offering a sense of achievement upon completion.

Skill Level
Intermediate
108

Eight Sonatas

Domenico Scarlatti

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Of the more than 500 sonatas (originally termed esercizi) written for harpsichord by Domenico Scarlatti, Raymond Burley has chosen to arrange eight for guitar. These include K. 480, K. 379, K. 208, K. 232, K. 491, K. 94, as well as K. 376 and K. 377, which Scarlatti's cataloger, Ralph Kirkpatrick, suggests should be performed together. Burley has done a terrific job of fitting these pieces to the fretboard.

Skill Level
Advanced
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