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 169 - 192 of 289

Sheet Music Database

117

Renaissance Dances

Karl Scheit

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The musician or musical amateur of earlier times used to have a book in which were collected pieces that suited their musical tastes and technical abilities. This edition contains the following dances Allemand, Balletto, Galliard, Pavane and Villanella.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Out Of Stock Enquire
292

Easy Pieces from Shakespeares Time Vol.2

Karl Scheit

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A characteristic of the musical practices of the time was the freedom with regards to the choice of instrument. Here the editor has brought this same freedom this guitar edition. The volume contains well known and enjoyable pieces such as Toy, Packington's Pond, Kemp's Jig. In total there are 15 pieces to experience and enjoy. These two volumes are full of pieces that have stood the test of time and are a must for anyone learning the classical guitar.

Skill Level
Intermediate

I am so enjoying reviewing our music because I am being reintroduced to a lot of the music that has been part of my life with the guitar and realizing how much great stuff there is to choose from whatever your level and expertise.

These books probably represent my first introduction to music of the Renaissance, music that is still my favourite.

We are so lucky as guitarists to have repertoire that spans so many centuries to choose from and the pieces here are simply great for developing musical skills like counterpoint, highlighting voices, repeated chords and exciting rhythm.

These books have been around for a long time, a fact that reflects their value on technical, musical and enjoyment levels. The printing is clear and the edition is good with fingering suggestions rather than the blanket fingering that is common among modern editions. The books include a wide range of music, from simple dances to slower more gentle pieces and on to quite difficult rhythms, voicing and counterpoint. Many of the pieces use compound time like the delightful A Toy and Wilson’s Wilde in volume 1, so good for improving your counting skills and developing a real feel for pulse which is so vital for flowing and musical performance.

What if a Day (vol.1) is excellent chord voicing, listening to harmony and keeping a smooth melody over the top. More detailed counterpoint is evident in Grisse his delight, An Almaigne and Alman (vol.1) with melodic lines being introduced in up to three lines as well as supporting harmony. This is such valuable experience for the developing guitarist as we are so used to thinking vertically. Here we can learn to find, sing and highlight the different melodies and the resulting phrasing, dissonances and musical drive are fantastic.

Volume 2 also includes a range of pieces reaching to a higher level than the first volume. I particularly love the Volt and Currant, musically simple with great drive and technically tricky with a fast melody over a repeated arpeggio in the bass – learning what it is like to be more than one musician on one guitar! Go From my Window and Fortune introduce the idea of F# tuning which allows the fingering to follow how it would have been played on the lute.

There is a lot of detail in this music but also loads of spirit, movement and fun. From an early stage it particularly teaches us to listen and on a technical level is especially good for the left hand developing independence and flexibility across the strings. I will certainly be bringing these into my teaching. The music may be very old but it is some of the best and accessible from an early stage. It may not seem trendy but that doesn’t matter because it is great fun to play!

Selina.

musrealguitar1

The Real Guitar Book Vol 1

Lee Sollory and Nick Powlesland

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A compilation of original plectrum guitar repertoire that sets out to inspire while also developing technique and musicianship. The aim has been to create a progressive selection of pieces that is accessible to relative beginners as well as to more experienced players, the diversity of styles providing something for every musical taste, whether it be blues, rock, classical, folk, reggae, pop or metal.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is a compilation of original plectrum guitar pieces by Nick Powlesland and Lee Sollory designed to inspire players while developing technique and musicianship.

The book uses music notation throughout which is excellent for the young plectrum guitarist, and means that the pieces are just as suitable for classical guitarists providing an excellent variety and contrast in style from the standard repertoire.

The music is challenging in details of articulation, dynamics and phrasing right from the start with the simplest pieces and each piece has a definite character and mood to get into! This is particularly evident in the musical directions which include "aggressively", "punchy", "easily, into the night" and "in a hurry", really encouraging feeling in young players.

The exciting counting and early development of strumming, bends and slides are all important for becoming a "rounded" guitarist and there are some great harmonies, notably in Tomorrow Will Be Better and Tuesday Bluesday.

Selina.

musrealguitarvol2

The Real Guitar Book Vol 2

Lee Sollory and Nick Powlesland

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A range of fabulous educational and concert guitar music by the UK's top guitar composers, educators and performers. All of the music in the Real Guitar Book is suitable for both classical and plectrum style techniques

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

The Real Guitar books evolved after a frustrating and largely unsuccessful attempt to find exciting and challenging music for a new generation of solo guitarists.

These original pieces certainly fit this billing of exciting and challenging!

They were written to suit both classical and plectrum players and really push the boundaries in rhythm and harmony, encompassing styles such as rock, blues, folk and classical, and giving players music that really comes alive when played properly.

The rhythms can be quite difficult to read which is good as it develops reading and encourages a natural feel for the pulse and syncopation.

The pieces use the whole fretboard, with detailed articulation and dynamics, and strumming, bending and muting techniques that may be unfamiliar to classical players but really do help to strengthen and improve technique.

The particular highlights for me are Chillout, Swing Thing, Rockroach and Moonshine probably because they are so successful at emulating their respective styles and make me feel good!

This helps particularly younger players persevere with the classical guitar since it proves that their hard work has also resulted in music that everyone immediately recognizes and enjoys.

Players are no less challenged by this music especially in reading complicated rhythm and learning the fretboard.

All in all an excellent technical and musical experience with pieces that are great fun to learn and play.

Selina.

212

The Real Guitar Book Vol 3

Lee Sollory and Nick Powlesland

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The Real Guitar Book project evolved after a frustrating and largely unsuccessful attempt to find exciting, challenging music for a new generation of solo guitarosts who were not interested in the classical approach. The result is this compilation of original repertoire that sets out to inspire while also developing technique and musicianship. The aim has been to create a progressive selection of pieces that is accessible to relative beginners as well as more experienced players.

Skill Level
Beginner
106

Berkeley Quatre Pieces

Lennox Berkeley

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Composed and dedicated to the great Spanish exponent Segovia. This beautifully balanced set of four pieces adds significantly to the guitars repertoirs.

Skill Level
Advanced
musicbrouwer

Oeuvres pour guitare.

Leo Brouwer

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A must have book for all guitarists containing:- Brouwer studies No's 1 to 20. Dos Airs populares cubanos. Dos Temas populares cubanos. Danza del Altiplano. Pieza sin titulo No's 1, 2, 3. Preludio. Fuga No1. Parabola. Tarantos. Cadence - Haydn. Cadences - Giuliani. Cadence - Sor.

Skill Level
Intermediate

Leo Brouwer has always been one of my favourite composers. His music sits naturally on the guitar and flows smoothly from your fingers developing technique and musicianship in the process. There is loads of variety in his compositional style with challenging, contemporary works contrasting with traditional and nationalistic styles.

Leo Brouwer Guitar Works published by Eschig is a fantastic resource for guitarists and provides excellent material for helping to focus practice. It includes the 4 volumes of “Etudes Simples” (which alone make it a worthwhile purchase!), “Dos Aires populaires cubanos”, “Dos Temas populaires cubanos”, “Danza del Altiplano”, “Pieza sin titulo” nos. 1,2 and 3, “Preludio”, “Fuga”, “Parabola”, “Tarantos” and three cadences on pieces by Haydn, Giuliani and Sor.

The book starts with a comprehensive introduction, the first subtitle of which is “The birth and development of a vocation”. It outlines Leo Brouwers life, education, influence and development as a guitarist and composer. This is an interesting read to help gain an insight into his music. It describes his central role on the Cuban musical scene and how he was part of the birth of the avant-guard movement in the 1960s, managing to combine these ideals with the traditional music of Latin America, for example his use of the ‘cinquillo’ (five note cell) or the ‘tresillo’ (three note cell) in “Pieza sin titulo no.1” and “Study no.5”, rhythms from the Yoruba culture imported into Cuba by Nigerian slaves.

The contrasts in this collection of pieces offer the guitarist huge challenges in musicianship and interpretation, introducing inexperienced ears to new and exciting sounds in a “friendly” way, in other words contemporary music that is accessible to all!

When I was a young guitarist the Simple Studies were in my “learning” repertoire for their technical benefits, contemporary style and strong presence in the exam syllabus!

Between then and now an awful lot more didactic music has been written for guitar in many styles and some of the “older” repertoire has been, to put it bluntly, sidelined. These studies are now returning to the exam repertoire, and, revisiting them recently, I rediscovered how great they are!! They cover a wide range of techniques for both hands with a very strong emphasis on musicianship and quality and variety of tone, for example bass melody is highlighted in nos. 1 and 4 and no. 2 concentrates on chord voicing and control. No. 6 is obviously developing right hand arpeggio technique with subtly changing patterns but also encourages the player to listen to and shape the long musical phrases. Dynamic control and articulation are important throughout. Combined with the strong, often driving, and ‘funky’ rhythms, this musical shaping makes the contemporary style very lyrical and the dissonance fun and attractive to listen to.

The 3rd and 4th ‘books’ have stated goals and are more substantial as pieces. No. 11 for example has 2 completely contrasted sections and requires some very nifty fingering and position changing – brilliant for the left hand and ‘dot less geography’! Like 11, no. 13 is “for slurs and finding/ fixing positions”, but also contains uneven rhythms, unusual sounds and improves left hand finger independence. 16 to 18 work on ornaments mostly written out so you are ‘encouraged’ to learn how to count them, and they are beautiful, lyrical pieces. 19 and 20 concentrate on 4 note chords and introduce the idea of the graphic score by using motifs in boxes.

‘Dos Aires Populares Cubanos’, ‘Dos Temas Populaires Cubanos’ and ‘Danza Del Altiplano’, as their titles suggest, all use folklore tradition as a base from which Brouwer redevelops and extends the original melodies with his own unique style which highlights, for example, the ‘guajira’ and ‘zapateado’ while adding so much colour and texture in harmony and rhythm.

Much of the rest of this book is dedicated to more contemporary and avant guard music. There are familiarities in form and name in the Preludio and the Fuga no.1 which helps, and for me the experience of the first part of the book further helped me to approach the three ‘Pieza sin Titulo’ with some understanding of his writing and so more confidence to listen and explore.

Parabola and Tarantos and the most difficult to approach for players inexperienced in contemporary music. Parabola has a page explaining the way it is written, no time signature or bar lines and in many cases notes that are not even beamed together! There are however a lot of musical directions and familiar words and, if you are willing to have a go, great satisfaction in ‘finding’ the piece through careful listening and construction. This exploration of tone colour as well as the many instrumental effects here are fundamental to what Brouwers compositions have brought to the guitar. Tarantos has a graphic first section where motifs are in boxes to be used by the player in a kind of guided improvisation highlighting the original improvised character of the melancholy Andalusian song upon which the piece is based. Harmonic/ rhythmic sections (expositions) alternate with melodic variations (falsetas) giving you a real sense of where the music has come from however strange and modern it may seem at first.

This sort of writing does of course introduce the classical guitarist to the idea of greater freedom in music and interpretation, something that helps us with all of our playing and technique.

The three final cadenzas were written in Brouwers avant guard years but show a completely different side of his music that recognizes the Classical style and the technical demands therein that are so vital to the guitarist. They provide excellent workouts and are great fun to play, especially if you make yourself familiar with the pieces that they attach to!

I think that this volume is a difficult one to ignore and contains music, especially the simple studies, that every guitarist should be at least familiar with. The technical and musical challenges are too many to let slip through your fingers, and there is probably something to help with most sticky situations that you find yourself in with other repertoire. The ideas help you to focus your practice, both musical and technical, and so can easily be used to help to structure your overall practice and improve your sense of direction. The music also covers a wide range of standards, in grade language, from about 3 to post grade 8 so it truly is a book for life.

Learning to interpret the contemporary sounds and harmonies in these pieces is, perhaps, one of the biggest benefits and will open a whole load of doors and opportunities that you may not yet have considered. It is easier to learn tunes that we know in styles that we are familiar with – easy to sing, easy to hear, easy to listen to – but are we really challenging ourselves enough?

I am sure that once you start to play this music, to listen and explore the new sounds, you will quickly become hooked! I have certainly never looked back.

Selina.

musicbrouwer2

Un Dia de Noviembre

Leo Brouwer

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An extremely enjoyable piece for those looking for music to please an audience who may be new to classical guitar. Clearly printed and easy to read the music spans two pages ensuring no page turns.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This piece has a beautiful melody, wistful and contemplative at first, with plenty of contrasts in emotion and atmosphere to captivate the listener and the player.

The piece really shows Brouwers complete understanding of the guitar and how to get the best from the instrument and the player.

He uses patterns of fingering in both hands and although some of the moves are tricky, with one difficult stretch, the piece feels very natural overall, falling under the fingers and allowing more time for interpretation.

The music employs good, basic guitar techniques, most importantly keeping the melody and phrasing flowing over the accompaniment while also recognizing the bass line. It is also good for listening to harmonies and progressions, and how these influence musical direction.

The piece has three main sections; A introduces the main melody and returns after B and C. B maintains the melancholic feel but moves into a higher register, moving back and forth between 2 motifs and giving a more restless feel. C is in a major key with a brighter feel and stronger rhythms in contrast to the gentle, arpeggio accompaniment of the first two sections.

I found that the more I play this piece the more I find within it. It is very enjoyable to play and an excellent ‘audience’ piece. A must for any Players/Performers repertoire.

Selina.

brouwer-paisaje-cubano-con-tristeza

Paisaje cubano con tristeza

Leo Brouwer

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Paisaje Cubano con Tristeza (1996) is part of a group of compositions that evoke impressions on aspects of the Cuban landscape. The other pieces in this series are the Cuban Landscape with Rain and the Cuban Landscape with Rumba, both for guitar quartet, as well as Paisaje Cubano con Campanas for solo guitar. These works incorporate the sounds of minimalism more prominently than in Brouwer’s other pieces for guitar, using repetition as a musical basis. Paisaje Cubano con Tristeza, as its title implies (Cuban landscape with sadness), is different for its overt lyricism as opposed to the rhythmically insistent qualities of its predecessors.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
113

Deux Airs Populaires Cubains

Leo Brouwer

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Guitar Solo. By Leo Brouwer. Contents: Quajira Criolla (on a theme by d'Anckerman) * Zapateado. These pieces are quite unusual, full of folk character and melody expertly blended with a contemporary feel, fantastic harmonies and clashes, contrasting textures and techniques and Brouwer's usual exciting use of rhythm and articulation.

Skill Level
Advanced

These pieces are quite unusual, full of folk character and melody expertly blended with a contemporary feel, fantastic harmonies and clashes, contrasting textures and techniques and Brouwer's usual exciting use of rhythm and articulation.

These pieces are quite unusual, full of folk character and melody expertly blended with a ‘contemporary’ feel, fantastic harmonies and clashes, contrasting textures and techniques and Brouwer’s usual exciting use of rhythm and articulation.

The pieces are difficult but very ‘guitaristic’ meaning that they flow nicely under the fingers and once you have learnt the fingering and technique you get a lot of satisfaction from the freedom of movement around the guitar and through the music.

The melodies are lovely but come with a twist, keeping you on your toes and piquing your (and the listeners) interest!

Both pieces are marked with 2 time signatures, ‘simple’ 3 in a bar 3/4 and ‘compound’ 2 in a bar 6/8. This is great for learning how to feel the pulse and for recognizing and highlighting the differences. The overall structure of the pieces is also similar with an ‘A’ section that returns after contrasting ‘B’ and ‘C’ sections.

The pizzicato arpeggio melodies at the beginning of Guajira have lovely lilt and movement highlighted by the wide range of pitch and the 3 voices ‘talking’ in counterpoint are very effective in the first contrasting section. When this melody returns in the major key it is more expansive with the music opening out before the return of the pizzicato theme from the beginning bringing the piece to a fading finish.

The introduction of Zapateado is also lilting in character, 4 bars of 6/8 and 4 bars of 3/4, repetitive and with a narrow range of notes that gives quite a restless feel to the music.

The second section has a melody that changes in pulse throughout with a lower voice that uses the opposite pulse, for example the upper voice is in 3/4 with the lower voice in 6/8 and in the next bar they swap! This is syncopated rhythm that needs real concentration at first but once mastered gives great results and is very satisfying. The ‘C’ section has 2 voices starting high and an octave apart and gradually converging, again with crossing rhythms and a sense of the music building and then losing tension towards the return of the opening section at the end.

The symmetry in the music is very clever giving us ideas to hang on to, always drawing the listener in but never sounding predictable. These are 2 beautiful little pieces, an enticing musical style captured in an instant.

Selina.

musicbrouwer4

El Decameron Negro.

Leo Brouwer

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I have loved this work from the first time I heard it played. Yes it is difficult and you may be put off by the rhythm patterns, counting and shear range of movement required to get around your guitar however it is definitely worth the effort no matter how many years it takes you to learn.

Skill Level
Advanced
musicbrouwer3

Nuevos Estudios Sencillos.

Leo Brouwer

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A group of studies covering various techniques such as arpeggio, staccato, legato, afro-cuban rhythmic patterns, tremolos, partial barre, this is an essential book for the committed student.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

I have always been a fan of Leo Brouwer’s music and so was immediately drawn in to these studies with their great use of the guitar and "natural" technique that compliments rather than fights the music!

Like Brouwer’s "Simple Studies", they provide varied technical and musical skills as well as training the ear to the more unusual sounds and dissonances of modern music which is very important in the development of the young (and not so young!) budding guitarist.

At the same time Brouwer manages to keep the music very lyrical, linking each study to a composer (homage to…) which heightens interest!

My only worry is the statement in the notes for study number one that the collection is for beginners or children. I think that these pieces would be of benefit to, and enjoyed by players of any age, but possibly suited to those with a bit more experience since the notation, rhythms and voicing is quite tricky in places.

I would place them at a grade 3 to 5 level, possibly 6 if all the tempo and articulation markings are kept to (for our database beginner/ intermediate)

Each study has written notes which clearly explain what is required and what to focus on.

The music requires clear dynamic control, careful articulation even between voices, pinpointing melody within arpeggios, legato phrasing and syncopated rhythms. There is simply loads to work on in each piece!

My favourites are Tarrega (no. 5) with its minimalist style, tremolo development and strong echoes of Brouwer’s Decameron Negro; Prokoviev (no. 4), which has an excellent, rhythmical bass melody; the lovely harmonies and chord melody in Villa Lobos (no. 8) and the beautiful simplicity of Szymanowski (no. 9).

Overall, this collection of pieces would be of great benefit to players of all standards and I particularly like the link to composers that will hopefully encourage young people to explore different kinds of music. Importantly the strongest element of "study" here is musical – excellent!

Selina.

315

Elogio de la danza

Leo Brouwer

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A much loved and often performed piece that will test your technical and interpretive abilities yet give a great sense of achievement when mastered. The two movements Lento & Obstinato have been clearly printed making for easy reading and page turns are well catered for.

Skill Level
Advanced
300

Estudios Sencillos

Leo Brouwer

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Etudes simples volume 1 studies 1-5. These are a must for any aspiring guitarist. Leo Brouwer's attention to musical and technical detail stretches the player encouraging expression and freedom of movement.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

This is definitely a case of good things come in small packages, a classic edition for the classical guitar, unchanged since its first publication in 1972.

The ‘book’ consists of an A5 piece of card for the front and back covers and an A5 piece of paper that provides 4 pages for the printed music, however within this the music is excellent and essential repertoire for any beginner or intermediate guitarist, as well as offering great technical and musical practice for those of us who consider ourselves more advanced.

These 5 pieces are wonderful miniatures packed full of musical and technical detail covering articulation, syncopation, voicing and a wide range of colour and dynamics. The use of descriptive words is also great including “movido’, ‘cantando’ and ‘sonoro’, descriptions that are so evocative and good for your musical knowledge!

There are great bass melodies in nos.1 and 4 with an upper accompaniment of repeated thirds (chords) requiring technical and rhythmical control. The shifting time signature in no.4 gives it lovely flow and overall movement. No.2 consists of very slow moving chords highlighting balance and voicing with some wonderful dissonant and emotional harmonies. No.3 concentrates on rapid articulation and no.5 is beautifully lyrical despite some quirky harmonies and fantastic syncopation.

Great, musical and emotional pieces that really help you to develop your technique.

Selina.

66

Repertoire Progressif Volume 1

Les Productions dOZ

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Repertoire Progressif is the first book in a series of six graded volumes. Each album contains a wide spectrum of styles and is split into organised sections. The 52 pieces in this volume come under the headings of Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Various (traditional, romantic and contemporary), Studies and Duos. They contain a mixture of traditional guitar repertoire (Sor, Aguado, Giuliani, etc), new arrangements and some previously unpublished compositions by one of the editors of this series, Claude Gagnon (Marakesh, an evocative solo and two attractive duets.

Skill Level
Beginner

I really like the printing and layout in this book. It has a clean and spacious appearance that is immediately encouraging! The gradual progression of difficulty level through the book is well paced, travelling, at the same time, from the 16th to the 19th century.

The music was chosen by a large number of teachers from Quebec, resulting in a diverse collection of very tuneful and accessible music predominantly from the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical periods.

The first 9 pages offer loads of experience with easy 2 part pieces using mostly open bass strings. From there the technical progression includes arpeggio style, dotted rhythms, chords in thirds, keys up to 3 sharps and 2 flats, and, to finish the solo section, an easy arrangement of the opening of Asturias by Albeniz highlighting the bass melody

It is so exciting and encouraging to have music like this at the early stages of learning! I would like to highlight the single line, melodic studies by Sor which are so important for developing phrasing and singing skills.

It is also great to see a good collection of the standard repertoire by composers such as Sor, Aguado and Carcassi, music that is fantastic for developing a good solid technique while at the same time being enjoyable and satisfying.

There is a good selection of duets at the end of the book enabling the student to enjoy being part of more complicated music, with excellent arrangements.

Overall, this is an excellent edition with a clear and uncluttered layout and fingering that is kept to a minimum.

Grade 1

  • V’la l’bon vent: this is a simple, rhythmical 2 part piece using open basses, excellent for developing singing of the melody!
  • Lecon: a single line melody developing basic skills of phrasing and legato playing with simple 3 note chords at cadences

Grade 2

  • Chanson: a flowing waltz in D major and a crotchet rhythm.
  • Valse: a well-known “standard” by Aguado developing thirds and moving left hand shapes.
  • Ecossaise in A minor: this is a flowing 2-part piece by Giuliani using the accidentals of the minor key with the second half in the relative major, and some more detailed articulation in the bass.
  • Lecon in C: an extended single line melody by Sor excellent for shaping phrasing across wider intervals and for legato playing.

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
muslemayprogressivevol5

Repertoire Progressif Volume 3

Les Productions dOZ

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This album moves up to around Grade 4, (although a couple of pieces of Grade 3 have sneaked in) and there are more 'unknown' pieces than in the previous two books, the collection being the better for it; Claude Gagnon emerges yet again, this time with four pieces and there are two fingerstyle compositions by Jacques Chandonnet... ...these albums are presented to a high standard.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
328

36 Caprices Op. 20

Luigi Legnani

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In the varied world of the 19th century guitar Legnani was an inspired and prolific composer. Initially trained as a violinist he became famous as a guitarist and was held in great esteem by Paganini. The Caprices were first published in 1822 with each having a defined character and some are outstanding examples of pure virtuosity yet with emotion and spontaneity.

Skill Level
Advanced
muszeatriptico6

Triptico Venezolano

Luis Zea

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Described by Leo Brouwer as the ideal soloist Luis Zea has spent a life time Performing, composing and as a teacher. The three pieces contained in this edition were written between 1973 and 1986 and are a must for a player who wishes to develop an emotional to their playing.

Skill Level
Intermediate
115

Homenaje Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy

Manuel de Falla

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After the death of Debussy in 1918 Falla was asked to contribute to the planned memorial issue of Revue Musicale. Originally asked for an article Falla preferred to respond with a piece of music.

Skill Level
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.

musponcesonclasica

Sonata Clasica

Manuel M Ponce

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He was famous for being a musical prodigy; according to his biographers, he was barely four years of age when, after having listened to the piano classes received by his sister, Josefina, he sat in front of the instrument and interpreted one of the pieces that he had heard. Immediately, his parents had him receive classes in piano and musical notation. Ponce's guitar music is a core part of the guitar's repertory.

Skill Level
Intermediate
musponce3canmex

3 Canciones Populares Mexicanas

Manuel M Ponce

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La pajarera, Por ti mi Corazon, La valentina. With valuable activity promoting music of the country and writing melodías Ponce gained the honorific title Creator of the Modern Mexican Song. He was also the first Mexican composer to project popular music onto the world stage.

Skill Level
Advanced
294

Sonatina Meridional

Manuel M Ponce

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Adapted by Andres Segovia and printed by Schott. Three pieces form the sonatina and here Schott receive top marks for the quality, clarity and layout of the printing which really does make the studying that much easier. The three pieces work well together and the quantity of dynamics helps tremendously with ones understanding of the music.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

A definate for anyone who likes variety of expression, tone and technique. In this day and age of downloading I still prefer and enjoy a printed book and here the Schott edition is quality paper and quality printing bringing a nice feeling to ones practice time.

The sonatina starts with Campo, with an indication of Allegretto, this, I feel, allows you the emotional freedom to enjoy and interpret the music where if the marking was Allegro the extra speed indication would tend to make the music too fast for the ear to enjoy. Campo offers the player scope to work with tonal colour and to enjoy flashes of technique for both hands. If this is the first time you are stepping up to this level of musical challenge do be careful with the occasional left hand stretch, time spent in practice and attention to detail are worth the effort and will ensure you understand and enjoy the music.

Copla the second movement is to be played Andante. Copla, "A unit of verse consisting of two successive lines, usually rhyming and having the same meter often forming a complete thought". Looking at the music one finds plenty of demi semi quavers, don't be put off, keep the speed down and feel the movement carrying you forward. Personally I like to keep strict time using expression and dynamic to give the music its feeling of movement. Keeping alive the idea of two lines working together really does pay dividends.

Fiesta, now if you started too fast in the Campo and forgot to pull everything back with the Copla then here in the Fiesta you are going to wish you had used more control. The Fiesta has a dynamic marking of Allegro con brio and yes the con brio is a definite must not only for the music but also for your enjoyment. Gone are the demi semi quavers, now we have broken chords, rasgueado sections, dynamic indications of "Violento" "Destacado con humor" "Ironica", in fact reading just the dynamic indications tells you so much about the music and really brings the work to life.

What I really like about this music is that it sounds exciting and is very rewarding to learn irrespective of your current level of playing. If you can get your fingers around the notes, go for it and don't worry if someone else on YouTube plays it faster than you.

Adrian.

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