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

musabtheory7

Music Theory in Practice, Grade 7

ABRSM

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Covers all aspects of the Grade 7 Theory of Music examination. Deals with harmonic vocabulary, dissonance treatment and part-writing in Baroque music, and melodic composition. Text includes worked examples of some typical examination questions, and a set of exercises is provided for each kind of question. Covers both pre-20th-century and 20th-century styles.

Skill Level
Advanced
40

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 1

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
Beginner
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.

333

Barden-Klange for guitar Vol. 1

Johann Kaspar Mertz

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Mertz dominates the history of the guitar in the 19th century. Bardenklange op. 13 consists of 30 pieces which show Mertz as a musician poet. Vol 1 edited by Piero Viti contains 8 pieces with UTOrpheus excellent quality of printing all of which helps us to interpret and enjoy these wonderful pieces from the Romantic period.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
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320

Scenes for Guitar Book 1

Gary Ryan

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Hopefully you will find something to enjoy in this collection of ten pieces for guitar (which I like to think are the kind of pieces I would have enjoyed learning). I have certainly enjoyed writing all of them and always try to incorporate useful technical and musical ideas into each one to create a particular image or mood. Gary Ryan

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
305

First Carols

John Whitworth

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This collection of carols is suitable for the first and second year guitarists, and can be used as supplementary material to tutor books such as the first two volumes of Guitarists Way. Chords have been added to the score allowing the guitarist to provide chordal accompaniment when playing with other instruments.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is a great little book that enables beginners to enjoy being able to play all of the popular carols using simple notes and rhythms, with a clear lay out and the bonus of some amusing drawings by Gerald Garcia.

The book is progressive (reflecting the first two volumes of The Guitarists Way), using common notes on the top three strings and simple rhythms in We three Kings and O come all ye Faithful, and then gradually increasing in difficulty.

Good King Wenceslas and a second arrangement of We three Kings use only bass notes (very good practice!) and Away in a Manger and While Shepherds watched introduce simple position changes.

All of the carols are written as single line melodies, whether in the treble or bass, except for God rest you merry gentlemen which has two note chords using open string bass notes.

Chords have been added above the melody lines giving players options to add to the arrangements, whether with strummed or arpeggiated chords or even, for the more adventurous, bass or middle voices.

This means that although this book is very suitable for beginners in their first year of learning it also provides good material and experience for more advanced learners!

All the chord symbols are at the end of the book.

Complete beginners are welcome here!

Selina.

289

Specimen Aural Tests 2011 Grades 4 & 5

ABRSM

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Aural tests are an integral part of all ABRSM Practical graded music exams. The Specimen Aural Tests provide teachers and students with many practice examples of the tests to use as part of a music lesson or when preparing for an exam. This volume covers Grades 4 & 5 and includes practice examples for each test in a range of musical styles the examiner rubrics (the exact words that will be used by the examiner to deliver the tests), so that candidates can be fully prepared for what will happen on the day. Descriptions of the tests as they appear in the syllabus model answers, where appropriate, as a guide to the sort of responses that would be successful in the exam. The Specimen Aural Tests come complete with 2 CDs.

musspalding4tangos

Four Famous Tangos

Gary Spolding

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Destined to be a best seller this album incorporates four of the music worlds most famous tangos: La Cumparsita, Hernando's Hideaway, El Choclo, Jalousie. Absolutely brilliant arrangements!

Skill Level
Advanced

I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised on first playing these four Tangos. To begin with, they really are “famous” and they work really well on the guitar! Of course, this is the result of an excellent transcription. Gary Spolding has managed to maintain the musical shape, rhythms and parts in the music while keeping the transcriptions very “guitaristic”.

The pieces are difficult, about grade 6 – 8, but they do not ask you to be too acrobatic by, for example, twisting fingers into unnatural shapes or stretches, or asking for impossible sustaining parts.

The four pieces are La Cumparsita, Hernando’s Hideaway, El Choclo and Jalousie.

The main technical challenges are in reading a lot of high notes, recognizing positions, and left hand mobility. As you work through the pieces, you will quickly discover that notes and chord shapes fall comfortably under the fingers, and big moves around the fretboard are often facilitated by use of open strings, finger shapes and sliding fingers.

One of my favourite things about the edition is that it is not over fingered! Gary has not used position markings and has only used numbers where necessary for positions, setting up a pattern or indicating sliding shapes and voicing. This means that the performer has to think more but also has much more freedom in interpretation.

There are a lot of dynamic and articulation markings that really help as you are learning to interpret and communicate this style of music, and the guitar effects that he uses highlight the style. All of these things help you to push the boundaries in your playing.

I found myself able to enjoy the Tango rhythms and emotions, and had great fun experimenting and bringing out the humour in the music.

I think that these arrangements encourage a different approach to playing, one that cannot be too technical but is based on enjoying yourself and the music.

After all that is what it is all about!

Selina.

musnoadrenaissance

The Renaissance Guitar

Frederick Noad

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Although separated in time from us by almost four centuries, the late Renaissance provides a most fruightfull and enjoyable source of music. The tunes are lively and straightforward and most importantly some of the best composers of the period were writing for plucked instruments. In the Renaissance period the repertoire for plucked strings was the largest and most important body of instrumental music. CD included in this edition.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
musburdenguitarprog4

The Guitarists Progress Book 4

David Burden

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Book 4 covers the area approximately Grade 6 to Grade 8. Music has been selected to encourage improvement in areas of technique for Slurs, Development of Melody and Barre with part two of the book being called Recital Section.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
mustrinityaural2

Aural Book 2

Trinity College London

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This Aural book is designed to be used effectively either by teachers during lessons or by candidates at home. As teachers will generally wish to supply their own explanations of the questions, the text is addressed to the candidate. Contains all the information you will need plus sample tests and answers and 2 CD's of practice examples.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
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mustrinitysands2

Sound at Sight Grade 4 to 8

Trinity Guildhall

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This latest addition to the sound at sight series provides a wealth of approachable and attractive sight-reading pieces for the guitar. Each piece has been carefully graded to match exam requirements and is presented in a clear attractive layout. This book offers invaluable practice material for guitarists and is vital in preparation for examinations.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
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musplayford

Playford Fantasia

John Whitworth

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This imaginative and evocative piece is a continuous set of variations on the English dance tune Goddesses, and provides a rare opportunity at this level to play and experience a work of real substance. It has a distinctive English flavour.

Skill Level
Intermediate
muscoste25etuden

25 Etuden OP38

Napoleon Coste

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Napoleon Coste was a gifted guitarist who established himself as a teacher while still a teenager. He moved to Paris, where his brilliant technique placed him among the great guitarists of his generation. His Twenty-five Etudes are one of the guitar repertory's finest set of concert studies, notable for their attractive melodies and brilliant cadenzas.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I know this set of studies well due to them holding a very important place in my technical development – I will come to that later!

In general, however I think that they are less well known and played than some of the other study repertoire from this period. This is a great shame because there are some great little pieces here with excellent technical development material.

The pieces are quite challenging, going from about grade 5 standard up to advanced.

For me, the things that stand out in this collection are fingerboard knowledge and musicianship. I am always talking about knowledge of the notes leading to greater fluency and musical direction, although it can be something that is difficult to achieve if it has not been there from the beginning. These pieces make no compromise in movement around the fingerboard, chord changing and general left hand freedom. They pretty much cover every single note up to the 12th fret, on every string – in one case probably all in one piece!

This may be frustrating at first but really focuses the mind and encourages you to learn in order to achieve the desired results.

The musical content is varied and engaging with some very interesting harmonies, rhythms, textures and colours. The studies particularly highlight harmonic sequences encouraging you to listen to voices to shape the music.

Technically all the basics are covered and developed including arpeggio and scale patterns, slurs, right hand patterns and speed of articulation, movement in thirds, sixths and octaves, alberti accompaniment figures and fully accompanied melodies.

All of the technical movement around the guitar seems to have musical purpose so that you find yourself really developing the link between sound and movement and so ‘feeling’ the momentum and shape under your fingers. I found this particularly satisfying and a big help when I was struggling with some of the technique!

I have not got the space to talk about every piece but will mention some of my highlights.

No.1 gives a taste of what is to come with its simple chord sequence and variation that gives you the chance to listen to, and feel the harmonic movement without having too many notes to think about. No.4 has a lovely, simple melody with chords on almost every beat and no compromise in movement around the fingerboard i.e. some tricky jumps. It is an excellent exercise in playing melodically (that is horizontally) in more than one voice. No.6 has a long line of melody over a lovely triplet accompaniment, using rests in the accompaniment to great effect. No.7 (Associated Board grade 7) has a strong and compelling character highlighting the guitar’s contrapuntal abilities and challenging the player to hear all of the voices.

I love the lower line melody in No.10 (Associated Board grade 8). This piece has great character and requires real control of lines and rhythm and finishes with a contrasting, smoother major section. No.12 (TrinityGuildhall grade 7) creates drama through lots of movement in semiquaver chords, big interval jumps and full harmonies while No.13 is altogether lighter with arpeggio thirds in higher registers using sliding shapes to produce long sequences. No. 15 has a brilliant ‘quirky’ triplet melody built around the chords giving the piece a very individual character. The 3/8 time and repeated semiquaver pedal give No.19 real flow and momentum carrying the melody in thirds through the piece. No. 21 is very difficult because of its constantly moving quaver chords, maintaining three voices for much of the time, and highlighting some unusual harmonies.

My absolute favorite has to be the piece that was a turning point in my studies, opening my eyes to a technique and resulting musicianship that I am still enjoying and developing today! Before playing study No.22 I don’t think that I had ever thought about controlling and stopping bass notes, however this study has a repeating bass rhythm that is as much about rests as it is about notes. Defining this bass line brings a whole different light to the music and is one of the most valuable techniques that I have learnt as well as being enormous fun to play!

I think that this is one set of studies that every dedicated guitarist should own and learn. They teach us as many lessons in musicianship as technique, are very enjoyable to play and highlight the musical abilities of the guitar. Brilliant.

Selina.

muspernambucochorosvol1

Famous Choros Vol. 1

Joao Pernambuco

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This series presents a selection of the most popular and memorable works from the wealth of 20th Century Brazilian guitar music. Emphasis has not only been placed on the selection of works, but significantly, great care has been taken to choose the best versions, which in many cases are being published for the first time.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This music is great fun to play and very rewarding in also being music that people love to listen to!

The pieces have real spirit and style with driving rhythms, singing and syncopated melodic lines and some excellent bass melodies.

The word Choros came to be the name used for music played by ensembles of Brazilian street musicians (called Choroes) and this loose and lively style is captured very well in these arrangements.

The pieces use the full range of the fingerboard and offer a great deal in terms of expression, dynamics, texture and colour. In fact they are technically challenging for both hands as well as our counting ability and being able to follow their melodic and harmonic progression.

The music is very clearly printed and well edited giving the player as much help as possible without over fingering or creating too much clutter on the page.

For example Brasileirinho uses arpeggio patterns across the strings creating campanella effects that require ‘alternative’ fingering. The writing is clear and easy to read, with the position being indicated by a string number for the first note of the chord. This clue helps you to find the position but you still have to do most of the work meaning that you are constantly learning notes in new positions!

Sons de Carilhoes (Maxixe) is a very popular piece on the guitar and is presented here in 2 versions. The piece has fantastic movement and requires great dexterity around the fingerboard. The syncopated rhythms and ‘sing along’ melody carry you through Dengoso, and I love the contrasting bass and treble melody in Grauna with a brilliant build up to the repeat of the main theme.

Another favourite is Po de Mico. This piece is really quite virtuosic, moving quickly around the fingerboard in single lines and chords. The musical pace is exhilarating but the melodic lines still need to sing and the rhythms need to be clear enough to drive the music.

These pieces are by no means easy but the finished result is so enjoyable that they are well worth the effort, and remind me the main reason I play, and that is simply enjoyment!

Selina.

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88

Modern Times (Full Edition)

Chanterelle

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60 Original Graded Contemporary Works for Guitar. Edited by Robert Brightmore. First published in five separate volumes, each original book is progressive and presents carefully selected pieces, graded in accordance with the various grading standards worldwide. The originality and imagination of the composers presented here speaks for itself and we hope that Modern Times will be a source of pleasure to players and teachers alike.

Skill Level
Intermediate

I was uncertain about this volume at first as I have experienced a lot of contemporary repertoire that has been uninspiring and unhelpful for younger/inexperienced players.

However, in order to write a "proper" review I have played through the book several times and I have found many of the pieces to be very enjoyable, exploring technical and musical possibilities on the guitar in a way that inspires and encourages the player rather than putting them off!

In the introduction the editor explains the priorities behind this collection of pieces, the overriding consideration being -"musical expression dictating the required technique should be foremost in the mind, thus initiating a more creative approach to music making."

The pieces were originally published in five volumes, each one progressive and graded in line with various grading standards. Published from 1987 to 1993 with this revised edition arriving on the shelves in 2007.

Here lies my only problem with this collection.

Grading standards in 1987 were very different than those of today, especially the very latest syllabi, but there is no mention of this in the introduction or effort to adapt the grading ideas to today’s thinking.

My immediate reaction was that the pieces are 1 or 2 grades more difficult than stated, by today’s standards.

It is important to point this out for less experienced teachers or those teaching themselves. However I think that this is a very valuable collection of pieces and one that should be used.

There are many different styles from around the world ranging from popular, to descriptive to dissonant and challenging, all with musical and technical goals to achieve.

There are some beautiful melodies that encourage the player to sing through the guitar. My particular favorite, "Chanson Du Marin Disparu" has one of the best and most poignant bass melodies I have ever played!

The pieces are all very well written for the guitar, exploring various musical techniques with a wide variety of rhythms, melodies and rich harmonies. Some require control of long, slow melodic phrases and others, like "Sea Picture" find melody out of flowing arpeggios that are very evocative of the title.

Other highlights for me include "Chinese Blossom" with its slow and expressive arpeggios; "Motivo de Danza" – a joyful piece; "Arpege" with wonderful harmony and so much room for expression, and "Cancion de Cuna" where the player can really learn expression and shape through scrunchy harmonies!

I have only just noticed that many of the pieces are slow and use descriptive instructions like tranquillo, misterioso, nostalgie, calmo and molto espessivo – all allowing the guitar to sing.

Ihighly recommend this book as it will introduce a wide and new range of music to students, primarily encourage musicianship and expression, and be very enjoyable for the player and the listener.

Selina.

105

Pumping Nylon

Scott Tennant

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Scott Tennant, world-class classical guitarist and well-respected guitar eduactor, has brought together the most comprehensive technique handbook for the classical guitarist. In addition to technical information not available elsewhere, he has compiled selections from Giuliani's 120 Right-Hand Studies; musical examples by Bach, Turina, Rodrigo and others;Tarrega arpeggio studies; and original compositions by Andrew York and Brian Head. Essential information and a great sense of humor are effectively combined in this best-selling book.

Skill Level
Advanced
87

Simply Spanish

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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Simply Spanish has established itself as an indispensable part of the early student repertoire. The six pieces in the album are miniature classics, each uncannily evoking the Spanish sound in all its rich colours and rhythms.

Skill Level
Beginner

The sub title of "six evocative pieces" is spot on!

These pieces are Spanish in essence, bringing out the colours and rhythms of Spain through writing that is very accessible.

Clarke manages to introduce techniques and styles of playing that are probably new to the student at this stage while at the same time always encouraging a musical approach.

On playing these pieces, a student of any age will feel that they have arrived and are able to play "proper" pieces of music!

Fandango. Includes a fast rhythmic motif with a flamenco feel throughout combined with single line melodies and a bass melody under a simple repeated chord accompaniment.

Oloroso and Vals Navarra. Slow and contemplative, allowing plenty of dynamic and tonal control.

Tango. Maintains a lovely tango rhythm as accompaniment to the melody - a challenging and effective guitar technique introduced here in a way that is easy to see and understand.

Zincarlo.Requires a lively 6/8 rhythm, picking out a bass melody, and some quick thinking!

Pamplona.Introduces a combination of 3/4 and 6/8 rhythm along with strumming with the "i" finger

Selina.

517

Music Theory in Practice, Grade 8

ABRSM

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Covers all aspects of the Grade 8 Theory of Music examination. Gives detailed advice on ways in which the examination questions might be approached. Text includes worked examples of some typical examination questions, and a set of exercises is provided for each kind of question. Covers both pre-20th-century and 20th-century styles.

Skill Level
Advanced
musabguide1

The AB Guide to Music Theory, Part I

ABRSM

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Provides an introduction to the basic elements in harmony and musical structure covering the basics of rhythm and tempo. An introduction to pitch, intervals and transposition, articulation, ornaments, and reiterations. This Guide is not only an excellent support to a good syllabus but also a fine reference work in its own right.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
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.

aguado27studies

Aguado 27 Studies for Guitar

Aguado

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Edited by Gianluca Allocca, published by UTOrpheus with a forward by Angelo Gilardino. A range of books of which this is one are beautifully printed, very easy to read making a good addition to ones music collection even before one considers playing the studies. This publication is from the third part of the Aguado method and is the most important.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
306

More Carols

John Whitworth

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This collection of carol arrangements is aimed at the guitarist who has moved beyond the early stages of playing and who is ready to explore keys such as D, A and E major. The aim throughout the book has been to provide rich resonant settings of the carols, whilst avoiding undue technical difficulties.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Beginner

Following on from First Carols this book presents a lovely selection of nine carols varying from single line and simple two part settings to more sophisticated harmonization using chord shapes in the left hand, arpeggio accompaniment and fuller harmony.

The music helps the player to become more familiar with the key signatures of D, A and E major and makes more use of the fingerboard moving to second, fourth and seventh positions.

At the beginning there is some background to the carols’ origins as well as some technical and performance notes.

John uses harmonics and tambura techniques to great effect in I saw Three Ships and The Huron Carol and there is a lovely ensemble arrangement of Silent Night (one of my favourites).

I love the setting of O Come all ye Faithful where he uses single lines then two part voicing and then three part harmony to capture the feel of the carol building, taking me back to my school carol service with the congregation and choir solos and descants!

There is great contrast and feeling created in I saw Three Ships by simply changing register and moving between one and two voices. I also love the two arrangements of Away in a Manger, firstly with simple, open basses and then, in the second, a D tuning of string 6 and gorgeous harmony in thirds and sixths.

The highlights for me are that second arrangement of Away in a Manger and the Huron Carol which is really atmospheric and evocative, very satisfying, and not too difficult, to learn and play.

At the beginning John states that his aim was “…to provide rich and resonant settings of the carols, whilst avoiding undue technical difficulties…”

He has definitely achieved this with a very worthwhile and enjoyable collection that also manages to teach you lots!

Selina.

303

Half Moon

Peter Nuttall

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A set of rhythmic pieces, together with a set of lyrical melodies and cool harmonies. Nostalgic, romantic, blues, stomping! These colourful pieces are beautifully written for the guitar and a delight to play.

Skill Level
Beginner

It is lovely to have a new collection of pieces from Peter Nuttall.

His music is so good for beginner into intermediate players because it is always musical, interesting and has focused technical requirements meaning that the player is not having to think about too many different things at once.

Half Moon is a set of lyrical and accessible pieces, never getting too technically difficult but certainly challenging in musicianship, interpretation and reading and counting rhythms. Peter says in his introduction that “They are written in a variety of styles….and make use of common guitar techniques and idioms. Style is always more important than speed.” This second comment is so important in our development as guitarists, and is something that we often forget in our efforts to improve our playing.

For me the pieces are summed up by the words atmosphere and character. If we keep these in mind then we can have great fun exploring the music, experimenting and listening.

Peter has grouped the pieces into 2 sections, First half – rhythmic, Second half – lyrical. This is an excellent idea for variety and focus in learning and also for programming performance! The idioms that he talks about in the preface are types of guitar writing like arpeggio style that includes melody, a single line melody that incorporates tune, bass and harmony or a 2 voice melody and accompaniment style. He has kept technical requirements very straightforward with no full barres or awkward finger movements.

The time signatures are varied with plenty of tied notes and syncopation (off beat) to keep us on our toes and counting. There are some lovely, interesting and quite unusual harmonies as well always encouraging us to listen.

I love the jazz feel of the triplets in Before you go and the distinctly Celtic feel of The Western Isles which, to look at, is all single notes but creates melody, harmony and bass with a lovely relaxed and sustained feel. The contrasting sections in Jig are great and really give you the feel of the dance whereas in complete contrast, and my favourite, At the end of the day is a beautiful and evocative piece. The harmonies are simple but so effective enabling you to get lost in the music. Perfect!

Selina.

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