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 97 - 120 of 289

Sheet Music Database

musdowlandanthology

Anthology of Selected Pieces

John Dowland

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John Dowland was one of the last in a line of English Renaissance lute virtuosos. The suggested fingering in this edition assumes the third string of the guitar is lowered to F sharp, thus reproducing the pitch spacing of the Renaissance lute. Beautiful music from a beautiful period.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
mustrinityaural1

Aural Book 1

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
Beginner
Intermediate
musmagicguitarveryeasypieces

Magic Guitar Very Easy Pieces (la Guitare Enchantee)

Paul Gerrits

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Book One of The Magic Guitar series, containing twenty-seven graded very easy pieces, selected and edited by Paul Gerrits. The Magic Guitar series presents a collection of pieces suitable for the first years of classical guitar study, designed to be used along with a method. The main purpose of The Magic Guitar is to give beginning guitarists the opportunity to express themselves musically at various stages of their technical development.

Skill Level
Beginner

These two volumes offer a wide range and variety of music for guitarists in their first years of playing.

At first the emphasis is on developing melodic playing combined with simple bass lines but even here the student is challenged with detailed phrasing, tied notes and right hand techniques like the arpeggio pattern in "Etude" by Carcassi.

Contemporary, Classical and Traditional styles are all mixed together helping to maintain interest and offering something for everyone, for example the popular "Greensleeves" (it is always particularly satisfying to be able to play a piece that everyone recognizes!).

As the books progress the music becomes more detailed.

The first book works up to the use of thirds in the melodic lines, more complicated bass lines requiring sustained fingered notes and up to three fingered notes together – notably in no.16 "Theme et Variation".

In "Chanson Populaire" the melody to bring out is in the bass and "Souvenir d’Espagne" introduces rasgueado chords and flamenco triplets.

The second volume includes more detailed counterpoint and requires greater musical understanding.

Higher positions are explored here, for example in "Etude"” by Coste and there is a nice mix of arpeggio style and purely melodic pieces.

I particularly enjoyed the collection of classical pieces, "Marlborough" which is an effective arrangement of this traditional melody, and the final "Valse" which is simply great fun to play and listen to!

Selina.

museightsolos

Eight Original Solo's for Guitar

Peter Nuttall

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An appealing companion volume to the Twelve Inventions. Attractive melodies, inventive harmonies and an interesting variety of musical styles...Lyrical, highly guitaristic music, easily accessible to the student guitarist.

Skill Level
Beginner
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muspaggrandsonata

Grand Sonata

Nicolò Paganini

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Niccolò Paganini was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was one of the most celebrated violin virtuosi of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique. There is a very short preface to this edition in which the editor explains that the original was for guitar with violin accompaniment, but the part allocated to the violin is so modest as to be hardly worth the effort

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

There is a very short preface to this edition in which the editor explains that the original was for guitar with violin accompaniment, but the part allocated to the violin is so modest as to be hardly worth the effort!

Paganini played both the violin and guitar to virtuoso level and so composed his pieces for the instrument that he was playing with the other generally having a very simple accompaniment roll. The editor explains that the wealth of musical structure and invention in the Grand Sonata makes it worthwhile incorporating the violin part into a solo guitar piece, and it does make a very successful, exciting and virtuosic composition.

There is no doubt that you have to have a very good mastery of the guitar as well as relaxed technique and freedom of movement to pull this one off successfully, although the Romanze which is the choice in the grade 8 list is a good and more accessible opening to the style, being slightly slower in tempo!

The first movement Allegro risoluto is quite extensive and has some charming singing melodies that link throughout the movement. The variety of textures created using flowing octaves, arpeggio figures and alberti bass accompaniment is very reflective of the classical period, really bringing the guitar into the mainstream of musical style and development. The challenge is to make it all work so that you can hear the drama excitement intended by the composer through freely and quickly flowing notes and movement all over the fingerboard.

The Romanze has a lovely melancholy with its simple, lilting melody. Here the challenge is to maintain this simple feel while dealing with demisemiquaver accompaniment and melody notes doubled variously in thirds, sixths, octaves and tenths. There is also a lot of freedom implied and required in the music, really giving it the feel of a cadenza.

The final movement is in the form of a Theme and 6 variations. The theme is a very jaunty tune with a dotted rhythm that is almost shouting out to be decorated! Paganini does this using triplet rhythms, movement in all intervals both together and split, slur patterns, rapid repeated notes over melody in the bass, and, in variation 6 some loud slurring to open strings and a lot of very quick and unusual chromatic movement. In fact the piece ends in an unexpected way with a repeated and disappearing chromatic motif that is actually very effective.

All in all this is an exciting and impressive piece with lots of detail to find and explore, very good for your technical development and simply good fun to play!

Selina.

126

Tarrega Guitar Works Vol 3

Francisco Tarrega

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These are pieces written for the guitar to bring out the best it has to offer, highlighting the guitars warm, rich and singing character. The music is very evocative and, I think, teaches us how to express feeling and emotions through the guitar in a fun and relatively uncomplicated way! Berben Edition - Volume 3 Orginal Compositions. Titles include - Adelita, Alborada, Capricho Arabe, El Columpio, Danza Mora, Danza Odalisca, Jota, Gran Vals En La, La Cartagenera, Pavana, Las Dos Hermanitas, Maria, Marieta, Mazurka En Sol Mayor, Minueto, Pepita, Rosita, Sueno, Tango, Vals, Malaguena, Paquito, Isabel.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This collection of pieces offers a lot of variety within this style of music and the pieces are just written so well for the guitar.

Tarrega gets the very most from the guitar using the range of pitch and varied special effects to create rich and interesting music that is simply fun to play and listen to.

From the simple soaring melody of Adelita, exploring the fingerboard, to the showiness and virtuoso feeling of Gran Jota, there is something here for everyone.

I particularly love El Columpio that has a sweet melody in thirds over a full and rich yet straightforward accompaniment. Of course there is Gran Valse that we know and love, a piece full of contrasts that requires full understanding of pulse and rhythm to get the best from it. This is true of all of this music. it is not just a case of getting the rhythm correct but of really feeling and getting into the pulse, and understanding what it brings to the music instead of just making it light and fluffy!

Rosita is a great little miniature packed full of energy and movement while Marieta is dramatic and colourful with its rich bass melodies exploiting the warmth and song of the guitar. Mazurka en Sol has passion and emotion created through rhythm and pitch contrasting with the cheeky light hearted character of Pepita, and Tango is simply marvelous, the G and D tuning giving wonderful resonance – simple but very effective and fun.

Capricho Arabe provides one of the great guitar melodies with so much opportunity for expression, contrasting moods and the accompaniment and melody combination that is so wonderful on a solo guitar.

This is a great edition.

There is a comprehensive Introduction including historical details of Tarrega’s life, composing and of the way that his music has survived and the difficulties involved in putting together a collection of his works. The music is then presented clearly without extra clutter and with the impression that it is as close to the original sources as possible.

Although the book is only present in the grade 6-8 lists the standard starts at about grade 5 and is certainly useful and appropriate for all players at and above this level to experience.

These are pieces written for the guitar to bring out the best it has to offer, highlighting the guitars warm, rich and singing character. The music is very evocative and, I think, teaches us how to express feeling and emotions through the guitar in a fun and relatively uncomplicated way!

Selina.

89

25 Etudes Esquisses (Complete)

Gerald Garcia

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This collection of classic guitar studies is intended for the intermediate guitarist. As a whole, these etudes emulate the content of Carcassi's famed 25 Etudes, yet in a more contemporary harmonic and rhythmic idiom. These pieces are also distinguished in that they are not only valuable as left and right-hand technical exercises, but also as valid, pleasurable concert repertoire.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This really is a great volume of pieces. Yes, they are quite contemporary and will probably introduce you to new sounds and musical ideas but they are also very accessible and cover a wide range of technical ability. Best of all they are very specific in their aims and goals and the music is notated in a lot of detail to help with the interpretation.

Each study has an indication of style/ tempo at the beginning such as Mesto, Allegro Comodo, Lento e ritardando and Lento piacevole. We need to know the meaning of these terms! There is also a sub title at the end of the piece that gives us a story line or feeling, for example Flocon de Neige, Les Grandes Jaunes, l’Indigo seul and Voiles rouges. Again understanding the meanings is vital and with the Internet these days there is really no excuse!

There are so many good tunes and interesting rhythms, and the studies are very valuable for technical development. Requirements include detailed chord voicing, fast repeated notes and chords, quick left hand movement around the fingerboard, arpeggio shapes and detailed right hand patterns, slur patterns, intricate articulation and sustaining long singing phrases. The harmonies are fantastic with strong musical direction and momentum guiding the player.

You really have to listen and the music is fingered in a way that keeps you on your toes and keeps you thinking.

For example in no.13 the temptation is to hold fingers down to cover repeated chords but the rhythmic character requires you to let go for clear articulation. When you get it right it creates a brilliantly quirky and fun piece of music. In no. 14 (AB grade 5) the voicing is indicated with stems, sometimes double and sometimes offset, and it is very important to play to these voices and concentrate on holding sustaining notes and letting go of others in the right places. This means that you have to be very aware which of your fingers are playing which notes!

Dynamic control is a highlight throughout the book. In no.3 (AB grade 5, Trinity grade 5) there are long crescendos and diminuendos over the repeated note patterns and changes in mood and key that need to be reflected. Slurring technique is well covered, which is great since it seems to be one of those techniques that we just do rather than learn.

From the lilting melody of no.4 (AB grade 7, Trinity grade 6) and the haunting mood of no.20 to the vivace slur patterns in no.7 (Trinity grade 4) and the rhythmical and complex no.17 where the slur pattern is often in the middle voice needing great technical control, there is certainly enough variety to keep your interest and so improve your technique. No. 22 is one of my particular favourites as it uses only a single written line but implies many voices and is excellent for phrasing and interpretation.

There is not really enough space here to talk about every study but I hope that I have been able to inspire you to play this music. It works on just about every technique that we need in a fun and engrossing way, so that you do not feel as if you are working on technique. Even more importantly it develops your reading and interpretation skills, it makes you think about technique related to music and it is completely satisfying!

There is so much to enjoy and to work with in this volume, developing important skills whilst enjoying some excellent music. I would say an essential book for all guitarists from grade 4 upwards.

Selina.

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
68

The Young Guitarists Progress Part 1 GM39

David Burden

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Designed for young beginners learning individually or in groups. The New Things Sections introduce new notes, rhythms and techniques in a structured and entertaining way. Solos, duets and ensembles, including: The Batman TV Theme, Colours Of Day, The James Bond Theme and many more.

Skill Level
Beginner

The layout and printing in this book is excellent with notes slightly larger than normal, and space and pictures between pieces.

There are lots of well-known tunes in good arrangements, and I especially like the amount of solo pieces written in 2 voices using simple open basses. These provide invaluable experience for beginners at reading and playing two note chords, when books often move onto more difficult, fingered chords very quickly.

This book is clearly linked to The Young Guitarists Progress, Part 1 and its sections called "New Things 1-7, 8 and 9, 10" etc. However, it works perfectly well on its own since each "New Things" is fully explained. For example, "New Things 10 – playing with the thumb and fingers together, the bass 5th and 6th open strings and dotted crotchets."

Technically the book includes dotted rhythms, music with 2 voices and 3 note chords, tied notes and melody within simple arpeggios. There is even some simple syncopation in an excellent and very accessible arrangement of Eleanor Rigby.

The final section of the book, on ear development includes some copycat exercises, pentatonic and blues scales, and simple ideas on improvisation. This is all very valuable and something that we should introduce to pupils as early as possible.

Grade 1

  • Les Bouffons: a straightforward melodic arrangement of a well-known French traditional piece using the open D string as accompaniment. Cheerful and rhythmical!
  • Waltz in G: a flowing piece based on very simple arpeggios and chords, using up to 2 left hand fingers on strings 1, 2 and 3.

Grade 2

  • A La Mode de France: this is in D major and mostly fingered in second position. Question and answer phrases using the same rhythms including dotted crotchets.

Selina.

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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
3212

Scenes for Guitar Book 2

Gary Ryan

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When I meet people at recitals or after adjudicating at music festivals they often say to me "I really like your Scenes from the Wild West but it is too hard for me. Please can you write some easier pieces?" Here is a set of eight pieces which I have tried to make accessible and a little easier. Hopefully you will find something to enjoy. Gary Ryan

Skill Level
Intermediate
302

Villanesca

Enrique Granados

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Certain pieces of music stay with you all of your life, they just sit there in ones memory waiting to be brought back to life. Villanesca is a piece I learnt. played, loved, was excited by and impressed myself with.

Skill Level
Advanced

This is a good edition of a lovely piece originally written for the piano although it is probably better known as a classical guitar piece. It does ask for the guitar to be retuned with string 5 tuned down to G and string 6 down to D.

Do not be put off by this!

There are very few fingered notes on these two strings to have to adjust, and the tuning gives the piece a beautiful warm and open sound helping to create the atmosphere. Also most guitars sing beautifully with this tuning!

Unfortunately there is a rather big misprint in the first 4 bars. The bass note of each of the chords is written as a low E, normally open string 6. It is fingered with a 0 and is supposed to be a G – in this case open string 5.

Watch out for this and don’t try to find an E!

There are a lot of notes in higher positions and the fingering is detailed and helpful although do try to learn the actual notes as well, it will really improve your higher position reading. The arranger also makes good use of harmonics which are marked with position and string.

This really is a lovely piece with a simple melody that repeats and builds, with an accompaniment of Bass G crotchet followed by the highest D crotchet repeating to great effect (reminding me in some ways of Ravel’s Bolero accompaniment). There is a beautiful rubato, minor middle section that loses the regular accompaniment and moves into three voices diverging and interweaving, before returning to the uplifting main theme.

Great fun.

Selina.

282

Pumping Nylon Intermediate

Scott Tennant

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Welcome to the second installment of the repertoire supplements to Pumping Nylon. As the title indicates these pieces are more advanced and are primarily concert pieces. Consider this book to be a brief representation of the types of pieces that contain specific technique building elements. When practiced correctly they aid in the development of your guitar playing skills. CD included.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I do find the title and cover of this book (and the technique book of the same name) very inappropriate to represent my beautiful and lyrical classical guitar, however, once I had got past this I could see the huge benefits for a student of the guitar, namely the great collection of varied pieces from old to brand new.

The pieces in this book offer a wide and varied ‘dip’ into the guitar repertoire from The Frog Galliard by Dowland, to a Coste study, a Villa Lobos inspired Etude and on to the cadenza from Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo!

The preface explains how these are primarily concert pieces and therefore more substantial in technique, musicianship and length than in the previous volume. Tennant asks us to consider the book as a brief representation of the types of pieces that contain specific technique-building elements and, when practiced correctly and with intent, will aid in developing your guitar playing skills.

The techniques highlighted include arpeggios, left hand finger independence, chord balancing and specific techniques like tremolo. Each piece has its own checklist and a short explanation for its inclusion in the book. It is very valuable to be able to see the technical development needed in your various pieces so that you can practice them in the correct way, but it is also very important not to forget, and to make sure that you spend plenty of time practicing, the musical elements. Tennant has hinted at this in some of his descriptions, for example Variations sur les ‘Folies d’Espagne’ by Giuliani – “a typical and lovely variation set”, and The Frog Galliard – “I hope you derive as much joy from it as I have over the years.”

As in the previous volume the music is very diverse and offers as much experience in musical style as in technique. There are long flowing phrases and lovely harmonies in pieces by Milan and Narvaez, great fun in the Folies Variations by Giuliani and a fantastic study by Coste which inspires musicianship through the sounds produced by detailed articulation and slurs.

Alongside these are 2 flamenco studies by Adam del Monte that offer the classical student wonderful technical development and musical excitement and Plainte by Brian Head where voicing is the challenge, definitely not only a technical challenge. Having the cadenza from the Aranjuez is the icing on the cake and is guaranteed to make you feel good!

A book like this gives us many choices and experiences, as long as we use it with an open mind, don’t blindly follow technical checklists but use them as a guide and source of ideas for you to develop, and most of all enjoy playing the music.

Selina.

musdeviseedelresole

Musica Del Re Sole

Robert De Visee

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Skill Level
Intermediate
musmartinquatrepiec

Quatre Pieces Breves

Frank Martin

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This edition presents the work in the form in which it appears in the definitive manuscriot written in 1955. The original composition for guitar solo dates from 1933 which was later arranged for large orchestra.

Skill Level
Intermediate
muslauro2venzwaltz

Two Venezuelan Waltzes

Antonio Lauro

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Two very well know works entitled El negrito. the black haired one, which refers to Lauro's son, Luis and La gatica, the female cat. The pairing of these pieces is as Lauro intends it. Nicely printed, easy to read with no page turns within pieces. A buy must for all guitarists.

Skill Level
Intermediate
muswandersiquepasa

i Que Pasa !

Jeop Wanders

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The twelve duos in this album are in the Spanish styles so characteristic for the guitar. The distinctive character of the pieces emerges from the way they are played and from special effects like flageolets, tambora, golpe etc. The two guitar parts make equal demands on the players. It makes no difference who plays which part. The album is an excellent aid to duet-playing. The CD is both instructive and for playing along with. Difficulty level grade 3

Skill Level
Beginner
musmagicguitareasypieces

Magic Guitar Easy Pieces

Claude Gagnon

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Easy Pieces Book One contains twenty-one graded easy pieces, selected and edited by Claude Gagnon. The Magic Guitar series presents a collection of pieces suitable for the first years of classical guitar study, designed to be used along with a method. The main purpose of The Magic Guitar is to give beginning guitarists the opportunity to express themselves musically at various stages of their technical development.

Skill Level
Beginner

These two volumes offer a wide range and variety of music for guitarists in their first years of playing.

At first the emphasis is on developing melodic playing combined with simple bass lines but even here the student is challenged with detailed phrasing, tied notes and right hand techniques like the arpeggio pattern in "Etude" by Carcassi.

Contemporary, Classical and Traditional styles are all mixed together helping to maintain interest and offering something for everyone, for example the popular "Greensleeves" (it is always particularly satisfying to be able to play a piece that everyone recognizes!).

As the books progress the music becomes more detailed.

The first book works up to the use of thirds in the melodic lines, more complicated bass lines requiring sustained fingered notes and up to three fingered notes together – notably in no.16 "Theme et Variation".

In "Chanson Populaire" the melody to bring out is in the bass and "Souvenir d’Espagne" introduces rasgueado chords and flamenco triplets.

The second volume includes more detailed counterpoint and requires greater musical understanding.

Higher positions are explored here, for example in "Etude"” by Coste and there is a nice mix of arpeggio style and purely melodic pieces.

I particularly enjoyed the collection of classical pieces, "Marlborough" which is an effective arrangement of this traditional melody, and the final "Valse" which is simply great fun to play and listen to!

Selina.

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The Enchanted Forest

Peter Nuttall

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One delightful (two page) piece with a haunting melody, introducing the student to classical tremolo technique. A must for all aspiring guitarists.

Skill Level
Beginner

This lovely little piece definitely fills a gap in technical development for guitar students in that it gives us the chance to start learning about and developing tremolo technique at a much earlier stage in our learning.

Tremolo involves rapid right hand finger articulation, usually in a “p a m i” pattern designed to give the impression of long sustained notes which can then form a melody or act as an accompaniment or counter melody to a bass melody.

There are a few easier studies from the 19th century using this type of technique but all of the main pieces are advanced repertoire, most famously Recuerdos De La Alhambra by Tarrega.

The Enchanted Forest uses simple Left Hand fingering with no quick changes to notes and positions in the tremolo line.

The left hand consists mostly of half barre shapes moving up and down the fingerboard with some easy fingering around that. The bass line is very good for working on travel of the thumb across the strings and is easy to hear and shape as a musical line. Both the bass and tremolo notes are to be highlighted rather than one being purely accompaniment.

The thumb has a low string to stretch to at the beginning of each bar and then mostly alternates closer to the fingers, much easier for the tremolo novice!

The earlier that we can start working on this technique the better as it can become a natural part of the way that we use our fingers and this piece offers a fantastic opportunity for that and for enjoying a beautiful, little musical experience.

Selina.

musdodgsonodetotheguitar

Ode to the Guitar

Stephen Dodgson

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Stephen Dodgson was educated at the Royal College of Music, where he later taught theory and composition. His guitar music has gained recognition, despite the fact that he does not play the instrument himself. His remarkable grasp of the instrument’s capabilities in a distinctly non-Spanish idiom deserves to be heard more widely. John Williams premiered many of his guitar works, including the first Partita and the first guitar concerto.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This book is “A Sequence of 10 Miniatures’ written by a composer with a great pedigree in writing original and ‘far reaching’ music for the classical guitar.

By that I mean that the music stretches our technical abilities and musical ideas and has been very important in the development of the guitar repertoire in the 20th century.

In his preface Dodgson describes his collaboration with Hector Quine in writing a series of technical studies to complement a rapidly expanding guitar repertoire. After 20 years there was a pause in writing and although many aspects of technique had been explored Dodgson felt that there was one vital element missing – the expressive requirement. In this volume he set out to provide ”a strongly coloured miniature which will encourage the right hand to give voice to a full range of expression”

I think that he has achieved his aim with these miniatures and has gone beyond that in introducing guitarists to a truly contemporary style and new musical language, developing reading and interpretation skills as well as musical imagination.

The old excuse of “I can’t learn the piece because I don’t know the tune!” doesn’t work with these pieces.

The titles are very important, supplemented by ‘character’ and ‘feeling’ words in place of traditional tempo markings or expressions; for example ‘brisk and impish ‘,’radiant and sustained’ and ’menacing and intense’, which send direct messages to the fingers before you have even listened to the music!

There is of course a level of technique needed to get the most from this music, but I think that it also helps to develop this from the angle of tone colour, texture, spirit and story telling. The ability to listen and use your imagination is very important throughout the learning process, as is a strong rhythmical feel. A lot of the harmony is dissonant and unusual but there are also plenty of recognizable features to help you to develop an understanding of the style. The pieces use the whole range of the guitar in a very free flowing manner and even though the positions and shapes may be unfamiliar the music is very well written for the guitar both technically and musically. Fingering is used sparingly encouraging the player to explore.

  1. Ode to the Guitar - arpeggio figures punctuating slow melodic lines;
  2. Ragged Robin (grade 6) – clever use of the left hand around the fretboard giving the cheeky and impish character required, with small motifs linking and giving direction;
  3. Rainbow – constant flowing semiquavers where the player needs to listen to the harmony for shape and direction. It is particularly important to read the musical instruction here;
  4. Ghost Story (grade 7) – the melody and harmony are very contemporary with the melodic intervals and dissonances giving it the sinister and menacing feel;
  5. Drowsy Head – clear melody and direction with fingering patterns and a great mental picture to follow!
  6. O Pussy my love – a serenade feel and ideal pulsing accompaniment with a stretched rhythm to challenge you and detailed and tricky left hand work;
  7. Call, and I follow – lively and tricky requiring a light touch and good counting!
  8. Sirins (grade 6) – one of my favorites with clever use of subtly changing harmonies and lilting pulse;
  9. Hornets Nest (grade 8) – great fun with detailed left hand work cleverly under the fingers even if they have to move to get there!
  10. Villanelle – rustic with great spirit in the rhythm, range and lovely bass melodies.

To conclude, these pieces really are small windows onto emotional feelings and characters and as Dodgson says of the benefits of learning; “an awakened imagination is the spark; the reward, a tiny concert piece that sounds like one.”

Selina.

musferrercharme

Charme de la Nuite

Jose Ferrer

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A charming selection of character pieces for Guitar. Ferrer's compositions were written mainly for solo guitar and resembled the fashionable salon music of his time

Skill Level
Intermediate

I think that this book offers a great opportunity to guitarists of all levels to explore and, most importantly enjoy, some wonderful pieces.

The preface describes it as charming salon music, a perfect description for music that challenges the technique but is always imaginative and fun encouraging exploration of colour, texture and musical shape. This is not heavy or serious music, which is refreshing, and highlights the reason that we play – to enjoy and let others enjoy lovely music!

The music requires the player to look into what they are doing musically and to think about shape and direction. For example Ferrer uses for lightness, drama and suspense – the music doesn’t just stop! There is a lot of colour and texture to be found in the music, as well as dynamic control that is not necessarily marked.

There are demands on technique appropriate to the different levels of difficulty, all strongly associated to musical shape and style – articulation, right hand arpeggios, slurs and fluent movement around the fingerboard to name a few. The music is more romantic and emotional in style, falling really between Aguado and Mertz.

I love the use of the whole fingerboard in Ejercicio, creating drama, and the slurring motifs in El Amable with the melody moving easily between treble and bass parts. Ferrer uses some more unusual keys for guitarists; F major in Estudio developing a strong barre technique, and C minor in Nostalgia which has the added challenge of constant accompaniment figures. L’Etudiant de Salamanque has some lovely Spanish flavours and contrasts in a Tango and Vals finishing off with an effective and great tambora section. In complete contrast is Charme de Nuit, a nocturne that is free and unashamedly romantic! My personal favourite is Belle. This is such a happy piece guaranteed to bring a smile, especially the tuba section, while still challenging the player’s technique, particularly right hand.

The pieces in this little book go from grade 4 to 7, giving a player a great sense of development both technically and musically, introducing new music and style, and providing great entertainment. What more do we need?

Selina.

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