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 193 - 216 of 289

Sheet Music Database

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
musryanscenesbrazil

Scenes from Brazil

Gary Ryan

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In Scenes from Brazil Gary Ryan continues the theme of attractive concert pieces from his hugely popular Scenes from the Wild West. The three pieces that comprise Scenes from Brazil draw their influence from a variety of sources including 1960s jazz legend Antonio Carlos Jobim, who played alongside Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz on the famous Girl from Ipanema. The 3 pieces are titled Junglescape, Rio Bay (from the Corcovado)and Sugarloaf Mountain.

Skill Level
Advanced
scenesfromwildwest

Scenes from the Wild West

Gary Ryan

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Railroad

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

Across the Plain

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

West Coast Breeze

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

Rockweed

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

Rondo Rodeo

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

Smoke Rising

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

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

Selina.

280

Segovia - Albeniz Transcriptions

Isaac Albeniz

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From the front cover to the back page this is a beautifully printed edition of these wonderful pieces by Albeniz. Granada, Mallorca, Oriental and Zambra Granadina are printed in such clarity with space to allow easy reading of the music. If you love the music then you should definitely try this edition.

Skill Level
Advanced

I think that this is a lovely volume of pieces, firstly because of the historical significance of Segovia as a player and as an arranger. Segovia brought a lot of new music into the guitar repertoire through commissioning and arranging, making a big contribution to the development and success of the guitar in the second half of the 20th century.

Now that our technique and interpretation ideas have moved on these arrangements are often not considered any more. Of course there are so many editions available now and access to original scores is much easier with the internet, but I think that Segovia’s transcriptions are really worth looking at.

The book is very well presented, simple with large, clear print and wide spacing between staves – plenty of room for your notations. There is plenty of fingering but it is not unnecessarily repeated (e.g. in repeated sections) and on the whole it is very good. Do not be afraid to change it as long as you consider the flow of the music! Rather than just giving the guitarist the notes from the original piano Segovia has arranged these pieces to fit on the guitar technically and musically which is quite a skill.

Chord voicing and pitches are obviously going to have to change and it has been done in such a way as to allow the music to flow comfortably under the fingers and to feel and sound natural. Segovia also exploits the natural features of the guitar, which actually enhances the music.

Moving beyond the arrangements the music itself is gorgeous, rich in Spanish character, colour and emotion. I love the beautiful, gentle pulse at the opening of Granada with the contrasting minor section and overall movement and drive in the music. The D tuning in Mallorca gives a wonderful resonance to the bass line balancing the long, soaring melody with comfortable left hand movement over the whole range of the fingerboard. The close position chords in Oriental are fantastic and again fit very well under the fingers creating great textures and musical drive, and the rich harmony and wide range in melodies and chords in Zambra Granadina are just wonderful, particularly for me as I love low notes!

There is no doubt that these pieces are difficult to play and require good technical, rhythmical and listening skills, but they have been arranged for the guitar in a very sympathetic and natural way that gets the best from the music and the guitar making them well worth the effort.

Selina.

3314

Selected Studies for Guitar Vol. 1

Mauro Giuliani

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One of the two most important guitarist-composer of the first half of the 19th century Giuliani excelled as a teacher. Giuliani understood where the guitar can be brilliant and where it lacked power and was able to mix together the requirements for teaching and the creativity of music. A definite yes for any student guitarist.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
mussimplyguitar1

Simply Guitar Book 1

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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Book 1 offers a structured programme of easy repertoire for the beginner. The selection of pieces is designed to develop guitar technique, improve reading skills and most of all encourage the ability to perform with musical feeling.

Skill Level
Beginner
83

Simply Guitar Book 2

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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Simply Guitar introduces the basic skills of the Spanish guitar through the music of Vincent Lindsey-Clark and Alexander MacDonald. Book 2 introduces higher positions on the fingerboard, articulation techniques, tonal effects and interpretational skills. These are the skills that will turn you into a real musician.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
158

Simply Latin

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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Simply Latin evokes the sounds of South Americcan folk music. These six sketches take the player on a tour of the Andes, Venezuela, Brazil capturing in simple musical textures the exuberance and complexity of some of the South American folk cultures.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

The fantastic thing about this book is that it produces so much variety within the "Latin" style.

To quote the edition, these pieces..

"…take the player on a tour through the Andes, Venezuela, Brazil….capturing the exuberance and complexity of some of the South American folk cultures."

Again, Clarke manages to communicate so much through relatively simple musical textures, and, importantly, introduces younger players in particular to musical styles that they may not have experienced before.

 

The Vals actively encourages you to go to play Lauro's music. There is a real swing and feel of one in a bar while keeping the chords simple and easy to combine with the melody.

The Tango is full of the drama of the dance, heightened in the middle section with big moves between positions that sound great and are easy to play.

Montanas Nebulosas evokes the music of the Andes beautifully, making use of glissando and tambora techniques. The syncopated rhythms are clearly written and easy to understand.

My absolute favourite in this book has to be Rio by Night! This piece uses great harmonies and syncopated rhythms that take a bit more working out and counting, but are certainly worth the effort for the finished effect and atmosphere. You simply get carried along by the gentle Bossa Nova and transported to the carnival!

The final Danza also requires more careful control of rhythm and articulation, and buzzes with excitement and energy.

Selina.

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.

81

Simply Swing

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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Bringing alive the Jazz era with five stylish pieces capturing the atmosphere of the 1940's. They are easy to play and they will be enjoyed by the most sophisticated jazz connoisseur.

Skill Level
Beginner

These pieces capture the 1940s jazz style beautifully and are great fun to play, from the straightforward 2-part Ragatelle, to the more technically and musically complex Icy Blue.

As a player it is easy to get into the "atmosphere" of the music with fantastic harmonies and off beat rhythms that are not difficult to understand or execute, but are really effective when played fluently.

This is particularly noticeable in Mississippi Ditty with his use of ties, slurs and accents.

The off beat rhythms and "swing" are easy to get into at the beginning of the book as there is a constant crotchet pulse maintained in the bass which helps to drive and shape the music.

In Steely Blue, the bass line comes and goes, highlighting the "solo" melodic passages, which include very effective use of "glissando".

There are detailed dynamic indications throughout the book that really add to the experience as they initially teach you the style through shaping the music. You can then enjoy playing and bring your own interpretation to the pieces.

Icy Blue provides a contrast in the book because it uses constant quavers that produce a driving, exciting feel to the music and require some quick thinking!

My favourite piece from the collection has to be Swing Swang Lane. I love the slow and thoughtful atmosphere of this piece with its moving harmonies, relaxed swing and simple, flowing melody.

Selina.

muslerichsixpreludes

Six Preludes

Pierre Lerich

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
70

Solo Now - Preparatory Book

Chanterelle

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Specially commisioned easy and accessible guitar solos with minimal demands on the left-hand so that the student can concentrate on a stable relaxed right tirando technique. Other techniques such as appoyando, tremolo, simple chords, tambora and rasgueado are also covered.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is a great new addition at the beginning of the EGTA guitar series. It introduces the idea of modern music at an early stage and gives invaluable experience in interpretation since the pieces need the performers input with articulation, dynamics and shaping to give them their character.

Over the years I have found that, given the chance, young people love to play dissonances and big contrasting dynamics, making the music more theatrical and telling a story that they can relate to.

Titles like "My Dog has Fleas", "Beasties" and "Square Pegs, Round Holes" make you smile and give you ideas of how the music should sound before playing a note! Other pieces like "The Lost Abbey", "The Forbidden City" and "Sad Song" need a lot of atmosphere, and "Japanese Garden" and "High Life" introduce different cultures and musical languages.

Several of the pieces reflect blues and reggae styles with simple, but very effective, syncopation. My favourites are "High Life" for its sheer happiness; "Rumba Flamenca" which makes excellent use of an 8/8 time signature; "Japanese Garden" for its beautiful delicacy and "Regular Reggae" which is just great fun!

I will definitely be introducing this book into my teaching repertoire.

Grade 1

  • A Little Russian Tale: a simple melody accompanied by open bass strings with a title and shape that really encourages character.
  • My Dog Has Fleas: this uses nice, open string arpeggio figures with some more jumpy, crotchet and quaver “itchy” rhythms.
  • Pas De Deux: introduces effective 2 part contrapuntal writing with a strong bass line.

Grade 2

  • Sad Song: asks for long, legato phrases using echoes and "question and answer" shape.
  • Gimme Five: with echoes of the famous Gimme Five, a strong syncopated rhythm.

Selina.

76

Solo Now Volume 1

Chanterelle

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Volume One of the Solo Now! series contains twenty-five original progressive guitar solos for the beginning classical guitarist. Part of the EGTA Series, Solo Now! focuses on development of a stable yet relaxed right hand position while nurturing correct technique for the left hand.

Skill Level
Beginner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

76

Solo Now Volume 2

Chanterelle

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Volume Two of the Solo Now! series contains twenty-five original progressive guitar solos for the beginning classical guitarist. Part of the EGTA Series, Solo Now! focuses on development of a stable yet relaxed right hand position while nurturing correct technique for the left hand.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

121

Solo Now Volume 3

Chanterelle

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

Skill Level
Intermediate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

musdowlandsolowerke

Solowerke 1

John Dowland

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I think every guitarist should have some experience of Renaissance lute music. It has so much to offer us in musicianship skills and we are very lucky to be able to play the music of such a great composer. John Dowland Solowerke Vol.1: Solos for classical guitar. Universal Edition

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

One of the most important things to look for when playing music that has been arranged or transcribed is the quality of the edition, for example notes and explanations on sources and performance.

This edition has a short preface covering all the main points; sources, recognition of the main, comprehensive edition of the complete lute music, explanation for the use of F sharp tuning and the suggestion to raise the pitch of the guitar with a capo so imitating the lute more closely and getting more detail from the music.

There are also some facsimile prints to show you what the original lute music would look like. I absolutely love this music, an interest that goes back to falling in love with my guitar teachers lute at the age of 8!

It has so much to offer us in musicianship skills and we are very lucky to be able to play the music of such a great composer.

In this collection you are introduced to the various dance forms used as the basis for many of the compositions in the Renaissance. There are simpler, chordal pieces in Tarletons Riserrectione, My Lord Willoughby's Welcome Home and Round Battle Galliard as well as complex, contrapuntal pieces in The Right Honourable Robert, Earl of Essex, high Marshall of England, his Galliard. Are not the titles fantastic as well, giving you a real sense of history and living music! In the first Galliard we are introduced to imitation between voices and suspensions in inner parts creating wonderful dissonances. This little piece demonstrates how important listening is with this music, that is listening to horizontal lines and phrases rather than just learning through fingering and shapes.

The compositional technique of using Divisions to build a piece is perfectly demonstrated in Sir John Smith his Almaine (this is probably one of my favorite ever pieces by the way). Divisions are when each theme is repeated in a more decorated version so adding to the build up and variety in the piece. John Smiths is lively and strong, with simple, long flowing phrases and a real sense of movement. The Frog Galliard (grade 8) is very similar, without complex counterpoint but with strong rhythm, dance movement and constant development through the piece. Another Renaissance technique was to extend bar lines at cadences, which has the effect of pushing the music towards the conclusion. This happens at the end of each section in The Frog Galliard effectively creating a 3/2 bar from 3/4 bars before each cadence. In this edition the hemiola technique that I have just described is indicated with brackets under the music.

One result of the use of divisions in a piece is some quite extended, quick and virtuosic semiquaver passages to deal with. There are also decorated final chords in several of the pieces which look to have very quick notes but are intended to be played more freely, as a finishing flourish! The idea of suspensions comes out beautifully in The Shoemakers wife and the counterpoint in Lady Rich and The Earl of Essex is stunning.

I think every guitarist should have some experience of Renaissance lute music. There really is something for everyone, from strong driving rhythm to interweaving lines, beautiful dissonance and pure singing melodies. This collection goes from about a grade 4 standard virtuoso pieces that are not out of place on the concert platform. And there is so much more to explore!

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
mussmithsonatano4

Sonata No 4 La Breve

Reginald Smith Brindle

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Smith Brindle began learning the piano at the age of six, and later took up the clarinet, saxophone and guitar (and won a Melody Maker prize for his guitar-playing). Although he wrote for many instruments, Smith Brindle was perhaps best known for his solo guitar music.

Skill Level
Advanced

This is contemporary music and as such is often difficult for students to attempt, as they are not used to the dissonances and unusual melodic and harmonic shapes, that is, there is not necessarily a ‘tune’ to sing!

I have not played any Smith Brindle for years for this very reason and so came to this review with some trepidation.

It is definitely music that you have to keep playing to start to get an idea of what there is to communicate.

Here the music is very well laid out with plenty of space between staves, helpful fingering and lots of musical clues, i.e. espressivo and echo.

In the first movement there are contrasting fast and slow sections with repetitions that help you to navigate your way through the music as well as rhythmic and melodic motifs to latch on to.

The rhythm is very important but not too complicated to count and learn. Once you have this, the shape of the piece can emerge.

The slow middle movement uses the resonance around clashing and harmonic chords to good effect and forces you to really listen to what happens to the sound after you have played the strings. In fact this is an important point about contemporary music – the melody or flow of the music is not always obvious and so you have to listen more and you cannot only concentrate on fingers!

I liked the last movement the best. The rhythms are great with lovely dissonances that together are exciting.

If you can be open to new sounds this music is great for developing reading and fingerboard knowledge. It helps you to find and develop moods and means of expression on your guitar and is very open to your interpretation, but with plenty of ideas toget you started.

Selina.

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.

musryansongserin

Songs From Erin

Gary Ryan

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Songs from Erin (2007) is a shorter, two movement work for guitar commissioned by Rebecca Baulch and inspired by Ryan's visits to Ireland. Ryan explores different tunings for the guitar in these pieces, making the instrument sound reinvigorated, idiomatic and resonant in new ways. Out of Clonmel has an energetic flavour reflective of Irish folk music Lough Caragh is more contemplative and influenced by the traditional Irish ballad.

Skill Level
Advanced
325

Sor Variations Op. 9

Fernando Sor

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on a theme from Mozart's Magic Flute edited by Fabio Rizza. Based on the theme 'Das Klinget so herrlich' taken from the first act. This edition is worth owning just for the Preface which has much interesting historical detail. Print quality is clean bright and very easy to read. An excellent edition.

Skill Level
Advanced
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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mustrinitysands1

Sound at Sight Grade Initial to 3

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
Beginner
288

Specimen Aural Tests 2011 Grades 1 - 3

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 1–3 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.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
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