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.

Sheet Music Database

94

Cavatina

Alexandre Tansman

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Tansman met Andres Segovia in Paris in the 1920s, a meeting that inspired him to write a number of important works for guitar. In 1952 ‘Cavatina’ was a prize winner at the International Music Competition in Sienna, Italy. Cavatina is a suite of 4 movements written in a style that is ‘contemporary’ (in its time) but also lyrical and, I think, romantic, using rich harmonies and driving pulsing rhythms.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

The last time that I played part of this suite was when I was doing exams myself too many years ago to mention! It is brilliant to revisit and realize how much there is in the music in colour, texture and expression. In fact since I have started reviewing I am going to be learning and relearning a lot of different and exciting pieces!

Tansman met Andres Segovia in Paris in the 1920s, a meeting that inspired him to write a number of important works for guitar. In 1952 ‘Cavatina’ was a prize winner at the International Music Competition in Sienna, Italy.

Cavatina is a suite of 4 movements written in a style that is ‘contemporary’ (in its time) but also lyrical and, I think, romantic, using rich harmonies and driving pulsing rhythms.

The opening ‘Preludio’ (grade 8) is marked Allegro con moto and has a bright and rhythmical opening section using motifs and patterns that help the ear to learn the style, along with more chromatic writing. The central section is slower with a lovely singing melody line.

The Lento ‘Sarabande’ (grade 7) has a tranquil melody built around a wistful triplet figure with contrapuntal voices and lovely harmonies created from suspended notes and gentle dissonances. I particularly like the long, singing, mellow bass lines – great for shaping and developing tone.

You then have to turn to the final page of the edition for the 3rd movement, ‘Scherzino’ (grade 8). This has a tremolo opening with a subtle build up of tension leading into the Piu vivo that echoes rhythm patterns from the 1st movement. There are lots of left hand patterns, falling sequences and rhythms that cross the bar lines. There is a great, ‘bouncing’ central melody with a fanfare type ending building chords across repeated bass ‘E’s, again echoing the beginning of the suite.

Turning back a page the final ‘Barcarole’ (grade 7) has a 6/8 rhythm, starting ‘dark’ and opening into warmth and light with a lovely lilting movement over the full range of the guitar.

This movement was one of my first experiences of more contemporary music, and a very good one since I have continued to enjoy exploring new music over the years.

It is great that this music is back in the syllabus and I hope that many more guitarists will be adventurous in exploring this classic and important repertoire.

Selina.

92

Easy Pieces from Shakespeares Time Vol.1

Karl Scheit

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This music, in its beauty and easy playability, constitutes an excellent introduction to the extensive lute literature of the Elizabethan Era. Through the pieces in this collection the player, from the outset, will be made familiar with the most diverse interpretation techniques, such as ornamentation, diminution and song settings for lute alone. Includes pieces by John Dowland, Francis Cutting and Thomas Robinson. These two volumes are full of pieces that have stood the test of time and are a must for anyone learning the classical guitar.

Skill Level
Intermediate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

95

Five Pictures of Sark

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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

Skill Level
Intermediate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

96

25 Etudes Melodiques Progressives Op. 60

Carcassi

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This is the first accurate and reliable modern edition of Matteo Carcassi's 25 Melodic and Progressive Studies op.60. They are presented complete in their correct order with the composer's original fingering and phrasing. An indispensable part of the repertoire, these studies cover a wide variety of guitar techniques and are musically both inventive and attractive

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

The 25 Melodic and Progressive Studies Opus 60 by Carcassi are fantastic pieces that should be an essential part of every guitarists repertoire.

They are more than studies, encouraging players to find musical shape and develop ideas using combinations of melody, accompaniment, various intervals both split and together, slurs, arpeggios and chords, creating some little musical gems.

At the same time they give an excellent grounding in the basic guitar techniques that are all to often taken for granted but that form the backbone of pretty much all the music that we play.

The most recent edition by Chanterelle has an excellent preface with information about Carcassi, a general description of the music and discussion about sources and early editions.

Of most interest to me are the comments on fingering.

They have used the Rowies edition as the main source, printed in 1914 and fingered by Miguel Llobet. Their reasoning is that this edition is very important in the history of The 25 Etudes, having, as they say one foot in the 19th century and one foot in the 20th century. This means that the edition respects the traditions of the past while looking forward to the development of guitar technique.

This is great information for a player to have and recognizes how playing techniques are constantly changing. It is very important for us to understand techniques and performance practice from the past so that we can use the information to help us interpret the music.

My problem comes when looking at the studies and seeing the level and very specific nature of the fingering. There is a lot of explanation in a long section following the preface entitled Playing The Studies. This is very interesting, especially useful if you are looking at the pieces without a teacher.

A lot of fingering is explained in detail with suggestions on learning the music. It is of course very technical, an important part of learning, but not the only one. The detailed fingering is then continued in most of the pieces and seems to result in learning by numbers.

For example in no. 1 the student is so involved in getting the printed right hand fingering correct (there is a letter for almost every note) that they haven’t got time to listen to musical lines, and so follow the natural flow of the music and discover a fingering that fits.

Since this edition has such a good preface and section of notes on the music, a lot of the technical information could be referred back to this, allowing the player more freedom to learn and interpret the music.

The reasons for using a later edition rather than Carcassi’s original fingering are ones of technical and musical progress.

Surely that still applies!

Moving on – I think that this music is fantastic. It really is collection of musical miniatures that, with the right attention to detail, make lovely little concert fillers and provide an excellent education for all guitarists.

Carcassi uses a number of different compositional styles and what I find most interesting is the music that is shaped with harmony, in other words with no obvious melodic line but the tension, relaxation and movement provided by changing harmonies. The best examples are no.8 using slurs to add texture and increase movement, no.4 with many more slurs to negotiate, no.2 with a dramatic build up in pitch and intensity, and no. 7 with a combination of repeated ‘tremolo’ notes and arpeggios underpinned with a clear bass melody.

Many of the studies are based on the harmonic movement with melody found within the arpeggio pattern or chord shape. The most well known example is no.3 in A major with a simple upper melodic motif and strong bass to help develop shape. Nos.1 and 6 clearly use simple scale patterns and show how developing smooth and fluent movement between notes brings simple lines to life.

I particularly like the vitality and bubbly character of no.9 with quick movement around the fingerboard, and the melancholy melody singing out from the triplet patterns in no.13. Nos.16 and 21 show how effective close chords punctuated by rests are in giving character and rhythmic shape to music and nos.20, 21, 22 and 23 develop quick, free and full movement up, down and across the fretboard resulting in breadth and excitement in the music. Nos.24 and 25 combine all the skills and musical ideas worked on in the book in two beautifully contrasting pieces from melodic lines moving smoothly between bass and treble voices in no.24 to the flowing and expansive arpeggio passages of no. 25.

If you can fluently use the techniques in these pieces and shape the music from them then the guitar repertoire opens out before you and you can move forward knowing that your foundations are strong. You will also thoroughly enjoy the learning process and will be able to experiment with lots of musical ideas, textures and emotions.

Just don’t get distracted by the fingering – be independent and learn more!

Selina.

97

Microestudios 6 to 10 Vol 2

Abel Carlevaro

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An exceptional virtuoso, composer and teacher Carlevaro is not only one of the most important guitarists of our time but the creator of a new school of instrumental technique. Microestudios, three books containing 15 studies, are a must for the aspiring guitarist.

Skill Level
Intermediate
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98

24 Preludes Book 1

Gilbert Biberian

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Often intricate and complex, these Preludes are intended for a fairly advanced player, although there are no fearsome technical obstacles. They are composed skillfully and effectively for the guitar.

Skill Level
Advanced
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99

Five Bagatelles for Guitar

William Walton

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The Five Bagatelles were written for Julian Bream and dedicated to Malcolm Arnold on his 50th birthday. They were first performed by Julian Bream on 27th May. The five different bagatelles each capture a different mood from the relentlessly upbeat first, the languid second, the smoky, seductive third, the dreamy fourth and the frantic finale. All feel instinctively like guitar music.

Skill Level
Advanced
100

Aquarelle

Sergio Assad

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Single piece for guitar. D Major. 14 pages. Published by Editions Henry Lemoine

Skill Level
Advanced
101

Dyens Mambo des Nuances

Roland Dyens

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Skill Level
Advanced
102

Hommage a Tarrega

Turina

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This piece is from the repertoire that brought a lot of people of my generation to the guitar, and still does due to its rich, evocative musical language. It is part of the huge contribution that Andres Segovia made to our repertoire by inspiring and encouraging new composers to write guitar music, without which I am sure we would not be where we are today. The edition covers 7 pages. Published by Schott Music.

Skill Level
Advanced

This piece is from the repertoire that brought a lot of people of my generation to the guitar, and still does due to its rich, evocative musical language.

It is part of the huge contribution that Andres Segovia made to our repertoire by inspiring and encouraging new composers to write guitar music, without which I am sure we would not be where we are today.

The key is the way that Turina uses the characteristics of the guitar to create the emotion, depth and colour in the music. The piece is very much written for the guitar with a fantastic and varied texture created using ponticello, tasto, rasgueado, subito dynamics and loads of musical instruction on the score.

The music also uses the natural tone colours of the guitar, for example the full and mellow sound high up on the inner strings, and accuracy in right hand articulation is important.

The two movements are based on flamenco dance forms, which are distinguished by, among other things, their rhythmic patterns.

Garrotin has an exciting opening and driving rhythm. There is a lot of variety with melodic motifs tying the movement together, lots of slurring, rasgueado and golpe.

The singing melodies contrast with driving repeated notes, rhythmical chords and flowing scales. Soleares is more flamenco in style in its distinctive rhythm, rolling arpeggio patterns, sequences of scales and triplets. Slurring is very important for free movement as well as texture and rhythm, and much of the fingering is for colour.

Overall this piece reflects the flamenco tradition while remaining classical in style. It is a true guitar piece using the guitars attributes to the full and it is very exciting piece – an important part of the repertoire.

Selina.

103

Collected Works for Solo Guitar

H. Villa-Lobos

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Introduction by Frederick Noade. The music in this collection has probably been more studied, performed and recorded than any other guitar compositions of the twentieth century. This collection gathers Villa-Lobos' most famous works in their original forms and complete with Andrés Segovia's original introduction to the Twelve Etudes. Includes: Choros No. 1 * Suite Populaire Brésilienne * Douze Études * Cinq Préludes.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

There is so much movement in his pieces with lots of sliding shapes, sequences and big interval jumps, with musical shape and direction that requires great freedom, relaxed agility and flowing technique.

The music is advanced, grade 6 upwards and I think that it is invaluable for technical and musical development – as well as making you think about fingering and teaching you how to get about!

The short introduction by Frederick Noad provides an excellent summary of Villa Lobos’ history with the guitar, his innovative style and his meeting and subsequent association with Segovia to whom he dedicated his 12 Etudes. The introduction also explains his notation of harmonics and the associated problems. In fact there is a section at the end of the book that concentrates on specific problems which is very helpful for players looking at this music for the first time.

Much of this music is very well known to guitarists of all standards, and as Noad says it “has probably been more studied, performed and recorded than any other guitar compositions of the twentieth century.” This is reason enough I think for it to be an essential part of a guitarists library.

The book starts with Choros no.1, the first of a set of pieces of the same name written for various combinations of instruments. The word choro is Portuguese for weeping, tears and became the name used for music played by an ensemble of Brazilian street musicians using both African and European instruments who improvise in a free and often dissonant kind of counterpoint. This piece has great pulse and rhythm as well as a sense of freedom that makes it very evocative. It is technically difficult for the left hand requiring lots of quick movement between big chord shapes and barres while maintaining melodic shape and direction. As in many of these pieces much of the melody is in chords providing the challenge of thinking horizontally in up to 4 voices rather than in vertical finger shapes. There is a lot of rubato indicated in the music and this is very important but the music does need the underlying pulse and rhythmical structure in place before you start to pull it around. Again this is a feature in all of these pieces and is often what spoils my enjoyment of the music – rubato without structure tends to lead music without sense and direction. Unlike the rest of the pieces in this collection the Choros does have some fingering but it is not overdone. The player does need to have very good technical control and knowledge of the fingerboard to really communicate the spirit of this piece.

The Suite Populaire Bresilienne is made up of five melodic and emotional pieces that use contrasting dance forms combined with Villa Lobos’ choro style. They are Mazurka Choro, Schottish Choro, Valsa Choro, Gavotta Choro and Chorinho. They all have a natural flow and rhythm and are made up of repeating and contrasting sections. There are many unusual and more dissonant sounds combined with easily singing melodies and rich harmony. I love the delicate opening figure in Schottish and the sweeping melodic line of the Mazurka. There is a constant feel of movement in the music with no compromises made for travel around the fingerboard. The Valsa highlights control of voicing between parts and within the chordal melody. Similarly the Gavotta requires three distinct parts throughout with constant movement in chords. The Chorinho is purely from the Brazilian tradition and is more unusual and quirky. It is all about the rhythm and feel for the pulse with lovely, moody, low harmonies and a major section that is simply great fun to play!

The Twelve studies truly represent an important and innovative change in writing for the guitar. They pushed the boundaries of classical guitar technique further than ever before while maintaining musicality as performance pieces, as Segovia points out in his preface to the first edition, which is printed here in full. The first 4 cover basic techniques – right hand arpeggio patterns, left hand arpeggios moving around the fingerboard, slurs and rapid repeated chords. The rest of the pieces cover combinations of techniques and musical ideas such as maintaining voices, melody and accompaniment, multiple slurs, rhythmical challenges and ornaments. I particularly like the peaceful flow of the ostinato lower voice in no.5, the contrast between tumbling scales and emotional melody with accompaniment in no.7, the beautiful and mournful melody in no.8 and the contrast of drama with the lightness of multiple slurs accompanying a bass melody in no.10 – very tricky!

With all of the studies it is obvious what you are trying to achieve and so satisfying when you start to hear progress. Add to that the fact that they are very suitable for performance repertoire and you are killing two birds with one stone as they say. This set of pieces really does represent a lifetime’s work for the performer.

The Five Preludes are perhaps some of the most recognizable guitar pieces ever written, not heard so much in performance these days which is a great shame as they are so wonderful for developing a guitarists technical freedom and musical interpretation skills. One of these skills is controlling musical shape and direction through the use of rubato. When you look at the pieces on the page you can see a lot of rhythmical detail and subtlety that is very important but often gets neglected. Freedom in these pieces is wonderful and necessary but needs to have a structure to build on to have the desired effect.

The melodies are quite romantic, notably in no.1 and no.4 and it is easy to get carried away! However as soon as you start to recognize the rhythm and pulse the musical shape shines through and creates its own freedom.

The 5 pieces are similar in structure – loosely A B A – and contain many contrasts in dynamics, texture, emotion and musical ebb and flow. No.1 has a fantastic, long melody line with extended phrases and a great emotional build up. No. 2 has a more graceful and delicate arpeggio based melody with an intense and dramatic contrasting section. The rising lines of no.3 really highlight the sonorities of the guitar and its singing voice, with a second section that is very difficult to pull off and requires lots of musical thought, but the end result is exquisite! I love the stillness and sonorous melody of no.4 with its busy and compelling centre section and no.5 is simply a lovely, sunny melody with lots of voicing needed to bring out the harmonies that move with the melody and, again an intense and melancholy middle section.

It is great to have all of these pieces together, challenging you as a player both technically and musically for as long as you play and making you think about, and work out fingering so giving you a better knowledge of the fingerboard.

Selina.

104

24 Studies Op. 48

Mauro Giuliani

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Guitar Solo. By Mauro Giuliani. Arranged by Hans Ritter. This edition: GA32. Covers 27 pages and is published by Schott Music.

Skill Level
Advanced
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
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
107

Guerau Five Pieces

Francisco Guerau

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Five dances selected from Guerau's Poema Harmonico. If the themes have a familiar ring it is because they were in general use and were often built on traditional groungs rather like as this century has made use of the 12-bar blues sequence. Guerau treats his themes with much greater freedom and resource than Sanz.

Skill Level
Advanced
108

Eight Sonatas

Domenico Scarlatti

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

Skill Level
Advanced
109

Tombeau sur La Mort de Mr. Comte d'Logy

Silvius Leopold Weiss

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Weiss was the most important and the most prolific composer of lute music in history and one of the best-known and most technically accomplished lutenists of his day. Anyone who knows how difficult it is to play harmonic modulations and good counterpoint on the lute will be surprised and full of disbelief to hear from eyewitnesses that Weiss, the great lutenist, challenged J. S. Bach, the great harpsichordist and organist, at playing fantasies and fugues.

Skill Level
Advanced

This is an absolutely beautiful piece of music, so majestic and full of tension and emotion.

I learnt it from this edition when I was younger but have not considered it for a while due to more modern editions.

Coming back to it I have found that, even though the key is further from the original than other editions, it gives a better rendition of the piece as the low D tuning allows ‘bigger’ chords and helps to create the depth and atmosphere needed. The Baroque lute had many more strings than the classical guitar and the piece has some wonderful bass lines that are impossible to recreate. However this tuning goes a long way to helping us hear the full, intense and compelling harmonic language of the original.

There is a facsimile of the original tablature source at the back, which is a great bonus and if you really enjoy the music it is well worth researching how to read this as you learn the piece.

The music is very slow, which is difficult, with a lot to listen to in the voicing and the harmony. A feel for pulse is very important with the slow speed as well as a good sense of rhythm, definitely one to count and not guess!

Tension and resolution is a big feature and wonderful to play – dissonant ‘scrunchy’ chords resolving and creating wonderful movement. The sequences are fantastic and help you with playing long phrases and bringing out individual notes and voices.

There is too much fingering for me and so it is good to try to adapt this for your needs.

The chords and melodies in this piece are heavily charged with emotion with long and beautiful phrasing making this is such a rewarding piece of music to play.

It is definitely one of my all time favourites.

Selina.

74

Le Petit Livre de Guitar Vol. 2

Claude Gagnon

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A collection of 25 pieces from the Renaissance & Baroque eras arranged for solo guitar by Claude Gangon. Featuring composers such as Milan, Tourdion, Galileo, de Visee & Bach. This is an excellent book for the aspiring student.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

I must admit to particularly liking this little book as it highlights the music that I really love!

This music is tuneful and rhythmical and in my experience students really enjoy playing the pieces while learning a lot both musically and technically.

The printing and layout is very clear and fingering seems to have been kept to a minimum contributing to the uncluttered look and "readability".

The choice of music is excellent introducing the stylistic features of the period, for example the "divisions" that shaped the music of the Renaissance, in good arrangements and transcriptions.

In particular this music introduces students to ‘counterpoint’ – two or more melodies played at the same time – starting with melody and simple bass and working up to more complex music by Milan, Dowland, de Visee and Bach.

The progression of difficulty is clear through the book with the D minor Prelude by Bach an important and satisfying goal to aim for at the end. This is one of my highlights; others include Pavane by Milan and the Saltarello by Galileo which has been a favourite piece of mine since first playing it as a child.

I would put the music here at a grade 3 to 6 standard, and I think it is invaluable repertoire for aspiring guitarists, definitely encouraging further exploration into these styles.

Selina.

75

First Guitar Pieces

Gerald Garcia and John Whitworth

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A very popular collection of eight attractive pieces, drawn from many parts of the world. The pieces are suitable for the elementary player who is ready to study music in two voices, and have been chosen for their musical value whilst remaining within strict technical limits.

Skill Level
Beginner
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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.

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