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

muspujolhispanae

Hispanae Citharae Ars Viva

Emilio Pujol

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I am afraid that I will have to start this review by saying that this is one of my favourite music books ever!There is a short preface describing the history and sources of the pieces, with some information for the player on tablature, original instrumentation, tuning and performance practice followed by a short description for each piece. Contains music composed by Various Composers and arranged by Emilio Pujol Vilarrubí.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I am afraid that I will have to start this review by saying that this is one of my favourite music books ever! The music is simply fantastic and it is great to have a volume with a nice variety of pieces from this period to help guitarists become acquainted with the style and, as I did, fall in love with the music.

There is a short preface describing the history and sources of the pieces, with some information for the player on tablature, original instrumentation, tuning and performance practice followed by a short description for each piece. In these descriptions the editor gives approximate tempo markings and an indication as to whether note values have been changed due to the fact that during this period the semibreve is thought to have been equal to today’s crotchet, hence the pieces ‘looking’ slower to us!

The tempo markings are mentioned but unfortunately not translated! Despacio = slow, Apresurado = fast, Apriesa = fast, Compas = beat, Medio = neither slow nor fast! It is also important to understand the words redobles indicating rapid passages of notes and scales, and consonancias indicating passages of harmony and slower melody. Understanding the musical language is always important, especially here as it helps to explain performance practice and interpretation of a style that we are very unfamiliar with.

The preface states; “ (this music)…should be considered indispensable for the artistic development of the guitarist” and I cannot agree more! From a reading point of view the altered tuning makes us think and the Renaissance style forces us listen to musical lines and phrases, clashing harmony creating movement and emotion, multiple voices, interweaving lines and long extended phrases with unfamiliar structure. The rhythms are unusual and there are lots of long notes and space to play through, especially where the pieces are based on vocal works, like Cancion del Emperador by Narvaez on Mille Regretz by Josquin.

There are also many contrasts from the simple chordal structure of the first two pieces by Pisador, through the long interweaving lines of Milan’s Fantasia del quarto tono, to the imitation, energy and dissonance of the Fantasia by Mudarra. This Fantasia, written in imitation of the harp in the manner of Luduvico is a fantastic piece and great fun, if a little tricky, to play. At one point in the piece Mudarra has written a note saying “from here to the end there are some false notes; when played well they do not sound bad”!

I also love the Fantasia del quarto tono by Milan with its stately opening chords from which melodies emerge and open creating continuous momentum throughout the music. The contrasts in Fantasia de consonancias y redobles are great and encourage a freedom in interpretation that many of us find difficult at first.

Finally Diferencias sobre Guardame las vacas is probably the most famous of the pieces and has wonderful movement and development throughout the continuous variations, rhythms that appear to twist and turn, imitation and flowing scale passages that rise and build towards a final phrase that relieves the tension in a calm ending.

Brilliant and definitely music that should be in every guitarist’s repertoire.

Selina.

musscarlatti

Scarlatti for Guitar

Domenico Scarlatti

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It is great to see these two collections being published, as the music is often difficult to find and choose when students reach the technical level required.

Skill Level
Intermediate

It is great to see these two collections being published,as the music is often difficult to find and choose when students reach the technical level required.

I was especially impressed with the Weiss collection where the 10 movements chosen (from a huge repertoire of suites) work very well as stand alone pieces and transfer beautifully onto our 6 string classical guitar, without the player having to perform too many acrobatics and without losing the musical flow.

It is very important to introduce the repertoire of these two composers to guitarists as soon as possible. Weiss because he was a contemporary of Bach and wrote pieces of high quality and, arguably more suited to the guitar, and Scarlatti whose harpsichord music helps to develop a feel for the Spanish Baroque style where the guitar can recreate the textures of the harpsichord very well.

The editions are clearly set out and printed with excellent historical notes at the beginning of each volume. These notes are very informative and useful for the technical and musical interpretation of the pieces.

For the Scarlatti there is some background for individual pieces, as well as musical ideas and explanation of ornaments.

For the Weiss there is a more general history of how he wrote for the Baroque Lute developing the instrument to include 13 courses, and of his main format for composition, namely the suites of dance movements.

I particularly found useful the explanation of the Prelude or Fantasia, a form represented in the first piece in this book.

The Scarlatti pieces all fit the guitar well although the last two are technically complicated. My favourites are 3, 5, 6 and 7 from which I felt I could really get a lot of musicality, texture and rhythmic drive.

All of the Weiss movements are lovely with a lot of contrast to be found between pieces. The player can get a real feel for the dance styles and sophisticated harmonies that Weiss used. My highlights are the Rondeau and Sarabande (5 and 6), Paysanne (8) and Courante (9).

The only thing that I would like to have seen less of in these editions is fingering, especially for the left hand. The music is complicated and it is nice to have fingering advice but I found that it hindered my initial reading of the pieces and so it ended up taking me longer to become fluent!!

It is good for students and teachers to work out the best fingering for themselves through trial and error - in my experience you learn more thoroughly and have a better understanding of reading and technique this way.

Overall, this is excellent source material for any guitarist, not only to be used for exams but as essential repertoire. It is also beautiful and detailed music that all will be able to enjoy learning and mastering.

Selina.

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
musscarlatt_4sonatasUE29149

Four Sonatas UE 29149

Domenico Scarlatti

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Skill Level
Intermediate
musscarlatti4sonatasUE29179

Four Sonatas UE 29179

Domenico Scarlatti

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Sonata K83 is one of the minority with more than one movement. The forst contains some startling dissonances, produced by adventurous contrapuntal activity, typical of Scarlatti's impish disregard for the established rules; the second is a minuet. Sonatas K80 and K94 are both minuets. Scarlatti is often difficult but he springs too many surprises ever to become boring.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

Scarlatti’s music is very effective on the classical guitar having originally been written for the harpsichord, which, even though it has a keyboard, is a plucked string instrument.

The music is clearly printed with plenty of space in the layout, and even though there is too much fingering advice in my opinion, the page does not look overcrowded or cluttered with numbers giving the player a feeling of choice!

There is a short but comprehensive forward well worth the read as it gives a concise summary of the harmony and style of the pieces, enough to help you to start to understand the pieces. For example he mentions “startling dissonances” and “adventurous counterpoint” – definitely attracting my interest before even starting to play.

There is also a paragraph explaining the notation and fingering at the end of the book.

Duarte uses the interesting (and wonderful) tuning of 6th sting to D and 5th string to G for the first two pieces. Don’t let this put you off! It does not take long to get used to and really helps the music to sit naturally on the guitar.

I particularly like the lilt of the triplet semiquavers in the second piece with the tuning creating a lovely open bass.

Watch out for the misprint at the end of the second piece – the bass note should be a G! The third Sonata maintains a steady crotchet pulse with shifting rhythms above and continuously moving chords with fascinating harmonic changes, while the final piece challenges you with the counterpoint of two very separate voices and lots of drama in the music.

These are all interesting, and less obvious, choices giving us a clear insight into the Baroque style of Scarlatti with its distinctly Spanish feel.

As Duarte says “ Scarlatti is often difficult but he springs too many surprises ever to become boring!

Selina.

musscarlatti3sonatas29158

Three Sonatas UE 29158

Domenico Scarlatti

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Scarlatti sonatas were first collated and catalogued by Alessandro Longo. Much later the harpsichordist Ralph Kirkpatrick re-ordered the sonatas in what he deduced to be their chronological order. Kirkpatrick deduced that Scarlatti intended a large portion of the sonatas to be played in pairs. Of the sonatas in this book the first two form a pair and should be played together. The third K.208 has been added as it is the most beautiful of Scarlatti's sonatas.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

Scarlatti’s music is very effective on the classical guitar having originally been written for the harpsichord, which, even though it has a keyboard, is a plucked string instrument. The choice of pieces here is great.

he first two pieces are less well known whereas the third is probably one of the most popular of Scarlatti’s pieces on the classical guitar.

The music has lots of space around it on the page which I love as it allows room for fingering and notes without becoming cluttered.

There is a short but excellent forward giving you a great insight into how Scarlatti’s works have been catalogued and ideas for performance. Reading this only takes a couple of minutes but is very important as it gives a little insight into how to play this style of music and opens the door for further investigations, something that we really should do when learning any new piece. There is also an explanation of notation and fingering used in the edition.

I particularly like the first piece, with lovely counterpoint between the two voices, interesting and offbeat rhythms in the opening Cantabile and a contrasting light and bright ‘Allegrissimo’ in 3/8, and great feel of movement and development throughout.

The second piece is given a steadier feel by underlying crotchet pulse using repeated basses beneath a rhythmically flowing and often complicated upper voice with some wonderful dissonances.

The third piece is one of his most beautiful, fitting perfectly on the guitar with its strong steady bass and lovely rise and fall in the long sustained phrases.

Playing this music is great for guitarists teaching us a lot about shaping melodies by listening to the effect of intervals and tension created and resolved.

Selina.

muszebracadabra

Zebracadabra

David Cottam

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Above all this music is great fun to play while offering excellent technical and musical progression for students of all ages.

Skill Level
Beginner

Above all this music is great fun to play while offering excellent technical and musical progression for students of all ages.

David Cottam manages to communicate many different musical styles using mainly simple notes, shapes and slides giving beginners access to a wider musical "atlas" and early experience of techniques such as "campanella" (cross string melodies) and articulation.

He introduces some quite difficult syncopated rhythms, but does so gradually so that you are not always aware of the offbeat rhythm until you hear the effect, and he uses easy notes so that the student can focus on the rhythm.

These pieces also explore the fretboard right from the start often using sliding chord shapes to develop the link between notes in the higher positions.

Cottam makes excellent use of finger patterns for both hands that help to produce music that sounds more difficult than it is to play - always a confidence booster for students! One of the best and most important features of the book for me is the lack of intrusive fingering. It is only marked when necessary to indicate patterns or positions that are not immediately obvious, giving teachers and students much more freedom, and developing sight-reading skills.

Examples that stood out to me include Grasshopper Guiro which develops "p" "i" technique across the strings and includes left hand strumming at the nut, and Swing Shift that uses simple sliding shapes and a swing rhythm that gradually becomes syncopated. Chimes of Saint Swithun where the slow, resonant cross string harmonies require good tonal control, and Tirandosaurus Rex where the repeated chords work on "tirando" technique and the "Primitive" direction allows the player to let rip!

My favorites have to be Icicles and Floating World where the wonderful use of natural harmonics produces beautiful, haunting melodies and harmonies through overlapping sounds. As a teacher, I highly recommend this book for students of all ages - wonderful for practising music making!

Selina.

muszebramusic

Zebramusic

David Cottam

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This volume continues the overall sense of fun in playing the guitar and enjoyment of varied musical styles that we were first introduced to in Zebracadabra.

Skill Level
Intermediate

This volume continues the overall sense of fun in playing the guitar and enjoyment of varied musical styles that we were first introduced to in Zebracadabra.

The titles are wonderfully descriptive of the style and/or story of each piece which for me emphasizes the importance of this aspect of our guitar playing - one that is all too often neglected! A good example of this is Amontilado, which has a definite Spanish atmosphere.

Throughout the book, Cottam uses the whole fretboard, often utilising sliding shapes and open strings very effectively to get around. The speed of left hand work increases as the pieces get more difficult, as does the complexity of finger patterns, but Cottam always manages to produce music that sounds more complicated than it is to play through very clever writing.

This is great for the student as it provides a constant boost as you listen! There is also a distinct lack of fingering which I think is fantastic. Even for passages where it is not immediately obvious Cottam leaves you to discover the fingering that works, which means that you learn a lot more about the notes on the guitar and how to produce different effects.

The pieces make excellent use of "campanella" effects. This cross string technique is important and wonderful on the guitar and not used enough in my opinion especially as we are learning. Wisteria is an excellent example with clever and flowing campanella scales, and Campanella Prelude uses the technique throughout to great effect.

There are many different styles of music in the volume including some arranged traditional melodies, and David always seems to be able to put his own stamp on the music.

His Malaguena is completely recognisable as the traditional dance form but also unique in the way he voices and fingers the chords.

Little Cotton Socks, Little Toe Rag and Snapdragon all use fantastic articulation techniques where the player is required to use staccato in the bass voice and not the melody. This provides a big challenge but is so satisfying and brings out the humour and cheekiness that is suggested in the titles!

My last two highlights are Zebra Music, which is very different as a piece to listen to, and also totally suited to the guitar, and Arachnophobia which reflects its title beautifully with the effect of the pull off slurs while asking for excellent control and positioning on the first string.

The pieces that I have highlighted here are only a few examples put represent the strength of this volume, that is the unique approach, variety, use of the guitars natural assets and overriding fun in playing music on the guitar.

Selina.

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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85

The Young Guitarists Progress Part 2 GM7

David Burden

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This collection of guitar pieces takes the beginning guitar student from reading music to playing pieces of approximately Grade Two standard. It leaves the teaching of technique, hand positions, and other fundamentals to the teacher but provides material for all aspects of the very early stages of learning the guitar.

Skill Level
Beginner
82

The Guitarists Progress Book 2

David Burden

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This collection of guitar pieces brings the guitar student from approximately Grade Two through Grade Four standard. It leaves the teaching of technique, hand positions, and other fundamentals to the teacher but provides material for work on specific techniques such as barres. The notes in the higher positions are gradually introduced and musical notation is explained with helpful hints.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
91

The Guitarists Progress Book 3

David Burden

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The Guitarist's Progress Book 3 - A selection of the best 19th Century works for guitar. Music for the intermediate stages of classical guitar playing, arranged by David Burden.

Skill Level
Intermediate
musguitaristsprogress1

The Guitarists Progress Book 1

David Burden

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This collection of guitar pieces takes the beginning guitar student from reading music to playing pieces of approximately Grade Three standard. It leaves the teaching of technique, hand positions, and other fundamentals to the teacher but provides material for all aspects of the very early stages of learning the guitar.

Skill Level
Beginner
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certainhits5

Certain Hits 5

David Burden

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10 Songs and Themes from Film and TV. Ticket To Ride; And I Love Her; The Windmills of Your Mind; Pastorale(Vivaldi); The Harmonious Blacksmith(Handel); Plaisir d'Amour; Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head; Scarborough Fair; Eye Level; The Jeeves and Wooster Theme

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
musburdencertainhits3

Certain Hits 3

David Burden

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Songs and Themes from Stage & Screen for solo guitar. This book offers the student popular hits of contemporary music and pieces from other periods that have been used in Film, TV & Stage. Castle On A Cloud, Romance, The Harry Lime Theme, Summertime, The Godfather Love Theme, Ragtime Dance.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
musburdencertainhits

Certain Hits Songs and Themes from Films

David Burden

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Seven great hits from films in effective and easy to play arrangements for guitar ensembles. Essential experience in ensemble playing gained in the most enjoyable way. Romance, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, The Siamese Cat Song, If I were a Rich Man, Walking In The Air & The Pink Panther.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
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musburdenguitarprog4

The Guitarists Progress Book 4

David Burden

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
musburdengpduet1

The Guitarists Progress Duets and Ensemble Series Book 1

David Burden

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Although book 1 of the series this book takes you from the first steps of duet playing through to pieces with a more content and scope for enjoyment. The variety and flexibility of the arrangements makes it ideal for individual or group tuition.

Skill Level
Beginner
Ensemble
musburdenygprog2

The Young Guitarists Progress

David Burden

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This book covers the area from Grade 1 to Grade 2 providing repertoire for young pupils learning individually or in groups. The theory and ear development sections can be used alongside this at the discretion of the teacher.

Skill Level
Beginner
285

Travelling in Style Stage Four GM17

David Burden

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All the books in this series are versatile enough to be used as general repertoire alongside any teaching material. They were conceived to complement the Guitarists Progress and the Young Guitarists Progress teaching series. All the pieces are grouped together in collections with over 30 different pieces to choose from.

Skill Level
Intermediate

This series of books provides a wide variety of music for adventurous students wishing to get a taste of other musical styles and cultures, and in so doing, developing their technical and musical skills.

The Travelling in Style series was conceived alongside The Guitarists Progress teaching series but also works perfectly well as a stand-alone repertoire book, in this case for intermediate to advanced players.

As in the other books in the series it is divided into sections, in some cases continuing previous themes like the ‘Celtic Collection’, with new ideas in the ‘British Folk Song Suite’ and ‘Appalachian Album no.1’.

The music is printed very clearly with a refreshing lack of fingering, really sticking to specific fingering related to how the composer/ arranger wants the music to sound.

Each set of pieces has approximate gradings and extensive technical notes and directions. These talk about specific techniques such as pizzicato, tambora, slurs, glissandi and barres, as well as musical and stylistic suggestions.

The ‘Jazz Bar Set no.2’ some great rhythms and harmonies that classical guitarists may not have experienced before in their playing. I particularly love the arrangement of ‘She Moved through the Fair’ with a delicate texture created used harmonic and a gentle improvisatory feel through the changing time signatures. Burden talks a lot about the importance of sustaining melody and the balance between melody and accompaniment, evident in ‘Steal Away’, ‘The Unquiet Grave’ and a lovely arrangement of ‘Simple Gifts’. Development of a greater sense of rhythm and pulse is also a highlight; examples include a lively jig in ‘Gentle Fair Jenny’, exciting repeated chords in ‘The Gospel Train’ and great syncopation in ‘So What!’.

I particularly like the predominance of slower pieces that concentrate on feeling emotion through the music. A beautiful example is ‘I Wonder as I Wander’ where the relative technical simplicity allows the player to listen to the music, sing and really create the long slow phrases.

Some lovely music to add to your growing repertoire.

Selina.

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