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

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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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
musnoadrenaissance

The Renaissance Guitar

Frederick Noad

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

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
212

The Real Guitar Book Vol 3

Lee Sollory and Nick Powlesland

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The Real Guitar Book project evolved after a frustrating and largely unsuccessful attempt to find exciting, challenging music for a new generation of solo guitarosts who were not interested in the classical approach. The result is this compilation of original repertoire that sets out to inspire while also developing technique and musicianship. The aim has been to create a progressive selection of pieces that is accessible to relative beginners as well as more experienced players.

Skill Level
Beginner
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The Real Guitar Book Vol 2

Lee Sollory and Nick Powlesland

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A range of fabulous educational and concert guitar music by the UK's top guitar composers, educators and performers. All of the music in the Real Guitar Book is suitable for both classical and plectrum style techniques

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

The Real Guitar books evolved after a frustrating and largely unsuccessful attempt to find exciting and challenging music for a new generation of solo guitarists.

These original pieces certainly fit this billing of exciting and challenging!

They were written to suit both classical and plectrum players and really push the boundaries in rhythm and harmony, encompassing styles such as rock, blues, folk and classical, and giving players music that really comes alive when played properly.

The rhythms can be quite difficult to read which is good as it develops reading and encourages a natural feel for the pulse and syncopation.

The pieces use the whole fretboard, with detailed articulation and dynamics, and strumming, bending and muting techniques that may be unfamiliar to classical players but really do help to strengthen and improve technique.

The particular highlights for me are Chillout, Swing Thing, Rockroach and Moonshine probably because they are so successful at emulating their respective styles and make me feel good!

This helps particularly younger players persevere with the classical guitar since it proves that their hard work has also resulted in music that everyone immediately recognizes and enjoys.

Players are no less challenged by this music especially in reading complicated rhythm and learning the fretboard.

All in all an excellent technical and musical experience with pieces that are great fun to learn and play.

Selina.

musrealguitar1

The Real Guitar Book Vol 1

Lee Sollory and Nick Powlesland

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A compilation of original plectrum guitar repertoire that sets out to inspire while also developing technique and musicianship. The aim has been to create a progressive selection of pieces that is accessible to relative beginners as well as to more experienced players, the diversity of styles providing something for every musical taste, whether it be blues, rock, classical, folk, reggae, pop or metal.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is a compilation of original plectrum guitar pieces by Nick Powlesland and Lee Sollory designed to inspire players while developing technique and musicianship.

The book uses music notation throughout which is excellent for the young plectrum guitarist, and means that the pieces are just as suitable for classical guitarists providing an excellent variety and contrast in style from the standard repertoire.

The music is challenging in details of articulation, dynamics and phrasing right from the start with the simplest pieces and each piece has a definite character and mood to get into! This is particularly evident in the musical directions which include "aggressively", "punchy", "easily, into the night" and "in a hurry", really encouraging feeling in young players.

The exciting counting and early development of strumming, bends and slides are all important for becoming a "rounded" guitarist and there are some great harmonies, notably in Tomorrow Will Be Better and Tuesday Bluesday.

Selina.

musiclongroad

The Long Road Home

Gordon Giltrap

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Here are seventeen superb arrangements of Classic Giltrap guitar compositions all taken from Raymond Burley's CD The Long Road Home

Skill Level
Intermediate

I was uncertain about this book when I first skimmed through and I now put this down to a lack of understanding of the style and the way that it needs to be played, having had no previous experience of his music.

Each time I play through the book, I find another piece that I love, and that communicates new pictures and emotions to me.

There are many technical challenges in the pieces especially, I think, for "very" classical players like myself.

For example, he uses quick multiple slurs that require relaxation and freedom of left hand movement. The sound of individual notes is not important, rather the overall flow and direction of the musical line.

There is a lot of left hand movement around the fingerboard that requires agility but again I would say that relaxation and a rhythmic feel are foremost.

The harmony is much more interesting, unusual and surprising than I expected and as I played, I found that the overall feel had to be improvisatory and free within the rhythmic structure of the piece.

That sounded a bit too technical so let me see if I can put it more simply! The pieces all have a strong rhythmic framework but the notes need to sound free and flexible around this. So if you can play without technical worry (even if the notes are not all correct) you will get much more enjoyment from the music.

The book is a very well set out and clear edition and there are quite a lot of fingering suggestions, mostly barres and positions, that are helpful and only written once!

Remember not to feel restricted by fingering as everybody's hands work differently and your hands need to flow naturally with the music.

There is a noticeable absence of dynamic and musical markings, apart from well-chosen words at the beginning of each piece such as "lazily", "stately" and "lively", and I think that this is a key as to how the music should be played. It is all about interpretation; looking at the title and general speed/ musical instruction and then listening to the music and getting "caught up" in its story! You can then write in your own phrasing, dynamics, articulation etc, or let the music unfold differently each time you play.

There are many contrasts in mood between these 16 pieces and some testing counting and time signature changes.

The calm, peace and space of the first piece, The Long Road Home, provide a wonderful opening to the book. It is not too difficult and allows you to practice listening and experimenting - a great introduction to the style.

My other favourites include Kaz with its lazy, low harmonies and melodic line; the stately Lord's Seat; London, which has a slow and wistful feel; For those who Bring Sunshine, which is lively and hopeful; the exuberance of Fell Runner and finally A Christmas Carol - a slow and reflective piece with fantastic harmony and lovely delicate touches to the melody.

The highlight for me is probably A Misunderstood Man, a piece that took me longer to appreciate with its slow, ever changing melodies but in which I now find new lines, feelings and pictures every time I play.

This volume of 16 pieces has taught me a lot about interpretation and freedom in performance and I know that this will benefit my technique, playing and performance in general.

Selina.

musparkinsonleapfrog

The Leap Frog Principle

Rob Parkinson

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This book has been around for a number of years and it is one that I keep returning to, finding more that I like and want to include in my teaching and each time enjoying the fresh and unusual style of the pieces. I am particularly attracted to the sub title - "10 Popular style guitar studies for adventurous learners"!

Skill Level
Intermediate

This book has been around for a number of years and it is one that I keep returning to, finding more that I like and want to include in my teaching and each time enjoying the fresh and unusual style of the pieces. I am particularly attracted to the sub title - "10 Popular style guitar studies for adventurous learners"!

There is a very informative preface in which the composer puts forward his ideas behind the music which are very much to do with technique and ways to learn within fun and entertaining pieces. He describes his "Leapfrog Principle" as a notion to "use scale patterns against open strings, avoiding complicated chord fingerings..." . He then goes on to describe the advantages that this limitation has, for example making the music comfortable to play, extending fingerboard knowledge, improving position changing and encouraging efficient fingering in both hands, as well as introducing the idea of improvisation.

The pieces are clearly laid out, with a short introduction to every piece that has some technical information and help but is mostly there to describe the story of the piece! For example for no.2 "The Whistler's Tune" he has written: "People who whistle often don't remember all of the tune. This piece is ideal for whistlers because there are only a few bits that keep repeating. However in bars 21 to 28, the whistler still manages to forget the first phrase and tries to find it in different registers before eventually getting it right on the da capo."

All of the pieces are great fun using Giants, Butterflies, Genies, Grasshoppers and Ponies to bring out the contrasting characters really helping you to get involved in the music. Initially the written music does look quite challenging with quite difficult rhythms, lots of syncopation, a wide range of pitch and a lot of accidentals. Although the rhythms do look complicated on the page many will be familiar from everyday musical styles, e.g. swing and blues. The most important thing here is to get the feel of the pulse of the music. Once you can count and feel this, everything else tends to fit into place nicely!

As the composer says "a strong pulse is more important than strict accuracy, and a free, improvising rhythmic spirit should be encouraged."!

All of the pieces are very melodic with the melody often moving between the bass and the treble registers and any chords are usually small and mostly using open strings. Confidence in position changing and reading higher notes is important, although the melodies are based around patterns of fingering in different places so easier than they seem at first.

To return to the first example of The Whistlers Tune the last 2 lines consist of an identical finger pattern played in 4 different positions. However we always recommend that you can name the notes that you are playing, vital if you want to become a fluent and musical classical guitarist.

My favourites are Giant Jive, because it is wonderfully strange with a fantastic bass riff and some great clashes, and the Butterfly Boogie which has a light dancing feel and a warm character. A special mention is needed for Waltz for Two Left Feet,(definitely me!) as it is a real challenge to get the changes of beat but once you have mastered that you almost catch yourself tripping over as you play - a great idea and very effective.

These are great little pieces, inventive and fun while challenging your fingers and your brain. Perfect for beginners moving on and for better players wanting some entertaining performance pieces or simply wanting to brush up on those basic skills! If you are relaxed with the position changes and rhythms here you can try anything!

Selina.

musgw4

The Guitarists Way Book 4

Peter Nuttall and John Whitworth

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In Book 4 we introduce new and interesting rhythms, continue to develop left and right hand technique, and explore a wider range of keys and musical styles. There is also opportunity for more expressive playing in some of the higher positions. The range of musical styles can be extended further in the follow-up books Diversions and Twelve Inventions.

Skill Level
Beginner
musgw3

The Guitarists Way Book 3

Peter Nuttall and John Whitworth

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An important feature of this book is the development of a secure free stroke technique therough the playing of arpeggios and chords. Second and seventh positions are explored and left hand technique is developed by the introduction of slurs. As in books one and two there is plenty of opportunity for duet and trio playing, and there are many attractive solo pieces.

Skill Level
Beginner
musgw2

The Guitarists Way Book 2

Peter Nuttall and John Whitworth

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Book 2 reinforces the skills learned in book 1. We discover quavers, dotted rhythms and two-note chords, as well as sharps, flats and naturals. The remaining bass notes are introduced through a series of carefully graded melodies.

Skill Level
Beginner
guitaristway1

The Guitarists Way Book 1

Peter Nuttall and John Whitworth

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Book one leads to the playing of simple melodies on the top 3 strings, whilst developing a secure technique in both hands. A few bass note are then introduced, followed by pieces which combine a melody with a simple bass accompaniment.

Skill Level
Beginner
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
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
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
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
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
132

The Guitarists Hour Book 3

Schott

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An hour with the guitar presents a careful selection of the most beautiful pieces of guitar literature. The pieces contain in the book progress from easy to moderatly difficult giving not only the beginner but also the advanced guitarist valuable material for teaching, entertainment and performing.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I remember well the Guitarists Hour books from when I was young and I know that I gained a lot from playing a this repertoire! The problem is that there is so much choice in the 19th century repertoire and, yes, there are inevitably some ‘ordinary’ pieces. However there are also many excellent, exciting and fun to play pieces that always teach you a lot in the process of learning them.

The main strength of this book is that it offers choice and variety within the 19th century, introduces new composers and gives an overall snapshot of the repertoire so that players can then make informed choices and don’t necessarily have to buy lots of books to find music that they enjoy.

I have had brilliant fun playing through these pieces, several times now! There is so much drama, excitement and colour in the music with a good cross section of composers to compare. The added bonus is that you are learning a great deal as you play.

The 19th century was the beginning of the classical guitar; although the proportions of their instrument were quite different, the composers of the time started to lay down the techniques that are so important as a foundation to modern technique.

I firmly believe that without the ‘grounding’ that the 19th century repertoire gives us we cannot fulfill our technical potential in other styles of music. For example basic slur technique, scale and arpeggio playing, movement in thirds, sixths, octaves and tenths – intervals that are fundamental to the way we voice harmony and fluid movement around the fretboard.

The opening ‘Galopp’ by Carulli is full of drama and joy, contrasting beautifully with his lyrical ‘Alla Polacca’. Molino’s ‘Menuett’ has more detail in the harmony, introducing double slurs while the ‘Menuett’ by Matiegka contrasts strong rhythm in the opening section with delicate three part writing in the trio. These two composers are not as well known to us - a welcome inclusion in this volume.

The ‘Allegro’ by Aguado employs very free and quick movement around the fretboard emphasizing musical intervals, with a wider use of ornamentation.

Mertz is one of my very favourite composers and the ‘Polacca’ (grade 8) and ‘Capriccio’ are great examples of his music. Both are full of drama and ‘theatre’, the ‘Polacca’ in light, bright and lilting way and the ‘Capriccio’ using insistent repeating notes, accents and off beat melody to give drive and energy. These really are pieces with which you can “let rip”!!

Giuliani’s music is very free flowing and rhythmical; ‘Sonatine’ (grade 6) produces a sense of grandeur with the octaves and rests in the music, and the ‘Capriccio’, stands out for me in the way that the melody is within the arpeggio changing from bass to treble and running all over the fingerboard.

The ‘Andantino’ by Coste is particularly demanding as no concession is made for the difficulty presented by a lovely, decorated melodic line and very big interval jumps between chords. His ‘Studie’ (grade 7) is strong and dramatic with a great motif in the bass accompanied by full chords. Sor is perhaps the most famous and prolific writer for the guitar in this period and there are 7 of his pieces here showing the variety in his output and depth and fun to be found in his music. I particularly like the light, cheerful and quite cheeky ‘Hunting Piece’ (grade 6) in which the hunting horn can be clearly heard and the ‘Galopp’ which is very true to its name! His ‘Rondo’ (grade 8) is a longer piece that is more ‘virtuosic in tempo and flair with moving thirds, very quick semiquaver rhythms, free flowing arpeggios and an almost orchestral build up to the final cadence.

All in all an excellent volume of music that is very important to guitar students, not least for performance practice.

By the time that you have worked through these pieces you will have mastered so many basic techniques, as well as learning to hear and highlight melodies through arpeggio texture, control the projection of individual voices so gaining right hand balance, and perhaps most importantly learnt to “let your hair down” and enjoy the theatrical side of the music!

Selina.

120

The Guitarists Hour Book 1

Schott

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An Hour with the Guitar presents a careful selection of the most beautiful pieces of guitar literature. All the names familiar to every professional and amateur guitarist - Aguado, Carulli, Carcassi, Coste, Giuliani, Sor, and many more - are represented in this collection and ensure much stimulating variety. These pieces, with grades of difficulty progressing from very easy to moderately difficult, will give not only the beginner but also the advanced guitarist some valuable material for teaching, entertainment and performance.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
192

The Guitar Music of Spain Vol 3 Bartolome Calatayud

Bartolome Calatayud

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This sort of collection is great since as well as including some well-known and very popular pieces it introduces guitarists to some fairly obscure pieces and less well-known composers. This the third book in a series of three volumes contains the very best of Spanish guitar music. Traditional Spanish and Hispanic music by composers such as Rodrigo, Calatayud, Llobet, Cardoso, Sainz De La Maza and other masters.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This sort of collection is great since as well as including some well-known and very popular pieces it introduces guitarists to some fairly obscure pieces and less well-known composers.

This sort of collection is great since as well as including some well-known and very popular pieces it introduces guitarists to some fairly obscure pieces and less well-known composers.

Included are quite a wide variety of styles from within this genre from the brightness and relative simplicity of Bolero and El Majo by Calatayud to the contemporary feel of Pajaros De Primavera by Rodrigo and the rich, romantic melody of Capricho Arabe by Tarrega.

The edition is very good with plenty of space allowed for each piece (which is very important for the amount of notes that some of them contain) and clear musical instructions and fingering.

As for the latter, there is not too much; the Torroba and Rodrigo have none at all allowing much more freedom for the performer even if it takes a little longer to work it out!

If you are considering this book for one or two pieces it is very worth while. For one thing the price is very good for the variety that you get!

Madronas by Torroba (grade 8) is a rich and beautiful piece that really captures the spirit of Spain and highlights the warmth, sonority and lyricism of the guitar as brought to us by Segovia.

Capricho Arabe is also here – a great repertoire standard with its soaring melodic lines and rich harmonies.

Another highlight for me is the music by Sainz De La Maza, which, unfortunately, is not heard so much these days. He uses the guitar very effectively having a lighter, simpler feel and so depicting the vitality of Spain.

There are some big and more complicated and contemporary pieces by Llobet as well as his glorious arrangement of El Noi de la Mare.

Some of these pieces take more working out and effort to learn but the experience is great for any guitarist in learning about musical style, shape and interpretation.

Selina.

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