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

3212

Scenes for Guitar Book 2

Gary Ryan

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
320

Scenes for Guitar Book 1

Gary Ryan

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Hopefully you will find something to enjoy in this collection of ten pieces for guitar (which I like to think are the kind of pieces I would have enjoyed learning). I have certainly enjoyed writing all of them and always try to incorporate useful technical and musical ideas into each one to create a particular image or mood. Gary Ryan

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
musplaypiazzolla

Play Piazzolla

Astor Piazzolla

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Play Piazzolla is a unique collection of 13 tangos by the Argentinian master of tango nuevo, arranged for easy solo guitar. The pieces have been skilfully arranged by Gary Ryan so that this wonderfully vibrant music can be easily enjoyed by younger guitar players.

Skill Level
Intermediate

This book is a fantastic addition to the guitar repertoire as it opens up the wonderfully vibrant music of Piazzolla to a much wider audience, encouraging a more rhythmical, yet "freer" style of playing and increasing the variety of musical styles available to all players.

Gary Ryan's arrangements are very skilful, in that no sacrifices in musical content are made for ease of playing.

The music immediately transports you into the world of Piazolla's Argentine tango with syncopated rhythms, drama, excitement and his distinctive harmonies.

The use of voicing is particularly effective and offers a real challenge to the player to be able to make the separate melodies sing along with each other!

I loved the walking bass in Overture (2) with the snatches of melody above giving a feel of the different instruments in the band. Ausencias and Mumiki require a lot of freedom and feel of improvisation and the syncopation between voices in Milonga is great fun.

I particularly like Milonga for Three, which has a bass rhythm to be maintained throughout, and contrasting textures, which go from dissonant and brooding to lighter chords and insistent driving rhythms.

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

Selina.

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
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.

mustrinityaural1

Aural Book 1

Trinity College London

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This Aural book is designed to be used effectively either by teachers during lessons or by candidates at home. As teachers will generally wish to supply their own explanations of the questions, the text is addressed to the candidate. Contains all the information you will need plus sample tests and answers and 2 CD's of practice examples.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
311

Trinity Guitar 2016-2019 - Guitar Grade 5

Trinity College London

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Containing pieces required for the Trinity Guitar exam. Three pieces to be performed from those listed in this book, at least one from each group, or from the duets or alternative pieces listed for this grade, to form a balanced program. This is an excellent book even if you have no intention of taking the exams.

Skill Level
Intermediate
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.

115

Homenaje Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy

Manuel de Falla

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After the death of Debussy in 1918 Falla was asked to contribute to the planned memorial issue of Revue Musicale. Originally asked for an article Falla preferred to respond with a piece of music.

Skill Level
Advanced
musponce12preludes

12 Preludes

Manuel M Ponce

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This is what I would describe as ‘classic’ repertoire, from a composer who did an awful lot towards exploring new possibilities in composing for the guitar and widening the repertoire during a vital period in the guitars history and development. This is rewarding and essential repertoire that I hope many people will find and enjoy. Arranged by Andres Segovia, edition covers 16 pages. Published by Schott Music.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This is what I would describe as ‘classic’ repertoire, from a composer who did an awful lot towards exploring new possibilities in composing for the guitar and widening the repertoire during a vital period in the guitars history and development.

I am disappointed in myself for not having learnt to play these preludes sooner! They are lovely little miniatures with loads of musical detail and technical challenge packed in to pieces that individually last for 2 to 3 minutes but are still very rewarding to play and to listen to.

Very importantly they represent excellent opportunities for improving music reading and knowledge of the guitar fingerboard through exploration of key signatures and freedom of movement between positions. The keys range from C major to A flat and F sharp major, in other words up to 4 flats and 6 sharps. This is very good for guitarists, taking us out of our comfort zone and forcing us to use different and varied positions and to learn the geography of the fingerboard. As you play the Preludes you quickly discover that there are patterns in every key and if you name your notes and work out the patterns the, at first, seemingly uphill task of reading some of the music becomes fun and in fact very rewarding.

This variety of key signatures and the range of pitch used throughout means that the fingerboard is used in a very fluid way without blocks of notes in positions but constantly changing and also using all 6 strings in the higher positions rather than only the high notes.

For me this is a vital skill for a guitarist, one that gives you freedom of technique as well as musicianship. When learning pieces like these properly it does not take long to learn your fingerboard and become comfortable and at ease moving around.

There are a wide variety of tempos and emotions across the 12 pieces. Some have a more contemporary feel although I think that the majority are very melodic and full of character and storytelling.

Despite being small the Preludes have detailed musical requirements on the score with very clear rhythm and articulation, for example in the use of rests and rhythms crossing bar lines as well as important distinctions in voicing and counterpoint.

There is also a great deal of contrast from the tranquil and flowing lines of no.1 to the lively and bright fast movement of no.2. No.6, probably one of the best known, has a really beautiful, soulful and expressive melody set within a pulsing strummed chord really exploiting the tenor richness of the guitars inner strings, whereas no.8 has a continuous and fluid musical line in a lilting 9/8 time signature with the added challenge of 4 flats!

Particular highlights for me are no.9 which has a wonderful lightness and uplifting feeling with warm and almost ‘oriental’ harmonies forming from the semiquaver intervals, and no.10, a beautifully delicate and intricate sounding piece which is relatively simple to play.

The key to the enjoyment of these pieces is the combination of technical and reading challenges with the storytelling and freedom of expression required.

For me this is rewarding and essential repertoire that I hope many people will find and enjoy. I certainly intend to learn and record them so watch this space!

Selina.

muswanderslaguitarraespanola9

La Guitarra Espanola

Jeop Wanders

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This is definitely a book I wish I’d been introduced to earlier! These simple Spanish pieces are beautifully printed making for easy reading by the student. 15 pieces, including Rumba, Pasodoblillo, Bolero and Malaquena, are an enjoyable introduction to familiar guitar styles.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is definitely a book I wish I’d been introduced to earlier!

Joep Wanders has written music in a variety of styles for beginners; the theme of this book as revealed by the title is Spanish music. In addition to writing music that conforms to the Spanish style, Wanders incorporates flamenco techniques into the pieces – you will find a number of examples of golpe and tambora. In my mind this makes the music infinitely more interesting to learn as you immerse yourself in unfamiliar percussive techniques.

On the contents page Wanders has included a helpful glossary to describe any unfamiliar words to the reader.

The book contains 15 pieces that become progressively more challenging, however the music is engaging from the off. Entrada Libre begins the book with a catchy melodic line that is easy to bring out and contains a couple of ad libs for those who want to expand even more on the music. El Testamento de Amelia is more lyrical with an interesting syncopated bassline. Flores de Primavera and La Fiesta Espanola highlight the right hand technical issue of adding strummed chords to a piece, and La Guitar Espanola consists of variations on a simple upbeat tune to shake the music up a bit. Wanders has also written in a variety of Spanish dance styles that feature syncopated rhythms (Tango, Bolero, Rumba) and keep your eyes peeled for a familiar tune - but I will leave that one with you.

Despite this being a beginners book there are plenty of examples of musical variety and interweaving musical lines, encouraging us to pay close attention to which “voice” is singing and concentrate on how we can bring them out. The result is 15 pieces of music that will continue to engage both listeners and players, even as the player advances through more difficult music. One to add to the collection.

Jess.

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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musryansongserin

Songs From Erin

Gary Ryan

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

Skill Level
Advanced
musGiulianiSonataop15

Giuliani Sonata OP.15

Mauro Giuliani

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This is one of those pieces that, throughout my time as a performing guitarist and teacher, has often been criticized for being either too long or boring and put aside for more ‘obviously’ challenging and exciting pieces. In fact I think that the 19th century repertoire in general has suffered with the great influx of modern repertoire and, particularly, crossover styles designed to attract younger players to the classical guitar and hold their interest. Don’t get me wrong – it is fantastic that there is so much more music available to us in a wide variety of styles, I just wish that composers such as Giuliani had a higher profile today since their music teaches us so much and helps to build the foundations of a good player.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This is one of those pieces that, throughout my time as a performing guitarist and teacher, has often been criticized for being either too long or boring and put aside for more ‘obviously’ challenging and exciting pieces. In fact I think that the 19th century repertoire in general has suffered with the great influx of modern repertoire and, particularly, crossover styles designed to attract younger players to the classical guitar and hold their interest. Don’t get me wrong – it is fantastic that there is so much more music available to us in a wide variety of styles, I just wish that composers such as Giuliani had a higher profile today since their music teaches us so much and helps to build the foundations of a good player.

Don’t get me wrong – it is fantastic that there is so much more music available to us in a wide variety of styles, I just wish that composers such as Giuliani had a higher profile today since their music teaches us so much and helps to build the foundations of a good player.

Of course a Sonata in three movements is not something that guitarists come across very often. Giuliani wanted very much to put the classical guitar on to an even footing with classical music in general and so used classical ‘forms’ in his compositions and arranged music by (and used themes from) Rossini and Beethoven.

Playing this piece really gives us the opportunity to get involved in the Classical style, do a bit of research – the internet these days makes that so easy – and find so much more in the music. All the basic guitar techniques are required here but getting around the notes and the fingering is not enough; doing that is when the piece becomes ‘dull’!

Allegro Spiritoso is an excellent title for the first movement. It is light and bright with wonderful texture and musical drive. Traditionally the first movement of a Sonata was composed in sonata form, consisting of three sections – exposition, development and recapitulation. In the exposition the composer introduces the musical ideas as a number of themes. The material is then ‘developed’ in the development section and then the exposition is repeated and modified in the recapitulation. Just knowing this basic outline gives you so much to look for in the music and your playing.

The main theme is played over an accompanying figure, alternating ‘p’ ‘i’, quite a challenge to achieve the required balance and very effective. Articulation is very important throughout with slurring in particular giving shape and character to melodies and connecting phrases. Often the melodies move in consecutive intervals, that is, passages in thirds, sixths and octaves, which give different levels of drama, tension and direction to the piece.

I particularly like the climax created by the changing harmonies over a repeated D leading towards the second theme, and a new key.

The Development is simple but very effective with the minor key changing the mood and rising arpeggios in triplets and big repeated chords adding to the momentum and excitement, ultimately leading us into the recapitulation, repeating and developing the original theme.

The second movement, Adagio con espressione, requires great control, sustain and subtlety. It is difficult because it is slow and we have to learn to sing the melodies to sustain the direction and meaning of the music, highlighting the importance of breathing for guitarists!

One of the themes here is a high melody flowing over low, repeated chords consisting of alternating thirds and seconds. This is pretty tricky technically and musically! Giuliani is definitely asking the guitarist to play like a small orchestra resulting in a lovely, melancholic feel but needing plenty of patience! There is some lovely decoration in this movement with varying rhythmic movement and delicate shaping of the melodies, finishing with an echo of the main theme from the Allegro.

The third movement, Allegro Vivace is lively and sparkling. It is the most straightforward, providing an exciting, rhythmical, bustling feel to finish off the whole piece. Lots of nice, simple arpeggios, sharp staccato chords and accents contrasting with long, smooth melodies over ‘alberti’ bass patterns, that is alternating ‘p’ ‘i’ in the bass.

The ending however is quite subtle, dropping down in dynamic and making the most of rests and pauses before the final ending chords.

This piece works best if you can use your imagination and really listen to the different textures and emotions in the music.

Be a little orchestra and create different colours as the music changes, recognize the textures that come from the way the notes are written, for example intervals, alternating or repeated notes, chords or arpeggios, rests, slurs and simple melodies.

It is great fun and you do not have to know a lot about the changing harmonies and structure (although this is also fun!) – just use your ears and build up your own musical picture.

Selina.

296

Bach Lute Suites for Guitar

J. S. Bach

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The complete works for lute solo newly transcribed and annotated, including historical and performance notes. This publication is very nicely printed with space between lines and around notes so for those of us who either wear or should wear spectacles it makes life a lot easier. This edition is Selina's favourite and in her opinion the best!

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
popular-songs

Popular Songs for the Classical Guitar

John Zaradin

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These arrangements allow the classical guitar player to extend their repertoire and enjoy playing some 'evergreens' from Jazz and popular music. The pieces are graded in order of difficulty and there are fingerings and markings to serve as helpful guides. Whatever the standard the music is enjoyable.

Skill Level
Intermediate
39

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 2

ABRSM

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Recordings of pieces from the new ABRSM Guitar Syllabus, from 2009. Innovative and valuable resource for candidates preparing for ABRSM exams. All duos are accompanied by another guitar, and playalong tracks for these pieces are also included.

Skill Level
Beginner
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
4-venezuelan-pieces

Four Venezuelan Pieces

Rodrigo Riera

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Rodrigo Riera is a prominent Venezuelan guitarists/composer who attended many summer schools given by Segovia in the 1950's. These four pieces are among Riera's simplest works and are attractive student material at about Grade 4 level. All fingering and slurs in this edition are original.

Skill Level
Intermediate;
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87

Simply Spanish

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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Simply Spanish has established itself as an indispensable part of the early student repertoire. The six pieces in the album are miniature classics, each uncannily evoking the Spanish sound in all its rich colours and rhythms.

Skill Level
Beginner

The sub title of "six evocative pieces" is spot on!

These pieces are Spanish in essence, bringing out the colours and rhythms of Spain through writing that is very accessible.

Clarke manages to introduce techniques and styles of playing that are probably new to the student at this stage while at the same time always encouraging a musical approach.

On playing these pieces, a student of any age will feel that they have arrived and are able to play "proper" pieces of music!

Fandango. Includes a fast rhythmic motif with a flamenco feel throughout combined with single line melodies and a bass melody under a simple repeated chord accompaniment.

Oloroso and Vals Navarra. Slow and contemplative, allowing plenty of dynamic and tonal control.

Tango. Maintains a lovely tango rhythm as accompaniment to the melody - a challenging and effective guitar technique introduced here in a way that is easy to see and understand.

Zincarlo.Requires a lively 6/8 rhythm, picking out a bass melody, and some quick thinking!

Pamplona.Introduces a combination of 3/4 and 6/8 rhythm along with strumming with the "i" finger

Selina.

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