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

guitaracademy3

Guitar Academy Book 3

Richard Corr

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Book 3 maintains the thorough and wide-ranging approach established in volumes one and two. Classical guitar techniques and repertoire are developed and supplemented by styles and techniques from various popular styles. Musicianship is encouraged through ensemble, ear training and improvisation.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This excellent tutor has now been divided into smaller volumes that are more manageable for the student. They still contain a lot of music and information, especially as the difficulty increases, but they are very well presented, cover many areas that others miss, and provide clear explanations without being too "wordy".

The books as a whole are accessible to all ages and would be suitable for adults to work through without a teacher (although this is never ideal!). The pictures illustrating technique are first class and there are constant references to maintaining good technique throughout each book including revision pages and tests. Each book follows a similar format beginning with a quick reference page and introduction, followed by a classical section, ensemble section and final chord section.

The structure and layout helps the student feel that they are learning something new and exciting on every page, even if it is only a game based on what they have already learned. This is very important for maintaining interest and momentum, especially for younger children. The many ideas for improvisation, ear training and theory are fantastic and so helpful for me, as a teacher who struggled to produce my own material while teaching such short lessons in too many schools! By bringing all of these elements together in such an easy way Richard Corr has produced a fun tutor that is helping to develop musicians, not just guitarists! It is a tutor that I highly recommend and will use - a breath of fresh air!

 

The introduction to this volume explains that you are now moving on to more advanced repertoire and techniques, and what this entails e.g. regular practice and care in matters relating to technique and most importantly, commitment and performance!

The revision page is followed by a brief history of the guitar with photographs of instruments through the ages, and mention of important composers, players and makers right through tp the birth and rise of the electric guitar. I think that this is a great idea as it takes the learning process beyond just learning to play a few notes or chords on a guitar.

The subjects covered in book three include left hand positions up to seventh, articulation, more complicated rhythms and key signatures including minor keys, damping with the thumb and slurs. Most importantly the book includes a lot of music to play! There are excellent original pieces by Richard Corr along with classical repertoire, easy arrangements of more difficult works and popular tunes from all styles of guitar playing. The chord supplement introduces different chord styles and theory, something that a lot of students learning to play chords simply miss out on altogether.

Selina.

 

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
muspaggrandsonata

Grand Sonata

Nicolò Paganini

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Niccolò Paganini was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was one of the most celebrated violin virtuosi of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique. There is a very short preface to this edition in which the editor explains that the original was for guitar with violin accompaniment, but the part allocated to the violin is so modest as to be hardly worth the effort

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

There is a very short preface to this edition in which the editor explains that the original was for guitar with violin accompaniment, but the part allocated to the violin is so modest as to be hardly worth the effort!

Paganini played both the violin and guitar to virtuoso level and so composed his pieces for the instrument that he was playing with the other generally having a very simple accompaniment roll. The editor explains that the wealth of musical structure and invention in the Grand Sonata makes it worthwhile incorporating the violin part into a solo guitar piece, and it does make a very successful, exciting and virtuosic composition.

There is no doubt that you have to have a very good mastery of the guitar as well as relaxed technique and freedom of movement to pull this one off successfully, although the Romanze which is the choice in the grade 8 list is a good and more accessible opening to the style, being slightly slower in tempo!

The first movement Allegro risoluto is quite extensive and has some charming singing melodies that link throughout the movement. The variety of textures created using flowing octaves, arpeggio figures and alberti bass accompaniment is very reflective of the classical period, really bringing the guitar into the mainstream of musical style and development. The challenge is to make it all work so that you can hear the drama excitement intended by the composer through freely and quickly flowing notes and movement all over the fingerboard.

The Romanze has a lovely melancholy with its simple, lilting melody. Here the challenge is to maintain this simple feel while dealing with demisemiquaver accompaniment and melody notes doubled variously in thirds, sixths, octaves and tenths. There is also a lot of freedom implied and required in the music, really giving it the feel of a cadenza.

The final movement is in the form of a Theme and 6 variations. The theme is a very jaunty tune with a dotted rhythm that is almost shouting out to be decorated! Paganini does this using triplet rhythms, movement in all intervals both together and split, slur patterns, rapid repeated notes over melody in the bass, and, in variation 6 some loud slurring to open strings and a lot of very quick and unusual chromatic movement. In fact the piece ends in an unexpected way with a repeated and disappearing chromatic motif that is actually very effective.

All in all this is an exciting and impressive piece with lots of detail to find and explore, very good for your technical development and simply good fun to play!

Selina.

musferrercharme

Charme de la Nuite

Jose Ferrer

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A charming selection of character pieces for Guitar. Ferrer's compositions were written mainly for solo guitar and resembled the fashionable salon music of his time

Skill Level
Intermediate

I think that this book offers a great opportunity to guitarists of all levels to explore and, most importantly enjoy, some wonderful pieces.

The preface describes it as charming salon music, a perfect description for music that challenges the technique but is always imaginative and fun encouraging exploration of colour, texture and musical shape. This is not heavy or serious music, which is refreshing, and highlights the reason that we play – to enjoy and let others enjoy lovely music!

The music requires the player to look into what they are doing musically and to think about shape and direction. For example Ferrer uses for lightness, drama and suspense – the music doesn’t just stop! There is a lot of colour and texture to be found in the music, as well as dynamic control that is not necessarily marked.

There are demands on technique appropriate to the different levels of difficulty, all strongly associated to musical shape and style – articulation, right hand arpeggios, slurs and fluent movement around the fingerboard to name a few. The music is more romantic and emotional in style, falling really between Aguado and Mertz.

I love the use of the whole fingerboard in Ejercicio, creating drama, and the slurring motifs in El Amable with the melody moving easily between treble and bass parts. Ferrer uses some more unusual keys for guitarists; F major in Estudio developing a strong barre technique, and C minor in Nostalgia which has the added challenge of constant accompaniment figures. L’Etudiant de Salamanque has some lovely Spanish flavours and contrasts in a Tango and Vals finishing off with an effective and great tambora section. In complete contrast is Charme de Nuit, a nocturne that is free and unashamedly romantic! My personal favourite is Belle. This is such a happy piece guaranteed to bring a smile, especially the tuba section, while still challenging the player’s technique, particularly right hand.

The pieces in this little book go from grade 4 to 7, giving a player a great sense of development both technically and musically, introducing new music and style, and providing great entertainment. What more do we need?

Selina.

89

25 Etudes Esquisses (Complete)

Gerald Garcia

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This collection of classic guitar studies is intended for the intermediate guitarist. As a whole, these etudes emulate the content of Carcassi's famed 25 Etudes, yet in a more contemporary harmonic and rhythmic idiom. These pieces are also distinguished in that they are not only valuable as left and right-hand technical exercises, but also as valid, pleasurable concert repertoire.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This really is a great volume of pieces. Yes, they are quite contemporary and will probably introduce you to new sounds and musical ideas but they are also very accessible and cover a wide range of technical ability. Best of all they are very specific in their aims and goals and the music is notated in a lot of detail to help with the interpretation.

Each study has an indication of style/ tempo at the beginning such as Mesto, Allegro Comodo, Lento e ritardando and Lento piacevole. We need to know the meaning of these terms! There is also a sub title at the end of the piece that gives us a story line or feeling, for example Flocon de Neige, Les Grandes Jaunes, l’Indigo seul and Voiles rouges. Again understanding the meanings is vital and with the Internet these days there is really no excuse!

There are so many good tunes and interesting rhythms, and the studies are very valuable for technical development. Requirements include detailed chord voicing, fast repeated notes and chords, quick left hand movement around the fingerboard, arpeggio shapes and detailed right hand patterns, slur patterns, intricate articulation and sustaining long singing phrases. The harmonies are fantastic with strong musical direction and momentum guiding the player.

You really have to listen and the music is fingered in a way that keeps you on your toes and keeps you thinking.

For example in no.13 the temptation is to hold fingers down to cover repeated chords but the rhythmic character requires you to let go for clear articulation. When you get it right it creates a brilliantly quirky and fun piece of music. In no. 14 (AB grade 5) the voicing is indicated with stems, sometimes double and sometimes offset, and it is very important to play to these voices and concentrate on holding sustaining notes and letting go of others in the right places. This means that you have to be very aware which of your fingers are playing which notes!

Dynamic control is a highlight throughout the book. In no.3 (AB grade 5, Trinity grade 5) there are long crescendos and diminuendos over the repeated note patterns and changes in mood and key that need to be reflected. Slurring technique is well covered, which is great since it seems to be one of those techniques that we just do rather than learn.

From the lilting melody of no.4 (AB grade 7, Trinity grade 6) and the haunting mood of no.20 to the vivace slur patterns in no.7 (Trinity grade 4) and the rhythmical and complex no.17 where the slur pattern is often in the middle voice needing great technical control, there is certainly enough variety to keep your interest and so improve your technique. No. 22 is one of my particular favourites as it uses only a single written line but implies many voices and is excellent for phrasing and interpretation.

There is not really enough space here to talk about every study but I hope that I have been able to inspire you to play this music. It works on just about every technique that we need in a fun and engrossing way, so that you do not feel as if you are working on technique. Even more importantly it develops your reading and interpretation skills, it makes you think about technique related to music and it is completely satisfying!

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.

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.

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
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.

517

Music Theory in Practice, Grade 8

ABRSM

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Covers all aspects of the Grade 8 Theory of Music examination. Gives detailed advice on ways in which the examination questions might be approached. Text includes worked examples of some typical examination questions, and a set of exercises is provided for each kind of question. Covers both pre-20th-century and 20th-century styles.

Skill Level
Advanced
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.

musrealguitarvol2

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.

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.

musabauralcd1

Aural Training In Practice CD Grades 1 to 3

ABRSM

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Old Syllabus - for practice only. Aural Training In Practice provides clear, structured guidance for candidates preparing for the aural tests in the Associated Board's practical exams. These CDs accompany the Aural Training workbooks. I have used the book and CD with many of my pupils achieving great success. I highly recommend both for those wishing to achieve high marks in their graded exams.

Skill Level
Beginner
musabauralcd2

Aural Training In Practice CD Grades 4 to 5

ABRSM

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Old Syllabus - for practice only. Aural Training In Practice provides clear, structured guidance for candidates preparing for the aural tests in the Associated Board's practical exams. These CDs accompany the Aural Training workbooks. I have used the book and CD with many of my pupils achieving great success. I highly recommend both for those wishing to achieve high marks in their graded exams.

Skill Level
Intermediate
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40

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 1

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
332

Variations on a theme by Handel Op. 107

Mauro Giuliani

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Also known under the title "The Harmonious Blacksmith" this edition by Fabio Rizza is clearly printed with space between lines enabling the reader to easily read and also to add study markings without cluttering the page. A fun piece to play.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
3314

Selected Studies for Guitar Vol. 1

Mauro Giuliani

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
333

Barden-Klange for guitar Vol. 1

Johann Kaspar Mertz

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Mertz dominates the history of the guitar in the 19th century. Bardenklange op. 13 consists of 30 pieces which show Mertz as a musician poet. Vol 1 edited by Piero Viti contains 8 pieces with UTOrpheus excellent quality of printing all of which helps us to interpret and enjoy these wonderful pieces from the Romantic period.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
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221

Theory of Music Workbook Grade 7

Trinity Guildhall

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Designed for use during lessons or at home these workbooks contain all the requirements for Trinity Guildhall examinations. Each book also contains sample exam paper.

Skill Level
Advanced
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