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

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.

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.

musweiss

Weiss for guitar

Silvius Leopold Weiss

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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
Advanced

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.

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302

Villanesca

Enrique Granados

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Certain pieces of music stay with you all of your life, they just sit there in ones memory waiting to be brought back to life. Villanesca is a piece I learnt. played, loved, was excited by and impressed myself with.

Skill Level
Advanced

This is a good edition of a lovely piece originally written for the piano although it is probably better known as a classical guitar piece. It does ask for the guitar to be retuned with string 5 tuned down to G and string 6 down to D.

Do not be put off by this!

There are very few fingered notes on these two strings to have to adjust, and the tuning gives the piece a beautiful warm and open sound helping to create the atmosphere. Also most guitars sing beautifully with this tuning!

Unfortunately there is a rather big misprint in the first 4 bars. The bass note of each of the chords is written as a low E, normally open string 6. It is fingered with a 0 and is supposed to be a G – in this case open string 5.

Watch out for this and don’t try to find an E!

There are a lot of notes in higher positions and the fingering is detailed and helpful although do try to learn the actual notes as well, it will really improve your higher position reading. The arranger also makes good use of harmonics which are marked with position and string.

This really is a lovely piece with a simple melody that repeats and builds, with an accompaniment of Bass G crotchet followed by the highest D crotchet repeating to great effect (reminding me in some ways of Ravel’s Bolero accompaniment). There is a beautiful rubato, minor middle section that loses the regular accompaniment and moves into three voices diverging and interweaving, before returning to the uplifting main theme.

Great fun.

Selina.

giuliani-variations-op45

Variations Op.45 sur les Folies d'Espagne

Mauro Giuliani

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Like most Renaissance court dances, the Follia was originally a country dance. Shaking off its merry but coarse peasant character, the Follia rapidly entered the repertoire of art music as a simple harmonic scheme upon which to improvise or compose variations. Consisting of Theme and six variations this edition by Fabio Rizza is clearly printed making for ease of study and performance.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
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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
musponcevalse

Valse

Manuel M Ponce

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Ponce was in fact born in Mexico City but by 1904 was living in Europe where he studied music in Bologna and Berlin. In 1925, after a spell back in Mexico, he was inspired to make the move to the French capital. It was a stay that was to last seven years and was arguably his most creative period. It was when he met Andres Segovia in 1923 that he began to compose music for guitar.

Skill Level
Advanced

This is a new to piece to me and I enjoyed playing through so much I have decided to learn it properly!

It is so full of life making full use of the powerful resonance of a guitar with dropped ‘D’ tuning.

The strong and bright main theme has an almost ‘rustic’ feel accompanied by full strummed chords and moves at a lively one in a bar pace.

The articulation and musical directions are detailed and need good control, the articulation particularly bringing loads of texture and shaping to the music.

The main theme has a lot of contrast in register and dynamic and is repeated throughout the piece giving it its structure with great, unexpected harmonies and twists in direction in between.

The centre section changes key to B?. It has more chromatic movement and emphasis on melodic lines in the treble and bass with fewer chords in the accompaniment texture.

I love the falling bass line building up to the return to D major. In contrast to the full and energetic theme the ending is ‘grazioso’ and understated – a lovely surprise!

This little Valse has fantastic movement and swing throughout, making full use of the tone colours in the guitars voice, and leaving you with a definite ‘feel good’ feeling – an excellent little repertoire filler.

Selina.

musicbrouwer2

Un Dia de Noviembre

Leo Brouwer

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An extremely enjoyable piece for those looking for music to please an audience who may be new to classical guitar. Clearly printed and easy to read the music spans two pages ensuring no page turns.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This piece has a beautiful melody, wistful and contemplative at first, with plenty of contrasts in emotion and atmosphere to captivate the listener and the player.

The piece really shows Brouwers complete understanding of the guitar and how to get the best from the instrument and the player.

He uses patterns of fingering in both hands and although some of the moves are tricky, with one difficult stretch, the piece feels very natural overall, falling under the fingers and allowing more time for interpretation.

The music employs good, basic guitar techniques, most importantly keeping the melody and phrasing flowing over the accompaniment while also recognizing the bass line. It is also good for listening to harmonies and progressions, and how these influence musical direction.

The piece has three main sections; A introduces the main melody and returns after B and C. B maintains the melancholic feel but moves into a higher register, moving back and forth between 2 motifs and giving a more restless feel. C is in a major key with a brighter feel and stronger rhythms in contrast to the gentle, arpeggio accompaniment of the first two sections.

I found that the more I play this piece the more I find within it. It is very enjoyable to play and an excellent ‘audience’ piece. A must for any Players/Performers repertoire.

Selina.

muslauro2venzwaltz

Two Venezuelan Waltzes

Antonio Lauro

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Two very well know works entitled El negrito. the black haired one, which refers to Lauro's son, Luis and La gatica, the female cat. The pairing of these pieces is as Lauro intends it. Nicely printed, easy to read with no page turns within pieces. A buy must for all guitarists.

Skill Level
Intermediate
mustwelve

Twelve Inventions

Peter Nuttall

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Covering a wide range of musical styles,these twelve pieces are characterised by strong melodies, idiomatic harmonies and an inventive use of the fingerboard. They have become one of the most popular guitar publications at this level.

Skill Level
Beginner
muszeatriptico6

Triptico Venezolano

Luis Zea

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Described by Leo Brouwer as the ideal soloist Luis Zea has spent a life time Performing, composing and as a teacher. The three pieces contained in this edition were written between 1973 and 1986 and are a must for a player who wishes to develop an emotional to their playing.

Skill Level
Intermediate
134

Triptico

Antonio Lauro

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Lauro's Tríptico consists of three pieces in E minor. The first of these, Armida, is a contemplative canción named after the composer's sister. Madrugada ("before dawn") is an appoggiatura study inspired by one of Sojo's few original works for guitar. La Negra was the nickname of Lauro's niece Armida, the daughter of his sister of the same name.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I have played various pieces by Antonio Lauro over the years but never really tried Triptico. In reviewing this I discovered how much more there is in the piece than I had previously found in simply playing through. It is in three movements with loads of variety in rhythm, feel, melody and harmony and is quite accessible to players of grade 6 and above.

In many ways the music is actually quite complex, for example in the way that rhythms are combined, counterpoint between voices, and melodies with a lot of chord movement underneath.

The first movement ‘Armida” acts as a sort of prelude and has a fantastic shifting and swirling rhythm created by one beat of triplet quavers and one beat of normal quavers. Interestingly this rhythm is the same in every bar but the music does not feel at all repetitive. This is because the melody moves between voices sometimes as a single line, sometimes in octaves or thirds giving a lot of variety in colour and texture. By separating the lines you can get an excellent feel for the direction of the music straightaway and start to recognize the detail that is so important. There is a lot of movement around the fingerboard that needs to be smooth and free flowing.

The second movement ‘Madrugada’ is subtitled Cancion Venezolano, a very important clue! Cancion means song but as you look at the page all you see is chords, some of which are quite tricky with some big jumps. Playing the melody helps to build up the shape and feeling of the music while you are learning your fingering. You can also work on the chords separately to give you more opportunity to listen to the lovely scrunchy harmonies. As you look into the detail you will discover that, as in the first and third movements, the melody changes voices, a detail that you need to highlight to bring out the best in the music. The rhythm here is very simple accentuating the long flowing melody that does not want to be interrupted by, but enhanced by the chords.

The third movement ‘La Negra’ is subtitled Vals Venezolano and is a lovely flowing, syncopated and lively waltz, with voices bringing out different rhythms and the pulse shifting between 2 and 3 in a bar, typical of this style of music. Here I would go as far as saying that you cannot play this properly without separating out and playing the individual voices (musical lines).

As you learn the music the overall effect in your left hand is of chord shapes but the music is not chordal in sound. The harmonies are built up and created by the contrapuntal voices, that is the musical lines moving independently. This is a difficult effect to achieve on the guitar and needs a lot of attention for the best results. Working like this also helps you to bring out the individual rhythms and develop more interest and excitement through your rhythm.

Selina.

317

Trinity Guitar from 2016 Scales Initial - Grade 5

Trinity College London

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Scales Arpeggios & Studies from 2016, containing all the scales, arpeggios and studies required for Trinity College London’s Guitar and Plectrum Guitar exams for Grades Initial–5, valid from 2016. Newly commissioned studies are also included which may be used as an alternative to scales and arpeggios.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
316

Trinity Guitar from 2016 Scales Grades 6 - 8

Trinity College London

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Scales Arpeggios & Studies from 2016, containing all the scales, arpeggios and studies required for Trinity College London’s Guitar and Plectrum Guitar exams for Grades 6–8, valid from 2016. Newly commissioned studies are also included which may be used as an alternative to scales and arpeggios.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
314

Trinity Guitar 2016-2019 - Guitar Grade 8

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
Advanced
313

Trinity Guitar 2016-2019 - Guitar Grade 7

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
Advanced
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312

Trinity Guitar 2016-2019 - Guitar Grade 6

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
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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
310

Trinity Guitar 2016-2019 - Guitar Grade 4

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
309

Trinity Guitar 2016-2019 - Guitar Grade 3

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
Beginner
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