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

musabauralbook1

Aural Training In Practice Book 1

ABRSM

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Aural Training In Practice Book 1 provides clear, structured guidance for candidates preparing for the aural tests in the Associated Board's practical examinations. covering grades 1-3. A CD of all exercises covering grades 1-3 is also available. 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
musabauralbook2

Aural Training In Practice Book 2

ABRSM

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Aural Training In Practice Book 2 provides clear, structured guidance for candidates preparing for the aural tests in the Associated Board's practical examinations. covering grades 4-5. A CD of all exercises covering grades 4-5 is also available. 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
Intermediate
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
Out Of Stock Enquire
musabauralcd3

Aural Training In Practice CD Grades 6 to 8

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
Advanced
muscoste25etuden

25 Etuden OP38

Napoleon Coste

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Napoleon Coste was a gifted guitarist who established himself as a teacher while still a teenager. He moved to Paris, where his brilliant technique placed him among the great guitarists of his generation. His Twenty-five Etudes are one of the guitar repertory's finest set of concert studies, notable for their attractive melodies and brilliant cadenzas.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I know this set of studies well due to them holding a very important place in my technical development – I will come to that later!

In general, however I think that they are less well known and played than some of the other study repertoire from this period. This is a great shame because there are some great little pieces here with excellent technical development material.

The pieces are quite challenging, going from about grade 5 standard up to advanced.

For me, the things that stand out in this collection are fingerboard knowledge and musicianship. I am always talking about knowledge of the notes leading to greater fluency and musical direction, although it can be something that is difficult to achieve if it has not been there from the beginning. These pieces make no compromise in movement around the fingerboard, chord changing and general left hand freedom. They pretty much cover every single note up to the 12th fret, on every string – in one case probably all in one piece!

This may be frustrating at first but really focuses the mind and encourages you to learn in order to achieve the desired results.

The musical content is varied and engaging with some very interesting harmonies, rhythms, textures and colours. The studies particularly highlight harmonic sequences encouraging you to listen to voices to shape the music.

Technically all the basics are covered and developed including arpeggio and scale patterns, slurs, right hand patterns and speed of articulation, movement in thirds, sixths and octaves, alberti accompaniment figures and fully accompanied melodies.

All of the technical movement around the guitar seems to have musical purpose so that you find yourself really developing the link between sound and movement and so ‘feeling’ the momentum and shape under your fingers. I found this particularly satisfying and a big help when I was struggling with some of the technique!

I have not got the space to talk about every piece but will mention some of my highlights.

No.1 gives a taste of what is to come with its simple chord sequence and variation that gives you the chance to listen to, and feel the harmonic movement without having too many notes to think about. No.4 has a lovely, simple melody with chords on almost every beat and no compromise in movement around the fingerboard i.e. some tricky jumps. It is an excellent exercise in playing melodically (that is horizontally) in more than one voice. No.6 has a long line of melody over a lovely triplet accompaniment, using rests in the accompaniment to great effect. No.7 (Associated Board grade 7) has a strong and compelling character highlighting the guitar’s contrapuntal abilities and challenging the player to hear all of the voices.

I love the lower line melody in No.10 (Associated Board grade 8). This piece has great character and requires real control of lines and rhythm and finishes with a contrasting, smoother major section. No.12 (TrinityGuildhall grade 7) creates drama through lots of movement in semiquaver chords, big interval jumps and full harmonies while No.13 is altogether lighter with arpeggio thirds in higher registers using sliding shapes to produce long sequences. No. 15 has a brilliant ‘quirky’ triplet melody built around the chords giving the piece a very individual character. The 3/8 time and repeated semiquaver pedal give No.19 real flow and momentum carrying the melody in thirds through the piece. No. 21 is very difficult because of its constantly moving quaver chords, maintaining three voices for much of the time, and highlighting some unusual harmonies.

My absolute favorite has to be the piece that was a turning point in my studies, opening my eyes to a technique and resulting musicianship that I am still enjoying and developing today! Before playing study No.22 I don’t think that I had ever thought about controlling and stopping bass notes, however this study has a repeating bass rhythm that is as much about rests as it is about notes. Defining this bass line brings a whole different light to the music and is one of the most valuable techniques that I have learnt as well as being enormous fun to play!

I think that this is one set of studies that every dedicated guitarist should own and learn. They teach us as many lessons in musicianship as technique, are very enjoyable to play and highlight the musical abilities of the guitar. Brilliant.

Selina.

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.

musdodgsonodetotheguitar

Ode to the Guitar

Stephen Dodgson

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Stephen Dodgson was educated at the Royal College of Music, where he later taught theory and composition. His guitar music has gained recognition, despite the fact that he does not play the instrument himself. His remarkable grasp of the instrument’s capabilities in a distinctly non-Spanish idiom deserves to be heard more widely. John Williams premiered many of his guitar works, including the first Partita and the first guitar concerto.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This book is “A Sequence of 10 Miniatures’ written by a composer with a great pedigree in writing original and ‘far reaching’ music for the classical guitar.

By that I mean that the music stretches our technical abilities and musical ideas and has been very important in the development of the guitar repertoire in the 20th century.

In his preface Dodgson describes his collaboration with Hector Quine in writing a series of technical studies to complement a rapidly expanding guitar repertoire. After 20 years there was a pause in writing and although many aspects of technique had been explored Dodgson felt that there was one vital element missing – the expressive requirement. In this volume he set out to provide ”a strongly coloured miniature which will encourage the right hand to give voice to a full range of expression”

I think that he has achieved his aim with these miniatures and has gone beyond that in introducing guitarists to a truly contemporary style and new musical language, developing reading and interpretation skills as well as musical imagination.

The old excuse of “I can’t learn the piece because I don’t know the tune!” doesn’t work with these pieces.

The titles are very important, supplemented by ‘character’ and ‘feeling’ words in place of traditional tempo markings or expressions; for example ‘brisk and impish ‘,’radiant and sustained’ and ’menacing and intense’, which send direct messages to the fingers before you have even listened to the music!

There is of course a level of technique needed to get the most from this music, but I think that it also helps to develop this from the angle of tone colour, texture, spirit and story telling. The ability to listen and use your imagination is very important throughout the learning process, as is a strong rhythmical feel. A lot of the harmony is dissonant and unusual but there are also plenty of recognizable features to help you to develop an understanding of the style. The pieces use the whole range of the guitar in a very free flowing manner and even though the positions and shapes may be unfamiliar the music is very well written for the guitar both technically and musically. Fingering is used sparingly encouraging the player to explore.

  1. Ode to the Guitar - arpeggio figures punctuating slow melodic lines;
  2. Ragged Robin (grade 6) – clever use of the left hand around the fretboard giving the cheeky and impish character required, with small motifs linking and giving direction;
  3. Rainbow – constant flowing semiquavers where the player needs to listen to the harmony for shape and direction. It is particularly important to read the musical instruction here;
  4. Ghost Story (grade 7) – the melody and harmony are very contemporary with the melodic intervals and dissonances giving it the sinister and menacing feel;
  5. Drowsy Head – clear melody and direction with fingering patterns and a great mental picture to follow!
  6. O Pussy my love – a serenade feel and ideal pulsing accompaniment with a stretched rhythm to challenge you and detailed and tricky left hand work;
  7. Call, and I follow – lively and tricky requiring a light touch and good counting!
  8. Sirins (grade 6) – one of my favorites with clever use of subtly changing harmonies and lilting pulse;
  9. Hornets Nest (grade 8) – great fun with detailed left hand work cleverly under the fingers even if they have to move to get there!
  10. Villanelle – rustic with great spirit in the rhythm, range and lovely bass melodies.

To conclude, these pieces really are small windows onto emotional feelings and characters and as Dodgson says of the benefits of learning; “an awakened imagination is the spark; the reward, a tiny concert piece that sounds like one.”

Selina.

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.

mussmithsonatano4

Sonata No 4 La Breve

Reginald Smith Brindle

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Smith Brindle began learning the piano at the age of six, and later took up the clarinet, saxophone and guitar (and won a Melody Maker prize for his guitar-playing). Although he wrote for many instruments, Smith Brindle was perhaps best known for his solo guitar music.

Skill Level
Advanced

This is contemporary music and as such is often difficult for students to attempt, as they are not used to the dissonances and unusual melodic and harmonic shapes, that is, there is not necessarily a ‘tune’ to sing!

I have not played any Smith Brindle for years for this very reason and so came to this review with some trepidation.

It is definitely music that you have to keep playing to start to get an idea of what there is to communicate.

Here the music is very well laid out with plenty of space between staves, helpful fingering and lots of musical clues, i.e. espressivo and echo.

In the first movement there are contrasting fast and slow sections with repetitions that help you to navigate your way through the music as well as rhythmic and melodic motifs to latch on to.

The rhythm is very important but not too complicated to count and learn. Once you have this, the shape of the piece can emerge.

The slow middle movement uses the resonance around clashing and harmonic chords to good effect and forces you to really listen to what happens to the sound after you have played the strings. In fact this is an important point about contemporary music – the melody or flow of the music is not always obvious and so you have to listen more and you cannot only concentrate on fingers!

I liked the last movement the best. The rhythms are great with lovely dissonances that together are exciting.

If you can be open to new sounds this music is great for developing reading and fingerboard knowledge. It helps you to find and develop moods and means of expression on your guitar and is very open to your interpretation, but with plenty of ideas toget you started.

Selina.

musdowlandsolowerke

Solowerke 1

John Dowland

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I think every guitarist should have some experience of Renaissance lute music. It has so much to offer us in musicianship skills and we are very lucky to be able to play the music of such a great composer. John Dowland Solowerke Vol.1: Solos for classical guitar. Universal Edition

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

One of the most important things to look for when playing music that has been arranged or transcribed is the quality of the edition, for example notes and explanations on sources and performance.

This edition has a short preface covering all the main points; sources, recognition of the main, comprehensive edition of the complete lute music, explanation for the use of F sharp tuning and the suggestion to raise the pitch of the guitar with a capo so imitating the lute more closely and getting more detail from the music.

There are also some facsimile prints to show you what the original lute music would look like. I absolutely love this music, an interest that goes back to falling in love with my guitar teachers lute at the age of 8!

It has so much to offer us in musicianship skills and we are very lucky to be able to play the music of such a great composer.

In this collection you are introduced to the various dance forms used as the basis for many of the compositions in the Renaissance. There are simpler, chordal pieces in Tarletons Riserrectione, My Lord Willoughby's Welcome Home and Round Battle Galliard as well as complex, contrapuntal pieces in The Right Honourable Robert, Earl of Essex, high Marshall of England, his Galliard. Are not the titles fantastic as well, giving you a real sense of history and living music! In the first Galliard we are introduced to imitation between voices and suspensions in inner parts creating wonderful dissonances. This little piece demonstrates how important listening is with this music, that is listening to horizontal lines and phrases rather than just learning through fingering and shapes.

The compositional technique of using Divisions to build a piece is perfectly demonstrated in Sir John Smith his Almaine (this is probably one of my favorite ever pieces by the way). Divisions are when each theme is repeated in a more decorated version so adding to the build up and variety in the piece. John Smiths is lively and strong, with simple, long flowing phrases and a real sense of movement. The Frog Galliard (grade 8) is very similar, without complex counterpoint but with strong rhythm, dance movement and constant development through the piece. Another Renaissance technique was to extend bar lines at cadences, which has the effect of pushing the music towards the conclusion. This happens at the end of each section in The Frog Galliard effectively creating a 3/2 bar from 3/4 bars before each cadence. In this edition the hemiola technique that I have just described is indicated with brackets under the music.

One result of the use of divisions in a piece is some quite extended, quick and virtuosic semiquaver passages to deal with. There are also decorated final chords in several of the pieces which look to have very quick notes but are intended to be played more freely, as a finishing flourish! The idea of suspensions comes out beautifully in The Shoemakers wife and the counterpoint in Lady Rich and The Earl of Essex is stunning.

I think every guitarist should have some experience of Renaissance lute music. There really is something for everyone, from strong driving rhythm to interweaving lines, beautiful dissonance and pure singing melodies. This collection goes from about a grade 4 standard virtuoso pieces that are not out of place on the concert platform. And there is so much more to explore!

Selina.

muslemayprogressivevol5

Repertoire Progressif Volume 5

Les Productions dOZ

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These six volumes of progressive repertoire for classic guitar provide pieces that will please apprentice guitarists at both beginner and more advanced levels. The repertoire was chosen by a large number of Quebec teachers who have been working for many years at all levels of classic guitar instruction. Their precious help has brought quality, diversity and originality to this collection.

Skill Level
Intermediate
muslemayprogressivevol5

Repertoire Progressif Volume 3

Les Productions dOZ

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This album moves up to around Grade 4, (although a couple of pieces of Grade 3 have sneaked in) and there are more 'unknown' pieces than in the previous two books, the collection being the better for it; Claude Gagnon emerges yet again, this time with four pieces and there are two fingerstyle compositions by Jacques Chandonnet... ...these albums are presented to a high standard.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
musdowlandair

Air and Galliard

John Dowland

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Transcribed from the lute tablature and arranged for guitar by Karl Scheit.

Skill Level
Intermediate
musdowlandmelancholy

Melancholy Galliard and Allemande

John Dowland

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Dowland's 'Melancholy Galliard' and 'Allemande' transcribed from the lute tablature and arranged and fingered for guitar by Karl Scheit

Skill Level
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.

133

Three Sonatas

Anton Diabelli

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These pieces were a lovely surprise for me offering more detail and interest than I had expected and really bringing the shapes, texture and style of the Classical period to the guitar. Guitar Solo. By Anton Diabelli. Arranged by Anton Stingl. This edition 36 pages. Published by Schott Music.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

These pieces were a lovely surprise for me offering more detail and interest than I had expected and really bringing the shapes, texture and style of the Classical period to the guitar.

Simply put, the music is full of life, spirit, movement, drama and fun! It fits beautifully under the fingers but also challenges the player with detailed articulation and dynamics, as well as polyphonic writing that requires the guitarist to balance melodies in different voices rather than the simpler melody accompaniment style.

Sonata no.1 in C has a strong clear opening with great direction in the melody. As I mentioned before articulation and dynamic markings are very specific, for example the distinction between a staccato dot and a tenuto or emphasis line, and chromatic movement in thirds really pushes the music along. The middle, minor section uses double octaves to create drama and volume, contrasting with pianissimo thirds and creating an orchestral feel and texture.

The second movement has a delicate and refined character using wide intervals, articulation and silences to great effect. In the Menuet and Trio (grade 6) I particularly like the simple rising melodic motif punctuated with staccato chords and the brilliant ‘leaning’ notes across the bar lines creating lots of interest but quite simple to play. The final Rondo bubbles along in semiquavers with lots of contrast in articulation and rhythm, a great minor section employing restless syncopated chords and a truly orchestral ending.

Sonata no.2 in A is more detailed and complex. The Allegro risoluto has a powerful opening using dotted rhythms and big chords. The dotted passages feature through the movement with lots of contrast, movement between voices and great use of rests and space in the music. The Adagio is based on pianissimo chords and arpeggio decorations, requiring a sense of poise I think and lots of listening to shape the music through the harmony.

The Menuet and Trio (grade 8) is packed full of character and humour from the pompous opening bass to the bell ringing campanella effect, dramatic octaves and chromatic thirds. The final Rondo has a very charming, simple and delicate melody, rising smoothly then falling punctuated by rests. There is so much story telling going on in this music and there is always something to do! In many ways it is just like lots of people talking, different subjects coming up, surprises and colours of voices. This last movement is quite complex to look at but will give you hours of fun playing and listening to the musical theatre.

Sonata no.3 in F is again very strong and dramatic at the opening and moves on with lots of contrast in the rhythms moving quickly between semiquavers and triplet quavers, syncopated chords and, again excellent articulation and punctuation. I particularly liked the little demisemiquaver birdsong motif! Overall the music is very free flowing with octave and interval passages and plenty of detail in the voicing. The Andante (grade 7) is quite simple compared to some of the other movements, concentrating instead on highlighting a beautiful, singing melody along with some lovely scrunchy harmonies.

The Finale has a slow introduction with melodic motifs punctuated a ‘da da’! in octaves that is the brass section building up the tension for the main event! The Presto section is fast and lively with contrasting textures provided by chords, flowing intervals, single lines using staccato and slurred passages. The music looks more straightforward but the speed is very quick! The minor section has two voices competing with each other – great fun! - and the final Prestissimo cadence over 16 bars is made more exciting by the preceding, dramatic Adagio.

This is lovely music that teaches us about theatre, excitement, colour and texture in music, as well as giving enjoyment and helping to develop technique.

What more could you ask for!

Selina.

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.

musmilanofantasie9

14 Fantasie per Chitarra

Francesco Da Milano

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Guitar Solo. By Francesco Canova Da Milano. Arranged by Miklos Mosoczi. 18 pages. Published by Editio Musica Budapest.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
muspujolhispanae

Hispanae Citharae Ars Viva

Emilio Pujol

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

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