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

musplayford

Playford Fantasia

John Whitworth

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This imaginative and evocative piece is a continuous set of variations on the English dance tune Goddesses, and provides a rare opportunity at this level to play and experience a work of real substance. It has a distinctive English flavour.

Skill Level
Intermediate
musintermediate

Intermediate Music for Guitar

John Whitworth

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Sixteen pieces for the student repertoire, in a scholarly but highly accessible edition. Includes music by Sanz, Carulli, Sor, Paganini, Mertz and Van der Staaz.

Skill Level
Beginner
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Timescapes

John Whitworth

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Nine compositions aiming to broaden the repertoire of the intermediate guitarist. The most fun I have had in ages, if you are searching for music to challenge the player and give pleasure to the audience this is definately for you.

Skill Level
Intermediate

I first started to play these pieces a week ago and I am already completely hooked!

They are beautifully simple in concept and very aptly named. John seems to have a knack of putting across expressive ideas in relatively few notes, and not asking the guitarist to perform acrobatics, ensuring that you can enjoy the music!

I was immediately attracted to the high levels of interpretation and musicianship being asked for. All the pieces work at many levels; if you are working up to this technical level the pieces will sound good without too much control of sound and dynamics, but if you are more advanced you can still get loads of enjoyment from the music by challenging yourself on matters of colour and shape.

The amount of instruction in the book is excellent. Each piece has a description that varies from the origin of, or inspiration for the piece, to technical instruction and musical goals.

The introduction on the title page briefly explains the history of the pieces and ideas for performance; for example as a continuous suite, individually or in smaller suites created by grouping three or four pieces together.

These are great ideas for students embarking on their first performances, and for more experienced players developing their musicianship.

The phrasing, dynamic and articulation markings are very detailed throughout giving you plenty to work with that will help you to bring out the shape and character of each piece.

The first section of First Light is made up of long legato chords asking for lots of dynamic control and it finishes with a simple but beautiful quaver melody.

Road to the Hills and The Traveller are more lively and rhythmical while Edge of Storm uses low dissonances and a throbbing bass line for dramatic effect.

Serenade pays homage to Erik Satie's famous Gymnopedie No 1 for piano and Walton's 2nd Bagatelle for guitar asking for a legato melody line with accompaniment very much in the background.

The rhythm in Milonga is easy to highlight and great fun to play.

Introduction and Tango is very cleverly written with two simple voices that fit together and bring out the spirit of the dance perfectly.

Late Night contrasts a slow, broody introduction (great melody), with a lively swing rhythm and the collection is brought to a close by the haunting Beneath the Stars where the bass melody is backed by a fast but gentle open string arpeggio, finishing with the melody from First Light in harmonics, dying away.

The most important aspect of this collection for me, and, for that matter, of being a guitarist, is summed up by John at the end of his introduction;

"I hope you enjoy playing these pieces and bringing them to life…"

Selina.

popular-songs

Popular Songs for the Classical Guitar

John Zaradin

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
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.

mussagreraslesson4-6

Guitar Lessons Books 4 to 6

Julio Sagreras

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One of the most successful classical guitar methods of all time. The studies in each book are carefully fingered and graded. They are charming, melodious and extremely effective with some of the later studies making convincing concert repertoire.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
mussagreraslesson1-3

Guitar Lessons Books 1 to 3

Julio Sagreras

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The Guitar Lessons of Sagreras are among the most universally used collections of guitar music and represent a milestone in guitar didactic literature. Comprising of 6 books in all the Guitar Lessons were an immediate success on their introduction and remain highly sought after today.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
292

Easy Pieces from Shakespeares Time Vol.2

Karl Scheit

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A characteristic of the musical practices of the time was the freedom with regards to the choice of instrument. Here the editor has brought this same freedom this guitar edition. The volume contains well known and enjoyable pieces such as Toy, Packington's Pond, Kemp's Jig. In total there are 15 pieces to experience and enjoy. 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.

117

Renaissance Dances

Karl Scheit

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The musician or musical amateur of earlier times used to have a book in which were collected pieces that suited their musical tastes and technical abilities. This edition contains the following dances Allemand, Balletto, Galliard, Pavane and Villanella.

Skill Level
Intermediate
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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.

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
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.

106

Berkeley Quatre Pieces

Lennox Berkeley

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Composed and dedicated to the great Spanish exponent Segovia. This beautifully balanced set of four pieces adds significantly to the guitars repertoirs.

Skill Level
Advanced
315

Elogio de la danza

Leo Brouwer

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A much loved and often performed piece that will test your technical and interpretive abilities yet give a great sense of achievement when mastered. The two movements Lento & Obstinato have been clearly printed making for easy reading and page turns are well catered for.

Skill Level
Advanced
300

Estudios Sencillos

Leo Brouwer

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Etudes simples volume 1 studies 1-5. These are a must for any aspiring guitarist. Leo Brouwer's attention to musical and technical detail stretches the player encouraging expression and freedom of movement.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

This is definitely a case of good things come in small packages, a classic edition for the classical guitar, unchanged since its first publication in 1972.

The ‘book’ consists of an A5 piece of card for the front and back covers and an A5 piece of paper that provides 4 pages for the printed music, however within this the music is excellent and essential repertoire for any beginner or intermediate guitarist, as well as offering great technical and musical practice for those of us who consider ourselves more advanced.

These 5 pieces are wonderful miniatures packed full of musical and technical detail covering articulation, syncopation, voicing and a wide range of colour and dynamics. The use of descriptive words is also great including “movido’, ‘cantando’ and ‘sonoro’, descriptions that are so evocative and good for your musical knowledge!

There are great bass melodies in nos.1 and 4 with an upper accompaniment of repeated thirds (chords) requiring technical and rhythmical control. The shifting time signature in no.4 gives it lovely flow and overall movement. No.2 consists of very slow moving chords highlighting balance and voicing with some wonderful dissonant and emotional harmonies. No.3 concentrates on rapid articulation and no.5 is beautifully lyrical despite some quirky harmonies and fantastic syncopation.

Great, musical and emotional pieces that really help you to develop your technique.

Selina.

brouwer-paisaje-cubano-con-tristeza

Paisaje cubano con tristeza

Leo Brouwer

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Paisaje Cubano con Tristeza (1996) is part of a group of compositions that evoke impressions on aspects of the Cuban landscape. The other pieces in this series are the Cuban Landscape with Rain and the Cuban Landscape with Rumba, both for guitar quartet, as well as Paisaje Cubano con Campanas for solo guitar. These works incorporate the sounds of minimalism more prominently than in Brouwer’s other pieces for guitar, using repetition as a musical basis. Paisaje Cubano con Tristeza, as its title implies (Cuban landscape with sadness), is different for its overt lyricism as opposed to the rhythmically insistent qualities of its predecessors.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
113

Deux Airs Populaires Cubains

Leo Brouwer

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Guitar Solo. By Leo Brouwer. Contents: Quajira Criolla (on a theme by d'Anckerman) * Zapateado. These pieces are quite unusual, full of folk character and melody expertly blended with a contemporary feel, fantastic harmonies and clashes, contrasting textures and techniques and Brouwer's usual exciting use of rhythm and articulation.

Skill Level
Advanced

These pieces are quite unusual, full of folk character and melody expertly blended with a contemporary feel, fantastic harmonies and clashes, contrasting textures and techniques and Brouwer's usual exciting use of rhythm and articulation.

These pieces are quite unusual, full of folk character and melody expertly blended with a ‘contemporary’ feel, fantastic harmonies and clashes, contrasting textures and techniques and Brouwer’s usual exciting use of rhythm and articulation.

The pieces are difficult but very ‘guitaristic’ meaning that they flow nicely under the fingers and once you have learnt the fingering and technique you get a lot of satisfaction from the freedom of movement around the guitar and through the music.

The melodies are lovely but come with a twist, keeping you on your toes and piquing your (and the listeners) interest!

Both pieces are marked with 2 time signatures, ‘simple’ 3 in a bar 3/4 and ‘compound’ 2 in a bar 6/8. This is great for learning how to feel the pulse and for recognizing and highlighting the differences. The overall structure of the pieces is also similar with an ‘A’ section that returns after contrasting ‘B’ and ‘C’ sections.

The pizzicato arpeggio melodies at the beginning of Guajira have lovely lilt and movement highlighted by the wide range of pitch and the 3 voices ‘talking’ in counterpoint are very effective in the first contrasting section. When this melody returns in the major key it is more expansive with the music opening out before the return of the pizzicato theme from the beginning bringing the piece to a fading finish.

The introduction of Zapateado is also lilting in character, 4 bars of 6/8 and 4 bars of 3/4, repetitive and with a narrow range of notes that gives quite a restless feel to the music.

The second section has a melody that changes in pulse throughout with a lower voice that uses the opposite pulse, for example the upper voice is in 3/4 with the lower voice in 6/8 and in the next bar they swap! This is syncopated rhythm that needs real concentration at first but once mastered gives great results and is very satisfying. The ‘C’ section has 2 voices starting high and an octave apart and gradually converging, again with crossing rhythms and a sense of the music building and then losing tension towards the return of the opening section at the end.

The symmetry in the music is very clever giving us ideas to hang on to, always drawing the listener in but never sounding predictable. These are 2 beautiful little pieces, an enticing musical style captured in an instant.

Selina.

musicbrouwer4

El Decameron Negro.

Leo Brouwer

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I have loved this work from the first time I heard it played. Yes it is difficult and you may be put off by the rhythm patterns, counting and shear range of movement required to get around your guitar however it is definitely worth the effort no matter how many years it takes you to learn.

Skill Level
Advanced
musicbrouwer3

Nuevos Estudios Sencillos.

Leo Brouwer

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A group of studies covering various techniques such as arpeggio, staccato, legato, afro-cuban rhythmic patterns, tremolos, partial barre, this is an essential book for the committed student.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

I have always been a fan of Leo Brouwer’s music and so was immediately drawn in to these studies with their great use of the guitar and "natural" technique that compliments rather than fights the music!

Like Brouwer’s "Simple Studies", they provide varied technical and musical skills as well as training the ear to the more unusual sounds and dissonances of modern music which is very important in the development of the young (and not so young!) budding guitarist.

At the same time Brouwer manages to keep the music very lyrical, linking each study to a composer (homage to…) which heightens interest!

My only worry is the statement in the notes for study number one that the collection is for beginners or children. I think that these pieces would be of benefit to, and enjoyed by players of any age, but possibly suited to those with a bit more experience since the notation, rhythms and voicing is quite tricky in places.

I would place them at a grade 3 to 5 level, possibly 6 if all the tempo and articulation markings are kept to (for our database beginner/ intermediate)

Each study has written notes which clearly explain what is required and what to focus on.

The music requires clear dynamic control, careful articulation even between voices, pinpointing melody within arpeggios, legato phrasing and syncopated rhythms. There is simply loads to work on in each piece!

My favourites are Tarrega (no. 5) with its minimalist style, tremolo development and strong echoes of Brouwer’s Decameron Negro; Prokoviev (no. 4), which has an excellent, rhythmical bass melody; the lovely harmonies and chord melody in Villa Lobos (no. 8) and the beautiful simplicity of Szymanowski (no. 9).

Overall, this collection of pieces would be of great benefit to players of all standards and I particularly like the link to composers that will hopefully encourage young people to explore different kinds of music. Importantly the strongest element of "study" here is musical – excellent!

Selina.

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