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

193

Ricercari and Fantasien

Franscesco Da Milano

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The pieces here are beautiful and peaceful; we have to learn new sounds and the techniques of playing contrapuntal lines but at the same time the music encourages freedom and invention. Learning this music is not really about technical virtuosity, for example how fast or loud we can play, but about control, understanding and listening - nurturing the musician in us.

Skill Level
Advanced

There is a short introduction at the beginning of this edition describing the sources used and introducing the musical style. Particularly interesting is the explanation of the titles that are so different to what we are used to!

Ricercari is an Italian verb meaning to seek/ quest. It was originally used in music to denote ‘trying out an instrument” or “prelude” so referring to an improvised introductory piece. In the 16th century ‘Ricercari’ and ‘Fantasia’ came to be applied to instrumental compositions that were mostly imitative with no clear distinction between the two.

The introduction makes an important point in explaining that the music of the Renaissance has a tonality and harmony all of its own, and that players need to spend time getting the feel of it. This is why it is so important to have the music in the exam repertoire, introducing it to a much wider audience and really expanding the guitarists’ repertoire and musical knowledge.

The edition uses F♯ tuning of the G string and recommends the use of a capo on the 3rd fret to bring the guitar closer to the pitch of the renaissance lute. A capo is not essential but it does make the voices much cleaner and the harmonies easier to hear.

The use of this tuning however is very important. It brings the intervals between the guitar strings in line with that of the lute, which means that the tablature can be followed more closely in the transcription and the chords flow more smoothly.

This, of course brings a new challenge to most guitarists, with notes in different places and chord shapes altered! For me it really emphasizes the importance of reading music and knowing the names of the notes on the page and on the guitar – you may be surprised that this can be a problem!

I love this music for its purity, depth and tranquility.

There are long melodic lines, interweaving and creating beautiful and complex harmonies. From a technical point of view it is all about tonal and dynamic control of melodies and harmonies. From a musical point of view the guitarist needs to recognize voices, motifs and imitation to understand the structure of the music. The thematic entries need to be brought out clearly and the dynamic control needs to be subtle so as not to interrupt the pretty constant flow of the music.

The edition helps by marking entries and imitations with capitol letters but this is an excellent opportunity for players to practice and improve their listening and interpretive skills and experimentation should be foremost!

The edition is not over fingered, which is great giving players more flexibility and choice. It is inevitable that some sacrifices in voicing, for example sustaining notes, have to be made but we should always be looking out for the importance of the interweaving lines and the dissonances and resolutions created – scrumptious!!

The pieces here are beautiful and peaceful; we have to learn new sounds and the techniques of playing contrapuntal lines but at the same time the music encourages freedom and invention.

Learning this music is not really about technical virtuosity, for example how fast or loud we can play, but about control, understanding and listening - nurturing the musician in us.

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
66

Repertoire Progressif Volume 1

Les Productions dOZ

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Repertoire Progressif is the first book in a series of six graded volumes. Each album contains a wide spectrum of styles and is split into organised sections. The 52 pieces in this volume come under the headings of Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Various (traditional, romantic and contemporary), Studies and Duos. They contain a mixture of traditional guitar repertoire (Sor, Aguado, Giuliani, etc), new arrangements and some previously unpublished compositions by one of the editors of this series, Claude Gagnon (Marakesh, an evocative solo and two attractive duets.

Skill Level
Beginner

I really like the printing and layout in this book. It has a clean and spacious appearance that is immediately encouraging! The gradual progression of difficulty level through the book is well paced, travelling, at the same time, from the 16th to the 19th century.

The music was chosen by a large number of teachers from Quebec, resulting in a diverse collection of very tuneful and accessible music predominantly from the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical periods.

The first 9 pages offer loads of experience with easy 2 part pieces using mostly open bass strings. From there the technical progression includes arpeggio style, dotted rhythms, chords in thirds, keys up to 3 sharps and 2 flats, and, to finish the solo section, an easy arrangement of the opening of Asturias by Albeniz highlighting the bass melody

It is so exciting and encouraging to have music like this at the early stages of learning! I would like to highlight the single line, melodic studies by Sor which are so important for developing phrasing and singing skills.

It is also great to see a good collection of the standard repertoire by composers such as Sor, Aguado and Carcassi, music that is fantastic for developing a good solid technique while at the same time being enjoyable and satisfying.

There is a good selection of duets at the end of the book enabling the student to enjoy being part of more complicated music, with excellent arrangements.

Overall, this is an excellent edition with a clear and uncluttered layout and fingering that is kept to a minimum.

Grade 1

  • V’la l’bon vent: this is a simple, rhythmical 2 part piece using open basses, excellent for developing singing of the melody!
  • Lecon: a single line melody developing basic skills of phrasing and legato playing with simple 3 note chords at cadences

Grade 2

  • Chanson: a flowing waltz in D major and a crotchet rhythm.
  • Valse: a well-known “standard” by Aguado developing thirds and moving left hand shapes.
  • Ecossaise in A minor: this is a flowing 2-part piece by Giuliani using the accidentals of the minor key with the second half in the relative major, and some more detailed articulation in the bass.
  • Lecon in C: an extended single line melody by Sor excellent for shaping phrasing across wider intervals and for legato playing.

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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musspaldingragamufin

Ragamuffin

Gary Spolding

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For players interested in music written in a popular style. The book contains a set of pieces in the style of Rock, Rags, Blues and Boogie all in swing rhythm. Great fun and excellent for classical players to become more adept at a slightly different rhythmical style.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

This is a great little book written, as Gary explains in the introduction, as several of his grade 3 to 4 students became extremely interested in playing music written in ‘popular’ styles!

This of course encourages students who might otherwise drift away from the classical guitar but it also provides excellent technical and musical development for those of us who love anything and everything classical guitar!

From the simple bass and melody of Little Boy Blues to the more complex repeated chords and higher positions of Clapped Out Blues there is a wide range of character within the overall style, with some challenging rhythms, chords and positions requiring free and confident movement around the fingerboard.

The music is great for helping to develop a feel for the pulse, essential when playing swing and triplet rhythms. Overall the style is very much based on patterns and chord shapes and knowing this can be very helpful in learning the notes higher up the fingerboard.

Looking at it from the other side, the pieces do represent an excellent teaching aid to learning the fingerboard and developing fluency in reading and in left hand technique while having fun! There are also plenty of slurs, bends and glissandos.

The Bass Vamp is great with a riff moving from one string to the next and some tricky slurs off high frets to open strings.

Rock Bass Groove is deceptively easy with simple open string chords accompanying the walking bass line – extremely effective and satisfying.

Slip Slidin’ Rock gets you used to higher notes and slides before moving on to Slick Riff Blues which has some quite complex movement around the fingerboard, slides, slurs and bends.

All in all, not only do these pieces introduce us to new styles without getting too complicated, but a lot of technique is being developed in the background, helping you to relax in playing and progress your overall musicianship.

Selina.

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musmartinquatrepiec

Quatre Pieces Breves

Frank Martin

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This edition presents the work in the form in which it appears in the definitive manuscriot written in 1955. The original composition for guitar solo dates from 1933 which was later arranged for large orchestra.

Skill Level
Intermediate
281

Pumping Nylon Level Easy

Scott Tennant

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The pieces in this book are selected and designed around the various techniques addressed in Pumping Nylon. They are offered as an extension of the exercises presented in that book and to provide attractive and easy pieces in which to apply the various techniques. CD Included.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

I do find the title and cover of this book (and the technique book of the same name) very inappropriate to represent my beautiful and lyrical classical guitar, however, once I had got past this I could see the huge benefits for a student of the guitar, namely the great collection of varied pieces from old to brand new.

The variety of music is fantastic with a firm base in the 19th century, a grounding that we should all have, and the book is very well presented. The preface is very interesting especially for me as I have long highlighted the importance of the 19th century repertoire. I do disagree with Tennant’s initial description of this music – “old fashioned, boring” - but I am glad that he has seen the light in putting the book together!

He explains how the pieces are chosen with technical development in mind and in the table of contents he has a checklist so that you can easily choose the areas that you would like to concentrate on. Each piece then has its own checklist for you to think about and develop as you learn. There is also a glossary of the musical terms and signs used, something that many of us neglect to learn!

Studies by Sor, Carcassi, Giuliani and Tarrega sit happily alongside exercises and pieces by York and Tennant and I am particularly pleased with the inclusion of 3 Pavans by Luis Milan, quite intricate and beautiful pieces that require good control of chords and multiple voices. Other, less well known, favourites of mine are the two little studies by Giuliani offering excellent right hand balance practice, Sor’s op. 35 no. 18 which has fantastic harmonic movement and again works on balance in the right hand, that is evenness of strokes with all fingers and thumb, Carcassi’s Etude no. 6 from op 60 that carries a beautiful flowing melody with the thumb and a lovely slur study by Giuliani.

Snowflight by Andrew York is a simple arpeggio piece that creates a beautiful, dream like atmosphere and A Pale View by David Pritchard is so gentle and unusual and I love it, with sustaining melody over campanella arpeggiated harmonies – a new one for the collection!

I do not necessarily agree with all the ideas and methods of practice presented in the checklists, however it is great to read these ideas and investigate how the pieces work. For me it is great to use as a reference, but mainly offers an excellent collection for any guitarist to work with and expand their knowledge of the repertoire. You can also enjoy all the quotes! My favourites are; serious – “The language of music is understood everywhere” (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) and humerous – “I know what a sextet is, but I’d rather not say.” (from a grade school essay on classical music)!

Selina.

282

Pumping Nylon Intermediate

Scott Tennant

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Welcome to the second installment of the repertoire supplements to Pumping Nylon. As the title indicates these pieces are more advanced and are primarily concert pieces. Consider this book to be a brief representation of the types of pieces that contain specific technique building elements. When practiced correctly they aid in the development of your guitar playing skills. CD included.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I do find the title and cover of this book (and the technique book of the same name) very inappropriate to represent my beautiful and lyrical classical guitar, however, once I had got past this I could see the huge benefits for a student of the guitar, namely the great collection of varied pieces from old to brand new.

The pieces in this book offer a wide and varied ‘dip’ into the guitar repertoire from The Frog Galliard by Dowland, to a Coste study, a Villa Lobos inspired Etude and on to the cadenza from Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo!

The preface explains how these are primarily concert pieces and therefore more substantial in technique, musicianship and length than in the previous volume. Tennant asks us to consider the book as a brief representation of the types of pieces that contain specific technique-building elements and, when practiced correctly and with intent, will aid in developing your guitar playing skills.

The techniques highlighted include arpeggios, left hand finger independence, chord balancing and specific techniques like tremolo. Each piece has its own checklist and a short explanation for its inclusion in the book. It is very valuable to be able to see the technical development needed in your various pieces so that you can practice them in the correct way, but it is also very important not to forget, and to make sure that you spend plenty of time practicing, the musical elements. Tennant has hinted at this in some of his descriptions, for example Variations sur les ‘Folies d’Espagne’ by Giuliani – “a typical and lovely variation set”, and The Frog Galliard – “I hope you derive as much joy from it as I have over the years.”

As in the previous volume the music is very diverse and offers as much experience in musical style as in technique. There are long flowing phrases and lovely harmonies in pieces by Milan and Narvaez, great fun in the Folies Variations by Giuliani and a fantastic study by Coste which inspires musicianship through the sounds produced by detailed articulation and slurs.

Alongside these are 2 flamenco studies by Adam del Monte that offer the classical student wonderful technical development and musical excitement and Plainte by Brian Head where voicing is the challenge, definitely not only a technical challenge. Having the cadenza from the Aranjuez is the icing on the cake and is guaranteed to make you feel good!

A book like this gives us many choices and experiences, as long as we use it with an open mind, don’t blindly follow technical checklists but use them as a guide and source of ideas for you to develop, and most of all enjoy playing the music.

Selina.

105

Pumping Nylon

Scott Tennant

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Scott Tennant, world-class classical guitarist and well-respected guitar eduactor, has brought together the most comprehensive technique handbook for the classical guitarist. In addition to technical information not available elsewhere, he has compiled selections from Giuliani's 120 Right-Hand Studies; musical examples by Bach, Turina, Rodrigo and others;Tarrega arpeggio studies; and original compositions by Andrew York and Brian Head. Essential information and a great sense of humor are effectively combined in this best-selling book.

Skill Level
Advanced
283

Progressive Reading for Guitarists

Stephen Dodgson and Hector Quine

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Only recently sight reading on the guitar was described as a nightmare. The traditional way of learning to play the guitar is to start in first position then gradually work up the fretboard. This book dispenses with this method. To obtain the best from this material read the Preface and introduction where there is information on how best to use the book. I have found this to be the best book written for becoming at ease with the guitar fretboard.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
popular-songs

Popular Songs for the Classical Guitar

John Zaradin

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
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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
musplaypiazzolla

Play Piazzolla

Astor Piazzolla

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

Skill Level
Intermediate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

mustorrobapiecescaracteristique

Pieces Caracteristiques

Federico Moreno Torroba

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This music is romantic and colourful, evocative not only of Spain and its scenery and music, but also of the traditions of the classical guitar and the music that I grew up listening to and striving to play. Andres Segovia Edition Volume 2 GA 134 includes the pieces entitled, Los Mayos, Albada and Panorama.

Skill Level
Advanced

This music is romantic and colourful, evocative not only of Spain and its scenery and music, but also of the traditions of the classical guitar and the music that I grew up listening to and striving to play. As such it is a part of the repertoire that is often overlooked as our musical tastes change but that can teach us a lot about what our instrument can achieve.

There are three pieces offering contrast in character but strong links in melody that means they work beautifully together. The music is full of strong treble and bass melodies, driving rhythms, exciting harmonies and lots of opportunity for contrasts in articulation and tone. Techniques include fast articulation, control of long slurred passages and fluid movement around the fingerboard.

Los Mayos is strong and bright with an uplifting theme that is used throughout, driving the music forward, lots of chord movement, and some lovely ‘clashy’ harmonies. It is marked Allegro no tanto – quick and cheerful but not too much!

Albada has a great, quirky and quite angular returning theme that contrasts with some lovely tenor melodies on the 4th and 5th strings and a gorgeous tune in the relative minor with a warm syncopated accompaniment. Again the Allegro marking is tempered, this time with gracioso, highlighting character as apposed to straight speed.

The final piece is Panorma, an expansive piece with a Lento Introduction, a central Allegro which develops into a fugal section using the main theme, and a return to the theme of Los Mayos to finish. The Lento consists of beautiful, big chords producing full and rich ‘open’ harmonies which rise and crescendo before falling in triplets with a diminuendo that leads into the Allegro. Now the music moves more quickly alternating between a melody in triads and flowing semiquavers, building into the relative major and towards a brief introduction of the Los Mayos theme before falling towards the fugal section.

Here the main theme from this movement is developed with many entries and echoes in other voices, moving through keys and creating full textures and harmonies, starting low and rising to 2 octaves higher than the first statement before falling back again and finally merging into the final strong statement of the Los Mayos theme. It is all very exciting and finishes with a great ‘big dipper’ run of semiquavers and then 2 lovely, soft, staccato chords – real drama!

This is perfect music for the Classical Guitar – warm and Spanish in character, exciting and dramatic, using all the instrument has to offer and a reflection of a golden age for the guitar.

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
musoneplusvol28

One + One Volume 2 (Teachers Part)

Chanterelle

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The three volumes of One + One contain arrangements of music from the renaissance, baroque, classical and romantic periods as well as folk-song settings and new compositions written specially for the EGTA Series. New compositions, even though they don’t apply to the exam list repertoire, are included, in order to maximise the books’ general value to the player and to show how this approach can work for all types of music.

musoneplusvol23

One + One Volume 2 (Pupils Part)

Chanterelle

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The three volumes of One + One contain arrangements of music from the renaissance, baroque, classical and romantic periods as well as folk-song settings and new compositions written specially for the EGTA Series. New compositions, even though they don’t apply to the exam list repertoire, are included, in order to maximise the books’ general value to the player and to show how this approach can work for all types of music.

Skill Level
Beginner

These volumes of duets were conceived and put together through the efforts of EGTA, the European Guitar Teachers Association, and are designed to help students develop their musicianship, co ordination, tone and articulation without the excessive physical demands that the chordal and contrapuntal repertoire can impose, particularly on the left hand.

The pieces were the first duets to be used in the ABRSM guitar syllabus, a change in approach that has been invaluable for encouraging students and introducing them to repertoire that would have previously been inaccessible until much later. Of course, it also promotes ensemble playing and all the rhythmical, musical and “communication” benefits that this brings, as well as being so much fun!

There is a comprehensive preface to each volume, which is important to read as it outlines the ideals in general as well as the technical demands and thoughts about fingering, positions and musical indications. It is great that fingering has been kept to a minimum and the preface makes it clear that the fingerings that have been added are just suggestions based on achieving the best musical result.

There is a wide variety of repertoire represented from the Renaissance to the present day, including arrangements of music by Dowland, Purcell, Haydn, Schubert, Mozart, Grieg and Tchaikovsky, as well as original, contemporary guitar pieces. I was a little disappointed not to find any arrangements from the guitar solo repertoire, since there is so much to choose from that would provide an insight into the world of the classical guitar – in other words all the exciting things to come!

All the student parts are single line melodies across the two volumes.

Volume 1 stays in first position, with pieces tending to use the bass or treble voices so working on the separate articulation of fingers and thumb. The arrangements are very well done with a lot of emphasis on ensemble skills i.e. counting and listening, and a good mix of popular and unknown melodies.

In volume 2 fingers and thumb are combined within pieces and left hand positions range from first to fourth. In both books there are some challenging rhythms and time signatures with the articulation and musical indications getting more detailed in volume 2.

There are also some quite unusual and tricky accompaniments in these arrangements, which is worth noting for teachers!

I have to admit to finding some of the modern melodies a little “dry” and more difficult to follow (for young ears) especially when being played without accompaniment. However, overall, there are plenty of lovely tunes, lots of invaluable ensemble experience and counting practice and a strong emphasis on the importance of melody and phrasing.

Grade 1 (volume 1)

  • Riggadoon: a lively, straightforward melody using the treble strings.
  • German Dance: another energetic piece in ¾ time using a dotted crotchet rhythm and some accents.
  • Theme from Rosamunde: this is a flowing, Andante melody, with some longer quaver passages.

Grade 2 (volume 2)

  • Minuet: this piece is in F major, has some detailed phrasing indications and uses 2nd and 3rd positions.
  • A Fairy Tale: the phrasing is detailed again here with a strong, rhythmical, flowing melody and quite a lot of accidentals!
  • Slavonic Waltz: this piece is marked con moto and has a clear character with a contrasting second section and change of key signature.
  • Grade 3 (volume 2)

    • Musette en Rondeau: this is a lovely dance in ¾ with long quaver passages in treble and bass voices.
    • Sweet Reveries: marked Andante, this piece requires long legato phrasing with detailed dynamic control. A dotted quaver rhythm is used throughout and the left hand plays up to the 7th fret.

    Selina.

    musoneplusvol1

    One + One Volume 1 (Teachers Part)

    Chanterelle

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    The three volumes of One + One contain arrangements of music from the renaissance, baroque, classical and romantic periods as well as folk-song settings and new compositions written specially for the EGTA Series. New compositions, even though they don’t apply to the exam list repertoire, are included, in order to maximise the books’ general value to the player and to show how this approach can work for all types of music.

    musoneplusvol16

    One + One Volume 1 (Pupils Part)

    Chanterelle

    Base price for variant: £7.95
    Sales price: £7.95
    Price:£7.95
    Discount:
    Tax amount:
    Price / kg:

    The three volumes of One + One contain arrangements of music from the renaissance, baroque, classical and romantic periods as well as folk-song settings and new compositions written specially for the EGTA Series. New compositions, even though they don’t apply to the exam list repertoire, are included, in order to maximise the books’ general value to the player and to show how this approach can work for all types of music.

    Skill Level
    Beginner

    These volumes of duets were conceived and put together through the efforts of EGTA, the European Guitar Teachers Association, and are designed to help students develop their musicianship, co ordination, tone and articulation without the excessive physical demands that the chordal and contrapuntal repertoire can impose, particularly on the left hand.

    The pieces were the first duets to be used in the ABRSM guitar syllabus, a change in approach that has been invaluable for encouraging students and introducing them to repertoire that would have previously been inaccessible until much later. Of course, it also promotes ensemble playing and all the rhythmical, musical and “communication” benefits that this brings, as well as being so much fun!

    There is a comprehensive preface to each volume, which is important to read as it outlines the ideals in general as well as the technical demands and thoughts about fingering, positions and musical indications. It is great that fingering has been kept to a minimum and the preface makes it clear that the fingerings that have been added are just suggestions based on achieving the best musical result.

    There is a wide variety of repertoire represented from the Renaissance to the present day, including arrangements of music by Dowland, Purcell, Haydn, Schubert, Mozart, Grieg and Tchaikovsky, as well as original, contemporary guitar pieces. I was a little disappointed not to find any arrangements from the guitar solo repertoire, since there is so much to choose from that would provide an insight into the world of the classical guitar – in other words all the exciting things to come!

    All the student parts are single line melodies across the two volumes.

    Volume 1 stays in first position, with pieces tending to use the bass or treble voices so working on the separate articulation of fingers and thumb. The arrangements are very well done with a lot of emphasis on ensemble skills i.e. counting and listening, and a good mix of popular and unknown melodies.

    In volume 2 fingers and thumb are combined within pieces and left hand positions range from first to fourth. In both books there are some challenging rhythms and time signatures with the articulation and musical indications getting more detailed in volume 2.

    There are also some quite unusual and tricky accompaniments in these arrangements, which is worth noting for teachers!

    I have to admit to finding some of the modern melodies a little “dry” and more difficult to follow (for young ears) especially when being played without accompaniment. However, overall, there are plenty of lovely tunes, lots of invaluable ensemble experience and counting practice and a strong emphasis on the importance of melody and phrasing.

    Grade 1 (volume 1)

    • Riggadoon: a lively, straightforward melody using the treble strings.
    • German Dance: another energetic piece in ¾ time using a dotted crotchet rhythm and some accents.
    • Theme from Rosamunde: this is a flowing, Andante melody, with some longer quaver passages.

    Grade 2 (volume 2)

  • Minuet: this piece is in F major, has some detailed phrasing indications and uses 2nd and 3rd positions.
  • A Fairy Tale: the phrasing is detailed again here with a strong, rhythmical, flowing melody and quite a lot of accidentals!
  • Slavonic Waltz: this piece is marked con moto and has a clear character with a contrasting second section and change of key signature.
  • Grade 3 (volume 2)

    • Musette en Rondeau: this is a lovely dance in ¾ with long quaver passages in treble and bass voices.
    • Sweet Reveries: marked Andante, this piece requires long legato phrasing with detailed dynamic control. A dotted quaver rhythm is used throughout and the left hand plays up to the 7th fret.

    Selina.

    musicbrouwer

    Oeuvres pour guitare.

    Leo Brouwer

    Base price for variant: £16.95
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    A must have book for all guitarists containing:- Brouwer studies No's 1 to 20. Dos Airs populares cubanos. Dos Temas populares cubanos. Danza del Altiplano. Pieza sin titulo No's 1, 2, 3. Preludio. Fuga No1. Parabola. Tarantos. Cadence - Haydn. Cadences - Giuliani. Cadence - Sor.

    Skill Level
    Intermediate

    Leo Brouwer has always been one of my favourite composers. His music sits naturally on the guitar and flows smoothly from your fingers developing technique and musicianship in the process. There is loads of variety in his compositional style with challenging, contemporary works contrasting with traditional and nationalistic styles.

    Leo Brouwer Guitar Works published by Eschig is a fantastic resource for guitarists and provides excellent material for helping to focus practice. It includes the 4 volumes of “Etudes Simples” (which alone make it a worthwhile purchase!), “Dos Aires populaires cubanos”, “Dos Temas populaires cubanos”, “Danza del Altiplano”, “Pieza sin titulo” nos. 1,2 and 3, “Preludio”, “Fuga”, “Parabola”, “Tarantos” and three cadences on pieces by Haydn, Giuliani and Sor.

    The book starts with a comprehensive introduction, the first subtitle of which is “The birth and development of a vocation”. It outlines Leo Brouwers life, education, influence and development as a guitarist and composer. This is an interesting read to help gain an insight into his music. It describes his central role on the Cuban musical scene and how he was part of the birth of the avant-guard movement in the 1960s, managing to combine these ideals with the traditional music of Latin America, for example his use of the ‘cinquillo’ (five note cell) or the ‘tresillo’ (three note cell) in “Pieza sin titulo no.1” and “Study no.5”, rhythms from the Yoruba culture imported into Cuba by Nigerian slaves.

    The contrasts in this collection of pieces offer the guitarist huge challenges in musicianship and interpretation, introducing inexperienced ears to new and exciting sounds in a “friendly” way, in other words contemporary music that is accessible to all!

    When I was a young guitarist the Simple Studies were in my “learning” repertoire for their technical benefits, contemporary style and strong presence in the exam syllabus!

    Between then and now an awful lot more didactic music has been written for guitar in many styles and some of the “older” repertoire has been, to put it bluntly, sidelined. These studies are now returning to the exam repertoire, and, revisiting them recently, I rediscovered how great they are!! They cover a wide range of techniques for both hands with a very strong emphasis on musicianship and quality and variety of tone, for example bass melody is highlighted in nos. 1 and 4 and no. 2 concentrates on chord voicing and control. No. 6 is obviously developing right hand arpeggio technique with subtly changing patterns but also encourages the player to listen to and shape the long musical phrases. Dynamic control and articulation are important throughout. Combined with the strong, often driving, and ‘funky’ rhythms, this musical shaping makes the contemporary style very lyrical and the dissonance fun and attractive to listen to.

    The 3rd and 4th ‘books’ have stated goals and are more substantial as pieces. No. 11 for example has 2 completely contrasted sections and requires some very nifty fingering and position changing – brilliant for the left hand and ‘dot less geography’! Like 11, no. 13 is “for slurs and finding/ fixing positions”, but also contains uneven rhythms, unusual sounds and improves left hand finger independence. 16 to 18 work on ornaments mostly written out so you are ‘encouraged’ to learn how to count them, and they are beautiful, lyrical pieces. 19 and 20 concentrate on 4 note chords and introduce the idea of the graphic score by using motifs in boxes.

    ‘Dos Aires Populares Cubanos’, ‘Dos Temas Populaires Cubanos’ and ‘Danza Del Altiplano’, as their titles suggest, all use folklore tradition as a base from which Brouwer redevelops and extends the original melodies with his own unique style which highlights, for example, the ‘guajira’ and ‘zapateado’ while adding so much colour and texture in harmony and rhythm.

    Much of the rest of this book is dedicated to more contemporary and avant guard music. There are familiarities in form and name in the Preludio and the Fuga no.1 which helps, and for me the experience of the first part of the book further helped me to approach the three ‘Pieza sin Titulo’ with some understanding of his writing and so more confidence to listen and explore.

    Parabola and Tarantos and the most difficult to approach for players inexperienced in contemporary music. Parabola has a page explaining the way it is written, no time signature or bar lines and in many cases notes that are not even beamed together! There are however a lot of musical directions and familiar words and, if you are willing to have a go, great satisfaction in ‘finding’ the piece through careful listening and construction. This exploration of tone colour as well as the many instrumental effects here are fundamental to what Brouwers compositions have brought to the guitar. Tarantos has a graphic first section where motifs are in boxes to be used by the player in a kind of guided improvisation highlighting the original improvised character of the melancholy Andalusian song upon which the piece is based. Harmonic/ rhythmic sections (expositions) alternate with melodic variations (falsetas) giving you a real sense of where the music has come from however strange and modern it may seem at first.

    This sort of writing does of course introduce the classical guitarist to the idea of greater freedom in music and interpretation, something that helps us with all of our playing and technique.

    The three final cadenzas were written in Brouwers avant guard years but show a completely different side of his music that recognizes the Classical style and the technical demands therein that are so vital to the guitarist. They provide excellent workouts and are great fun to play, especially if you make yourself familiar with the pieces that they attach to!

    I think that this volume is a difficult one to ignore and contains music, especially the simple studies, that every guitarist should be at least familiar with. The technical and musical challenges are too many to let slip through your fingers, and there is probably something to help with most sticky situations that you find yourself in with other repertoire. The ideas help you to focus your practice, both musical and technical, and so can easily be used to help to structure your overall practice and improve your sense of direction. The music also covers a wide range of standards, in grade language, from about 3 to post grade 8 so it truly is a book for life.

    Learning to interpret the contemporary sounds and harmonies in these pieces is, perhaps, one of the biggest benefits and will open a whole load of doors and opportunities that you may not yet have considered. It is easier to learn tunes that we know in styles that we are familiar with – easy to sing, easy to hear, easy to listen to – but are we really challenging ourselves enough?

    I am sure that once you start to play this music, to listen and explore the new sounds, you will quickly become hooked! I have certainly never looked back.

    Selina.

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