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

297

Guitar Music from The Student Repertoire

John Mills

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A collection of sixty selected pieces, placed in graded sequence, offering a wealth of material for the student to study. In terms of musical and technical value all of these pieces are worthwhile for both personal pleasure and for public performance should you wish. Aguado, Carcassi, Dowland, Milan, Sor, Tarrega and more.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

This is a lovely collection of pieces, very well put together and thought out. It is a fantastic repertoire resource with pieces that are very enjoyable to play and listen too, while teaching you new techniques and ideas. As John Mills says in his forward, all sixty pieces also provide excellent performance material and can encourage students to play to others and widen their musical experience and knowledge.

There are 8 pages of study notes with information on style, structure, fingering, and techniques such as slurring and balance of voices in chords and counterpoint. These notes are helpful for students in understanding what they are working towards and to teachers for ideas, however in some cases there is a little too much detail.

For example the notes for no.20, Estudio no.1 by Tarrega start with “In this little right hand study the 4th, 7th, and 10th notes should be played using rest strokes.” The problem here is that there is no explanation - why should we use rest stroke? Obviously the intention is to highlight the notes, but this is not made clear.

My advice is to read the study notes as there is a lot of good information and advice included, and then use them to ask questions as you learn the music rather than just following ‘instructions’. We are all capable of listening to the music as we learn and deciding how we want to play it. Having so many pieces with so much variety in one book is great for developing these skills.

The difficulty is graduated through the book, starting with some lovely little pieces by Aguado, Giuliani, Carulli and Sor suitable for beginners of about 6 months to a years experience (depending on age, speed of learning, etc).

I would certainly recommend playing from the beginning even if you are at a higher level, there is much to be learnt from this music and it also provides great sight-reading practice!

There are many old favourites included in the collection; Giuliani’s Andante in C (Tales of the Riverbank), Estudio no.1 by Tarrega with the melody appearing from within the arpeggio texture, Carcassi’s gorgeous study in A (op.60, no.3), lots of Sor studies including the B minor op.35, no.22, and Adelita by Tarrega.

I loved coming back to the Milan Pavanes, lovely serene pieces with great depth and the particular challenge of playing long sustained notes and chords. I also really enjoyed the movements from de Visee’s D minor suite, an excellent introduction to the Baroque period and music that has stayed with me since I first playing it 35 years ago. A lot of these pieces are found in separate books and more obscure editions meaning that a lot of people do not get access due to availability and cost.

This book gives you the taster that can then lead you to explore further or simply enjoy the pieces you have. Particular favourites for me include a Passamezzo (Anon. no.29) with lovely voicing and harmony, Minuet by Diabelli (no.39) with exciting musical shaping and texture where you can be your own little orchestra, and most especially a fantastic little prelude by Tarrega.

My recommendation for this book is summed up by the fact that I am now going to learn this Prelude, and also return to look at Tarregas other preludes and studies (as well as the de Visee!)

A collection like this is so valuable in extending our experience of the Classical Guitar and its music, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do!

Selina.

musabpreptest

Guitar Prep Test

ABRSM

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The guitar prep test has been designed to be taken by guitarists who have been learning for a few terms. Built into it are all the sorts of skills they will be developing at this stage. The book contains specially commissionrd tunes and pieces as well as everything else that the player will need to take the test.

Skill Level
Beginner

This book is very well laid out with great pictures and clear instructions, plus an introduction explaining how to use it.

The book is designed to give young people a first experience of an exam without the pressures of pass/ fail and marks! The examiner signs and dates the book, and writes comments on a certificate that is given to the candidate at the end of the exam.

The first three tunes are little exercises (8 bars long each) demonstrating different techniques – simple 2-part music, simple 2 note chords and arpeggios, and bass notes on strings 5 and 6. There are then 5 ‘set’ pieces, all 2 part music using open basses except for Ball Game that alternates phrases on the treble then bass notes. These are all nice, tuneful and well-written pieces, with stories to tell, for example Balloon Race and Sad Clown.

At the end of the book are some examples of aural training that should be integrated into lessons, for example clapping a pulse, repeating a rhythm and listening for dynamics.

The book is great although I think that the estimate of playing this music after ‘a few terms’ is a little ambitious. The other problem is that the book has not been altered since the syllabus was changed making the repertoire harder than the Grade 1 repertoire.

This aside it provides excellent progression, introducing the sort of techniques that will be necessary later in an accessible way.

Selina.

52

Guitar Scales and Arpeggios Grades 1 to 5

ABRSM

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This new edition contains all the scales and arpeggios required for the Grades 1–5 ABRSM guitar exams. All scales and arpeggios for the revised syllabus from 2009. Suggested fingering provided, helpful introduction including advice on exam preparation, user-friendly format and clear page-layout.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
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musabscales2

Guitar Scales and Arpeggios, Grades 6 to 8

ABRSM

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This new edition contains all the scales and arpeggios required for the Grades 6–8 ABRSM guitar exams. All scales and arpeggios for the revised syllabus from 2009. Suggested fingering provided, helpful introduction including advice on exam preparation, user-friendly format and clear page-layout.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
musabsightreading

Guitar Specimen Sight-Reading Tests, Grades 1 to 8

ABRSM

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This volume contains valuable practice material for candidates preparing for the ABRSM guitar exams. Specimen tests for the new sight-reading requirements from 2009. Written in attractive and approachable styles representative of the technical level expected in the exam.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
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musbarriosvol1

Guitar Works Vol. I

Agustin Barrios Mangore

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A comprehensive publication of the works of Augustin Barrios Mangore, the first guitarist/composer from the New World of truly universal importance. These volumes are designed for the performer, student and teacher. Volume I has 21 pieces, including: El Sueno de la Munequita * Oracion por Todos * Danza Guarani.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
musbarriosvol3

Guitar Works Vol. III

Agustin Barrios Mangore

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Edited by Richard D. Stover. Guitar solo songbook for solo guitar. With introductory text and fingerings. Classical Period and 20th Century. 21 pieces, including: Una Limosna por el Amor de Dios (Gran Tremolo) * Julia Florida - Barcarola * Vals, Op. 8, No. 4 * Choro da Sauda de.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
musmertzvol3

Guitar Works Volume 3

Johann Kaspar Mertz

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Edition of Collected Works comprising about one-third of the composer's total output. Selected and edited by Simon Wynberg. Mertz was a leading guitarist composer from the Romantic period and his works are frequently performed in concerts today. His works are in the language and style of Mendelssohn, Schubert and Liszt.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
musmertzvol6

Guitar Works Volume 6

Johann Kaspar Mertz

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Edition of Collected Works comprising about one-third of the composer's total output. Selected and edited by Simon Wynberg. Mertz was a leading guitarist composer from the Romantic period and his works are frequently performed in concerts today. His works are in the language and style of Mendelssohn, Schubert and Liszt.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
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muswandersgfiesta

Guitarra Fiesta

Jeop Wanders

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A collection of 10 pieces in a lighter vein for the more advanced guitar student. Fingerpicking, a choro, a Venezuelan waltz, a salsa and a ragtime, finishing up with a bossa-nova duet, reflect important aspects of performance culture. This is a fun book extending the repertoire of the classical guitar beyond the usual. The book is really a collection of light entertaining pieces. All are nicely melodic with an interesting rhythmic variety. Well recommended to widen the average student fare.

303

Half Moon

Peter Nuttall

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A set of rhythmic pieces, together with a set of lyrical melodies and cool harmonies. Nostalgic, romantic, blues, stomping! These colourful pieces are beautifully written for the guitar and a delight to play.

Skill Level
Beginner

It is lovely to have a new collection of pieces from Peter Nuttall.

His music is so good for beginner into intermediate players because it is always musical, interesting and has focused technical requirements meaning that the player is not having to think about too many different things at once.

Half Moon is a set of lyrical and accessible pieces, never getting too technically difficult but certainly challenging in musicianship, interpretation and reading and counting rhythms. Peter says in his introduction that “They are written in a variety of styles….and make use of common guitar techniques and idioms. Style is always more important than speed.” This second comment is so important in our development as guitarists, and is something that we often forget in our efforts to improve our playing.

For me the pieces are summed up by the words atmosphere and character. If we keep these in mind then we can have great fun exploring the music, experimenting and listening.

Peter has grouped the pieces into 2 sections, First half – rhythmic, Second half – lyrical. This is an excellent idea for variety and focus in learning and also for programming performance! The idioms that he talks about in the preface are types of guitar writing like arpeggio style that includes melody, a single line melody that incorporates tune, bass and harmony or a 2 voice melody and accompaniment style. He has kept technical requirements very straightforward with no full barres or awkward finger movements.

The time signatures are varied with plenty of tied notes and syncopation (off beat) to keep us on our toes and counting. There are some lovely, interesting and quite unusual harmonies as well always encouraging us to listen.

I love the jazz feel of the triplets in Before you go and the distinctly Celtic feel of The Western Isles which, to look at, is all single notes but creates melody, harmony and bass with a lovely relaxed and sustained feel. The contrasting sections in Jig are great and really give you the feel of the dance whereas in complete contrast, and my favourite, At the end of the day is a beautiful and evocative piece. The harmonies are simple but so effective enabling you to get lost in the music. Perfect!

Selina.

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.

115

Homenaje Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy

Manuel de Falla

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After the death of Debussy in 1918 Falla was asked to contribute to the planned memorial issue of Revue Musicale. Originally asked for an article Falla preferred to respond with a piece of music.

Skill Level
Advanced
102

Hommage a Tarrega

Turina

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This piece is from the repertoire that brought a lot of people of my generation to the guitar, and still does due to its rich, evocative musical language. It is part of the huge contribution that Andres Segovia made to our repertoire by inspiring and encouraging new composers to write guitar music, without which I am sure we would not be where we are today. The edition covers 7 pages. Published by Schott Music.

Skill Level
Advanced

This piece is from the repertoire that brought a lot of people of my generation to the guitar, and still does due to its rich, evocative musical language.

It is part of the huge contribution that Andres Segovia made to our repertoire by inspiring and encouraging new composers to write guitar music, without which I am sure we would not be where we are today.

The key is the way that Turina uses the characteristics of the guitar to create the emotion, depth and colour in the music. The piece is very much written for the guitar with a fantastic and varied texture created using ponticello, tasto, rasgueado, subito dynamics and loads of musical instruction on the score.

The music also uses the natural tone colours of the guitar, for example the full and mellow sound high up on the inner strings, and accuracy in right hand articulation is important.

The two movements are based on flamenco dance forms, which are distinguished by, among other things, their rhythmic patterns.

Garrotin has an exciting opening and driving rhythm. There is a lot of variety with melodic motifs tying the movement together, lots of slurring, rasgueado and golpe.

The singing melodies contrast with driving repeated notes, rhythmical chords and flowing scales. Soleares is more flamenco in style in its distinctive rhythm, rolling arpeggio patterns, sequences of scales and triplets. Slurring is very important for free movement as well as texture and rhythm, and much of the fingering is for colour.

Overall this piece reflects the flamenco tradition while remaining classical in style. It is a true guitar piece using the guitars attributes to the full and it is very exciting piece – an important part of the repertoire.

Selina.

muswandersiquepasa

i Que Pasa !

Jeop Wanders

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The twelve duos in this album are in the Spanish styles so characteristic for the guitar. The distinctive character of the pieces emerges from the way they are played and from special effects like flageolets, tambora, golpe etc. The two guitar parts make equal demands on the players. It makes no difference who plays which part. The album is an excellent aid to duet-playing. The CD is both instructive and for playing along with. Difficulty level grade 3

Skill Level
Beginner
tocaguitar

i toca Guitarra

Cees Hartog

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The fantastic thing about this book is how Spanish the music sounds even when the pieces are quite easy and do not have many notes!

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

The fantastic thing about this book is how Spanish the music sounds even when the pieces are quite easy and do not have many notes!

Hartog has managed to capture the essence of Spain in his melodies and harmonies and the strumming and arpeggio passages reflect the flamenco flavour without being complicated and difficult to read.

There are 11 pieces in "I Toca" ranging from grade 2 to 4 although the pieces are quite chordal which may make them seem more difficult for some students.

The contrasts within the Spanish style are big offering plenty of variety for students from the mysterious "far eastern" melody of Danza Oriental to the traditional Malaguena and the fast thumb melody in La Monteria.

Danza Espanola has a melodic first section followed by a contrasting second half that uses alternating "p" "i" arpeggios to great dramatic effect and gives tremolo alternatives for the adventurous to build up speed!

I particularly like El Papamoscas, which has a fast flowing melody that requires rhythmic drive and shape and so teaches understanding of phrases and breathing.

All the pieces in the book will particularly help students with chord shapes - recognizing them quickly from the music, fingering and smooth changes.

Selina.

59

Impromptus for Guitar

Richard Rodney Bennett

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This is a fantastic little set of pieces, very modern but with an incredibly expressive and often romantic feel. They form one of the many works that Julian Bream commissioned for the guitar from mainstream, twentieth century composers, so expanding the repertoire and giving us fantastic opportunities as guitarists to widen out musical knowledge and technical skill. Impromptus 1 to 5 for guitar, Universal Edition.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This is a fantastic little set of pieces, very modern but with an incredibly expressive and often romantic feel. They form one of the many works that Julian Bream commissioned for the guitar from mainstream, twentieth century composers, so expanding the repertoire and giving us fantastic opportunities as guitarists to widen out musical knowledge and technical skill.

These pieces are small in stature and huge in content, requiring the guitarist to go beyond the ‘norm’, and possibly also beyond their comfort zone and range of experience, but in a ‘friendly’ way, exploring different sounds and colours, shaping intervals and long melodic lines, and experimenting with dissonant harmonies and subtle mood changes.

The use of the guitar is just brilliant, treating it like a ‘micro’ orchestra and the player like a true conductor.

There are big contrasts between the movements with very different moods created through the use of phrasing, articulation harmony and beautiful melodic intervals that really make you think and listen in new ways.

Number two is marked ‘agitato’ and has an angry, driving opening with rhythm and dissonance being the key to the emotion. The pulse is a very strong 3 in a bar with occasional upset and uncertainty caused by a rhythm of 4 against this. In contrast the middle section has a soaring and passionate melodic line which has a much freer feel to it before the opening section returns using very fast repeated semiquavers to enhance and drive the music further. The agitation culminates with a sforzando B harmonic to finish – nothing held back!

Number three is full of the most exquisite harmonies enhanced by the 6th string tuning to E flat. Shifting rhythms and wide dynamics create a dark atmosphere with melodies rising and falling, building tension from within the brooding bass resonance. There is so much space and texture in this movement requiring excellent control of RH technique for tone, colour and articulation.

The contrast as you move into number four is sudden and stark with hurried, urgent and agitated passages of pizzicato notes punctuated by strident, rhythmical and dissonant chords creating a fantastic build up of tension and sound. Again the contrast within the movement is provided by two forceful and passionate melodies, very wide in range of pitch and finishing with a fantastically strong sff dissonant chord. The agitated pizzicato then returns building to a huge fff climax. The movement is marked Con fuoco and really gives the player to let rip and experience the raw emotion of the music.

This bombardment of sound and tension is very suddenly released in number five. Marked Arioso this is a beautiful and simply melody accompanied by an ostinato figure and gently rising and falling. The overall emotion is melancholy, becoming fuller and more emotional as the melody rises and then returning to its beginnings. The final crescendo leads up to some forte chords but, unlike the previous movements these are rich and sonorous, leaving behind the fire, unrest and passion. The music falls from this point with a wonderful, rich and rhythmical melody of dotted notes, triplets and semiquavers into the lowest register and then pauses, suspended on a low B flat before a return of the first theme from number one, molto tranquillo and dying away to nothing.

This work is really made up of miniatures but hopefully you can see from this review that they are packed full of interest, technically of course but more importantly musically.

I love a chance to create an orchestra of sound and texture on my guitar and to see how sound creates emotion. With this piece you can really experiment. Yes there are some difficult techniques although the writing always makes the most of the guitar’s natural abilities. Once you have the control the world is your oyster.

Selina.

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
musyorkkinderlight

Kinderlight

Andrew York

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York's first big break came in 1986 during study in Spain. In a concert at the end of the course, he played one of his original compositions, "Sunburst." Guitarist John Williams, who happened to be in the audience, was impressed with the piece. He asked York to transcribe it and send it to him in England. Williams's interest in the piece was not a momentary thing: not only did Williams add it to his performances, but he also recorded it. Since then York has published many works including Kinderlight a book of 7 pieces. If you are a fan of his music, as I am, Kinderlight will be a great addition.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
muswanderslaguitarraespanola9

La Guitarra Espanola

Jeop Wanders

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This is definitely a book I wish I’d been introduced to earlier! These simple Spanish pieces are beautifully printed making for easy reading by the student. 15 pieces, including Rumba, Pasodoblillo, Bolero and Malaquena, are an enjoyable introduction to familiar guitar styles.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is definitely a book I wish I’d been introduced to earlier!

Joep Wanders has written music in a variety of styles for beginners; the theme of this book as revealed by the title is Spanish music. In addition to writing music that conforms to the Spanish style, Wanders incorporates flamenco techniques into the pieces – you will find a number of examples of golpe and tambora. In my mind this makes the music infinitely more interesting to learn as you immerse yourself in unfamiliar percussive techniques.

On the contents page Wanders has included a helpful glossary to describe any unfamiliar words to the reader.

The book contains 15 pieces that become progressively more challenging, however the music is engaging from the off. Entrada Libre begins the book with a catchy melodic line that is easy to bring out and contains a couple of ad libs for those who want to expand even more on the music. El Testamento de Amelia is more lyrical with an interesting syncopated bassline. Flores de Primavera and La Fiesta Espanola highlight the right hand technical issue of adding strummed chords to a piece, and La Guitar Espanola consists of variations on a simple upbeat tune to shake the music up a bit. Wanders has also written in a variety of Spanish dance styles that feature syncopated rhythms (Tango, Bolero, Rumba) and keep your eyes peeled for a familiar tune - but I will leave that one with you.

Despite this being a beginners book there are plenty of examples of musical variety and interweaving musical lines, encouraging us to pay close attention to which “voice” is singing and concentrate on how we can bring them out. The result is 15 pieces of music that will continue to engage both listeners and players, even as the player advances through more difficult music. One to add to the collection.

Jess.

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