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

scenesfromwildwest

Scenes from the Wild West

Gary Ryan

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A suite of 6 superb pieces by Gary Ryan. Ryan's lyrical and atmospheric style effortlessly draws on the inspiration of images of America's Wild West to provide an exceptionally attractive set of pieces which can be performed individually or as a suite lasting 25 minutes.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I wanted to write some technically challenging and tuneful contemporary repertoire that would hopefully be rewarding to play and at the same time encourage extrovert, rhythmic and entertaining playing.

This is Gary's opening intro to this unusual and extremely enjoyable set of pieces, and I think that he has succeeded in his wishes! In the suite he has explored a very wide range of techniques taken from many styles of guitar playing and American music.

There are references to steel, slide, plectrum, rhythm, electric and flamenco guitar as well as mandolin, banjo, country, western, gospel, jazz, rock, film soundtracks, classical and nursery rhymes to name but a few!

These pieces are not for the faint hearted, and you do have to be adventurous and willing to "have a go", but the results are such good fun to play and listen too that it is well worth the effort.

Gary has written a description and explanation of each piece at the beginning of the book which is extremely useful. There is no comprehensive list of how to execute the various techniques used in the music although he does include some brief comments on the score. This is probably because he wants it to come from the player as much as possible, and for us not to feel restricted in our interpretation.

I was nervous of this at first but eventually decided that I should get away from any strict "classical" and technical ideas and go for what sounded good! By doing this you get the most out of the music and learn to play with greater freedom, which can only improve your overall playing.

One of the most useful aspects of the pieces is that you need to be able to relax and enjoy playing technically and rhythmically demanding music. Guitarists are notoriously bad in my experience at counting rhythms, but here you have to go through that process to eventually be able to feel the rhythm and pulse and get the best out of the music by achieving the required fluency.

The music includes some of the more unusual guitar techniques such as strumming the strings behind the nut, scraping a fingernail along the length of a string and various sorts of tapping. Getting used to these techniques is great because it necessitates moving you hands and arms away from their set positions, which in turn means that you need to develop a relaxed and correct posture and playing technique. I would put the grade of the set at 7 to 8.

Railroad

"…portrays the long journey of a steam train gaining momentum as it winds its way along a mountain track. The piece is played with the lowest two strings of the guitar tuned to C and G and results in the three open bass strings being tuned in perfect fifths, like the cello. This allows greater freedom in the key of G major, facilitates more unusual 6 string chords and produces a rich bass sonority in the subdominant key centre of C major." This description really helps the interpretation of the music. After the slow introduction the train starts to move and once you have worked out your rhythms you can definitely hear the "chugging"! Techniques include slurred ornaments, strumming with the index finger and getting used to the unusual tuning, as there are many fingered noted on these strings.

Across the Plain

"…is quiet, lyrical and reflective, depicting a family on a wagon journey across the warm, wide-open plains and prairies of America. The musical feel is spacious and cinematic, reflecting the lyrical, sustained sounds of a string orchestra." This piece offers a wonderful opportunity to experiment with tone colours and shaping of phrases to make the most of the cinematic feel which is definitely there. Sustaining a legato line is very important and there are some harmonics to be worked out.

West Coast Breeze

"…combines a fast finger picking style and right hand string stopping with African and Latin American cross rhythms to depict the sunny 'beach lifestyle', freedom and wealth of California. It is partly influenced by Pat Metheny, a guitarist and composer whose music I enjoy." This is a very lively and energetic piece requiring some fast articulation, staccato control and excellent feel for a solid pulse! The rhythm is syncopated and written in 2 voices which makes it difficult to work out at first but great fun when you have done the leg work and can really feel and hear it.

Rockweed

".. is inspired by the intense desert heat of Monument Valley, Arizona and is a musical word play on the tumbleweeds that blow around the landscape. The style draws upon the music of Bobby McFerrin, James Brown, Miles Davies and Steve Reich and uses many of the techniques in electronic dance music……, particularly building energy over time via the use of trance like repetitions and subtle rhythmic alterations." There are lots of directions and unusual effects in this piece but the "slow, spacious & improvisatory" marking at the beginning gives you the time and freedom to experiment and really add something of your own to the music. This is something that you may not be used to but that is so valuable to our musical development.

Rondo Rodeo

"… is a lively finale inspired by Aaron Copland, with many recurrent ideas suggesting the celebration and energy of the rodeo, complete with cowboys (and girls!), bucking bronco, farmyard noises, swinging saloon doors, honky tonk piano and the hoe-down!" This piece is simply great fun to play and helps you to develop confidence with rhythms and effects like glissando and different types of pizzicato. The naturally strong pulse of the music carries you along and the various special effects mean that you have to let go with your left hand quite a lot - very good practice!

Smoke Rising

"…was written for Trinity College London as a study for Grade 7….Extensive use is made of 'tamboura' and there are also some tricky slur combinations to execute. The music depicts a ritual Apache Indian dance around a campfire and contains a short section where the strumming should be improvised around a sequence of chords in the style of a rock track." The strumming technique used here is very useful as well as extremely effective to the music. Overall it is one of the easier pieces in the group and is musically very rewarding; shut your eyes and you can see and smell the campfire! You will be very satisfied when you realise that you can create the atmosphere without too much difficulty.

I would recommend this set of pieces to anybody; they are fresh and exciting and will help to build confidence in technique and musicianship.

Selina.

mustorrobamusicforguitar

Musica Para Guitarra

Federico Moreno Torroba

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This album presents some of the best examples of the Madrid born composers prolific output that spanned his long career. While his most celebrated work is 'Madronos', all pieces in this album are testimony to the fact that his inspiration is rooted in popular music, to which he adds a vocal style of melodic invention which reminds of his love of vocal music.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
318

The Guitar Music of Spain Vol 1 Bartolome Calatayud

Bartolome Calatayud

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A series of three volumes, with over 50 traditional pieces by Bartolome Calatayud, graded from simple to advanced throughout the book. This the first book in a series of three volumes which contain the very best of Spanish guitar music.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
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.

muswanderslatinduetsvol1

Latin Duets Volume 1

Jeop Wanders

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Book 1 is a great place to start for those interested in duet playing. Clear and easy to read this first book in the 2 book series offers each player music in two part harmony with a variety of rhythms that introduce the Latin feel and best of all the music is fun. Joep Wanders style of writing suits the guitar beautifully and you will gain a huge amount of confidence from playing these pieces. A play along CD is also included.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Ensemble
muswanderslatinduetsvol23

Latin Duets Volume 2

Jeop Wanders

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Book 2 of Latin Duets is a very cleanly printed work consisting of an exciting variety of Latin styles. Joep Wanders style of writing suits the guitar beautifully and you will gain a huge amount of confidence and fun playing these pieces. A play along CD is also included.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Ensemble
muswandersbluesrags

Blues Rags and Rock n Roll

Jeop Wanders

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20 easy pieces in the lighter vein. With a number of familiar traditionals like Midnight Special, The House of the Rising Sun and some new pieces composed in familiar styles, this collection is a welcome addition to the student repertoire. Now with PLAY-ALONG CD. Difficulty level grade 1/2

Skill Level
Beginner
muslemayprogressivevol5

Repertoire Progressif Volume 3

Les Productions dOZ

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

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
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
88

Modern Times (Full Edition)

Chanterelle

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60 Original Graded Contemporary Works for Guitar. Edited by Robert Brightmore. First published in five separate volumes, each original book is progressive and presents carefully selected pieces, graded in accordance with the various grading standards worldwide. The originality and imagination of the composers presented here speaks for itself and we hope that Modern Times will be a source of pleasure to players and teachers alike.

Skill Level
Intermediate

I was uncertain about this volume at first as I have experienced a lot of contemporary repertoire that has been uninspiring and unhelpful for younger/inexperienced players.

However, in order to write a "proper" review I have played through the book several times and I have found many of the pieces to be very enjoyable, exploring technical and musical possibilities on the guitar in a way that inspires and encourages the player rather than putting them off!

In the introduction the editor explains the priorities behind this collection of pieces, the overriding consideration being -"musical expression dictating the required technique should be foremost in the mind, thus initiating a more creative approach to music making."

The pieces were originally published in five volumes, each one progressive and graded in line with various grading standards. Published from 1987 to 1993 with this revised edition arriving on the shelves in 2007.

Here lies my only problem with this collection.

Grading standards in 1987 were very different than those of today, especially the very latest syllabi, but there is no mention of this in the introduction or effort to adapt the grading ideas to today’s thinking.

My immediate reaction was that the pieces are 1 or 2 grades more difficult than stated, by today’s standards.

It is important to point this out for less experienced teachers or those teaching themselves. However I think that this is a very valuable collection of pieces and one that should be used.

There are many different styles from around the world ranging from popular, to descriptive to dissonant and challenging, all with musical and technical goals to achieve.

There are some beautiful melodies that encourage the player to sing through the guitar. My particular favorite, "Chanson Du Marin Disparu" has one of the best and most poignant bass melodies I have ever played!

The pieces are all very well written for the guitar, exploring various musical techniques with a wide variety of rhythms, melodies and rich harmonies. Some require control of long, slow melodic phrases and others, like "Sea Picture" find melody out of flowing arpeggios that are very evocative of the title.

Other highlights for me include "Chinese Blossom" with its slow and expressive arpeggios; "Motivo de Danza" – a joyful piece; "Arpege" with wonderful harmony and so much room for expression, and "Cancion de Cuna" where the player can really learn expression and shape through scrunchy harmonies!

I have only just noticed that many of the pieces are slow and use descriptive instructions like tranquillo, misterioso, nostalgie, calmo and molto espessivo – all allowing the guitar to sing.

Ihighly recommend this book as it will introduce a wide and new range of music to students, primarily encourage musicianship and expression, and be very enjoyable for the player and the listener.

Selina.

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
36

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 5

ABRSM

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Recordings of pieces from the new ABRSM Guitar Syllabus, from 2009. Innovative and valuable resource for candidates preparing for ABRSM exams. All duos are accompanied by another guitar, and playalong tracks for these pieces are also included.

Skill Level
Intermediate
muswandersguitarandco

Guitar and Co

Jeop Wanders and Harry Hoogenberg

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In Guitar and Co you are the soloist because you can play all 16 pieces along with the enclosed CD. First listen to the complete version and then practise your own part. When you can play it without any mistakes or stops, play along with the track on the CD. Blues rock Dance Latin Jazz Pop Fusion Flamenco Samba Reggae. Great Fun. Difficulty level grade 2/3

Skill Level
Beginner
musdodgsonodetotheguitar

Ode to the Guitar

Stephen Dodgson

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

126

Tarrega Guitar Works Vol 3

Francisco Tarrega

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These are pieces written for the guitar to bring out the best it has to offer, highlighting the guitars warm, rich and singing character. The music is very evocative and, I think, teaches us how to express feeling and emotions through the guitar in a fun and relatively uncomplicated way! Berben Edition - Volume 3 Orginal Compositions. Titles include - Adelita, Alborada, Capricho Arabe, El Columpio, Danza Mora, Danza Odalisca, Jota, Gran Vals En La, La Cartagenera, Pavana, Las Dos Hermanitas, Maria, Marieta, Mazurka En Sol Mayor, Minueto, Pepita, Rosita, Sueno, Tango, Vals, Malaguena, Paquito, Isabel.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This collection of pieces offers a lot of variety within this style of music and the pieces are just written so well for the guitar.

Tarrega gets the very most from the guitar using the range of pitch and varied special effects to create rich and interesting music that is simply fun to play and listen to.

From the simple soaring melody of Adelita, exploring the fingerboard, to the showiness and virtuoso feeling of Gran Jota, there is something here for everyone.

I particularly love El Columpio that has a sweet melody in thirds over a full and rich yet straightforward accompaniment. Of course there is Gran Valse that we know and love, a piece full of contrasts that requires full understanding of pulse and rhythm to get the best from it. This is true of all of this music. it is not just a case of getting the rhythm correct but of really feeling and getting into the pulse, and understanding what it brings to the music instead of just making it light and fluffy!

Rosita is a great little miniature packed full of energy and movement while Marieta is dramatic and colourful with its rich bass melodies exploiting the warmth and song of the guitar. Mazurka en Sol has passion and emotion created through rhythm and pitch contrasting with the cheeky light hearted character of Pepita, and Tango is simply marvelous, the G and D tuning giving wonderful resonance – simple but very effective and fun.

Capricho Arabe provides one of the great guitar melodies with so much opportunity for expression, contrasting moods and the accompaniment and melody combination that is so wonderful on a solo guitar.

This is a great edition.

There is a comprehensive Introduction including historical details of Tarrega’s life, composing and of the way that his music has survived and the difficulties involved in putting together a collection of his works. The music is then presented clearly without extra clutter and with the impression that it is as close to the original sources as possible.

Although the book is only present in the grade 6-8 lists the standard starts at about grade 5 and is certainly useful and appropriate for all players at and above this level to experience.

These are pieces written for the guitar to bring out the best it has to offer, highlighting the guitars warm, rich and singing character. The music is very evocative and, I think, teaches us how to express feeling and emotions through the guitar in a fun and relatively uncomplicated way!

Selina.

musicbrouwer

Oeuvres pour guitare.

Leo Brouwer

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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.

35

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 6

ABRSM

Base price for variant: £17.95
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Recordings of pieces from the new ABRSM Guitar Syllabus, from 2009. Innovative and valuable resource for candidates preparing for ABRSM exams. All duos are accompanied by another guitar, and playalong tracks for these pieces are also included.

Skill Level
Intermediate
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295

100 Graded Classical Guitar Studies

Frederick Noad

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One hundred studies from the works of three outstanding composers, Sor, Giuliani & Carcassi. All of these studies are invaluable to the guitarist, as well as developing right and left hand technique they are a pleasure to play and listen too. With each study Noad has added a brief note which assists and encourages. This edition is great for both student and teacher.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced

This is a fantastic resource for guitarists of all ages and standards. If you are a beginner it is a great investment for the future, and if you have been playing for a few years it presents lovely pieces through which you can develop your technique and your musicianship. The Classical in the title not only refers to our instrument but to the period from which the music originates. The 19th century guitar repertoire is often under rated but is, in my opinion indispensible.

This edition represents great value for money, including all of Carcassi’s Op.60 as well as many of the well known Sor studies, for example the B minor arpeggio study, op.31 no.6 the detached quaver chords and op.6 no.6 the moving thirds in A major. The Giuliani studies tend to be less well known as there are so many that have not really been collected into dedicated edition for students.

There are some lovely examples here that really help you to work on specific aspects of technique such as arpeggios, moving intervals and chord movement while giving you lots of drama and excitement musically. Giuliani’s Opus 1 is well represented, giving a tantalizing taster to a group of studies and exercises that no guitarist should be without.

The book is very well laid out and clearly printed with a short paragraph of musical and technical notes for each of the 100 studies, and most importantly sensible levels of fingering!

This gives you great confidence as a player particularly if you don’t have a teacher to help you.

There is also a fairly brief but comprehensive introduction covering the editors ideas in the selection and grading of pieces as well as historical notes on each composer, Fernando Sor, Mauro Giuliani and Matteo Carcassi.

Frederick Noad produced some great collections for students really opening out the guitar repertoire for everyone to enjoy. There are too many favourites here for me to mention, a real treasure trove!

Selina.

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
34

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 7

ABRSM

Base price for variant: £19.75
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Price:£19.75
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Recordings of pieces from the new ABRSM Guitar Syllabus, from 2009. Innovative and valuable resource for candidates preparing for ABRSM exams. All duos are accompanied by another guitar, and playalong tracks for these pieces are also included.

Skill Level
Advanced