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

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
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
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
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
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
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.

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
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
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.

musbachcello

Bach Cello Suites 1 to 4

J. S. Bach

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For more than a century guitarists have been irresistibly drawn to Bach’s remarkable cello suites. Here, for the first time, are the first four in the easiest and most resonant guitar keys. Suites I–IV must be transposed to work on the guitar, whereas Suite V is always played in A minor, in Bach’s own lute version, and the equally demanding Suite VI can only be played in its original key of D. By adding as little as possible, these arrangements preserve the integrity of the originals.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This edition is very well researched, laid out with clear printing and plenty of examples and explanation. It gives guitarists of all standards and musical knowledge an opportunity to explore this fantastic music. As Richard points out in his introduction the guitar repertoire already has ‘difficult’Bach in abundance, whereas these 4 suites are altogether more approachable.

Before the music starts there are 4 pages of notes which are clearly laid out in sections; Keys, Realising the notation, Added notes and other changes to the text, Ornaments and Acknowledgments. This is by no means a daunting read (and must be read!!) covering his reasons for changing keys, his choice of fingering and added harmonies and help in interpreting the hidden counterpoint in Bach’s single line melody. Although some of the language is quite academic it is not difficult to gather the overall meaning and points about literal length of notes for example really do help in your interpretation.

Richard has chosen to, for the most part, stick with the cello’s single line melody, clearly stating his reasons why There have been many arrangements of this music with guitarists keen to add harmony to exploit the abilities and richness of the guitar, perhaps most famously John Duarte’s arrangement of the first cello suite. The main problem with adding too much to the original is that you end up taking a lot away, the extra notes often impeding the natural flow of the music. This is music that speaks for itself and through simply playing the original notes you start to hear the shape of the phrases and implied voices, with the musical qualities of the guitar enhancing them further. In its original form, as printed here, we learn much more about playing musically rather than working out fingers and chords all of the time!

Any notes that have been added or changed (in octave for example) are written in small print and there are examples in footnotes to help with interpretation of ornaments and ideas on embellishing the music stylistically.

The edition is by no means over fingered and allows plenty of space for changes and adding your own fingering. Sometimes it is necessary for an arranger to add fingering when they feel that the music has to be played in a certain way to communicate the composer’s original intentions. My only question here is that the method of fingering is a little inconsistent and requires stopping to think. For example in places a note will be marked with a string number that indicates a different position but is not immediately obvious. There is quite a bit of right hand fingering which is fair enough as long as the player realizes that they are simply suggestions and should not hold up your musical line. This last point is key; the only important thing is the music. If you find it difficult because you are trying to impose a fingering that does not fit for you then you are losing out! (Having said that one finger repeated throughout is not good enough technically and will also not bring the musical line out fluently!)

This edition does give very clear explanations of the reasons for using certain fingerings and in doing that immediately offers the player choice – excellent!

As for the music - it is wonderful, offering excellent melodic, listening and phrasing work for the guitarist. It may feel strange at first playing mainly single lines but you will find yourself listening so much more and eventually really enjoying the freedom of movement and expression that this music gives. I particularly enjoyed Suite IV, which is majestic and full of wonderful twists and turns, rhythms and beautiful lines. I was unfamiliar with the music but am now inspired to explore it further – what more evidence do you need of a good edition!

To sum up, whether you want to try playing Bach’s music for the first time or are experienced and looking for something new, this edition would be an excellent and very worthwhile addition to your library.

Selina.

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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.

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
192

The Guitar Music of Spain Vol 3 Bartolome Calatayud

Bartolome Calatayud

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This sort of collection is great since as well as including some well-known and very popular pieces it introduces guitarists to some fairly obscure pieces and less well-known composers. This the third book in a series of three volumes contains the very best of Spanish guitar music. Traditional Spanish and Hispanic music by composers such as Rodrigo, Calatayud, Llobet, Cardoso, Sainz De La Maza and other masters.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This sort of collection is great since as well as including some well-known and very popular pieces it introduces guitarists to some fairly obscure pieces and less well-known composers.

This sort of collection is great since as well as including some well-known and very popular pieces it introduces guitarists to some fairly obscure pieces and less well-known composers.

Included are quite a wide variety of styles from within this genre from the brightness and relative simplicity of Bolero and El Majo by Calatayud to the contemporary feel of Pajaros De Primavera by Rodrigo and the rich, romantic melody of Capricho Arabe by Tarrega.

The edition is very good with plenty of space allowed for each piece (which is very important for the amount of notes that some of them contain) and clear musical instructions and fingering.

As for the latter, there is not too much; the Torroba and Rodrigo have none at all allowing much more freedom for the performer even if it takes a little longer to work it out!

If you are considering this book for one or two pieces it is very worth while. For one thing the price is very good for the variety that you get!

Madronas by Torroba (grade 8) is a rich and beautiful piece that really captures the spirit of Spain and highlights the warmth, sonority and lyricism of the guitar as brought to us by Segovia.

Capricho Arabe is also here – a great repertoire standard with its soaring melodic lines and rich harmonies.

Another highlight for me is the music by Sainz De La Maza, which, unfortunately, is not heard so much these days. He uses the guitar very effectively having a lighter, simpler feel and so depicting the vitality of Spain.

There are some big and more complicated and contemporary pieces by Llobet as well as his glorious arrangement of El Noi de la Mare.

Some of these pieces take more working out and effort to learn but the experience is great for any guitarist in learning about musical style, shape and interpretation.

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
musryanscenesbrazil

Scenes from Brazil

Gary Ryan

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In Scenes from Brazil Gary Ryan continues the theme of attractive concert pieces from his hugely popular Scenes from the Wild West. The three pieces that comprise Scenes from Brazil draw their influence from a variety of sources including 1960s jazz legend Antonio Carlos Jobim, who played alongside Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz on the famous Girl from Ipanema. The 3 pieces are titled Junglescape, Rio Bay (from the Corcovado)and Sugarloaf Mountain.

Skill Level
Advanced
291

Aural Training In Practice 2012 Grades 6-8

ABRSM

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Aural Training in Practice offers valuable support to teachers preparing students for ABRSM Practical exams. The three volumes, covering Grades 1-3, 4 & 5 and 6-8, provide information on what each test involves and what the examiner is looking for teaching hints and strategies, including warm-up material and ideas for integrating aural into lessons. Practice exercises to prepare students for the exam. CD recordings of all practice exercises, and examples in two or more parts, presented by an ABRSM examiner. Answers, both recorded and printed where appropriate, as a guide to the sort of responses that would be successful in the exam.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
319

The Guitar Music of Spain Vol 2 Bartolome Calatayud

Bartolome Calatayud

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A series of three volumes containing the very best of Spanish guitar music. Over 50 traditional pieces by Bartolome Calatayud, graded from simple to advanced throughout the book. This the second book in a series of three volumes they contain the very best of Spanish guitar music.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
f-m-torroba-castles-of-spain

Castles of Spain

Federico Moreno Torroba

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Federico Moreno-Torroba's Castles of Spain Invokes images both of his countries noble past and present. The collection was recorded by Andres Segovia in 1969. Immensely popular with players and audiences. Definately one of my bucket list acquisitions.

Skill Level
Intermediate
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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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.

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