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

musrealguitarvol2

The Real Guitar Book Vol 2

Lee Sollory and Nick Powlesland

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A range of fabulous educational and concert guitar music by the UK's top guitar composers, educators and performers. All of the music in the Real Guitar Book is suitable for both classical and plectrum style techniques

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

The Real Guitar books evolved after a frustrating and largely unsuccessful attempt to find exciting and challenging music for a new generation of solo guitarists.

These original pieces certainly fit this billing of exciting and challenging!

They were written to suit both classical and plectrum players and really push the boundaries in rhythm and harmony, encompassing styles such as rock, blues, folk and classical, and giving players music that really comes alive when played properly.

The rhythms can be quite difficult to read which is good as it develops reading and encourages a natural feel for the pulse and syncopation.

The pieces use the whole fretboard, with detailed articulation and dynamics, and strumming, bending and muting techniques that may be unfamiliar to classical players but really do help to strengthen and improve technique.

The particular highlights for me are Chillout, Swing Thing, Rockroach and Moonshine probably because they are so successful at emulating their respective styles and make me feel good!

This helps particularly younger players persevere with the classical guitar since it proves that their hard work has also resulted in music that everyone immediately recognizes and enjoys.

Players are no less challenged by this music especially in reading complicated rhythm and learning the fretboard.

All in all an excellent technical and musical experience with pieces that are great fun to learn and play.

Selina.

musrealguitar1

The Real Guitar Book Vol 1

Lee Sollory and Nick Powlesland

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A compilation of original plectrum guitar repertoire that sets out to inspire while also developing technique and musicianship. The aim has been to create a progressive selection of pieces that is accessible to relative beginners as well as to more experienced players, the diversity of styles providing something for every musical taste, whether it be blues, rock, classical, folk, reggae, pop or metal.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is a compilation of original plectrum guitar pieces by Nick Powlesland and Lee Sollory designed to inspire players while developing technique and musicianship.

The book uses music notation throughout which is excellent for the young plectrum guitarist, and means that the pieces are just as suitable for classical guitarists providing an excellent variety and contrast in style from the standard repertoire.

The music is challenging in details of articulation, dynamics and phrasing right from the start with the simplest pieces and each piece has a definite character and mood to get into! This is particularly evident in the musical directions which include "aggressively", "punchy", "easily, into the night" and "in a hurry", really encouraging feeling in young players.

The exciting counting and early development of strumming, bends and slides are all important for becoming a "rounded" guitarist and there are some great harmonies, notably in Tomorrow Will Be Better and Tuesday Bluesday.

Selina.

guitaracademy2

Guitar Academy Book 2

Richard Corr

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This is a very well presented tutor covering many areas that others miss and providing clear explanations. Book 2 follows on nicely from book 1.

Skill Level
Beginner

This volume starts with a quick reference of notes, chords and accidentals followed by an introduction that takes the same format as in book one. It previews what there is to look forward to in book two, focussing particularly on free stroke and the importance of the improvisation and chord exercises in a students overall musical development.

There is an excellent introduction to free stroke describing where and why it is used, and the differences with rest stroke. There are pictures and written explanations on preparation for free stroke and correct and incorrect finger movements.

While many guitar teachers still disagree over the use of free and rest strokes in the early stages of learning (I start my pupils with free stroke) this book provides more information than is usual and so gives the pupil and teacher more choice. This introduction to free stroke is followed up by several exercises using chords in thirds and arpeggios helping the student to become familiar with the finger movements. The book then goes on to cover accidentals and key signatures, scales including the blues scale, ties, swing rhythm, dotted rhythms and 6/8 time signature.

Each new subject has clear written explanations, loads of pictures both amusing and technical, and plenty of exercises for practice. The section on playing fingers with thumb includes some very good open string exercises and even though it does move on to more difficult stretches, these are introduced in a way that makes them not seem so hard! The pieces at the end of the classical section are longer and more involved giving the student a real sense of progress and achievement. The chord supplement uses more involved strumming patterns, and introduces tablature.

musabtheory3

Music Theory in Practice, Grade 3

ABRSM

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The Music Theory in Practice series has helped more than one million musicians worldwide to learn about the notation and theory of music. Now fully revised, this workbook remains the best way to prepare for the Associated Board's Grade 3 Theory of Music Exam, offering: a clear explanation of music notation, straightforward language throughout many worked examples and practice exercises, definitions of important words and concepts, specimen exam questions, helpful tips for students As well as supporting the ABRSM theory syllabus, this workbook also provides an excellent resource for anyone wishing to develop general music literacy skills.

Skill Level
Beginner
musabtheory2

Music Theory in Practice, Grade 2

ABRSM

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The Music Theory in Practice series has helped more than one million musicians worldwide to learn about the notation and theory of music. Now fully revised, this workbook remains the best way to prepare for the Associated Board's Grade 2 Theory of Music Exam, offering: a clear explanation of music notation, straightforward language throughout, many worked examples and practice exercises, definitions of important words and concepts, specimen exam questions, helpful tips for students As well as supporting the ABRSM theory syllabus, this workbook also provides an excellent resource for anyone wishing to develop general music literacy skills.

Skill Level
Beginner
musabtheory1

Music Theory in Practice, Grade 1

ABRSM

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The Music Theory in Practice series has helped more than one million musicians worldwide to learn about the notation and theory of music. Now fully revised, this workbook remains the best way to prepare for the Associated Board's Grade 1 Theory of Music Exam, offering:a clear explanation of music notation, straightforward language throughout, many worked examples and practice exercises, definitions of important words and concepts, specimen exam questions,helpful tips for students. As well as supporting the ABRSM theory syllabus, this workbook also provides an excellent resource for anyone wishing to develop general music literacy skills.

Skill Level
Beginner
42

The AB Guide to Music Theory, Part II

ABRSM

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Provides an introduction to the basic elements in harmony and musical structure. Separate chapters on voices, string instruments, woodwind and brass instruments, percussions and keyboard instruments, and instruments in combination. Covers non-harmony notes, tonal harmony and chromatic chords, and musical structure.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
musabguide1

The AB Guide to Music Theory, Part I

ABRSM

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Provides an introduction to the basic elements in harmony and musical structure covering the basics of rhythm and tempo. An introduction to pitch, intervals and transposition, articulation, ornaments, and reiterations. This Guide is not only an excellent support to a good syllabus but also a fine reference work in its own right.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
40

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 1

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
Beginner
39

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 2

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
Beginner
38

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 3

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
37

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 4

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
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
35

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 6

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
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34

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 7

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
Advanced
33

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 8

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
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
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.

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
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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