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

musUhl10pieces

Ten Pieces for Guitar

Alfred Uhl

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Do not be misled by the title, there are only 5 pieces within this edition. Having said that, the music is fun and well written allowing the player freedom to move around the fingerboard. If you are looking for intermediate pieces with which to challenge your sight reading skills and encourage fingerboard speed, look no further.

Skill Level
Intermediate

Playing these pieces really took me back since I played the Aria for my grade 5, what seems like an age ago!

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

There are 6 pieces in this volume and I think they are a great set, introducing players to a contemporary style, possibly their first time, while remaining lyrical and fun to play. There is plenty to think about with quite detailed dynamics and articulation, plenty of melodies to follow, clear musical shape and some quirky harmonies.

The Bagatelle is unusual but in a way to get you interested with a strong rhythm and lyrical melody. I love the Aria with its lilting, melancholic melody ebbing and flowing throughout the piece, and the Capriccio is lively quick and rhythmical.

The printing is nicely spaced with quite a lot of fingering, most of which is necessary to convey the movement around the fingerboard.

In fact this is one of the main challenges in the music, very good for reading and fingerboard knowledge while also giving the player plenty to look for in telling the stories of the pieces and experimenting with tone and colour.

Definitely recommended.

Selina.

327

8 Compositions for Guitar Solo

Alonso Mudarra

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Alonso Mudarra (c. 1510 – April 1, 1580) was a Spanish composer of the Renaissance, and also played the vihuela, a guitar-shaped string instrument. He was an innovative composer of instrumental music as well as songs, and was the composer of the earliest surviving music for the guitar.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
326

9 Fantasias for Guitar Solo

Alonso Mudarra

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Alonso Mudarra (c. 1510 – April 1, 1580) was a Spanish composer of the Renaissance, and also played the vihuela, a guitar-shaped string instrument. He was an innovative composer of instrumental music as well as songs, and was the composer of the earliest surviving music for the guitar.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
musyorkkinderlight

Kinderlight

Andrew York

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
133

Three Sonatas

Anton Diabelli

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These pieces were a lovely surprise for me offering more detail and interest than I had expected and really bringing the shapes, texture and style of the Classical period to the guitar. Guitar Solo. By Anton Diabelli. Arranged by Anton Stingl. This edition 36 pages. Published by Schott Music.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

These pieces were a lovely surprise for me offering more detail and interest than I had expected and really bringing the shapes, texture and style of the Classical period to the guitar.

Simply put, the music is full of life, spirit, movement, drama and fun! It fits beautifully under the fingers but also challenges the player with detailed articulation and dynamics, as well as polyphonic writing that requires the guitarist to balance melodies in different voices rather than the simpler melody accompaniment style.

Sonata no.1 in C has a strong clear opening with great direction in the melody. As I mentioned before articulation and dynamic markings are very specific, for example the distinction between a staccato dot and a tenuto or emphasis line, and chromatic movement in thirds really pushes the music along. The middle, minor section uses double octaves to create drama and volume, contrasting with pianissimo thirds and creating an orchestral feel and texture.

The second movement has a delicate and refined character using wide intervals, articulation and silences to great effect. In the Menuet and Trio (grade 6) I particularly like the simple rising melodic motif punctuated with staccato chords and the brilliant ‘leaning’ notes across the bar lines creating lots of interest but quite simple to play. The final Rondo bubbles along in semiquavers with lots of contrast in articulation and rhythm, a great minor section employing restless syncopated chords and a truly orchestral ending.

Sonata no.2 in A is more detailed and complex. The Allegro risoluto has a powerful opening using dotted rhythms and big chords. The dotted passages feature through the movement with lots of contrast, movement between voices and great use of rests and space in the music. The Adagio is based on pianissimo chords and arpeggio decorations, requiring a sense of poise I think and lots of listening to shape the music through the harmony.

The Menuet and Trio (grade 8) is packed full of character and humour from the pompous opening bass to the bell ringing campanella effect, dramatic octaves and chromatic thirds. The final Rondo has a very charming, simple and delicate melody, rising smoothly then falling punctuated by rests. There is so much story telling going on in this music and there is always something to do! In many ways it is just like lots of people talking, different subjects coming up, surprises and colours of voices. This last movement is quite complex to look at but will give you hours of fun playing and listening to the musical theatre.

Sonata no.3 in F is again very strong and dramatic at the opening and moves on with lots of contrast in the rhythms moving quickly between semiquavers and triplet quavers, syncopated chords and, again excellent articulation and punctuation. I particularly liked the little demisemiquaver birdsong motif! Overall the music is very free flowing with octave and interval passages and plenty of detail in the voicing. The Andante (grade 7) is quite simple compared to some of the other movements, concentrating instead on highlighting a beautiful, singing melody along with some lovely scrunchy harmonies.

The Finale has a slow introduction with melodic motifs punctuated a ‘da da’! in octaves that is the brass section building up the tension for the main event! The Presto section is fast and lively with contrasting textures provided by chords, flowing intervals, single lines using staccato and slurred passages. The music looks more straightforward but the speed is very quick! The minor section has two voices competing with each other – great fun! - and the final Prestissimo cadence over 16 bars is made more exciting by the preceding, dramatic Adagio.

This is lovely music that teaches us about theatre, excitement, colour and texture in music, as well as giving enjoyment and helping to develop technique.

What more could you ask for!

Selina.

muslauro2venzwaltz

Two Venezuelan Waltzes

Antonio Lauro

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Two very well know works entitled El negrito. the black haired one, which refers to Lauro's son, Luis and La gatica, the female cat. The pairing of these pieces is as Lauro intends it. Nicely printed, easy to read with no page turns within pieces. A buy must for all guitarists.

Skill Level
Intermediate
134

Triptico

Antonio Lauro

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Lauro's Tríptico consists of three pieces in E minor. The first of these, Armida, is a contemplative canción named after the composer's sister. Madrugada ("before dawn") is an appoggiatura study inspired by one of Sojo's few original works for guitar. La Negra was the nickname of Lauro's niece Armida, the daughter of his sister of the same name.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I have played various pieces by Antonio Lauro over the years but never really tried Triptico. In reviewing this I discovered how much more there is in the piece than I had previously found in simply playing through. It is in three movements with loads of variety in rhythm, feel, melody and harmony and is quite accessible to players of grade 6 and above.

In many ways the music is actually quite complex, for example in the way that rhythms are combined, counterpoint between voices, and melodies with a lot of chord movement underneath.

The first movement ‘Armida” acts as a sort of prelude and has a fantastic shifting and swirling rhythm created by one beat of triplet quavers and one beat of normal quavers. Interestingly this rhythm is the same in every bar but the music does not feel at all repetitive. This is because the melody moves between voices sometimes as a single line, sometimes in octaves or thirds giving a lot of variety in colour and texture. By separating the lines you can get an excellent feel for the direction of the music straightaway and start to recognize the detail that is so important. There is a lot of movement around the fingerboard that needs to be smooth and free flowing.

The second movement ‘Madrugada’ is subtitled Cancion Venezolano, a very important clue! Cancion means song but as you look at the page all you see is chords, some of which are quite tricky with some big jumps. Playing the melody helps to build up the shape and feeling of the music while you are learning your fingering. You can also work on the chords separately to give you more opportunity to listen to the lovely scrunchy harmonies. As you look into the detail you will discover that, as in the first and third movements, the melody changes voices, a detail that you need to highlight to bring out the best in the music. The rhythm here is very simple accentuating the long flowing melody that does not want to be interrupted by, but enhanced by the chords.

The third movement ‘La Negra’ is subtitled Vals Venezolano and is a lovely flowing, syncopated and lively waltz, with voices bringing out different rhythms and the pulse shifting between 2 and 3 in a bar, typical of this style of music. Here I would go as far as saying that you cannot play this properly without separating out and playing the individual voices (musical lines).

As you learn the music the overall effect in your left hand is of chord shapes but the music is not chordal in sound. The harmonies are built up and created by the contrapuntal voices, that is the musical lines moving independently. This is a difficult effect to achieve on the guitar and needs a lot of attention for the best results. Working like this also helps you to bring out the individual rhythms and develop more interest and excitement through your rhythm.

Selina.

musvivaldiconcerto

Guitar Concerto in D

Antonio Vivaldi

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This delightful Concerto was originally composed for Lute, two Violins and Bass Continuo, but in the more familiar transcription for Guitar, Strings and Continuo. it has become a highly popular mainstay of the Guitar repertoire. A must for any enthusiastic guitarist, even if you do not have access to string players.

musplaypiazzolla

Play Piazzolla

Astor Piazzolla

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

Skill Level
Intermediate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

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
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
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.

96

25 Etudes Melodiques Progressives Op. 60

Carcassi

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This is the first accurate and reliable modern edition of Matteo Carcassi's 25 Melodic and Progressive Studies op.60. They are presented complete in their correct order with the composer's original fingering and phrasing. An indispensable part of the repertoire, these studies cover a wide variety of guitar techniques and are musically both inventive and attractive

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

The 25 Melodic and Progressive Studies Opus 60 by Carcassi are fantastic pieces that should be an essential part of every guitarists repertoire.

They are more than studies, encouraging players to find musical shape and develop ideas using combinations of melody, accompaniment, various intervals both split and together, slurs, arpeggios and chords, creating some little musical gems.

At the same time they give an excellent grounding in the basic guitar techniques that are all to often taken for granted but that form the backbone of pretty much all the music that we play.

The most recent edition by Chanterelle has an excellent preface with information about Carcassi, a general description of the music and discussion about sources and early editions.

Of most interest to me are the comments on fingering.

They have used the Rowies edition as the main source, printed in 1914 and fingered by Miguel Llobet. Their reasoning is that this edition is very important in the history of The 25 Etudes, having, as they say one foot in the 19th century and one foot in the 20th century. This means that the edition respects the traditions of the past while looking forward to the development of guitar technique.

This is great information for a player to have and recognizes how playing techniques are constantly changing. It is very important for us to understand techniques and performance practice from the past so that we can use the information to help us interpret the music.

My problem comes when looking at the studies and seeing the level and very specific nature of the fingering. There is a lot of explanation in a long section following the preface entitled Playing The Studies. This is very interesting, especially useful if you are looking at the pieces without a teacher.

A lot of fingering is explained in detail with suggestions on learning the music. It is of course very technical, an important part of learning, but not the only one. The detailed fingering is then continued in most of the pieces and seems to result in learning by numbers.

For example in no. 1 the student is so involved in getting the printed right hand fingering correct (there is a letter for almost every note) that they haven’t got time to listen to musical lines, and so follow the natural flow of the music and discover a fingering that fits.

Since this edition has such a good preface and section of notes on the music, a lot of the technical information could be referred back to this, allowing the player more freedom to learn and interpret the music.

The reasons for using a later edition rather than Carcassi’s original fingering are ones of technical and musical progress.

Surely that still applies!

Moving on – I think that this music is fantastic. It really is collection of musical miniatures that, with the right attention to detail, make lovely little concert fillers and provide an excellent education for all guitarists.

Carcassi uses a number of different compositional styles and what I find most interesting is the music that is shaped with harmony, in other words with no obvious melodic line but the tension, relaxation and movement provided by changing harmonies. The best examples are no.8 using slurs to add texture and increase movement, no.4 with many more slurs to negotiate, no.2 with a dramatic build up in pitch and intensity, and no. 7 with a combination of repeated ‘tremolo’ notes and arpeggios underpinned with a clear bass melody.

Many of the studies are based on the harmonic movement with melody found within the arpeggio pattern or chord shape. The most well known example is no.3 in A major with a simple upper melodic motif and strong bass to help develop shape. Nos.1 and 6 clearly use simple scale patterns and show how developing smooth and fluent movement between notes brings simple lines to life.

I particularly like the vitality and bubbly character of no.9 with quick movement around the fingerboard, and the melancholy melody singing out from the triplet patterns in no.13. Nos.16 and 21 show how effective close chords punctuated by rests are in giving character and rhythmic shape to music and nos.20, 21, 22 and 23 develop quick, free and full movement up, down and across the fretboard resulting in breadth and excitement in the music. Nos.24 and 25 combine all the skills and musical ideas worked on in the book in two beautifully contrasting pieces from melodic lines moving smoothly between bass and treble voices in no.24 to the flowing and expansive arpeggio passages of no. 25.

If you can fluently use the techniques in these pieces and shape the music from them then the guitar repertoire opens out before you and you can move forward knowing that your foundations are strong. You will also thoroughly enjoy the learning process and will be able to experiment with lots of musical ideas, textures and emotions.

Just don’t get distracted by the fingering – be independent and learn more!

Selina.

90

Guitar Crackers

Cees Hartog

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Solos for Classical Guitar. Traditionals, Folk, Blues, Country, Latin Americans, Romantic Moods. Popular. Level: Easy. Book. 24 pages. Published by Alsbach

Skill Level
Intermediate
tocaguitar

i toca Guitarra

Cees Hartog

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

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

tapasdeespana

Tapas de Espana

Cees Hartog

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Like I Tocca Guitarra the fantastic thing about this book is how Spanish the music sounds!

Skill Level
Intermediate

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

The 12 pieces in Tapas de Espana are more difficult than I Tocca Guitarra and even more fun to play.

All of the pieces are full of contrast in texture and colour.

They are great for developing basic technical skills such as arpeggio patterns, left hand versatility, rasguado and quick articulation, as well as improving feel for changing rhythms and melody with accompaniment.

Guajiras uses alternating 6/8, 3/4 bars producing a driving pulse and carnival spirit.

Boceto Menorca changes from a flowing quaver melody to triplet arpeggios and finishing with a strong, very Spanish bass melody with quick thumb articulation and slurring.

All of this transports you to Spain and the traditional dance forms, colourful outfits and stamping of feet! I think that my overall favourites are La Coruna which has a more mysterious feel with fast arpeggios and subtle harmonic changes, and Bolero which is simply great fun needing well controlled rasguado, fast articulation and a strong "dancing" pulse.

Selina.

121

Solo Now Volume 3

Chanterelle

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The aim of the three Solo Now! books is to provide the elementary guitarist with a progressive and stimulating collection of pieces that specifically develop one of the most fundamental guitar techniques-that in which the right hand-thumb and fingers combine to play mainly broken chord configurations using the triando stroke. Volumes 1 and 2 take great care to try to minimize the demands made on the left hand so that the student can focus on the formations of a stable right hand technique.

Skill Level
Intermediate

The aim of the three Solo Now! books is to provide the elementary guitarist with a progressive and stimulating collection of pieces that specifically develop one of the most fundamental guitar techniques – that in which the right hand thumb and fingers combine to play mainly broken chord configurations using the tirando stroke.

The main principles behind the EGTA series of didactic music are establishing a good, balanced technique while not putting excessive demands on the hands of young players. Much of the 19th century teaching repertoire is focussed on developing the right hand but in doing so does make life difficult for the left hand! In these Solo Now books, the brief for composers was to concentrate on the right hand while keeping the left hand relatively simple.

Volume 1 concentrates on establishing the sense of “placement” of pima over a set of strings and maintaining a relaxed hand shape while playing across the strings. The left hand is mostly limited to placing one finger at a time, and keeps to 1st position.

In volume 2 the right hand is developed to include playing consecutive notes on a single string as well as more difficult arpeggio figurations. The left hand now has more double stopping and extensive use of 2nd and 3rd positions.

Volume 3 has a lot more left hand work including barre and slurring techniques, and movement over the first 5 positions. The right hand has more varied combinations of fingers, as you would find in most pieces, the culmination of the balanced and relaxed hand technique developed in the previous volumes.

When the aims of the books are laid out like this, it sounds like the pieces are going to be very dreary and technical but that is certainly not the case here. Nor are they very contemporary and difficult to interpret! In addition to the technical ideals, musicianship is the key.

There are lots of stories, feelings and pictures in the music with inspiring titles like “Chatterbox”, “Cowboy in the Saddle” and “Aquarium”. In fact, in looking through these books I have come to realise how important a title can be in giving us ideas and feelings to communicate in our playing.

There is extensive use of phrase lines throughout the series, wide ranging dynamics, articulation and musical indications that get progressively more detailed. There are excellent melodies, especially in the bass, and interesting rhythms that are contemporary but easily accessible through the titles.

In volume 1 “Toy Soldiers” starts the series with an excellent marching bass line maintained throughout; the “Stone Circle” requires thought and a picture to capture the majesty and “Three Ghosts” is marked “dark distant and cold”- a real challenge for the player! “Going for a Spin” at the beginning of volume 2 has a lovely, lilting quaver movement with the melody singing from the arpeggios; in “Ducks and Swans” you can really hear the difference between the graceful swans and quacking ducks – great fun! If you close your eyes at the beginning of “Circles in the Water” you can see the widening ripples and “Whirligig” makes you want to dance with a strong pulse and uplifting melody.

The pieces in volume 3 are a lot busier and more challenging but still continuing the original right hand arpeggio ideas within pieces with 2 and sometimes 3 voices. “Wishing Well” has a beautiful, relaxed melody with some scrunchy harmonies and in “Aquarium” you can follow the fish swimming over the arpeggio accompaniment! “Carillon” is a great finale to the series with a joyful stream of semiquavers forming arpeggios and melodies, syncopated bass notes and exciting harmonies.

These are just a few examples from a wide range of pieces in this series that are written with very important technical considerations in mind but also manage to inspire listening and musical invention, and are great fun to play! Ideal early repertoire.

Selina.

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.

76

Solo Now Volume 1

Chanterelle

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Volume One of the Solo Now! series contains twenty-five original progressive guitar solos for the beginning classical guitarist. Part of the EGTA Series, Solo Now! focuses on development of a stable yet relaxed right hand position while nurturing correct technique for the left hand.

Skill Level
Beginner

The aim of the three Solo Now! books is to provide the elementary guitarist with a progressive and stimulating collection of pieces that specifically develop one of the most fundamental guitar techniques – that in which the right hand thumb and fingers combine to play mainly broken chord configurations using the tirando stroke.

The main principles behind the EGTA series of didactic music are establishing a good, balanced technique while not putting excessive demands on the hands of young players. Much of the 19th century teaching repertoire is focussed on developing the right hand but in doing so does make life difficult for the left hand! In these Solo Now books, the brief for composers was to concentrate on the right hand while keeping the left hand relatively simple.

Volume 1 concentrates on establishing the sense of “placement” of pima over a set of strings and maintaining a relaxed hand shape while playing across the strings. The left hand is mostly limited to placing one finger at a time, and keeps to 1st position.

In volume 2 the right hand is developed to include playing consecutive notes on a single string as well as more difficult arpeggio figurations. The left hand now has more double stopping and extensive use of 2nd and 3rd positions.

Volume 3 has a lot more left hand work including barre and slurring techniques, and movement over the first 5 positions. The right hand has more varied combinations of fingers, as you would find in most pieces, the culmination of the balanced and relaxed hand technique developed in the previous volumes.

When the aims of the books are laid out like this, it sounds like the pieces are going to be very dreary and technical but that is certainly not the case here. Nor are they very contemporary and difficult to interpret! In addition to the technical ideals, musicianship is the key.

There are lots of stories, feelings and pictures in the music with inspiring titles like “Chatterbox”, “Cowboy in the Saddle” and “Aquarium”. In fact, in looking through these books I have come to realise how important a title can be in giving us ideas and feelings to communicate in our playing.

There is extensive use of phrase lines throughout the series, wide ranging dynamics, articulation and musical indications that get progressively more detailed. There are excellent melodies, especially in the bass, and interesting rhythms that are contemporary but easily accessible through the titles.

In volume 1 “Toy Soldiers” starts the series with an excellent marching bass line maintained throughout; the “Stone Circle” requires thought and a picture to capture the majesty and “Three Ghosts” is marked “dark distant and cold”- a real challenge for the player! “Going for a Spin” at the beginning of volume 2 has a lovely, lilting quaver movement with the melody singing from the arpeggios; in “Ducks and Swans” you can really hear the difference between the graceful swans and quacking ducks – great fun! If you close your eyes at the beginning of “Circles in the Water” you can see the widening ripples and “Whirligig” makes you want to dance with a strong pulse and uplifting melody.

The pieces in volume 3 are a lot busier and more challenging but still continuing the original right hand arpeggio ideas within pieces with 2 and sometimes 3 voices. “Wishing Well” has a beautiful, relaxed melody with some scrunchy harmonies and in “Aquarium” you can follow the fish swimming over the arpeggio accompaniment! “Carillon” is a great finale to the series with a joyful stream of semiquavers forming arpeggios and melodies, syncopated bass notes and exciting harmonies.

These are just a few examples from a wide range of pieces in this series that are written with very important technical considerations in mind but also manage to inspire listening and musical invention, and are great fun to play! Ideal early repertoire.

Selina.

84

The Baroque Book

Chanterelle

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The Baroque Book for guitar is a treasury of carefully selected pieces from the greatest composers of the 17th and 18th centuries. The music of the baroque era has always been a popular and important part of the guitar repertoire. A thorough understanding of the style, forms and rhythmic and harmonic conventions of the period are an essential part of the guitarist’s training. The Baroque Book introduces today’s guitarist to baroque music in a way that is both technically cumulative and musically comprehensive. Comprising arrangements of all the standard dance movements and other characteristic forms from across Europe, it is a critical part of any progressing classical guitarist’s repertoire.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
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