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

brindle-etruscan-preludes

Etruscan Preludes

Reginald Smith Brindle

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Four Preludes beautifully written and printed with clear instructions on how to perform each piece. The variety of rhythm mixed with interesting right hand technique makes for a performance challenge that will allow you to not only enjoy performing, it will also help you to develop artistically.

Skill Level
Advanced

This is a good edition of a lovely piece originally written for the piano although it is probably better known as a classical guitar piece. It does ask for the guitar to be retuned with string 5 tuned down to G and string 6 down to D.

Do not be put off by this!

There are very few fingered notes on these two strings to have to adjust, and the tuning gives the piece a beautiful warm and open sound helping to create the atmosphere. Also most guitars sing beautifully with this tuning!

Unfortunately there is a rather big misprint in the first 4 bars. The bass note of each of the chords is written as a low E, normally open string 6. It is fingered with a 0 and is supposed to be a G – in this case open string 5.

Watch out for this and don’t try to find an E!

There are a lot of notes in higher positions and the fingering is detailed and helpful although do try to learn the actual notes as well, it will really improve your higher position reading. The arranger also makes good use of harmonics which are marked with position and string.

This really is a lovely piece with a simple melody that repeats and builds, with an accompaniment of Bass G crotchet followed by the highest D crotchet repeating to great effect (reminding me in some ways of Ravel’s Bolero accompaniment). There is a beautiful rubato, minor middle section that loses the regular accompaniment and moves into three voices diverging and interweaving, before returning to the uplifting main theme.

Great fun.

Selina.

muspernambucochorosvol1

Famous Choros Vol. 1

Joao Pernambuco

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This series presents a selection of the most popular and memorable works from the wealth of 20th Century Brazilian guitar music. Emphasis has not only been placed on the selection of works, but significantly, great care has been taken to choose the best versions, which in many cases are being published for the first time.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This music is great fun to play and very rewarding in also being music that people love to listen to!

The pieces have real spirit and style with driving rhythms, singing and syncopated melodic lines and some excellent bass melodies.

The word Choros came to be the name used for music played by ensembles of Brazilian street musicians (called Choroes) and this loose and lively style is captured very well in these arrangements.

The pieces use the full range of the fingerboard and offer a great deal in terms of expression, dynamics, texture and colour. In fact they are technically challenging for both hands as well as our counting ability and being able to follow their melodic and harmonic progression.

The music is very clearly printed and well edited giving the player as much help as possible without over fingering or creating too much clutter on the page.

For example Brasileirinho uses arpeggio patterns across the strings creating campanella effects that require ‘alternative’ fingering. The writing is clear and easy to read, with the position being indicated by a string number for the first note of the chord. This clue helps you to find the position but you still have to do most of the work meaning that you are constantly learning notes in new positions!

Sons de Carilhoes (Maxixe) is a very popular piece on the guitar and is presented here in 2 versions. The piece has fantastic movement and requires great dexterity around the fingerboard. The syncopated rhythms and ‘sing along’ melody carry you through Dengoso, and I love the contrasting bass and treble melody in Grauna with a brilliant build up to the repeat of the main theme.

Another favourite is Po de Mico. This piece is really quite virtuosic, moving quickly around the fingerboard in single lines and chords. The musical pace is exhilarating but the melodic lines still need to sing and the rhythms need to be clear enough to drive the music.

These pieces are by no means easy but the finished result is so enjoyable that they are well worth the effort, and remind me the main reason I play, and that is simply enjoyment!

Selina.

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mustarregafantasia

Fantasia on Themes from La Traviata

Francisco Tarrega

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Skill Level
Advanced
rodrigofantasiagentilhombre

Fantasia para un Gentilhombre

Joaquin Rodrigo

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Arranged by Andres Segovia. This edition: GA208. Gitarren-Archiv (Guitar Archive). Contains a Piano Reduction with Solo Part. 50 pages. Published by Schott Music.

Skill Level
Advanced
305

First Carols

John Whitworth

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This collection of carols is suitable for the first and second year guitarists, and can be used as supplementary material to tutor books such as the first two volumes of Guitarists Way. Chords have been added to the score allowing the guitarist to provide chordal accompaniment when playing with other instruments.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is a great little book that enables beginners to enjoy being able to play all of the popular carols using simple notes and rhythms, with a clear lay out and the bonus of some amusing drawings by Gerald Garcia.

The book is progressive (reflecting the first two volumes of The Guitarists Way), using common notes on the top three strings and simple rhythms in We three Kings and O come all ye Faithful, and then gradually increasing in difficulty.

Good King Wenceslas and a second arrangement of We three Kings use only bass notes (very good practice!) and Away in a Manger and While Shepherds watched introduce simple position changes.

All of the carols are written as single line melodies, whether in the treble or bass, except for God rest you merry gentlemen which has two note chords using open string bass notes.

Chords have been added above the melody lines giving players options to add to the arrangements, whether with strummed or arpeggiated chords or even, for the more adventurous, bass or middle voices.

This means that although this book is very suitable for beginners in their first year of learning it also provides good material and experience for more advanced learners!

All the chord symbols are at the end of the book.

Complete beginners are welcome here!

Selina.

75

First Guitar Pieces

Gerald Garcia and John Whitworth

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A very popular collection of eight attractive pieces, drawn from many parts of the world. The pieces are suitable for the elementary player who is ready to study music in two voices, and have been chosen for their musical value whilst remaining within strict technical limits.

Skill Level
Beginner
musfirstperformance

First Performance Pieces

Peter Nuttall

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Ten pieces in a popular and attractive style making an ideal start to the student repertoire. These pieces are all substantial enough for "First Performance" while remaining technically accesible to early students.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is a very good collection of pieces designed to give early students some ‘proper’ pieces that start to build a repertoire and expand horizons

The pieces are technically very accessible offering a wide range of musical styles and easier techniques to explore.

The music covers all the basic technical skills and makes good use of the fingerboard with plenty of notes in higher positions on string one. The writing is very effective creating full and interesting pieces without being too difficult.

The first five pieces use a lot of arpeggio technique, interspersed with melody or with the melody as an integral part of the arpeggio. Romantic Prelude and Ballade are good examples of this.

The simple harmonic progressions and comfortable chord shapes help easy left hand movement and there is full use of a variety of right hand patterns.

Little Reverie has a beautifully simple arpeggio section at the beginning and end with a central flowing melody moving up to fifth position. Romantica is more difficult with flowing 6/8 quavers moving between arpeggio and melody, very good practice for the left hand.

The 6th piece, Triste, is very different in style, more of a ‘mood’ piece with slurs and simple syncopation helping to create lovely gentle music and encouraging expressive playing.

The last four pieces are in a blues style, excellent for working on pulse and rhythm, with movement between simple chord shapes introducing new sounds and harmonies.

Selina.

muswynbergfirstrep

First Repertoire for Solo Guitar Book 1

Simon Wynberg

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The contents of book 1 cover a wide stylistic range with music of interest to adults and children alike. All compositions originally written for the guitar with some works being published here for the first time. Helpful notes are given on performance the selected pieces are designed to be varied and musically for the player.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
99

Five Bagatelles for Guitar

William Walton

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The Five Bagatelles were written for Julian Bream and dedicated to Malcolm Arnold on his 50th birthday. They were first performed by Julian Bream on 27th May. The five different bagatelles each capture a different mood from the relentlessly upbeat first, the languid second, the smoky, seductive third, the dreamy fourth and the frantic finale. All feel instinctively like guitar music.

Skill Level
Advanced
95

Five Pictures of Sark

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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These five delightful pieces by Vincent Lindsey-Clark reflect the Channel Island of Sark. Maseline Harbour, Hvre Gosselin, Cycles in the Avenue, La Moinerie and Descent from La Coupee are expertly composed for solo guitar by this highly talented musician.

Skill Level
Intermediate

As with the "Simply" series, these pieces encourage experimentation, exploration and musicianship for all levels of ability.

Clarke somehow manages to make the guitar sound more expansive in scope than it is with the various ways that he writes melodies and, particularly, accompaniments. He achieves many different textures and moods, which are evocative and convincing, drawing real pictures of the scenery and life of Sark.

The music requires dynamic and tonal control and contrast, while the structure and harmony in the pieces introduces the player to a modern and "impressionistic" style.

We often talk about finding pictures to accompany your music and help you to communicate ideas - this music really helps and encourages you to do just that!

In Maseline Harbour the contrast in textures is fantastic, from the flowing arpeggios of the first section to a repeated chord accompaniment over a bass melody; this melody then expands into octaves bringing out wonderful dissonances and producing a big sound picture. The final section highlights a syncopated melody within the semiquavers that is a great exercise for the brain and finger independence. This creates an uneasy atmosphere before melting back into the opening arpeggios.

Havre Gosselin uses a simpler musical texture, mainly two voices, employing repeated notes in the melody to create long undulating phrases. This is a haunting piece; the dramatic centre section uses big jumps between first and seventh position to hold and release the tension in the music.

Cycles in the Avenue is the most cheerful of the pieces -the musical instruction is "scherzando"! The piece uses the whole fretboard and encourages a freedom of movement in the player. This is not easy as there is some challenging high position reading and quick moves. The contrasting middle section uses long slow chords with a "scrunchy" harmonic progression and voicing that requires one part to be staccato and the other legato.

La Moinerie is a beautiful, slow, expressive piece that requires good finger control to bring out the separate voices and fantastic harmonies. The phrases are long and flowing, excellent practice for the developing guitarist and the flow of the music is irresistible. A small phrase using artificial harmonics with other voices is a big challenge (a difficult technique) that is wonderful when mastered, and the way that the ending evaporates has a real "tingle" factor!

The final piece, Descent from La Coupee (304 steps) is the most dramatic, dissonant and exciting. The dissonances may take some time to get used to when you are learning the piece, but the effect they add to the driving rhythms conjures up many pictures including, for me, a thunderstorm, crashing seas and fright in the repeated chord section! The use of strumming and punctuated rhythm in the coda results in a big, dramatic ending.

This set of pieces would stand quite happily alongside more complicated and difficult works in performance and I think that any player would have fun (and benefit from) exploring them - I know that I do!

Selina.

musbowers5preludes

Five Preludes for guitar

Timothy Bowers

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These Five Preludes are wide ranging in musical and technical content with expressive outer and middle movements and rapid fhythmical 2nd and 4th movements. Bowers Five Preludes were awarded First Prize in the Domecq International Guitar Festival - Search for new music competition in 1983.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
musspalding4tangos

Four Famous Tangos

Gary Spolding

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Destined to be a best seller this album incorporates four of the music worlds most famous tangos: La Cumparsita, Hernando's Hideaway, El Choclo, Jalousie. Absolutely brilliant arrangements!

Skill Level
Advanced

I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised on first playing these four Tangos. To begin with, they really are “famous” and they work really well on the guitar! Of course, this is the result of an excellent transcription. Gary Spolding has managed to maintain the musical shape, rhythms and parts in the music while keeping the transcriptions very “guitaristic”.

The pieces are difficult, about grade 6 – 8, but they do not ask you to be too acrobatic by, for example, twisting fingers into unnatural shapes or stretches, or asking for impossible sustaining parts.

The four pieces are La Cumparsita, Hernando’s Hideaway, El Choclo and Jalousie.

The main technical challenges are in reading a lot of high notes, recognizing positions, and left hand mobility. As you work through the pieces, you will quickly discover that notes and chord shapes fall comfortably under the fingers, and big moves around the fretboard are often facilitated by use of open strings, finger shapes and sliding fingers.

One of my favourite things about the edition is that it is not over fingered! Gary has not used position markings and has only used numbers where necessary for positions, setting up a pattern or indicating sliding shapes and voicing. This means that the performer has to think more but also has much more freedom in interpretation.

There are a lot of dynamic and articulation markings that really help as you are learning to interpret and communicate this style of music, and the guitar effects that he uses highlight the style. All of these things help you to push the boundaries in your playing.

I found myself able to enjoy the Tango rhythms and emotions, and had great fun experimenting and bringing out the humour in the music.

I think that these arrangements encourage a different approach to playing, one that cannot be too technical but is based on enjoying yourself and the music.

After all that is what it is all about!

Selina.

musscarlatt_4sonatasUE29149

Four Sonatas UE 29149

Domenico Scarlatti

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Skill Level
Intermediate
musscarlatti4sonatasUE29179

Four Sonatas UE 29179

Domenico Scarlatti

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Sonata K83 is one of the minority with more than one movement. The forst contains some startling dissonances, produced by adventurous contrapuntal activity, typical of Scarlatti's impish disregard for the established rules; the second is a minuet. Sonatas K80 and K94 are both minuets. Scarlatti is often difficult but he springs too many surprises ever to become boring.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

Scarlatti’s music is very effective on the classical guitar having originally been written for the harpsichord, which, even though it has a keyboard, is a plucked string instrument.

The music is clearly printed with plenty of space in the layout, and even though there is too much fingering advice in my opinion, the page does not look overcrowded or cluttered with numbers giving the player a feeling of choice!

There is a short but comprehensive forward well worth the read as it gives a concise summary of the harmony and style of the pieces, enough to help you to start to understand the pieces. For example he mentions “startling dissonances” and “adventurous counterpoint” – definitely attracting my interest before even starting to play.

There is also a paragraph explaining the notation and fingering at the end of the book.

Duarte uses the interesting (and wonderful) tuning of 6th sting to D and 5th string to G for the first two pieces. Don’t let this put you off! It does not take long to get used to and really helps the music to sit naturally on the guitar.

I particularly like the lilt of the triplet semiquavers in the second piece with the tuning creating a lovely open bass.

Watch out for the misprint at the end of the second piece – the bass note should be a G! The third Sonata maintains a steady crotchet pulse with shifting rhythms above and continuously moving chords with fascinating harmonic changes, while the final piece challenges you with the counterpoint of two very separate voices and lots of drama in the music.

These are all interesting, and less obvious, choices giving us a clear insight into the Baroque style of Scarlatti with its distinctly Spanish feel.

As Duarte says “ Scarlatti is often difficult but he springs too many surprises ever to become boring!

Selina.

4-venezuelan-pieces

Four Venezuelan Pieces

Rodrigo Riera

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Rodrigo Riera is a prominent Venezuelan guitarists/composer who attended many summer schools given by Segovia in the 1950's. These four pieces are among Riera's simplest works and are attractive student material at about Grade 4 level. All fingering and slurs in this edition are original.

Skill Level
Intermediate;
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giuliani-sonatas-op-71

Giuliani 3 Sonatinas OP.71

Mauro Giuliani

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First published by Cappi in Vienna in 1816 and reissued by Mechetti soon after which this edition is based on. Op. 71 is a collection of studies in sonata form and the aim is to train the student in both technical and more importantly stylistic matters. All revisions are clearly marked and an amount of fingering has been added which was not present in the original. As with all UTOrpheus publications, clearly printed allowing for ease of read.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
giuliani-le-avventure-di-amore

Giuliani Le Avventure di Amore OP.116

Mauro Giuliani

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CH 52 - Written for 2 guitars. 10 Waltzes, publication consists of Score and Parts, clearly written making for ease of reading. Great music that allows you enjoy with a partner.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Ensemble
  • Containing
  • L'Invito al ballo
  • L'Affetto
  • La Dichiarazione
  • Il Rifiuto
  • Il Dispiacere
  • La Disperazione
  • La Partenza
  • Il Pentimento
  • Il Ritorno
  • La Pace
giuliani-rossiniana

Giuliani Rossiniana OP.119

Mauro Giuliani

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Returning to Italy in 1819 after years of success Giuliani found himself forced to rebuild his career in a musical environment dominated by opera. It was in this context that the six Rossiniane were created. Constituting one of the highlights of Giuliani's production they also offer an insight into the the reception of Rossini's work by his contemporaries. If this is new work for you then Rossiniana No 1 is a good starting point.

Skill Level
Advanced
musGiulianiSonataop15

Giuliani Sonata OP.15

Mauro Giuliani

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This is one of those pieces that, throughout my time as a performing guitarist and teacher, has often been criticized for being either too long or boring and put aside for more ‘obviously’ challenging and exciting pieces. In fact I think that the 19th century repertoire in general has suffered with the great influx of modern repertoire and, particularly, crossover styles designed to attract younger players to the classical guitar and hold their interest. Don’t get me wrong – it is fantastic that there is so much more music available to us in a wide variety of styles, I just wish that composers such as Giuliani had a higher profile today since their music teaches us so much and helps to build the foundations of a good player.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This is one of those pieces that, throughout my time as a performing guitarist and teacher, has often been criticized for being either too long or boring and put aside for more ‘obviously’ challenging and exciting pieces. In fact I think that the 19th century repertoire in general has suffered with the great influx of modern repertoire and, particularly, crossover styles designed to attract younger players to the classical guitar and hold their interest. Don’t get me wrong – it is fantastic that there is so much more music available to us in a wide variety of styles, I just wish that composers such as Giuliani had a higher profile today since their music teaches us so much and helps to build the foundations of a good player.

Don’t get me wrong – it is fantastic that there is so much more music available to us in a wide variety of styles, I just wish that composers such as Giuliani had a higher profile today since their music teaches us so much and helps to build the foundations of a good player.

Of course a Sonata in three movements is not something that guitarists come across very often. Giuliani wanted very much to put the classical guitar on to an even footing with classical music in general and so used classical ‘forms’ in his compositions and arranged music by (and used themes from) Rossini and Beethoven.

Playing this piece really gives us the opportunity to get involved in the Classical style, do a bit of research – the internet these days makes that so easy – and find so much more in the music. All the basic guitar techniques are required here but getting around the notes and the fingering is not enough; doing that is when the piece becomes ‘dull’!

Allegro Spiritoso is an excellent title for the first movement. It is light and bright with wonderful texture and musical drive. Traditionally the first movement of a Sonata was composed in sonata form, consisting of three sections – exposition, development and recapitulation. In the exposition the composer introduces the musical ideas as a number of themes. The material is then ‘developed’ in the development section and then the exposition is repeated and modified in the recapitulation. Just knowing this basic outline gives you so much to look for in the music and your playing.

The main theme is played over an accompanying figure, alternating ‘p’ ‘i’, quite a challenge to achieve the required balance and very effective. Articulation is very important throughout with slurring in particular giving shape and character to melodies and connecting phrases. Often the melodies move in consecutive intervals, that is, passages in thirds, sixths and octaves, which give different levels of drama, tension and direction to the piece.

I particularly like the climax created by the changing harmonies over a repeated D leading towards the second theme, and a new key.

The Development is simple but very effective with the minor key changing the mood and rising arpeggios in triplets and big repeated chords adding to the momentum and excitement, ultimately leading us into the recapitulation, repeating and developing the original theme.

The second movement, Adagio con espressione, requires great control, sustain and subtlety. It is difficult because it is slow and we have to learn to sing the melodies to sustain the direction and meaning of the music, highlighting the importance of breathing for guitarists!

One of the themes here is a high melody flowing over low, repeated chords consisting of alternating thirds and seconds. This is pretty tricky technically and musically! Giuliani is definitely asking the guitarist to play like a small orchestra resulting in a lovely, melancholic feel but needing plenty of patience! There is some lovely decoration in this movement with varying rhythmic movement and delicate shaping of the melodies, finishing with an echo of the main theme from the Allegro.

The third movement, Allegro Vivace is lively and sparkling. It is the most straightforward, providing an exciting, rhythmical, bustling feel to finish off the whole piece. Lots of nice, simple arpeggios, sharp staccato chords and accents contrasting with long, smooth melodies over ‘alberti’ bass patterns, that is alternating ‘p’ ‘i’ in the bass.

The ending however is quite subtle, dropping down in dynamic and making the most of rests and pauses before the final ending chords.

This piece works best if you can use your imagination and really listen to the different textures and emotions in the music.

Be a little orchestra and create different colours as the music changes, recognize the textures that come from the way the notes are written, for example intervals, alternating or repeated notes, chords or arpeggios, rests, slurs and simple melodies.

It is great fun and you do not have to know a lot about the changing harmonies and structure (although this is also fun!) – just use your ears and build up your own musical picture.

Selina.

musgoingplaces

Going Places

Peter Nuttall

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An attractive travelog of styles from around the world. Ideal simple recital pieces for early years students - melodic, varied and effective.

Skill Level
Beginner
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