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

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.

329

Christmas Carols

Fabio Rizza

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18 easy arrangements for guitar solo includes titles such as Coventry carol, The Wexford Carol, O Tannenbaum, Away in a Manger and many more. Beautifully printed, no cumbersome page turns, bringing fun and variety to the holiday period.

Skill Level
Intermediate
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
325

Sor Variations Op. 9

Fernando Sor

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on a theme from Mozart's Magic Flute edited by Fabio Rizza. Based on the theme 'Das Klinget so herrlich' taken from the first act. This edition is worth owning just for the Preface which has much interesting historical detail. Print quality is clean bright and very easy to read. An excellent edition.

Skill Level
Advanced
324

Grand Solo Op. 14

Fernando Sor

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Edited by Fabio Rizza. With this edition Rizza concludes that the Grand Solo op.14 was composed at a time when Sor was trying his luck in the World of opera in Barcelona. There are many editions of this work and in this edition Rizza leans a lot on Meissonniers second editon of the Grand Solo which was the last to be published during Sor's lifetime.

Skill Level
Advanced
giuliani-variations-op45

Variations Op.45 sur les Folies d'Espagne

Mauro Giuliani

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Like most Renaissance court dances, the Follia was originally a country dance. Shaking off its merry but coarse peasant character, the Follia rapidly entered the repertoire of art music as a simple harmonic scheme upon which to improvise or compose variations. Consisting of Theme and six variations this edition by Fabio Rizza is clearly printed making for ease of study and performance.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
Out Of Stock Enquire
musweiss

Weiss for guitar

Silvius Leopold Weiss

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It is great to see these two collections being published, as the music is often difficult to find and choose when students reach the technical level required.

Skill Level
Advanced

It is great to see these two collections being published,as the music is often difficult to find and choose when students reach the technical level required.

I was especially impressed with the Weiss collection where the 10 movements chosen (from a huge repertoire of suites) work very well as stand alone pieces and transfer beautifully onto our 6 string classical guitar, without the player having to perform too many acrobatics and without losing the musical flow.

It is very important to introduce the repertoire of these two composers to guitarists as soon as possible. Weiss because he was a contemporary of Bach and wrote pieces of high quality and, arguably more suited to the guitar, and Scarlatti whose harpsichord music helps to develop a feel for the Spanish Baroque style where the guitar can recreate the textures of the harpsichord very well.

The editions are clearly set out and printed with excellent historical notes at the beginning of each volume. These notes are very informative and useful for the technical and musical interpretation of the pieces.

For the Scarlatti there is some background for individual pieces, as well as musical ideas and explanation of ornaments.

For the Weiss there is a more general history of how he wrote for the Baroque Lute developing the instrument to include 13 courses, and of his main format for composition, namely the suites of dance movements.

I particularly found useful the explanation of the Prelude or Fantasia, a form represented in the first piece in this book.

The Scarlatti pieces all fit the guitar well although the last two are technically complicated. My favourites are 3, 5, 6 and 7 from which I felt I could really get a lot of musicality, texture and rhythmic drive.

All of the Weiss movements are lovely with a lot of contrast to be found between pieces. The player can get a real feel for the dance styles and sophisticated harmonies that Weiss used. My highlights are the Rondeau and Sarabande (5 and 6), Paysanne (8) and Courante (9).

The only thing that I would like to have seen less of in these editions is fingering, especially for the left hand. The music is complicated and it is nice to have fingering advice but I found that it hindered my initial reading of the pieces and so it ended up taking me longer to become fluent!!

It is good for students and teachers to work out the best fingering for themselves through trial and error - in my experience you learn more thoroughly and have a better understanding of reading and technique this way.

Overall, this is excellent source material for any guitarist, not only to be used for exams but as essential repertoire. It is also beautiful and detailed music that all will be able to enjoy learning and mastering.

Selina.

220

Theory of Music Workbook Grade 6

Trinity Guildhall

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Designed for use during lessons or at home these workbooks contain all the requirements for Trinity Guildhall examinations. Each book also contains sample exam paper.

Skill Level
Intermediate
mustorrobapiecescaracteristique

Pieces Caracteristiques

Federico Moreno Torroba

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This music is romantic and colourful, evocative not only of Spain and its scenery and music, but also of the traditions of the classical guitar and the music that I grew up listening to and striving to play. Andres Segovia Edition Volume 2 GA 134 includes the pieces entitled, Los Mayos, Albada and Panorama.

Skill Level
Advanced

This music is romantic and colourful, evocative not only of Spain and its scenery and music, but also of the traditions of the classical guitar and the music that I grew up listening to and striving to play. As such it is a part of the repertoire that is often overlooked as our musical tastes change but that can teach us a lot about what our instrument can achieve.

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.

Los Mayos is strong and bright with an uplifting theme that is used throughout, driving the music forward, lots of chord movement, and some lovely ‘clashy’ harmonies. It is marked Allegro no tanto – quick and cheerful but not too much!

Albada has a great, quirky and quite angular returning theme that contrasts with some lovely tenor melodies on the 4th and 5th strings and a gorgeous tune in the relative minor with a warm syncopated accompaniment. Again the Allegro marking is tempered, this time with gracioso, highlighting character as apposed to straight speed.

The final piece is Panorma, an expansive piece with a Lento Introduction, a central Allegro which develops into a fugal section using the main theme, and a return to the theme of Los Mayos to finish. The Lento consists of beautiful, big chords producing full and rich ‘open’ harmonies which rise and crescendo before falling in triplets with a diminuendo that leads into the Allegro. Now the music moves more quickly alternating between a melody in triads and flowing semiquavers, building into the relative major and towards a brief introduction of the Los Mayos theme before falling towards the fugal section.

Here the main theme from this movement is developed with many entries and echoes in other voices, moving through keys and creating full textures and harmonies, starting low and rising to 2 octaves higher than the first statement before falling back again and finally merging into the final strong statement of the Los Mayos theme. It is all very exciting and finishes with a great ‘big dipper’ run of semiquavers and then 2 lovely, soft, staccato chords – real drama!

This is perfect music for the Classical Guitar – warm and Spanish in character, exciting and dramatic, using all the instrument has to offer and a reflection of a golden age for the guitar.

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
muscoste25etuden

25 Etuden OP38

Napoleon Coste

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Napoleon Coste was a gifted guitarist who established himself as a teacher while still a teenager. He moved to Paris, where his brilliant technique placed him among the great guitarists of his generation. His Twenty-five Etudes are one of the guitar repertory's finest set of concert studies, notable for their attractive melodies and brilliant cadenzas.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I know this set of studies well due to them holding a very important place in my technical development – I will come to that later!

In general, however I think that they are less well known and played than some of the other study repertoire from this period. This is a great shame because there are some great little pieces here with excellent technical development material.

The pieces are quite challenging, going from about grade 5 standard up to advanced.

For me, the things that stand out in this collection are fingerboard knowledge and musicianship. I am always talking about knowledge of the notes leading to greater fluency and musical direction, although it can be something that is difficult to achieve if it has not been there from the beginning. These pieces make no compromise in movement around the fingerboard, chord changing and general left hand freedom. They pretty much cover every single note up to the 12th fret, on every string – in one case probably all in one piece!

This may be frustrating at first but really focuses the mind and encourages you to learn in order to achieve the desired results.

The musical content is varied and engaging with some very interesting harmonies, rhythms, textures and colours. The studies particularly highlight harmonic sequences encouraging you to listen to voices to shape the music.

Technically all the basics are covered and developed including arpeggio and scale patterns, slurs, right hand patterns and speed of articulation, movement in thirds, sixths and octaves, alberti accompaniment figures and fully accompanied melodies.

All of the technical movement around the guitar seems to have musical purpose so that you find yourself really developing the link between sound and movement and so ‘feeling’ the momentum and shape under your fingers. I found this particularly satisfying and a big help when I was struggling with some of the technique!

I have not got the space to talk about every piece but will mention some of my highlights.

No.1 gives a taste of what is to come with its simple chord sequence and variation that gives you the chance to listen to, and feel the harmonic movement without having too many notes to think about. No.4 has a lovely, simple melody with chords on almost every beat and no compromise in movement around the fingerboard i.e. some tricky jumps. It is an excellent exercise in playing melodically (that is horizontally) in more than one voice. No.6 has a long line of melody over a lovely triplet accompaniment, using rests in the accompaniment to great effect. No.7 (Associated Board grade 7) has a strong and compelling character highlighting the guitar’s contrapuntal abilities and challenging the player to hear all of the voices.

I love the lower line melody in No.10 (Associated Board grade 8). This piece has great character and requires real control of lines and rhythm and finishes with a contrasting, smoother major section. No.12 (TrinityGuildhall grade 7) creates drama through lots of movement in semiquaver chords, big interval jumps and full harmonies while No.13 is altogether lighter with arpeggio thirds in higher registers using sliding shapes to produce long sequences. No. 15 has a brilliant ‘quirky’ triplet melody built around the chords giving the piece a very individual character. The 3/8 time and repeated semiquaver pedal give No.19 real flow and momentum carrying the melody in thirds through the piece. No. 21 is very difficult because of its constantly moving quaver chords, maintaining three voices for much of the time, and highlighting some unusual harmonies.

My absolute favorite has to be the piece that was a turning point in my studies, opening my eyes to a technique and resulting musicianship that I am still enjoying and developing today! Before playing study No.22 I don’t think that I had ever thought about controlling and stopping bass notes, however this study has a repeating bass rhythm that is as much about rests as it is about notes. Defining this bass line brings a whole different light to the music and is one of the most valuable techniques that I have learnt as well as being enormous fun to play!

I think that this is one set of studies that every dedicated guitarist should own and learn. They teach us as many lessons in musicianship as technique, are very enjoyable to play and highlight the musical abilities of the guitar. Brilliant.

Selina.

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.

musfirstbookguitarsolos

A First Book of Guitar Solos

John Gavall

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30 short and easy pieces, including original works by Carcassi, Carulli, and Sor, and arrangements of folk tunes

Skill Level
Beginner
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.

102

Hommage a Tarrega

Turina

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This piece is from the repertoire that brought a lot of people of my generation to the guitar, and still does due to its rich, evocative musical language. It is part of the huge contribution that Andres Segovia made to our repertoire by inspiring and encouraging new composers to write guitar music, without which I am sure we would not be where we are today. The edition covers 7 pages. Published by Schott Music.

Skill Level
Advanced

This piece is from the repertoire that brought a lot of people of my generation to the guitar, and still does due to its rich, evocative musical language.

It is part of the huge contribution that Andres Segovia made to our repertoire by inspiring and encouraging new composers to write guitar music, without which I am sure we would not be where we are today.

The key is the way that Turina uses the characteristics of the guitar to create the emotion, depth and colour in the music. The piece is very much written for the guitar with a fantastic and varied texture created using ponticello, tasto, rasgueado, subito dynamics and loads of musical instruction on the score.

The music also uses the natural tone colours of the guitar, for example the full and mellow sound high up on the inner strings, and accuracy in right hand articulation is important.

The two movements are based on flamenco dance forms, which are distinguished by, among other things, their rhythmic patterns.

Garrotin has an exciting opening and driving rhythm. There is a lot of variety with melodic motifs tying the movement together, lots of slurring, rasgueado and golpe.

The singing melodies contrast with driving repeated notes, rhythmical chords and flowing scales. Soleares is more flamenco in style in its distinctive rhythm, rolling arpeggio patterns, sequences of scales and triplets. Slurring is very important for free movement as well as texture and rhythm, and much of the fingering is for colour.

Overall this piece reflects the flamenco tradition while remaining classical in style. It is a true guitar piece using the guitars attributes to the full and it is very exciting piece – an important part of the repertoire.

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.

76

Solo Now Volume 2

Chanterelle

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Volume Two 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
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.

70

Solo Now - Preparatory Book

Chanterelle

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Specially commisioned easy and accessible guitar solos with minimal demands on the left-hand so that the student can concentrate on a stable relaxed right tirando technique. Other techniques such as appoyando, tremolo, simple chords, tambora and rasgueado are also covered.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is a great new addition at the beginning of the EGTA guitar series. It introduces the idea of modern music at an early stage and gives invaluable experience in interpretation since the pieces need the performers input with articulation, dynamics and shaping to give them their character.

Over the years I have found that, given the chance, young people love to play dissonances and big contrasting dynamics, making the music more theatrical and telling a story that they can relate to.

Titles like "My Dog has Fleas", "Beasties" and "Square Pegs, Round Holes" make you smile and give you ideas of how the music should sound before playing a note! Other pieces like "The Lost Abbey", "The Forbidden City" and "Sad Song" need a lot of atmosphere, and "Japanese Garden" and "High Life" introduce different cultures and musical languages.

Several of the pieces reflect blues and reggae styles with simple, but very effective, syncopation. My favourites are "High Life" for its sheer happiness; "Rumba Flamenca" which makes excellent use of an 8/8 time signature; "Japanese Garden" for its beautiful delicacy and "Regular Reggae" which is just great fun!

I will definitely be introducing this book into my teaching repertoire.

Grade 1

  • A Little Russian Tale: a simple melody accompanied by open bass strings with a title and shape that really encourages character.
  • My Dog Has Fleas: this uses nice, open string arpeggio figures with some more jumpy, crotchet and quaver “itchy” rhythms.
  • Pas De Deux: introduces effective 2 part contrapuntal writing with a strong bass line.

Grade 2

  • Sad Song: asks for long, legato phrases using echoes and "question and answer" shape.
  • Gimme Five: with echoes of the famous Gimme Five, a strong syncopated rhythm.

Selina.

71

33 Czech Folksongs - (Teachers Part)

Peter Eben

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Learning to phrase melodies is the goal in this well chosen selection of folk songs by leading Czech composer Peter Eben with teacher's accompaniments.

Skill Level
Beginner
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