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

musparkinsonleapfrog

The Leap Frog Principle

Rob Parkinson

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This book has been around for a number of years and it is one that I keep returning to, finding more that I like and want to include in my teaching and each time enjoying the fresh and unusual style of the pieces. I am particularly attracted to the sub title - "10 Popular style guitar studies for adventurous learners"!

Skill Level
Intermediate

This book has been around for a number of years and it is one that I keep returning to, finding more that I like and want to include in my teaching and each time enjoying the fresh and unusual style of the pieces. I am particularly attracted to the sub title - "10 Popular style guitar studies for adventurous learners"!

There is a very informative preface in which the composer puts forward his ideas behind the music which are very much to do with technique and ways to learn within fun and entertaining pieces. He describes his "Leapfrog Principle" as a notion to "use scale patterns against open strings, avoiding complicated chord fingerings..." . He then goes on to describe the advantages that this limitation has, for example making the music comfortable to play, extending fingerboard knowledge, improving position changing and encouraging efficient fingering in both hands, as well as introducing the idea of improvisation.

The pieces are clearly laid out, with a short introduction to every piece that has some technical information and help but is mostly there to describe the story of the piece! For example for no.2 "The Whistler's Tune" he has written: "People who whistle often don't remember all of the tune. This piece is ideal for whistlers because there are only a few bits that keep repeating. However in bars 21 to 28, the whistler still manages to forget the first phrase and tries to find it in different registers before eventually getting it right on the da capo."

All of the pieces are great fun using Giants, Butterflies, Genies, Grasshoppers and Ponies to bring out the contrasting characters really helping you to get involved in the music. Initially the written music does look quite challenging with quite difficult rhythms, lots of syncopation, a wide range of pitch and a lot of accidentals. Although the rhythms do look complicated on the page many will be familiar from everyday musical styles, e.g. swing and blues. The most important thing here is to get the feel of the pulse of the music. Once you can count and feel this, everything else tends to fit into place nicely!

As the composer says "a strong pulse is more important than strict accuracy, and a free, improvising rhythmic spirit should be encouraged."!

All of the pieces are very melodic with the melody often moving between the bass and the treble registers and any chords are usually small and mostly using open strings. Confidence in position changing and reading higher notes is important, although the melodies are based around patterns of fingering in different places so easier than they seem at first.

To return to the first example of The Whistlers Tune the last 2 lines consist of an identical finger pattern played in 4 different positions. However we always recommend that you can name the notes that you are playing, vital if you want to become a fluent and musical classical guitarist.

My favourites are Giant Jive, because it is wonderfully strange with a fantastic bass riff and some great clashes, and the Butterfly Boogie which has a light dancing feel and a warm character. A special mention is needed for Waltz for Two Left Feet,(definitely me!) as it is a real challenge to get the changes of beat but once you have mastered that you almost catch yourself tripping over as you play - a great idea and very effective.

These are great little pieces, inventive and fun while challenging your fingers and your brain. Perfect for beginners moving on and for better players wanting some entertaining performance pieces or simply wanting to brush up on those basic skills! If you are relaxed with the position changes and rhythms here you can try anything!

Selina.

222

Theory of Music Workbook Grade 8

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
Advanced
muswanders3ofakind

three of a kind

Jeop Wanders

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The book has three sections: 10 rhythmic studies, each focusing on a particular rhythm which is introduced in each piece by a 2-bar phrase. 10 arpeggio studies, each based on a right-hand pattern. 10 legato studies, descending and ascending slurs and a mix of both. These studies are a valuable contribution to the beginner's technical development. Difficulty level grade 2/4

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

These short studies offer a wide variety of techniques, and are generally universally helpful in improving your playing.

Grades 2/4 on the site, but looking in some of the grade books I think some grade 1 players would benefit from the easier ones?

The first ten studies are rhythmic, and Wanders gives an ‘example rhythm’ below the title to let us know exactly what it is we are meant to be practicing. As with most books they start off simple and move to more complicated rhythms with dotted notes and semiquavers. This is great for learning to recognise rhythms and improving sight reading; there is also fingering in some of the pieces, reminding us to alternate and to be aware of the finger we are using with any given note. Wanders also reminds us that even though these are studies, they are not necessarily ‘un-musical’. He writes performance directions which encourage us to and add colour to the notes making the music more exciting.

My favourite studies in this book are the arpeggio studies, they are great right and left hand exercises suitable for any standard of player; I will be incorporating these into my practice regime as warm ups! No.12 – Basso Chromatica is particularly good as it offers variations on the original [p i m a] quaver pattern. We are encouraged to be musical with No.14 – Prelude on the B-String in order to bring out the melody that is closely interwoven with the accompaniment. There are a nice variety of styles in this book.

Last in the book are the legato studies. These are excellent for building up strength and balance in the left hand as they require 2 and 3 note slurs that need to be even. They are musically engaging and you will definitely find yourself singing them hours after practice. This book would be perfect as a prelude to starting the Sor or Carcassi studies.

Jess.

193

Ricercari and Fantasien

Franscesco Da Milano

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The pieces here are beautiful and peaceful; we have to learn new sounds and the techniques of playing contrapuntal lines but at the same time the music encourages freedom and invention. Learning this music is not really about technical virtuosity, for example how fast or loud we can play, but about control, understanding and listening - nurturing the musician in us.

Skill Level
Advanced

There is a short introduction at the beginning of this edition describing the sources used and introducing the musical style. Particularly interesting is the explanation of the titles that are so different to what we are used to!

Ricercari is an Italian verb meaning to seek/ quest. It was originally used in music to denote ‘trying out an instrument” or “prelude” so referring to an improvised introductory piece. In the 16th century ‘Ricercari’ and ‘Fantasia’ came to be applied to instrumental compositions that were mostly imitative with no clear distinction between the two.

The introduction makes an important point in explaining that the music of the Renaissance has a tonality and harmony all of its own, and that players need to spend time getting the feel of it. This is why it is so important to have the music in the exam repertoire, introducing it to a much wider audience and really expanding the guitarists’ repertoire and musical knowledge.

The edition uses F♯ tuning of the G string and recommends the use of a capo on the 3rd fret to bring the guitar closer to the pitch of the renaissance lute. A capo is not essential but it does make the voices much cleaner and the harmonies easier to hear.

The use of this tuning however is very important. It brings the intervals between the guitar strings in line with that of the lute, which means that the tablature can be followed more closely in the transcription and the chords flow more smoothly.

This, of course brings a new challenge to most guitarists, with notes in different places and chord shapes altered! For me it really emphasizes the importance of reading music and knowing the names of the notes on the page and on the guitar – you may be surprised that this can be a problem!

I love this music for its purity, depth and tranquility.

There are long melodic lines, interweaving and creating beautiful and complex harmonies. From a technical point of view it is all about tonal and dynamic control of melodies and harmonies. From a musical point of view the guitarist needs to recognize voices, motifs and imitation to understand the structure of the music. The thematic entries need to be brought out clearly and the dynamic control needs to be subtle so as not to interrupt the pretty constant flow of the music.

The edition helps by marking entries and imitations with capitol letters but this is an excellent opportunity for players to practice and improve their listening and interpretive skills and experimentation should be foremost!

The edition is not over fingered, which is great giving players more flexibility and choice. It is inevitable that some sacrifices in voicing, for example sustaining notes, have to be made but we should always be looking out for the importance of the interweaving lines and the dissonances and resolutions created – scrumptious!!

The pieces here are beautiful and peaceful; we have to learn new sounds and the techniques of playing contrapuntal lines but at the same time the music encourages freedom and invention.

Learning this music is not really about technical virtuosity, for example how fast or loud we can play, but about control, understanding and listening - nurturing the musician in us.

Selina.

mustakemitsutwilight

All In Twilight

Toru Takemitsu

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These Four pieces for guitar were commissioned by Julian Bream and dedicated to him. The first performance was given by Bream on October 9th 1988 in New York. The duration of this work is 11 minutes.

Skill Level
Advanced
mussimplyguitar1

Simply Guitar Book 1

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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Book 1 offers a structured programme of easy repertoire for the beginner. The selection of pieces is designed to develop guitar technique, improve reading skills and most of all encourage the ability to perform with musical feeling.

Skill Level
Beginner
158

Simply Latin

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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Simply Latin evokes the sounds of South Americcan folk music. These six sketches take the player on a tour of the Andes, Venezuela, Brazil capturing in simple musical textures the exuberance and complexity of some of the South American folk cultures.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

The fantastic thing about this book is that it produces so much variety within the "Latin" style.

To quote the edition, these pieces..

"…take the player on a tour through the Andes, Venezuela, Brazil….capturing the exuberance and complexity of some of the South American folk cultures."

Again, Clarke manages to communicate so much through relatively simple musical textures, and, importantly, introduces younger players in particular to musical styles that they may not have experienced before.

 

The Vals actively encourages you to go to play Lauro's music. There is a real swing and feel of one in a bar while keeping the chords simple and easy to combine with the melody.

The Tango is full of the drama of the dance, heightened in the middle section with big moves between positions that sound great and are easy to play.

Montanas Nebulosas evokes the music of the Andes beautifully, making use of glissando and tambora techniques. The syncopated rhythms are clearly written and easy to understand.

My absolute favourite in this book has to be Rio by Night! This piece uses great harmonies and syncopated rhythms that take a bit more working out and counting, but are certainly worth the effort for the finished effect and atmosphere. You simply get carried along by the gentle Bossa Nova and transported to the carnival!

The final Danza also requires more careful control of rhythm and articulation, and buzzes with excitement and energy.

Selina.

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.

81

Simply Swing

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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Bringing alive the Jazz era with five stylish pieces capturing the atmosphere of the 1940's. They are easy to play and they will be enjoyed by the most sophisticated jazz connoisseur.

Skill Level
Beginner

These pieces capture the 1940s jazz style beautifully and are great fun to play, from the straightforward 2-part Ragatelle, to the more technically and musically complex Icy Blue.

As a player it is easy to get into the "atmosphere" of the music with fantastic harmonies and off beat rhythms that are not difficult to understand or execute, but are really effective when played fluently.

This is particularly noticeable in Mississippi Ditty with his use of ties, slurs and accents.

The off beat rhythms and "swing" are easy to get into at the beginning of the book as there is a constant crotchet pulse maintained in the bass which helps to drive and shape the music.

In Steely Blue, the bass line comes and goes, highlighting the "solo" melodic passages, which include very effective use of "glissando".

There are detailed dynamic indications throughout the book that really add to the experience as they initially teach you the style through shaping the music. You can then enjoy playing and bring your own interpretation to the pieces.

Icy Blue provides a contrast in the book because it uses constant quavers that produce a driving, exciting feel to the music and require some quick thinking!

My favourite piece from the collection has to be Swing Swang Lane. I love the slow and thoughtful atmosphere of this piece with its moving harmonies, relaxed swing and simple, flowing melody.

Selina.

87

Simply Spanish

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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Simply Spanish has established itself as an indispensable part of the early student repertoire. The six pieces in the album are miniature classics, each uncannily evoking the Spanish sound in all its rich colours and rhythms.

Skill Level
Beginner

The sub title of "six evocative pieces" is spot on!

These pieces are Spanish in essence, bringing out the colours and rhythms of Spain through writing that is very accessible.

Clarke manages to introduce techniques and styles of playing that are probably new to the student at this stage while at the same time always encouraging a musical approach.

On playing these pieces, a student of any age will feel that they have arrived and are able to play "proper" pieces of music!

Fandango. Includes a fast rhythmic motif with a flamenco feel throughout combined with single line melodies and a bass melody under a simple repeated chord accompaniment.

Oloroso and Vals Navarra. Slow and contemplative, allowing plenty of dynamic and tonal control.

Tango. Maintains a lovely tango rhythm as accompaniment to the melody - a challenging and effective guitar technique introduced here in a way that is easy to see and understand.

Zincarlo.Requires a lively 6/8 rhythm, picking out a bass melody, and some quick thinking!

Pamplona.Introduces a combination of 3/4 and 6/8 rhythm along with strumming with the "i" finger

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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104

24 Studies Op. 48

Mauro Giuliani

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Guitar Solo. By Mauro Giuliani. Arranged by Hans Ritter. This edition: GA32. Covers 27 pages and is published by Schott Music.

Skill Level
Advanced
39

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 2

ABRSM

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Recordings of pieces from the new ABRSM Guitar Syllabus, from 2009. Innovative and valuable resource for candidates preparing for ABRSM exams. All duos are accompanied by another guitar, and playalong tracks for these pieces are also included.

Skill Level
Beginner
popular-songs

Popular Songs for the Classical Guitar

John Zaradin

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These arrangements allow the classical guitar player to extend their repertoire and enjoy playing some 'evergreens' from Jazz and popular music. The pieces are graded in order of difficulty and there are fingerings and markings to serve as helpful guides. Whatever the standard the music is enjoyable.

Skill Level
Intermediate
296

Bach Lute Suites for Guitar

J. S. Bach

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The complete works for lute solo newly transcribed and annotated, including historical and performance notes. This publication is very nicely printed with space between lines and around notes so for those of us who either wear or should wear spectacles it makes life a lot easier. This edition is Selina's favourite and in her opinion the best!

Skill Level
Intermediate
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.

musryansongserin

Songs From Erin

Gary Ryan

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Songs from Erin (2007) is a shorter, two movement work for guitar commissioned by Rebecca Baulch and inspired by Ryan's visits to Ireland. Ryan explores different tunings for the guitar in these pieces, making the instrument sound reinvigorated, idiomatic and resonant in new ways. Out of Clonmel has an energetic flavour reflective of Irish folk music Lough Caragh is more contemplative and influenced by the traditional Irish ballad.

Skill Level
Advanced
musburdencertainhits

Certain Hits Songs and Themes from Films

David Burden

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Seven great hits from films in effective and easy to play arrangements for guitar ensembles. Essential experience in ensemble playing gained in the most enjoyable way. Romance, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, The Siamese Cat Song, If I were a Rich Man, Walking In The Air & The Pink Panther.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
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muswanderslaguitarraespanola9

La Guitarra Espanola

Jeop Wanders

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This is definitely a book I wish I’d been introduced to earlier! These simple Spanish pieces are beautifully printed making for easy reading by the student. 15 pieces, including Rumba, Pasodoblillo, Bolero and Malaquena, are an enjoyable introduction to familiar guitar styles.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is definitely a book I wish I’d been introduced to earlier!

Joep Wanders has written music in a variety of styles for beginners; the theme of this book as revealed by the title is Spanish music. In addition to writing music that conforms to the Spanish style, Wanders incorporates flamenco techniques into the pieces – you will find a number of examples of golpe and tambora. In my mind this makes the music infinitely more interesting to learn as you immerse yourself in unfamiliar percussive techniques.

On the contents page Wanders has included a helpful glossary to describe any unfamiliar words to the reader.

The book contains 15 pieces that become progressively more challenging, however the music is engaging from the off. Entrada Libre begins the book with a catchy melodic line that is easy to bring out and contains a couple of ad libs for those who want to expand even more on the music. El Testamento de Amelia is more lyrical with an interesting syncopated bassline. Flores de Primavera and La Fiesta Espanola highlight the right hand technical issue of adding strummed chords to a piece, and La Guitar Espanola consists of variations on a simple upbeat tune to shake the music up a bit. Wanders has also written in a variety of Spanish dance styles that feature syncopated rhythms (Tango, Bolero, Rumba) and keep your eyes peeled for a familiar tune - but I will leave that one with you.

Despite this being a beginners book there are plenty of examples of musical variety and interweaving musical lines, encouraging us to pay close attention to which “voice” is singing and concentrate on how we can bring them out. The result is 15 pieces of music that will continue to engage both listeners and players, even as the player advances through more difficult music. One to add to the collection.

Jess.

musponce12preludes

12 Preludes

Manuel M Ponce

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This is what I would describe as ‘classic’ repertoire, from a composer who did an awful lot towards exploring new possibilities in composing for the guitar and widening the repertoire during a vital period in the guitars history and development. This is rewarding and essential repertoire that I hope many people will find and enjoy. Arranged by Andres Segovia, edition covers 16 pages. Published by Schott Music.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This is what I would describe as ‘classic’ repertoire, from a composer who did an awful lot towards exploring new possibilities in composing for the guitar and widening the repertoire during a vital period in the guitars history and development.

I am disappointed in myself for not having learnt to play these preludes sooner! They are lovely little miniatures with loads of musical detail and technical challenge packed in to pieces that individually last for 2 to 3 minutes but are still very rewarding to play and to listen to.

Very importantly they represent excellent opportunities for improving music reading and knowledge of the guitar fingerboard through exploration of key signatures and freedom of movement between positions. The keys range from C major to A flat and F sharp major, in other words up to 4 flats and 6 sharps. This is very good for guitarists, taking us out of our comfort zone and forcing us to use different and varied positions and to learn the geography of the fingerboard. As you play the Preludes you quickly discover that there are patterns in every key and if you name your notes and work out the patterns the, at first, seemingly uphill task of reading some of the music becomes fun and in fact very rewarding.

This variety of key signatures and the range of pitch used throughout means that the fingerboard is used in a very fluid way without blocks of notes in positions but constantly changing and also using all 6 strings in the higher positions rather than only the high notes.

For me this is a vital skill for a guitarist, one that gives you freedom of technique as well as musicianship. When learning pieces like these properly it does not take long to learn your fingerboard and become comfortable and at ease moving around.

There are a wide variety of tempos and emotions across the 12 pieces. Some have a more contemporary feel although I think that the majority are very melodic and full of character and storytelling.

Despite being small the Preludes have detailed musical requirements on the score with very clear rhythm and articulation, for example in the use of rests and rhythms crossing bar lines as well as important distinctions in voicing and counterpoint.

There is also a great deal of contrast from the tranquil and flowing lines of no.1 to the lively and bright fast movement of no.2. No.6, probably one of the best known, has a really beautiful, soulful and expressive melody set within a pulsing strummed chord really exploiting the tenor richness of the guitars inner strings, whereas no.8 has a continuous and fluid musical line in a lilting 9/8 time signature with the added challenge of 4 flats!

Particular highlights for me are no.9 which has a wonderful lightness and uplifting feeling with warm and almost ‘oriental’ harmonies forming from the semiquaver intervals, and no.10, a beautifully delicate and intricate sounding piece which is relatively simple to play.

The key to the enjoyment of these pieces is the combination of technical and reading challenges with the storytelling and freedom of expression required.

For me this is rewarding and essential repertoire that I hope many people will find and enjoy. I certainly intend to learn and record them so watch this space!

Selina.

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