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

115

Homenaje Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy

Manuel de Falla

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After the death of Debussy in 1918 Falla was asked to contribute to the planned memorial issue of Revue Musicale. Originally asked for an article Falla preferred to respond with a piece of music.

Skill Level
Advanced
96

25 Etudes Melodiques Progressives Op. 60

Carcassi

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

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

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

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

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

Of most interest to me are the comments on fingering.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surely that still applies!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

311

Trinity Guitar 2016-2019 - Guitar Grade 5

Trinity College London

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Containing pieces required for the Trinity Guitar exam. Three pieces to be performed from those listed in this book, at least one from each group, or from the duets or alternative pieces listed for this grade, to form a balanced program. This is an excellent book even if you have no intention of taking the exams.

Skill Level
Intermediate
mustrinityaural1

Aural Book 1

Trinity College London

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This Aural book is designed to be used effectively either by teachers during lessons or by candidates at home. As teachers will generally wish to supply their own explanations of the questions, the text is addressed to the candidate. Contains all the information you will need plus sample tests and answers and 2 CD's of practice examples.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
132

The Guitarists Hour Book 3

Schott

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An hour with the guitar presents a careful selection of the most beautiful pieces of guitar literature. The pieces contain in the book progress from easy to moderatly difficult giving not only the beginner but also the advanced guitarist valuable material for teaching, entertainment and performing.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I remember well the Guitarists Hour books from when I was young and I know that I gained a lot from playing a this repertoire! The problem is that there is so much choice in the 19th century repertoire and, yes, there are inevitably some ‘ordinary’ pieces. However there are also many excellent, exciting and fun to play pieces that always teach you a lot in the process of learning them.

The main strength of this book is that it offers choice and variety within the 19th century, introduces new composers and gives an overall snapshot of the repertoire so that players can then make informed choices and don’t necessarily have to buy lots of books to find music that they enjoy.

I have had brilliant fun playing through these pieces, several times now! There is so much drama, excitement and colour in the music with a good cross section of composers to compare. The added bonus is that you are learning a great deal as you play.

The 19th century was the beginning of the classical guitar; although the proportions of their instrument were quite different, the composers of the time started to lay down the techniques that are so important as a foundation to modern technique.

I firmly believe that without the ‘grounding’ that the 19th century repertoire gives us we cannot fulfill our technical potential in other styles of music. For example basic slur technique, scale and arpeggio playing, movement in thirds, sixths, octaves and tenths – intervals that are fundamental to the way we voice harmony and fluid movement around the fretboard.

The opening ‘Galopp’ by Carulli is full of drama and joy, contrasting beautifully with his lyrical ‘Alla Polacca’. Molino’s ‘Menuett’ has more detail in the harmony, introducing double slurs while the ‘Menuett’ by Matiegka contrasts strong rhythm in the opening section with delicate three part writing in the trio. These two composers are not as well known to us - a welcome inclusion in this volume.

The ‘Allegro’ by Aguado employs very free and quick movement around the fretboard emphasizing musical intervals, with a wider use of ornamentation.

Mertz is one of my very favourite composers and the ‘Polacca’ (grade 8) and ‘Capriccio’ are great examples of his music. Both are full of drama and ‘theatre’, the ‘Polacca’ in light, bright and lilting way and the ‘Capriccio’ using insistent repeating notes, accents and off beat melody to give drive and energy. These really are pieces with which you can “let rip”!!

Giuliani’s music is very free flowing and rhythmical; ‘Sonatine’ (grade 6) produces a sense of grandeur with the octaves and rests in the music, and the ‘Capriccio’, stands out for me in the way that the melody is within the arpeggio changing from bass to treble and running all over the fingerboard.

The ‘Andantino’ by Coste is particularly demanding as no concession is made for the difficulty presented by a lovely, decorated melodic line and very big interval jumps between chords. His ‘Studie’ (grade 7) is strong and dramatic with a great motif in the bass accompanied by full chords. Sor is perhaps the most famous and prolific writer for the guitar in this period and there are 7 of his pieces here showing the variety in his output and depth and fun to be found in his music. I particularly like the light, cheerful and quite cheeky ‘Hunting Piece’ (grade 6) in which the hunting horn can be clearly heard and the ‘Galopp’ which is very true to its name! His ‘Rondo’ (grade 8) is a longer piece that is more ‘virtuosic in tempo and flair with moving thirds, very quick semiquaver rhythms, free flowing arpeggios and an almost orchestral build up to the final cadence.

All in all an excellent volume of music that is very important to guitar students, not least for performance practice.

By the time that you have worked through these pieces you will have mastered so many basic techniques, as well as learning to hear and highlight melodies through arpeggio texture, control the projection of individual voices so gaining right hand balance, and perhaps most importantly learnt to “let your hair down” and enjoy the theatrical side of the music!

Selina.

120

The Guitarists Hour Book 1

Schott

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An Hour with the Guitar presents a careful selection of the most beautiful pieces of guitar literature. All the names familiar to every professional and amateur guitarist - Aguado, Carulli, Carcassi, Coste, Giuliani, Sor, and many more - are represented in this collection and ensure much stimulating variety. These pieces, with grades of difficulty progressing from very easy to moderately difficult, will give not only the beginner but also the advanced guitarist some valuable material for teaching, entertainment and performance.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
musplaypiazzolla

Play Piazzolla

Astor Piazzolla

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

Skill Level
Intermediate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

320

Scenes for Guitar Book 1

Gary Ryan

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Hopefully you will find something to enjoy in this collection of ten pieces for guitar (which I like to think are the kind of pieces I would have enjoyed learning). I have certainly enjoyed writing all of them and always try to incorporate useful technical and musical ideas into each one to create a particular image or mood. Gary Ryan

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
3212

Scenes for Guitar Book 2

Gary Ryan

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When I meet people at recitals or after adjudicating at music festivals they often say to me "I really like your Scenes from the Wild West but it is too hard for me. Please can you write some easier pieces?" Here is a set of eight pieces which I have tried to make accessible and a little easier. Hopefully you will find something to enjoy. Gary Ryan

Skill Level
Intermediate
brouwer-paisaje-cubano-con-tristeza

Paisaje cubano con tristeza

Leo Brouwer

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Paisaje Cubano con Tristeza (1996) is part of a group of compositions that evoke impressions on aspects of the Cuban landscape. The other pieces in this series are the Cuban Landscape with Rain and the Cuban Landscape with Rumba, both for guitar quartet, as well as Paisaje Cubano con Campanas for solo guitar. These works incorporate the sounds of minimalism more prominently than in Brouwer’s other pieces for guitar, using repetition as a musical basis. Paisaje Cubano con Tristeza, as its title implies (Cuban landscape with sadness), is different for its overt lyricism as opposed to the rhythmically insistent qualities of its predecessors.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
musabauralcd3

Aural Training In Practice CD Grades 6 to 8

ABRSM

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Old Syllabus - for practice only. Aural Training In Practice provides clear, structured guidance for candidates preparing for the aural tests in the Associated Board's practical exams. These CDs accompany the Aural Training workbooks. I have used the book and CD with many of my pupils achieving great success. I highly recommend both for those wishing to achieve high marks in their graded exams.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
328

36 Caprices Op. 20

Luigi Legnani

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In the varied world of the 19th century guitar Legnani was an inspired and prolific composer. Initially trained as a violinist he became famous as a guitarist and was held in great esteem by Paganini. The Caprices were first published in 1822 with each having a defined character and some are outstanding examples of pure virtuosity yet with emotion and spontaneity.

Skill Level
Advanced
aguado27studies

Aguado 27 Studies for Guitar

Aguado

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Edited by Gianluca Allocca, published by UTOrpheus with a forward by Angelo Gilardino. A range of books of which this is one are beautifully printed, very easy to read making a good addition to ones music collection even before one considers playing the studies. This publication is from the third part of the Aguado method and is the most important.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
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
288

Specimen Aural Tests 2011 Grades 1 - 3

ABRSM

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Aural tests are an integral part of all ABRSM Practical graded music exams. The Specimen Aural Tests provide teachers and students with many practice examples of the tests to use as part of a music lesson or when preparing for an exam. This volume covers Grades 1–3 and includes practice examples for each test in a range of musical styles the examiner rubrics (the exact words that will be used by the examiner to deliver the tests), so that candidates can be fully prepared for what will happen on the day. Descriptions of the tests as they appear in the syllabus model answers, where appropriate, as a guide to the sort of responses that would be successful in the exam. The Specimen Aural Tests come complete with 2 CDs.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
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121

Solo Now Volume 3

Chanterelle

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

Skill Level
Intermediate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

299

Café Music

Michael Stimpson

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Suite for Solo Guitar, was originally conceived as a reflection of the lighter styles of music written for the classical guitar. The character of the suite is predominantly preserved by the contrasts of mood between pieces. Adrian's thoughts - I was introduced to this book many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

Skill Level
Intermediate

This is descriptive music at its best with storytelling created using harmony and texture as well as through title, tempo and rhythm.

In order to communicate the music successfully the player has to be aware of the musical detail and be interested in the emotions and stories being told.

These pieces provide excellent experience in developing musicianship with a lot of detail written in to each piece, for example articulation, dynamics and tone colour. This also challenges the player technically but in the end it is thinking of, and listening to, the music that must be the most important thing.

Ouvert, a gentle introduction with warm cross string resonances, slurs and glissandi that all combine to create atmosphere. I love the closely spaced “talking” voices.

Promenade has a strong storyline and lots of contrast between the repeating, stately ‘promenade’ phrases and sections between. The first of these changes key and uses triplets and warmer colours to give a light and fluid feel. The second is slower and more tranquil while the third is in a minor key and lower in pitch with some lovely dissonances giving a darker feel.

Reverie is slow, sad and dreamlike using a repeated melody in different registers. It requires a lot of tonal control with a beautiful combination of tambora chords and harmonics at the end.

Folies is all in thirds and so the angry and bustling feel is quite tricky technically but very exciting all the same! I particularly like the arpeggios across the strings in thirds at the end.

Chanson is a joyous and flowing piece, again more challenging with barres and flowing arpeggios incorporating an upper melody to highlight.

Ferme is the finale and has great lift and rhythm with plenty of articulation, dynamic contrast and rasgueado technique.

These are great little pieces guaranteed to keep you occupied for months and very effective in performance.

Selina.

300

Estudios Sencillos

Leo Brouwer

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Etudes simples volume 1 studies 1-5. These are a must for any aspiring guitarist. Leo Brouwer's attention to musical and technical detail stretches the player encouraging expression and freedom of movement.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

This is definitely a case of good things come in small packages, a classic edition for the classical guitar, unchanged since its first publication in 1972.

The ‘book’ consists of an A5 piece of card for the front and back covers and an A5 piece of paper that provides 4 pages for the printed music, however within this the music is excellent and essential repertoire for any beginner or intermediate guitarist, as well as offering great technical and musical practice for those of us who consider ourselves more advanced.

These 5 pieces are wonderful miniatures packed full of musical and technical detail covering articulation, syncopation, voicing and a wide range of colour and dynamics. The use of descriptive words is also great including “movido’, ‘cantando’ and ‘sonoro’, descriptions that are so evocative and good for your musical knowledge!

There are great bass melodies in nos.1 and 4 with an upper accompaniment of repeated thirds (chords) requiring technical and rhythmical control. The shifting time signature in no.4 gives it lovely flow and overall movement. No.2 consists of very slow moving chords highlighting balance and voicing with some wonderful dissonant and emotional harmonies. No.3 concentrates on rapid articulation and no.5 is beautifully lyrical despite some quirky harmonies and fantastic syncopation.

Great, musical and emotional pieces that really help you to develop your technique.

Selina.

270

Anthology of Selected Pieces

Silvius Leopold Weiss

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Many of the works of Weiss were originally grouped by common key and it is to be assumed that the composer intended them to be performed as suites. However, it is from a number of unrelated pieces that the present anthology is taken - exceptions being the Ciacona, which belongs to the tenth 'suite', and Pasagaille from the fourteenth. In my opinion the set of eight pieces offered here represents Weiss at his most inspired.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

In my opinion the music of Weiss is a must for every guitarist. It is a great introduction to the music of the Baroque, being written specifically for the lute and so feeling more natural under the left hand when compared to the Bach lute suites

The Baroque lute was of course a very different instrument to our classical guitar, but the only real compromise is on bass lines and this edition is very well done with good explanations about the original music, ornamentation and steps taken to fit the music onto the guitar in the most effective and sympathetic way.

This information (contained in the preface – essential reading!) and the way that the music is fingered gives the player control. This is important; we have to remember that the music is transcribed from another instrument and there should be flexibility for the performer. For example, the editor decides the length of sustained notes as the original tablature does not show this. Burley points this out and it is important to be aware of this when learning the pieces, teaching you to listen to and interpret the music and not just learn technique and fingers.

The pieces in this volume are simply fantastic. The music has great depth and intensity with big chord progressions and sequences, long melodic phrases, wonderful clashes and resolutions in the harmony, lovely scrunchy dissonant chords and real musical drive created through melody and rhythm.

The notes carry us over the whole range of the fingerboard with rising sweeping arpeggios in the Fantasie, very long slow melodies in the Tombeau and lovely variations of melody in the Ciacona and Passagaille. The majesty of the latter is brilliant and overall the pieces are packed with emotion and excitement.

The Capricio is lively with driving counterpoint and great arpeggio chord progressions and the simplicity of the main theme of the Ciacona is sublime, the melody being varied over the same sequence throughout and always returning to that simple statement creating very powerful music.

This is difficult music and requires good technique, rhythm and pulse, however it is the musicality that shines through and teaches us so much about feeling our way through pieces and being directed by the sound and movement of the harmony and melody.

Selina.

muskoshkinmasqrds

Mascarades

Nikita Koschkin

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The traditional repertory for young guitarists obviously needs an enrichment, this album of picturesque music written by the young Moscow composer give guitar players time to get to know the many facets of this instrument. The music, inspired by a world of stories and fairy tales, offers you the chance to live a fantasy adventure through music.

Skill Level
Intermediate
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