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

musabtheory4

Music Theory in Practice, Grade 4

ABRSM

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The Music Theory in Practice series has helped more than one million musicians worldwide to learn about the notation and theory of music. Now fully revised, this workbook remains the best way to prepare for the Associated Board's Grade 4 Theory of Music Exam, offering: a clear explanation of music notation, straightforward language throughout, many worked examples and practice exercises, definitions of important words and concepts, specimen exam questions, helpful tips for students As well as supporting the ABRSM theory syllabus, this workbook also provides an excellent resource for anyone wishing to develop general music literacy skills.

Skill Level
Intermediate
52

Guitar Scales and Arpeggios Grades 1 to 5

ABRSM

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This new edition contains all the scales and arpeggios required for the Grades 1–5 ABRSM guitar exams. All scales and arpeggios for the revised syllabus from 2009. Suggested fingering provided, helpful introduction including advice on exam preparation, user-friendly format and clear page-layout.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
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mustrinitytheoryg1

Theory of Music Workbook Grade 1

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 papers.

Skill Level
Beginner
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113

Deux Airs Populaires Cubains

Leo Brouwer

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Guitar Solo. By Leo Brouwer. Contents: Quajira Criolla (on a theme by d'Anckerman) * Zapateado. These pieces are quite unusual, full of folk character and melody expertly blended with a contemporary feel, fantastic harmonies and clashes, contrasting textures and techniques and Brouwer's usual exciting use of rhythm and articulation.

Skill Level
Advanced

These pieces are quite unusual, full of folk character and melody expertly blended with a contemporary feel, fantastic harmonies and clashes, contrasting textures and techniques and Brouwer's usual exciting use of rhythm and articulation.

These pieces are quite unusual, full of folk character and melody expertly blended with a ‘contemporary’ feel, fantastic harmonies and clashes, contrasting textures and techniques and Brouwer’s usual exciting use of rhythm and articulation.

The pieces are difficult but very ‘guitaristic’ meaning that they flow nicely under the fingers and once you have learnt the fingering and technique you get a lot of satisfaction from the freedom of movement around the guitar and through the music.

The melodies are lovely but come with a twist, keeping you on your toes and piquing your (and the listeners) interest!

Both pieces are marked with 2 time signatures, ‘simple’ 3 in a bar 3/4 and ‘compound’ 2 in a bar 6/8. This is great for learning how to feel the pulse and for recognizing and highlighting the differences. The overall structure of the pieces is also similar with an ‘A’ section that returns after contrasting ‘B’ and ‘C’ sections.

The pizzicato arpeggio melodies at the beginning of Guajira have lovely lilt and movement highlighted by the wide range of pitch and the 3 voices ‘talking’ in counterpoint are very effective in the first contrasting section. When this melody returns in the major key it is more expansive with the music opening out before the return of the pizzicato theme from the beginning bringing the piece to a fading finish.

The introduction of Zapateado is also lilting in character, 4 bars of 6/8 and 4 bars of 3/4, repetitive and with a narrow range of notes that gives quite a restless feel to the music.

The second section has a melody that changes in pulse throughout with a lower voice that uses the opposite pulse, for example the upper voice is in 3/4 with the lower voice in 6/8 and in the next bar they swap! This is syncopated rhythm that needs real concentration at first but once mastered gives great results and is very satisfying. The ‘C’ section has 2 voices starting high and an octave apart and gradually converging, again with crossing rhythms and a sense of the music building and then losing tension towards the return of the opening section at the end.

The symmetry in the music is very clever giving us ideas to hang on to, always drawing the listener in but never sounding predictable. These are 2 beautiful little pieces, an enticing musical style captured in an instant.

Selina.

306

More Carols

John Whitworth

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This collection of carol arrangements is aimed at the guitarist who has moved beyond the early stages of playing and who is ready to explore keys such as D, A and E major. The aim throughout the book has been to provide rich resonant settings of the carols, whilst avoiding undue technical difficulties.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Beginner

Following on from First Carols this book presents a lovely selection of nine carols varying from single line and simple two part settings to more sophisticated harmonization using chord shapes in the left hand, arpeggio accompaniment and fuller harmony.

The music helps the player to become more familiar with the key signatures of D, A and E major and makes more use of the fingerboard moving to second, fourth and seventh positions.

At the beginning there is some background to the carols’ origins as well as some technical and performance notes.

John uses harmonics and tambura techniques to great effect in I saw Three Ships and The Huron Carol and there is a lovely ensemble arrangement of Silent Night (one of my favourites).

I love the setting of O Come all ye Faithful where he uses single lines then two part voicing and then three part harmony to capture the feel of the carol building, taking me back to my school carol service with the congregation and choir solos and descants!

There is great contrast and feeling created in I saw Three Ships by simply changing register and moving between one and two voices. I also love the two arrangements of Away in a Manger, firstly with simple, open basses and then, in the second, a D tuning of string 6 and gorgeous harmony in thirds and sixths.

The highlights for me are that second arrangement of Away in a Manger and the Huron Carol which is really atmospheric and evocative, very satisfying, and not too difficult, to learn and play.

At the beginning John states that his aim was “…to provide rich and resonant settings of the carols, whilst avoiding undue technical difficulties…”

He has definitely achieved this with a very worthwhile and enjoyable collection that also manages to teach you lots!

Selina.

museightsolos

Eight Original Solo's for Guitar

Peter Nuttall

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An appealing companion volume to the Twelve Inventions. Attractive melodies, inventive harmonies and an interesting variety of musical styles...Lyrical, highly guitaristic music, easily accessible to the student guitarist.

Skill Level
Beginner
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musabtheory5

Music Theory in Practice, Grade 5

ABRSM

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The Music Theory in Practice series has helped more than one million musicians worldwide to learn about the notation and theory of music. Now fully revised, this workbook remains the best way to prepare for the Associated Board's Grade 5 Theory of Music Exam, offering: a clear explanation of music notation, straightforward language throughout' many worked examples and practice exercises' definitions of important words and concepts' specimen exam questions, helpful tips for students As well as supporting the ABRSM theory syllabus, this workbook also provides an excellent resource for anyone wishing to develop general music literacy skills.

Skill Level
Intermediate
musabtheory6

Music Theory in Practice, Grade 6

ABRSM

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Covers all aspects of the Grade 6 Theory of Music examination. Deals with the realisation of figured basses for keyboard and for voices in four parts, harmonisation of tonal melodies and melodic composition, both tonal and in more modern styles. Covers both pre-20th-century and 20th-century styles, builds on work covered in the first five volumes of Music Theory in Practice, looking further into the workings of tonal harmony and introducing students to melodic composition outside the tonal system

Skill Level
Intermediate
307

Trinity Guitar 2016-2019 - Guitar Grade 1

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
Beginner
303

Half Moon

Peter Nuttall

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A set of rhythmic pieces, together with a set of lyrical melodies and cool harmonies. Nostalgic, romantic, blues, stomping! These colourful pieces are beautifully written for the guitar and a delight to play.

Skill Level
Beginner

It is lovely to have a new collection of pieces from Peter Nuttall.

His music is so good for beginner into intermediate players because it is always musical, interesting and has focused technical requirements meaning that the player is not having to think about too many different things at once.

Half Moon is a set of lyrical and accessible pieces, never getting too technically difficult but certainly challenging in musicianship, interpretation and reading and counting rhythms. Peter says in his introduction that “They are written in a variety of styles….and make use of common guitar techniques and idioms. Style is always more important than speed.” This second comment is so important in our development as guitarists, and is something that we often forget in our efforts to improve our playing.

For me the pieces are summed up by the words atmosphere and character. If we keep these in mind then we can have great fun exploring the music, experimenting and listening.

Peter has grouped the pieces into 2 sections, First half – rhythmic, Second half – lyrical. This is an excellent idea for variety and focus in learning and also for programming performance! The idioms that he talks about in the preface are types of guitar writing like arpeggio style that includes melody, a single line melody that incorporates tune, bass and harmony or a 2 voice melody and accompaniment style. He has kept technical requirements very straightforward with no full barres or awkward finger movements.

The time signatures are varied with plenty of tied notes and syncopation (off beat) to keep us on our toes and counting. There are some lovely, interesting and quite unusual harmonies as well always encouraging us to listen.

I love the jazz feel of the triplets in Before you go and the distinctly Celtic feel of The Western Isles which, to look at, is all single notes but creates melody, harmony and bass with a lovely relaxed and sustained feel. The contrasting sections in Jig are great and really give you the feel of the dance whereas in complete contrast, and my favourite, At the end of the day is a beautiful and evocative piece. The harmonies are simple but so effective enabling you to get lost in the music. Perfect!

Selina.

muscarlevaroms3

Microstudios 11 to 15 Vol 3

Abel Carlevaro

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An exceptional virtuoso, composer and teacher Carlevaro is not only one of the most important guitarists of our time but the creator of a new school of instrumental technique. Microestudios, three books containing 15 studies, are a must for the aspiring guitarist.

Skill Level
Intermediate
muscarlevaroms1

Microstudios 1 to 5 Vol 1

Abel Carlevaro

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An exceptional virtuoso, composer and teacher Carlevaro is not only one of the most important guitarists of our time but the creator of a new school of instrumental technique. Microestudios, three books containing 15 studies, are a must for the aspiring guitarist.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
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mustrinitytheoryg2

Theory of Music Workbook Grade 2

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 papers.

Skill Level
Beginner
mustrinitysands2

Sound at Sight Grade 4 to 8

Trinity Guildhall

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This latest addition to the sound at sight series provides a wealth of approachable and attractive sight-reading pieces for the guitar. Each piece has been carefully graded to match exam requirements and is presented in a clear attractive layout. This book offers invaluable practice material for guitarists and is vital in preparation for examinations.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
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musfirstperformance

First Performance Pieces

Peter Nuttall

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

Skill Level
Beginner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

musgoingplaces

Going Places

Peter Nuttall

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

Skill Level
Beginner
musmoodsblues

Moods n Blues

Peter Nuttall

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A colourful collection of appealing pieces for the early student. Written in a variety of attractive styles - blues, simple flamenco, classical etc. These pieces serve as a very playable and enjoyable introduction to many common guitar techniques and idioms.

Skill Level
Beginner
mussmithsonatano4

Sonata No 4 La Breve

Reginald Smith Brindle

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Smith Brindle began learning the piano at the age of six, and later took up the clarinet, saxophone and guitar (and won a Melody Maker prize for his guitar-playing). Although he wrote for many instruments, Smith Brindle was perhaps best known for his solo guitar music.

Skill Level
Advanced

This is contemporary music and as such is often difficult for students to attempt, as they are not used to the dissonances and unusual melodic and harmonic shapes, that is, there is not necessarily a ‘tune’ to sing!

I have not played any Smith Brindle for years for this very reason and so came to this review with some trepidation.

It is definitely music that you have to keep playing to start to get an idea of what there is to communicate.

Here the music is very well laid out with plenty of space between staves, helpful fingering and lots of musical clues, i.e. espressivo and echo.

In the first movement there are contrasting fast and slow sections with repetitions that help you to navigate your way through the music as well as rhythmic and melodic motifs to latch on to.

The rhythm is very important but not too complicated to count and learn. Once you have this, the shape of the piece can emerge.

The slow middle movement uses the resonance around clashing and harmonic chords to good effect and forces you to really listen to what happens to the sound after you have played the strings. In fact this is an important point about contemporary music – the melody or flow of the music is not always obvious and so you have to listen more and you cannot only concentrate on fingers!

I liked the last movement the best. The rhythms are great with lovely dissonances that together are exciting.

If you can be open to new sounds this music is great for developing reading and fingerboard knowledge. It helps you to find and develop moods and means of expression on your guitar and is very open to your interpretation, but with plenty of ideas toget you started.

Selina.

musdowlandsolowerke

Solowerke 1

John Dowland

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I think every guitarist should have some experience of Renaissance lute music. It has so much to offer us in musicianship skills and we are very lucky to be able to play the music of such a great composer. John Dowland Solowerke Vol.1: Solos for classical guitar. Universal Edition

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

One of the most important things to look for when playing music that has been arranged or transcribed is the quality of the edition, for example notes and explanations on sources and performance.

This edition has a short preface covering all the main points; sources, recognition of the main, comprehensive edition of the complete lute music, explanation for the use of F sharp tuning and the suggestion to raise the pitch of the guitar with a capo so imitating the lute more closely and getting more detail from the music.

There are also some facsimile prints to show you what the original lute music would look like. I absolutely love this music, an interest that goes back to falling in love with my guitar teachers lute at the age of 8!

It has so much to offer us in musicianship skills and we are very lucky to be able to play the music of such a great composer.

In this collection you are introduced to the various dance forms used as the basis for many of the compositions in the Renaissance. There are simpler, chordal pieces in Tarletons Riserrectione, My Lord Willoughby's Welcome Home and Round Battle Galliard as well as complex, contrapuntal pieces in The Right Honourable Robert, Earl of Essex, high Marshall of England, his Galliard. Are not the titles fantastic as well, giving you a real sense of history and living music! In the first Galliard we are introduced to imitation between voices and suspensions in inner parts creating wonderful dissonances. This little piece demonstrates how important listening is with this music, that is listening to horizontal lines and phrases rather than just learning through fingering and shapes.

The compositional technique of using Divisions to build a piece is perfectly demonstrated in Sir John Smith his Almaine (this is probably one of my favorite ever pieces by the way). Divisions are when each theme is repeated in a more decorated version so adding to the build up and variety in the piece. John Smiths is lively and strong, with simple, long flowing phrases and a real sense of movement. The Frog Galliard (grade 8) is very similar, without complex counterpoint but with strong rhythm, dance movement and constant development through the piece. Another Renaissance technique was to extend bar lines at cadences, which has the effect of pushing the music towards the conclusion. This happens at the end of each section in The Frog Galliard effectively creating a 3/2 bar from 3/4 bars before each cadence. In this edition the hemiola technique that I have just described is indicated with brackets under the music.

One result of the use of divisions in a piece is some quite extended, quick and virtuosic semiquaver passages to deal with. There are also decorated final chords in several of the pieces which look to have very quick notes but are intended to be played more freely, as a finishing flourish! The idea of suspensions comes out beautifully in The Shoemakers wife and the counterpoint in Lady Rich and The Earl of Essex is stunning.

I think every guitarist should have some experience of Renaissance lute music. There really is something for everyone, from strong driving rhythm to interweaving lines, beautiful dissonance and pure singing melodies. This collection goes from about a grade 4 standard virtuoso pieces that are not out of place on the concert platform. And there is so much more to explore!

Selina.

musdowlandair

Air and Galliard

John Dowland

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Transcribed from the lute tablature and arranged for guitar by Karl Scheit.

Skill Level
Intermediate
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