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

99

Five Bagatelles for Guitar

William Walton

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

Skill Level
Advanced
83

Simply Guitar Book 2

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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Simply Guitar introduces the basic skills of the Spanish guitar through the music of Vincent Lindsey-Clark and Alexander MacDonald. Book 2 introduces higher positions on the fingerboard, articulation techniques, tonal effects and interpretational skills. These are the skills that will turn you into a real musician.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
musicbrouwer3

Nuevos Estudios Sencillos.

Leo Brouwer

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A group of studies covering various techniques such as arpeggio, staccato, legato, afro-cuban rhythmic patterns, tremolos, partial barre, this is an essential book for the committed student.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

I have always been a fan of Leo Brouwer’s music and so was immediately drawn in to these studies with their great use of the guitar and "natural" technique that compliments rather than fights the music!

Like Brouwer’s "Simple Studies", they provide varied technical and musical skills as well as training the ear to the more unusual sounds and dissonances of modern music which is very important in the development of the young (and not so young!) budding guitarist.

At the same time Brouwer manages to keep the music very lyrical, linking each study to a composer (homage to…) which heightens interest!

My only worry is the statement in the notes for study number one that the collection is for beginners or children. I think that these pieces would be of benefit to, and enjoyed by players of any age, but possibly suited to those with a bit more experience since the notation, rhythms and voicing is quite tricky in places.

I would place them at a grade 3 to 5 level, possibly 6 if all the tempo and articulation markings are kept to (for our database beginner/ intermediate)

Each study has written notes which clearly explain what is required and what to focus on.

The music requires clear dynamic control, careful articulation even between voices, pinpointing melody within arpeggios, legato phrasing and syncopated rhythms. There is simply loads to work on in each piece!

My favourites are Tarrega (no. 5) with its minimalist style, tremolo development and strong echoes of Brouwer’s Decameron Negro; Prokoviev (no. 4), which has an excellent, rhythmical bass melody; the lovely harmonies and chord melody in Villa Lobos (no. 8) and the beautiful simplicity of Szymanowski (no. 9).

Overall, this collection of pieces would be of great benefit to players of all standards and I particularly like the link to composers that will hopefully encourage young people to explore different kinds of music. Importantly the strongest element of "study" here is musical – excellent!

Selina.

37

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 4

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
Intermediate
286

Aural Training In Practice 2011 Grades 1-3

ABRSM

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Aural Training in Practice offers valuable support to teachers preparing students for ABRSM Practical exams. The three volumes, covering Grades 1-3, 4 & 5 and 6-8, provide information on what each test involves and what the examiner is looking for teaching hints and strategies, including warm-up material and ideas for integrating aural into lessons. Practice exercises to prepare students for the exam. CD recordings of all practice exercises, and examples in two or more parts, presented by an ABRSM examiner. Answers, both recorded and printed where appropriate, as a guide to the sort of responses that would be successful in the exam.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
276

Latin America

Gerald Schwertberger

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This is simply a great little book full of sunshine and life! Schwertberger manages to capture the spirit of the dances without making the notes too complicated. What more can I say?

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

This is simply a great little book full of sunshine and life! Schwertberger manages to capture the spirit of the dances without making the notes too complicated.

Interestingly, in the Preface the composer says “The point of this edition is to introduce guitarists to these dances, with all their appealing banality and stereotype turns of phrase.” In this he has been successful and although (or perhaps because) the music is not deep and meaningful, I was immediately drawn to its life and character and thoroughly enjoyed playing through the pieces.

The pieces are mostly in first position and generally based around chord shapes from which the melodies develop. There is, as you would expect a lot of syncopation, written in such a way that it is not difficult to work out and hear, although you will of course need to count! The greatest challenge is in the tempos; some of the suggested metronome marks are pretty quick and do give excellent results. However the music is still very effective at slower speeds and so provides very good technical development work. He achieves some great effects with rhythm and right hand patterns and each piece has a distinct character.

Highlights for me include Bossa Nova Breeze, which is ‘cool’ and relaxed with good use of chords and emerging melody lines. Nostalgia has a lovely bass melody topped by a syncopated accompaniment that uses some nice scrunchy harmonies. Bamba Samba is simply great fun and Nightwinds has an evocative atmosphere with its combination of rasgueado chords over the melody line.

The final Bossa Nova is a more challenging piece, with a straightforward right hand pattern that goes fast and some interesting harmonies to find.

Overall a book of sunshine that will bring a smile to your face and please and impress your audience.

Selina.

rodrigofantasiagentilhombre

Fantasia para un Gentilhombre

Joaquin Rodrigo

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

Skill Level
Advanced
106

Berkeley Quatre Pieces

Lennox Berkeley

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Composed and dedicated to the great Spanish exponent Segovia. This beautifully balanced set of four pieces adds significantly to the guitars repertoirs.

Skill Level
Advanced
muszebramusic

Zebramusic

David Cottam

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This volume continues the overall sense of fun in playing the guitar and enjoyment of varied musical styles that we were first introduced to in Zebracadabra.

Skill Level
Intermediate

This volume continues the overall sense of fun in playing the guitar and enjoyment of varied musical styles that we were first introduced to in Zebracadabra.

The titles are wonderfully descriptive of the style and/or story of each piece which for me emphasizes the importance of this aspect of our guitar playing - one that is all too often neglected! A good example of this is Amontilado, which has a definite Spanish atmosphere.

Throughout the book, Cottam uses the whole fretboard, often utilising sliding shapes and open strings very effectively to get around. The speed of left hand work increases as the pieces get more difficult, as does the complexity of finger patterns, but Cottam always manages to produce music that sounds more complicated than it is to play through very clever writing.

This is great for the student as it provides a constant boost as you listen! There is also a distinct lack of fingering which I think is fantastic. Even for passages where it is not immediately obvious Cottam leaves you to discover the fingering that works, which means that you learn a lot more about the notes on the guitar and how to produce different effects.

The pieces make excellent use of "campanella" effects. This cross string technique is important and wonderful on the guitar and not used enough in my opinion especially as we are learning. Wisteria is an excellent example with clever and flowing campanella scales, and Campanella Prelude uses the technique throughout to great effect.

There are many different styles of music in the volume including some arranged traditional melodies, and David always seems to be able to put his own stamp on the music.

His Malaguena is completely recognisable as the traditional dance form but also unique in the way he voices and fingers the chords.

Little Cotton Socks, Little Toe Rag and Snapdragon all use fantastic articulation techniques where the player is required to use staccato in the bass voice and not the melody. This provides a big challenge but is so satisfying and brings out the humour and cheekiness that is suggested in the titles!

My last two highlights are Zebra Music, which is very different as a piece to listen to, and also totally suited to the guitar, and Arachnophobia which reflects its title beautifully with the effect of the pull off slurs while asking for excellent control and positioning on the first string.

The pieces that I have highlighted here are only a few examples put represent the strength of this volume, that is the unique approach, variety, use of the guitars natural assets and overriding fun in playing music on the guitar.

Selina.

musiclongroad

The Long Road Home

Gordon Giltrap

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Here are seventeen superb arrangements of Classic Giltrap guitar compositions all taken from Raymond Burley's CD The Long Road Home

Skill Level
Intermediate

I was uncertain about this book when I first skimmed through and I now put this down to a lack of understanding of the style and the way that it needs to be played, having had no previous experience of his music.

Each time I play through the book, I find another piece that I love, and that communicates new pictures and emotions to me.

There are many technical challenges in the pieces especially, I think, for "very" classical players like myself.

For example, he uses quick multiple slurs that require relaxation and freedom of left hand movement. The sound of individual notes is not important, rather the overall flow and direction of the musical line.

There is a lot of left hand movement around the fingerboard that requires agility but again I would say that relaxation and a rhythmic feel are foremost.

The harmony is much more interesting, unusual and surprising than I expected and as I played, I found that the overall feel had to be improvisatory and free within the rhythmic structure of the piece.

That sounded a bit too technical so let me see if I can put it more simply! The pieces all have a strong rhythmic framework but the notes need to sound free and flexible around this. So if you can play without technical worry (even if the notes are not all correct) you will get much more enjoyment from the music.

The book is a very well set out and clear edition and there are quite a lot of fingering suggestions, mostly barres and positions, that are helpful and only written once!

Remember not to feel restricted by fingering as everybody's hands work differently and your hands need to flow naturally with the music.

There is a noticeable absence of dynamic and musical markings, apart from well-chosen words at the beginning of each piece such as "lazily", "stately" and "lively", and I think that this is a key as to how the music should be played. It is all about interpretation; looking at the title and general speed/ musical instruction and then listening to the music and getting "caught up" in its story! You can then write in your own phrasing, dynamics, articulation etc, or let the music unfold differently each time you play.

There are many contrasts in mood between these 16 pieces and some testing counting and time signature changes.

The calm, peace and space of the first piece, The Long Road Home, provide a wonderful opening to the book. It is not too difficult and allows you to practice listening and experimenting - a great introduction to the style.

My other favourites include Kaz with its lazy, low harmonies and melodic line; the stately Lord's Seat; London, which has a slow and wistful feel; For those who Bring Sunshine, which is lively and hopeful; the exuberance of Fell Runner and finally A Christmas Carol - a slow and reflective piece with fantastic harmony and lovely delicate touches to the melody.

The highlight for me is probably A Misunderstood Man, a piece that took me longer to appreciate with its slow, ever changing melodies but in which I now find new lines, feelings and pictures every time I play.

This volume of 16 pieces has taught me a lot about interpretation and freedom in performance and I know that this will benefit my technique, playing and performance in general.

Selina.

314

Trinity Guitar 2016-2019 - Guitar Grade 8

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
Advanced
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.

musgiulianimetodo

Metodo Per Chitarra op.1

Mauro Giuliani

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These studies are a result of my labours ascertained by experience and practice; I dare present them to the public in an intimate persuasion that whoever wishes seriously to try them, will be able to play expressively all that was composed in a more correct style for this instrument. M. Giuliani

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

You may be initially put off when looking at the first few pages of this book with it’s pages of seemingly monotonous exercises, however if you have the patience, and hopefully help, to delve deeper the book is a fantastic resource for technique, reading skills, knowledge of the fingerboard and musicianship. There is a short biography at the beginning followed by the ‘Author’s preface to the first edition of the method”. This is brilliant, revealing Giuliani as simply a passionate guitarist!

“My favourite occupation was always the study of the guitar, and I aspired with all my powers to attain the highest perfection in the knowledge of this instrument.”

The book is in four parts and each can be used on many different levels; use of all the right hand fingers and combinations, balance, strength, speed, relaxation and movement to give a few examples.

These are basics of technique that are essential for strengthening technique and enjoying your playing.

PART ONE contains 120 arpeggio exercises with varying combinations that work on all aspects of your right hand from simple “p i m” to combinations of fingers with thumb, chords and more involved patterns. The key here is focus when you are practicing and recognizing what you would like to achieve rather than just bashing through the lot while watching telly as fast as possible! Depending on your level of skill they can be used in different ways and they divide nicely into groups making the prospect less daunting. At the moment I use them for prepare and play, balance and independence. As you become more familiar with the exercises you quickly begin to see their relevance to the repertoire and importance to your technique.

PART TWO is for the left hand with studies in 3rds, 6ths, octaves and tenths in the keys of C, G, D and A major. As you can imagine this covers a lot of fingerboard and is fantastic for preparation, anticipation, fluid movement and relaxation. The intervals used are an integral part of the way the guitar works and the way composers write for it so, again, invaluable technical development. The studies also improve your reading and fingerboard knowledge enormously! People often ask me how to improve their sight reading, particularly in higher positions – this is a good way! These studies do require patience and focus. There is plenty of musical shape related to harmonic movement but this can be difficult to find at first depending on how well you know your fingerboard already. Take it slowly and break the piece up – 2 or 4 bars at a time is usually a good bet – until you start to relax and move more easily. The effort is certainly worth it improving movement, stretch, touch and feel, and working all of your fingers.

PART THREE is made up of little studies working on different aspects of music related to musical effect, for example sustained notes, stopping strings for rests, ornaments, staccato and slurs or ‘legato’. These are lovely little pieces and particularly good for slurs and ornaments since we do not get much focussed practice on these techniques. PART FOUR consists of 12 progressive lessons, obviously showing how all the technical work that you have been working on is relevant and important for giving you the necessary skills to play fluently and enjoy your music.

Using this book is not necessarily easy. You have to have the correct focus and concentration as you are practicing and have a goal in mind. However the benefits are great and even if you only manage a few minutes of ‘study’ at a time you will eventually see the benefits and begin to enjoy yourself!

Selina.

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bach-inventions-1-7

Bach Inventions Vol 1 1-7

J. S. Bach

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BMV 772 - Written for 2 guitars. Transcribed by Mario Martino & Andrea Schiavina. As with all UT Orpheus publications this edition is very clearly and cleanly printed which really helps when sight reading ensemble pieces. Music written by Bach, what more can I say, if you have an interest in playing ensemble which in my opinion you should at least try, then these Inventions are fun and challenging.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Ensemble
289

Specimen Aural Tests 2011 Grades 4 & 5

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 4 & 5 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.

290

City Scenes

Gary Ryan

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Three original compositions Rush, Metropolis & Birds Flew Over The Spire. These works are challenging and very musical with The Birds Flew Over The Spire being one of the most popular pieces enjoyed by our own students and others who hear it played. If you are looking for new pieces to play and enjoy, City Scenes is a must have item.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

We came across this book through the Trinity grade 5 syllabus which includes the third piece Birds Flew over the Spire. If you read my guitar reviews you will recognize this as one of my firm favourites because it is a beautiful little piece of music, using the guitar so well and highlighting what the classical guitar is best at. The pieces in this book are very contrasting and fit beautifully within the title City Scenes.

Rush was originally conceived as a study for the right hand thumb and is full of energy, with the 5/4 time signature constantly pushing the music forward, a strong bass melody and lots of syncopation and articulation. It is great to see how adding a title and ‘story’ to a study can transform it into an exciting, descriptive piece of music.

Metropolis is a long piece with a difficult rhythm that looks very complex on the page but is fine once you get into the swing of it, as long as you work it out properly with counting first! The way that Gary uses material gives a real bustle to the music with gradually evolving patterns and harmonies and repeated sections bringing in subtle changes of mood.

In the preface Gary describes it as “the non-stop bustle of a musical city where influences combine from many different ages and musical cultures.” Birds flew over the Spire is a wonderful relaxation after this with lovely campanella harmonies accompanying a fluid melody that twists and turns gently depicting the birds floating on thermals and warm currents of air. It is great for fingerboard knowledge and left hand movement but, more importantly for listening ad enjoying the musical phrasing.

The preface by the composer is very good and the music is well laid out with clear fingering (not too much) and musical instructions.

This is definitely music to have fun with!

Selina.

90

Guitar Crackers

Cees Hartog

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Solos for Classical Guitar. Traditionals, Folk, Blues, Country, Latin Americans, Romantic Moods. Popular. Level: Easy. Book. 24 pages. Published by Alsbach

Skill Level
Intermediate
musbarriosvol1

Guitar Works Vol. I

Agustin Barrios Mangore

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A comprehensive publication of the works of Augustin Barrios Mangore, the first guitarist/composer from the New World of truly universal importance. These volumes are designed for the performer, student and teacher. Volume I has 21 pieces, including: El Sueno de la Munequita * Oracion por Todos * Danza Guarani.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
tocaguitar

i toca Guitarra

Cees Hartog

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The fantastic thing about this book is how Spanish the music sounds even when the pieces are quite easy and do not have many notes!

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

The fantastic thing about this book is how Spanish the music sounds even when the pieces are quite easy and do not have many notes!

Hartog has managed to capture the essence of Spain in his melodies and harmonies and the strumming and arpeggio passages reflect the flamenco flavour without being complicated and difficult to read.

There are 11 pieces in "I Toca" ranging from grade 2 to 4 although the pieces are quite chordal which may make them seem more difficult for some students.

The contrasts within the Spanish style are big offering plenty of variety for students from the mysterious "far eastern" melody of Danza Oriental to the traditional Malaguena and the fast thumb melody in La Monteria.

Danza Espanola has a melodic first section followed by a contrasting second half that uses alternating "p" "i" arpeggios to great dramatic effect and gives tremolo alternatives for the adventurous to build up speed!

I particularly like El Papamoscas, which has a fast flowing melody that requires rhythmic drive and shape and so teaches understanding of phrases and breathing.

All the pieces in the book will particularly help students with chord shapes - recognizing them quickly from the music, fingering and smooth changes.

Selina.

tapasdeespana

Tapas de Espana

Cees Hartog

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Like I Tocca Guitarra the fantastic thing about this book is how Spanish the music sounds!

Skill Level
Intermediate

The fantastic thing about this book is how Spanish the music sounds even when the pieces are quite easy and do not have many notes!

The 12 pieces in Tapas de Espana are more difficult than I Tocca Guitarra and even more fun to play.

All of the pieces are full of contrast in texture and colour.

They are great for developing basic technical skills such as arpeggio patterns, left hand versatility, rasguado and quick articulation, as well as improving feel for changing rhythms and melody with accompaniment.

Guajiras uses alternating 6/8, 3/4 bars producing a driving pulse and carnival spirit.

Boceto Menorca changes from a flowing quaver melody to triplet arpeggios and finishing with a strong, very Spanish bass melody with quick thumb articulation and slurring.

All of this transports you to Spain and the traditional dance forms, colourful outfits and stamping of feet! I think that my overall favourites are La Coruna which has a more mysterious feel with fast arpeggios and subtle harmonic changes, and Bolero which is simply great fun needing well controlled rasguado, fast articulation and a strong "dancing" pulse.

Selina.