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

musgw4

The Guitarists Way Book 4

Peter Nuttall and John Whitworth

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In Book 4 we introduce new and interesting rhythms, continue to develop left and right hand technique, and explore a wider range of keys and musical styles. There is also opportunity for more expressive playing in some of the higher positions. The range of musical styles can be extended further in the follow-up books Diversions and Twelve Inventions.

Skill Level
Beginner
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.

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.

musrealguitar1

The Real Guitar Book Vol 1

Lee Sollory and Nick Powlesland

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A compilation of original plectrum guitar repertoire that sets out to inspire while also developing technique and musicianship. The aim has been to create a progressive selection of pieces that is accessible to relative beginners as well as to more experienced players, the diversity of styles providing something for every musical taste, whether it be blues, rock, classical, folk, reggae, pop or metal.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is a compilation of original plectrum guitar pieces by Nick Powlesland and Lee Sollory designed to inspire players while developing technique and musicianship.

The book uses music notation throughout which is excellent for the young plectrum guitarist, and means that the pieces are just as suitable for classical guitarists providing an excellent variety and contrast in style from the standard repertoire.

The music is challenging in details of articulation, dynamics and phrasing right from the start with the simplest pieces and each piece has a definite character and mood to get into! This is particularly evident in the musical directions which include "aggressively", "punchy", "easily, into the night" and "in a hurry", really encouraging feeling in young players.

The exciting counting and early development of strumming, bends and slides are all important for becoming a "rounded" guitarist and there are some great harmonies, notably in Tomorrow Will Be Better and Tuesday Bluesday.

Selina.

musrealguitarvol2

The Real Guitar Book Vol 2

Lee Sollory and Nick Powlesland

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A range of fabulous educational and concert guitar music by the UK's top guitar composers, educators and performers. All of the music in the Real Guitar Book is suitable for both classical and plectrum style techniques

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

The Real Guitar books evolved after a frustrating and largely unsuccessful attempt to find exciting and challenging music for a new generation of solo guitarists.

These original pieces certainly fit this billing of exciting and challenging!

They were written to suit both classical and plectrum players and really push the boundaries in rhythm and harmony, encompassing styles such as rock, blues, folk and classical, and giving players music that really comes alive when played properly.

The rhythms can be quite difficult to read which is good as it develops reading and encourages a natural feel for the pulse and syncopation.

The pieces use the whole fretboard, with detailed articulation and dynamics, and strumming, bending and muting techniques that may be unfamiliar to classical players but really do help to strengthen and improve technique.

The particular highlights for me are Chillout, Swing Thing, Rockroach and Moonshine probably because they are so successful at emulating their respective styles and make me feel good!

This helps particularly younger players persevere with the classical guitar since it proves that their hard work has also resulted in music that everyone immediately recognizes and enjoys.

Players are no less challenged by this music especially in reading complicated rhythm and learning the fretboard.

All in all an excellent technical and musical experience with pieces that are great fun to learn and play.

Selina.

212

The Real Guitar Book Vol 3

Lee Sollory and Nick Powlesland

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The Real Guitar Book project evolved after a frustrating and largely unsuccessful attempt to find exciting, challenging music for a new generation of solo guitarosts who were not interested in the classical approach. The result is this compilation of original repertoire that sets out to inspire while also developing technique and musicianship. The aim has been to create a progressive selection of pieces that is accessible to relative beginners as well as more experienced players.

Skill Level
Beginner
musnoadrenaissance

The Renaissance Guitar

Frederick Noad

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Although separated in time from us by almost four centuries, the late Renaissance provides a most fruightfull and enjoyable source of music. The tunes are lively and straightforward and most importantly some of the best composers of the period were writing for plucked instruments. In the Renaissance period the repertoire for plucked strings was the largest and most important body of instrumental music. CD included in this edition.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
musburdenygprog2

The Young Guitarists Progress

David Burden

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This book covers the area from Grade 1 to Grade 2 providing repertoire for young pupils learning individually or in groups. The theory and ear development sections can be used alongside this at the discretion of the teacher.

Skill Level
Beginner
68

The Young Guitarists Progress Part 1 GM39

David Burden

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Designed for young beginners learning individually or in groups. The New Things Sections introduce new notes, rhythms and techniques in a structured and entertaining way. Solos, duets and ensembles, including: The Batman TV Theme, Colours Of Day, The James Bond Theme and many more.

Skill Level
Beginner

The layout and printing in this book is excellent with notes slightly larger than normal, and space and pictures between pieces.

There are lots of well-known tunes in good arrangements, and I especially like the amount of solo pieces written in 2 voices using simple open basses. These provide invaluable experience for beginners at reading and playing two note chords, when books often move onto more difficult, fingered chords very quickly.

This book is clearly linked to The Young Guitarists Progress, Part 1 and its sections called "New Things 1-7, 8 and 9, 10" etc. However, it works perfectly well on its own since each "New Things" is fully explained. For example, "New Things 10 – playing with the thumb and fingers together, the bass 5th and 6th open strings and dotted crotchets."

Technically the book includes dotted rhythms, music with 2 voices and 3 note chords, tied notes and melody within simple arpeggios. There is even some simple syncopation in an excellent and very accessible arrangement of Eleanor Rigby.

The final section of the book, on ear development includes some copycat exercises, pentatonic and blues scales, and simple ideas on improvisation. This is all very valuable and something that we should introduce to pupils as early as possible.

Grade 1

  • Les Bouffons: a straightforward melodic arrangement of a well-known French traditional piece using the open D string as accompaniment. Cheerful and rhythmical!
  • Waltz in G: a flowing piece based on very simple arpeggios and chords, using up to 2 left hand fingers on strings 1, 2 and 3.

Grade 2

  • A La Mode de France: this is in D major and mostly fingered in second position. Question and answer phrases using the same rhythms including dotted crotchets.

Selina.

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85

The Young Guitarists Progress Part 2 GM7

David Burden

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This collection of guitar pieces takes the beginning guitar student from reading music to playing pieces of approximately Grade Two standard. It leaves the teaching of technique, hand positions, and other fundamentals to the teacher but provides material for all aspects of the very early stages of learning the guitar.

Skill Level
Beginner
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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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
mustrinitytheoryg3

Theory of Music Workbook Grade 3

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
mustrinitytheoryg4

Theory of Music Workbook Grade 4

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
Intermediate
mustrinitytheoryg5

Theory of Music Workbook Grade 5

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
Intermediate
220

Theory of Music Workbook Grade 6

Trinity Guildhall

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
221

Theory of Music Workbook Grade 7

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
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.

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.