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

musspaldingragamufin

Ragamuffin

Gary Spolding

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For players interested in music written in a popular style. The book contains a set of pieces in the style of Rock, Rags, Blues and Boogie all in swing rhythm. Great fun and excellent for classical players to become more adept at a slightly different rhythmical style.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

This is a great little book written, as Gary explains in the introduction, as several of his grade 3 to 4 students became extremely interested in playing music written in ‘popular’ styles!

This of course encourages students who might otherwise drift away from the classical guitar but it also provides excellent technical and musical development for those of us who love anything and everything classical guitar!

From the simple bass and melody of Little Boy Blues to the more complex repeated chords and higher positions of Clapped Out Blues there is a wide range of character within the overall style, with some challenging rhythms, chords and positions requiring free and confident movement around the fingerboard.

The music is great for helping to develop a feel for the pulse, essential when playing swing and triplet rhythms. Overall the style is very much based on patterns and chord shapes and knowing this can be very helpful in learning the notes higher up the fingerboard.

Looking at it from the other side, the pieces do represent an excellent teaching aid to learning the fingerboard and developing fluency in reading and in left hand technique while having fun! There are also plenty of slurs, bends and glissandos.

The Bass Vamp is great with a riff moving from one string to the next and some tricky slurs off high frets to open strings.

Rock Bass Groove is deceptively easy with simple open string chords accompanying the walking bass line – extremely effective and satisfying.

Slip Slidin’ Rock gets you used to higher notes and slides before moving on to Slick Riff Blues which has some quite complex movement around the fingerboard, slides, slurs and bends.

All in all, not only do these pieces introduce us to new styles without getting too complicated, but a lot of technique is being developed in the background, helping you to relax in playing and progress your overall musicianship.

Selina.

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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
musmartinquatrepiec

Quatre Pieces Breves

Frank Martin

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This edition presents the work in the form in which it appears in the definitive manuscriot written in 1955. The original composition for guitar solo dates from 1933 which was later arranged for large orchestra.

Skill Level
Intermediate
musbensa2preludes

Deux Preludes

Olivier Bensa

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Skill Level
Intermediate
musintermediate

Intermediate Music for Guitar

John Whitworth

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Sixteen pieces for the student repertoire, in a scholarly but highly accessible edition. Includes music by Sanz, Carulli, Sor, Paganini, Mertz and Van der Staaz.

Skill Level
Beginner
musoneplusvol16

One + One Volume 1 (Pupils Part)

Chanterelle

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The three volumes of One + One contain arrangements of music from the renaissance, baroque, classical and romantic periods as well as folk-song settings and new compositions written specially for the EGTA Series. New compositions, even though they don’t apply to the exam list repertoire, are included, in order to maximise the books’ general value to the player and to show how this approach can work for all types of music.

Skill Level
Beginner

These volumes of duets were conceived and put together through the efforts of EGTA, the European Guitar Teachers Association, and are designed to help students develop their musicianship, co ordination, tone and articulation without the excessive physical demands that the chordal and contrapuntal repertoire can impose, particularly on the left hand.

The pieces were the first duets to be used in the ABRSM guitar syllabus, a change in approach that has been invaluable for encouraging students and introducing them to repertoire that would have previously been inaccessible until much later. Of course, it also promotes ensemble playing and all the rhythmical, musical and “communication” benefits that this brings, as well as being so much fun!

There is a comprehensive preface to each volume, which is important to read as it outlines the ideals in general as well as the technical demands and thoughts about fingering, positions and musical indications. It is great that fingering has been kept to a minimum and the preface makes it clear that the fingerings that have been added are just suggestions based on achieving the best musical result.

There is a wide variety of repertoire represented from the Renaissance to the present day, including arrangements of music by Dowland, Purcell, Haydn, Schubert, Mozart, Grieg and Tchaikovsky, as well as original, contemporary guitar pieces. I was a little disappointed not to find any arrangements from the guitar solo repertoire, since there is so much to choose from that would provide an insight into the world of the classical guitar – in other words all the exciting things to come!

All the student parts are single line melodies across the two volumes.

Volume 1 stays in first position, with pieces tending to use the bass or treble voices so working on the separate articulation of fingers and thumb. The arrangements are very well done with a lot of emphasis on ensemble skills i.e. counting and listening, and a good mix of popular and unknown melodies.

In volume 2 fingers and thumb are combined within pieces and left hand positions range from first to fourth. In both books there are some challenging rhythms and time signatures with the articulation and musical indications getting more detailed in volume 2.

There are also some quite unusual and tricky accompaniments in these arrangements, which is worth noting for teachers!

I have to admit to finding some of the modern melodies a little “dry” and more difficult to follow (for young ears) especially when being played without accompaniment. However, overall, there are plenty of lovely tunes, lots of invaluable ensemble experience and counting practice and a strong emphasis on the importance of melody and phrasing.

Grade 1 (volume 1)

  • Riggadoon: a lively, straightforward melody using the treble strings.
  • German Dance: another energetic piece in ¾ time using a dotted crotchet rhythm and some accents.
  • Theme from Rosamunde: this is a flowing, Andante melody, with some longer quaver passages.

Grade 2 (volume 2)

  • Minuet: this piece is in F major, has some detailed phrasing indications and uses 2nd and 3rd positions.
  • A Fairy Tale: the phrasing is detailed again here with a strong, rhythmical, flowing melody and quite a lot of accidentals!
  • Slavonic Waltz: this piece is marked con moto and has a clear character with a contrasting second section and change of key signature.
  • Grade 3 (volume 2)

    • Musette en Rondeau: this is a lovely dance in ¾ with long quaver passages in treble and bass voices.
    • Sweet Reveries: marked Andante, this piece requires long legato phrasing with detailed dynamic control. A dotted quaver rhythm is used throughout and the left hand plays up to the 7th fret.

    Selina.

    mustimescapes

    Timescapes

    John Whitworth

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    Nine compositions aiming to broaden the repertoire of the intermediate guitarist. The most fun I have had in ages, if you are searching for music to challenge the player and give pleasure to the audience this is definately for you.

    Skill Level
    Intermediate

    I first started to play these pieces a week ago and I am already completely hooked!

    They are beautifully simple in concept and very aptly named. John seems to have a knack of putting across expressive ideas in relatively few notes, and not asking the guitarist to perform acrobatics, ensuring that you can enjoy the music!

    I was immediately attracted to the high levels of interpretation and musicianship being asked for. All the pieces work at many levels; if you are working up to this technical level the pieces will sound good without too much control of sound and dynamics, but if you are more advanced you can still get loads of enjoyment from the music by challenging yourself on matters of colour and shape.

    The amount of instruction in the book is excellent. Each piece has a description that varies from the origin of, or inspiration for the piece, to technical instruction and musical goals.

    The introduction on the title page briefly explains the history of the pieces and ideas for performance; for example as a continuous suite, individually or in smaller suites created by grouping three or four pieces together.

    These are great ideas for students embarking on their first performances, and for more experienced players developing their musicianship.

    The phrasing, dynamic and articulation markings are very detailed throughout giving you plenty to work with that will help you to bring out the shape and character of each piece.

    The first section of First Light is made up of long legato chords asking for lots of dynamic control and it finishes with a simple but beautiful quaver melody.

    Road to the Hills and The Traveller are more lively and rhythmical while Edge of Storm uses low dissonances and a throbbing bass line for dramatic effect.

    Serenade pays homage to Erik Satie's famous Gymnopedie No 1 for piano and Walton's 2nd Bagatelle for guitar asking for a legato melody line with accompaniment very much in the background.

    The rhythm in Milonga is easy to highlight and great fun to play.

    Introduction and Tango is very cleverly written with two simple voices that fit together and bring out the spirit of the dance perfectly.

    Late Night contrasts a slow, broody introduction (great melody), with a lively swing rhythm and the collection is brought to a close by the haunting Beneath the Stars where the bass melody is backed by a fast but gentle open string arpeggio, finishing with the melody from First Light in harmonics, dying away.

    The most important aspect of this collection for me, and, for that matter, of being a guitarist, is summed up by John at the end of his introduction;

    "I hope you enjoy playing these pieces and bringing them to life…"

    Selina.

    musscarlatti

    Scarlatti for Guitar

    Domenico Scarlatti

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    It is great to see these two collections being published, as the music is often difficult to find and choose when students reach the technical level required.

    Skill Level
    Intermediate

    It is great to see these two collections being published,as the music is often difficult to find and choose when students reach the technical level required.

    I was especially impressed with the Weiss collection where the 10 movements chosen (from a huge repertoire of suites) work very well as stand alone pieces and transfer beautifully onto our 6 string classical guitar, without the player having to perform too many acrobatics and without losing the musical flow.

    It is very important to introduce the repertoire of these two composers to guitarists as soon as possible. Weiss because he was a contemporary of Bach and wrote pieces of high quality and, arguably more suited to the guitar, and Scarlatti whose harpsichord music helps to develop a feel for the Spanish Baroque style where the guitar can recreate the textures of the harpsichord very well.

    The editions are clearly set out and printed with excellent historical notes at the beginning of each volume. These notes are very informative and useful for the technical and musical interpretation of the pieces.

    For the Scarlatti there is some background for individual pieces, as well as musical ideas and explanation of ornaments.

    For the Weiss there is a more general history of how he wrote for the Baroque Lute developing the instrument to include 13 courses, and of his main format for composition, namely the suites of dance movements.

    I particularly found useful the explanation of the Prelude or Fantasia, a form represented in the first piece in this book.

    The Scarlatti pieces all fit the guitar well although the last two are technically complicated. My favourites are 3, 5, 6 and 7 from which I felt I could really get a lot of musicality, texture and rhythmic drive.

    All of the Weiss movements are lovely with a lot of contrast to be found between pieces. The player can get a real feel for the dance styles and sophisticated harmonies that Weiss used. My highlights are the Rondeau and Sarabande (5 and 6), Paysanne (8) and Courante (9).

    The only thing that I would like to have seen less of in these editions is fingering, especially for the left hand. The music is complicated and it is nice to have fingering advice but I found that it hindered my initial reading of the pieces and so it ended up taking me longer to become fluent!!

    It is good for students and teachers to work out the best fingering for themselves through trial and error - in my experience you learn more thoroughly and have a better understanding of reading and technique this way.

    Overall, this is excellent source material for any guitarist, not only to be used for exams but as essential repertoire. It is also beautiful and detailed music that all will be able to enjoy learning and mastering.

    Selina.

    317

    Trinity Guitar from 2016 Scales Initial - Grade 5

    Trinity College London

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    Scales Arpeggios & Studies from 2016, containing all the scales, arpeggios and studies required for Trinity College London’s Guitar and Plectrum Guitar exams for Grades Initial–5, valid from 2016. Newly commissioned studies are also included which may be used as an alternative to scales and arpeggios.

    Skill Level
    Beginner
    Intermediate
    309

    Trinity Guitar 2016-2019 - Guitar Grade 3

    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
    muspujolhispanae

    Hispanae Citharae Ars Viva

    Emilio Pujol

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    I am afraid that I will have to start this review by saying that this is one of my favourite music books ever!There is a short preface describing the history and sources of the pieces, with some information for the player on tablature, original instrumentation, tuning and performance practice followed by a short description for each piece. Contains music composed by Various Composers and arranged by Emilio Pujol Vilarrubí.

    Skill Level
    Intermediate
    Advanced

    I am afraid that I will have to start this review by saying that this is one of my favourite music books ever! The music is simply fantastic and it is great to have a volume with a nice variety of pieces from this period to help guitarists become acquainted with the style and, as I did, fall in love with the music.

    There is a short preface describing the history and sources of the pieces, with some information for the player on tablature, original instrumentation, tuning and performance practice followed by a short description for each piece. In these descriptions the editor gives approximate tempo markings and an indication as to whether note values have been changed due to the fact that during this period the semibreve is thought to have been equal to today’s crotchet, hence the pieces ‘looking’ slower to us!

    The tempo markings are mentioned but unfortunately not translated! Despacio = slow, Apresurado = fast, Apriesa = fast, Compas = beat, Medio = neither slow nor fast! It is also important to understand the words redobles indicating rapid passages of notes and scales, and consonancias indicating passages of harmony and slower melody. Understanding the musical language is always important, especially here as it helps to explain performance practice and interpretation of a style that we are very unfamiliar with.

    The preface states; “ (this music)…should be considered indispensable for the artistic development of the guitarist” and I cannot agree more! From a reading point of view the altered tuning makes us think and the Renaissance style forces us listen to musical lines and phrases, clashing harmony creating movement and emotion, multiple voices, interweaving lines and long extended phrases with unfamiliar structure. The rhythms are unusual and there are lots of long notes and space to play through, especially where the pieces are based on vocal works, like Cancion del Emperador by Narvaez on Mille Regretz by Josquin.

    There are also many contrasts from the simple chordal structure of the first two pieces by Pisador, through the long interweaving lines of Milan’s Fantasia del quarto tono, to the imitation, energy and dissonance of the Fantasia by Mudarra. This Fantasia, written in imitation of the harp in the manner of Luduvico is a fantastic piece and great fun, if a little tricky, to play. At one point in the piece Mudarra has written a note saying “from here to the end there are some false notes; when played well they do not sound bad”!

    I also love the Fantasia del quarto tono by Milan with its stately opening chords from which melodies emerge and open creating continuous momentum throughout the music. The contrasts in Fantasia de consonancias y redobles are great and encourage a freedom in interpretation that many of us find difficult at first.

    Finally Diferencias sobre Guardame las vacas is probably the most famous of the pieces and has wonderful movement and development throughout the continuous variations, rhythms that appear to twist and turn, imitation and flowing scale passages that rise and build towards a final phrase that relieves the tension in a calm ending.

    Brilliant and definitely music that should be in every guitarist’s repertoire.

    Selina.

    80

    Diversions

    Peter Nuttall and John Whitworth

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    An exciting collection of eleven guitar pieces that cover a wide range of popular styles; from folk to blues, Elizabethan music to Jazz and Classical. The mixture of arrangements and original compositions will ensure that this selection has something to offer players of all ages.

    Skill Level
    Beginner

    This is a wonderfully varied little book.

    For Diversions, Peter Nuttall and John Whitworth have written music within 5 different styles – Folk, Jazz, Elizabethan, Classical and Blues. The result is 11 pieces each with their own technical and musical challenges. This book is great for building repertoire; in their introduction Nuttall and Whitworth say that their aim is to ‘provide the intermediate guitarist with a repertoire of pieces covering a wide range of popular musical styles’, and many of the pieces introduce the player to different techniques that are used across the board in classical guitar music.

    Nuttall and Whitworth have written an ‘introduction’ to each piece, in which they point out the prevalent musical characteristics, give advice on counting or ‘feel’, and provide some interesting context. From the off the player is introduced to swing rhythms and slides in ‘Inside Blues’, techniques that will pop up again later in the book. With the slides and accidentals, Inside Blues has a very fluid, gritty feel that will get any player into the groove! It is followed by a more mellow piece called ‘Celebration’, in which a lingering top line melody is supported by flowing right hand patterns. The melody switches to the bass halfway through the piece, so we get the chance to use the thumb to bring that out. ‘The Helston Floral Dance’ and ‘The Rakes of Mallow’ work well both separately and as a pair, and are both arrangements of traditional tunes that contain more technical semiquaver runs.

    My favourite tunes in this book have to be in the Jazz Suite, a collection of three pieces designed to test the player’s musicality. The pieces all contain a certain amount of space and are open to a little more interpretation, from the improvisatory feel of ‘Lazy Afternoon’ to the syncopation and catchy melody of ‘Stomp’, finishing with ‘Night Piece’ with it’s irresistible energy and walking bass line.

    There is so much scope in this book to develop ones musicality; each piece has its own character and is fun to play in its own way. What Nuttall and Whitworth have produced is music that is appealing to listen to and play, but also can help to improve ones technique.

    Jess.

    bach-chaconne

    Bach Chaconne BMV 1004

    J. S. Bach

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    Chaconne from Partita for violin No2 for guitar solo transcribed by Paolo Cherici. Adopting Bach's own criteria for transcription Cherici has been able to adapt the violin writing to the guitar helping to bring out the natural resources of the guitar. At the same time fingering has been considered to help suggest a possible phrasing.

    Skill Level
    Intermediate
    Advanced
    315

    Elogio de la danza

    Leo Brouwer

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    A much loved and often performed piece that will test your technical and interpretive abilities yet give a great sense of achievement when mastered. The two movements Lento & Obstinato have been clearly printed making for easy reading and page turns are well catered for.

    Skill Level
    Advanced
    muslerichsixpreludes

    Six Preludes

    Pierre Lerich

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    These six preludes are a must for any aspiring player. I remember studying themin my earlier years and now having re visited them, I have to say they are still just as good. Musically expressive, and each with their own technical intricacies; but most of all great fun, offering a sense of achievement upon completion.

    Skill Level
    Intermediate
    233

    Circles End

    Steve Marsh

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    Eleven works altogether, eight of which were originally written as teaching pieces and three as concert items. Titles are: Mystery Waltz; The Rainbow; Song for a Gentle Maiden; Rush Hour; The Seagull; Carnival Time; Mountain Stream; When the Cats Waltz at Midnight; The Empty Attic; The Haunted Carousel; Circles End. Circle's End written in memory of the singer/songwriter, Harry Chapin and chosen by one critic as his 'Pick of the Year' piece in Classical Guitar magazine after it was included in their music supplement.

    Skill Level
    Intermediate

    This is a lovely collection of pieces that bring out and highlight the very best that the guitar has to offer encouraging the musician within!

    Steve Marsh is a guitarist and a teacher writing music on many different levels for guitarists from about a grade 3 standard, say 2 to 3 years playing experience. By this I mean that his pieces help us to develop our technique on the instrument as well as introducing new sounds and encouraging our communication skills and imagination.

    In this collection the pieces are so interesting and full of character with lots of material for us to work with including simple melody and accompaniment, various arpeggio patterns with melody above, below or within, movement around the guitar, shifting rhythms, texture, movement and, most importantly, feel.

    The Rainbow is simple in 2 and 3 voices with straightforward rhythm but is very uplifting. The harmonic movement and interest in this really carries the player along and this is true of all the pieces from the gentle rise and fall of flight in The Seagull to the bubbling arpeggio texture of the Mountain Stream and the macabre, spinning twists and turns of The Haunted Carousel.

    A great sense of humour comes across in When the Cats Waltz at Midnight and the rhythm of Rush Hour reflects the title brilliantly.

    The title piece Circles end is simply beautiful with lovely breadth and depth to the sound creating a big and emotional sound picture.

    The key thing with this music is that it introduces an idea through the title that you can grasp quickly as you start to learn through the way the piece is written, and then allows you to let your imagination run free and encourages feeling and enjoyment.

    Just what we need!

    Selina.

    musmarshderbyshire9

    Derbyshire Suite

    Steve Marsh

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    A musical excursion into the beautiful countryside of the county of Derbyshire which is set in the heart of England known as the 'Peak District'. Lathkill Dale, Bleaklow, Kinder Downfall, Arbor Low, Litton, Millers Dale and Peak Cavern are the names of each of the seven movements which make up this suite which lasts approximately 30 minutes. The music tries to capture the mood of each of these contrasting areas: from the tranquillity and beauty of Lathkill Dale and Miller's Dale and the mysterious and dramatic Arbor Low and Bleaklow, through to the humorous Litton and the awe and power of Kinder Downfall and Peak Cavern. The album contains a brief description of each area

    Skill Level
    Intermediate

    This suite consists of 7 movements with lots of contrast in character, mood and atmosphere, and with plenty of musical and technical challenges.

    In fact I think the most important factor in Steve’s music is the musicianship, challenging the player to explore the written notes and find the movement and emotion within the piece.

    The titles of the individual movements in this suite are very evocative and the way the music is written reflects this beautifully. For example the syncopated melody within the arpeggios and the dissonant harmonies definitely create a mysterious feel in Bleaklow and the fast, tumbling arpeggios give you a real sense of a dramatic waterfall in Kinder Downfall.

    Millers Dale is a beautiful, gentle piece with a dramatic centre section that includes one of my favourite ‘buildups’! I visited Millers Dale a few years ago and was amazed at how well this piece reflects the landscape and feel of the place.

    The 5th movement, Litton, is written in sections with instructions as to the order and repeats. It has a festive and dance like feel that put me in mind of a village fete or celebration before I looked it up and found that Litton is a village!

    The final movement, Peak Cavern, is very dramatic with running semiquavers that change from flowing and swirling patterns to rhythmical and energetic passages and back again.

    This really is a lovely set of pieces that will enhance your repertoire and expand your musical ideas. I think that it is music written from the heart, about places that the composer knows and cares about. With the wonders of the internet you can look up the landscape as you learn the music, although the way that the music is written really does create a picture and feeling for you to develop. Some of the sounds are definitely challenging but they go towards creating a sound picture that is compelling and inspiring.

    Great fun!

    Selina.

    mussor20minuets

    20 Selected Minuets GA15

    Fernando Sor

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    How should one perform Sor's music? I believe the answer is with considerably more freedom, expression and passion than has, for the most part, been done in the recent past. These 20 Minuets are a must have for the aspiring student wishing to develop the emotional side of their playing.

    Skill Level
    Intermediate
    Advanced
    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
    musponcevalse

    Valse

    Manuel M Ponce

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    Ponce was in fact born in Mexico City but by 1904 was living in Europe where he studied music in Bologna and Berlin. In 1925, after a spell back in Mexico, he was inspired to make the move to the French capital. It was a stay that was to last seven years and was arguably his most creative period. It was when he met Andres Segovia in 1923 that he began to compose music for guitar.

    Skill Level
    Advanced

    This is a new to piece to me and I enjoyed playing through so much I have decided to learn it properly!

    It is so full of life making full use of the powerful resonance of a guitar with dropped ‘D’ tuning.

    The strong and bright main theme has an almost ‘rustic’ feel accompanied by full strummed chords and moves at a lively one in a bar pace.

    The articulation and musical directions are detailed and need good control, the articulation particularly bringing loads of texture and shaping to the music.

    The main theme has a lot of contrast in register and dynamic and is repeated throughout the piece giving it its structure with great, unexpected harmonies and twists in direction in between.

    The centre section changes key to B?. It has more chromatic movement and emphasis on melodic lines in the treble and bass with fewer chords in the accompaniment texture.

    I love the falling bass line building up to the return to D major. In contrast to the full and energetic theme the ending is ‘grazioso’ and understated – a lovely surprise!

    This little Valse has fantastic movement and swing throughout, making full use of the tone colours in the guitars voice, and leaving you with a definite ‘feel good’ feeling – an excellent little repertoire filler.

    Selina.

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