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.

Results 1 - 24 of 174

Sheet Music Database

musponcesonclasica

Sonata Clasica

Manuel M Ponce

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He was famous for being a musical prodigy; according to his biographers, he was barely four years of age when, after having listened to the piano classes received by his sister, Josefina, he sat in front of the instrument and interpreted one of the pieces that he had heard. Immediately, his parents had him receive classes in piano and musical notation. Ponce's guitar music is a core part of the guitar's repertory.

Skill Level
Intermediate
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
mustakemitsutwilight

All In Twilight

Toru Takemitsu

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These Four pieces for guitar were commissioned by Julian Bream and dedicated to him. The first performance was given by Bream on October 9th 1988 in New York. The duration of this work is 11 minutes.

Skill Level
Advanced
musguitaristsprogress1

The Guitarists Progress Book 1

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 Three 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
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
musoneplusvol28

One + One Volume 2 (Teachers 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.

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
musdodgsonodetotheguitar

Ode to the Guitar

Stephen Dodgson

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Stephen Dodgson was educated at the Royal College of Music, where he later taught theory and composition. His guitar music has gained recognition, despite the fact that he does not play the instrument himself. His remarkable grasp of the instrument’s capabilities in a distinctly non-Spanish idiom deserves to be heard more widely. John Williams premiered many of his guitar works, including the first Partita and the first guitar concerto.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This book is “A Sequence of 10 Miniatures’ written by a composer with a great pedigree in writing original and ‘far reaching’ music for the classical guitar.

By that I mean that the music stretches our technical abilities and musical ideas and has been very important in the development of the guitar repertoire in the 20th century.

In his preface Dodgson describes his collaboration with Hector Quine in writing a series of technical studies to complement a rapidly expanding guitar repertoire. After 20 years there was a pause in writing and although many aspects of technique had been explored Dodgson felt that there was one vital element missing – the expressive requirement. In this volume he set out to provide ”a strongly coloured miniature which will encourage the right hand to give voice to a full range of expression”

I think that he has achieved his aim with these miniatures and has gone beyond that in introducing guitarists to a truly contemporary style and new musical language, developing reading and interpretation skills as well as musical imagination.

The old excuse of “I can’t learn the piece because I don’t know the tune!” doesn’t work with these pieces.

The titles are very important, supplemented by ‘character’ and ‘feeling’ words in place of traditional tempo markings or expressions; for example ‘brisk and impish ‘,’radiant and sustained’ and ’menacing and intense’, which send direct messages to the fingers before you have even listened to the music!

There is of course a level of technique needed to get the most from this music, but I think that it also helps to develop this from the angle of tone colour, texture, spirit and story telling. The ability to listen and use your imagination is very important throughout the learning process, as is a strong rhythmical feel. A lot of the harmony is dissonant and unusual but there are also plenty of recognizable features to help you to develop an understanding of the style. The pieces use the whole range of the guitar in a very free flowing manner and even though the positions and shapes may be unfamiliar the music is very well written for the guitar both technically and musically. Fingering is used sparingly encouraging the player to explore.

  1. Ode to the Guitar - arpeggio figures punctuating slow melodic lines;
  2. Ragged Robin (grade 6) – clever use of the left hand around the fretboard giving the cheeky and impish character required, with small motifs linking and giving direction;
  3. Rainbow – constant flowing semiquavers where the player needs to listen to the harmony for shape and direction. It is particularly important to read the musical instruction here;
  4. Ghost Story (grade 7) – the melody and harmony are very contemporary with the melodic intervals and dissonances giving it the sinister and menacing feel;
  5. Drowsy Head – clear melody and direction with fingering patterns and a great mental picture to follow!
  6. O Pussy my love – a serenade feel and ideal pulsing accompaniment with a stretched rhythm to challenge you and detailed and tricky left hand work;
  7. Call, and I follow – lively and tricky requiring a light touch and good counting!
  8. Sirins (grade 6) – one of my favorites with clever use of subtly changing harmonies and lilting pulse;
  9. Hornets Nest (grade 8) – great fun with detailed left hand work cleverly under the fingers even if they have to move to get there!
  10. Villanelle – rustic with great spirit in the rhythm, range and lovely bass melodies.

To conclude, these pieces really are small windows onto emotional feelings and characters and as Dodgson says of the benefits of learning; “an awakened imagination is the spark; the reward, a tiny concert piece that sounds like one.”

Selina.

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
282

Pumping Nylon Intermediate

Scott Tennant

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Welcome to the second installment of the repertoire supplements to Pumping Nylon. As the title indicates these pieces are more advanced and are primarily concert pieces. Consider this book to be a brief representation of the types of pieces that contain specific technique building elements. When practiced correctly they aid in the development of your guitar playing skills. CD included.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I do find the title and cover of this book (and the technique book of the same name) very inappropriate to represent my beautiful and lyrical classical guitar, however, once I had got past this I could see the huge benefits for a student of the guitar, namely the great collection of varied pieces from old to brand new.

The pieces in this book offer a wide and varied ‘dip’ into the guitar repertoire from The Frog Galliard by Dowland, to a Coste study, a Villa Lobos inspired Etude and on to the cadenza from Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo!

The preface explains how these are primarily concert pieces and therefore more substantial in technique, musicianship and length than in the previous volume. Tennant asks us to consider the book as a brief representation of the types of pieces that contain specific technique-building elements and, when practiced correctly and with intent, will aid in developing your guitar playing skills.

The techniques highlighted include arpeggios, left hand finger independence, chord balancing and specific techniques like tremolo. Each piece has its own checklist and a short explanation for its inclusion in the book. It is very valuable to be able to see the technical development needed in your various pieces so that you can practice them in the correct way, but it is also very important not to forget, and to make sure that you spend plenty of time practicing, the musical elements. Tennant has hinted at this in some of his descriptions, for example Variations sur les ‘Folies d’Espagne’ by Giuliani – “a typical and lovely variation set”, and The Frog Galliard – “I hope you derive as much joy from it as I have over the years.”

As in the previous volume the music is very diverse and offers as much experience in musical style as in technique. There are long flowing phrases and lovely harmonies in pieces by Milan and Narvaez, great fun in the Folies Variations by Giuliani and a fantastic study by Coste which inspires musicianship through the sounds produced by detailed articulation and slurs.

Alongside these are 2 flamenco studies by Adam del Monte that offer the classical student wonderful technical development and musical excitement and Plainte by Brian Head where voicing is the challenge, definitely not only a technical challenge. Having the cadenza from the Aranjuez is the icing on the cake and is guaranteed to make you feel good!

A book like this gives us many choices and experiences, as long as we use it with an open mind, don’t blindly follow technical checklists but use them as a guide and source of ideas for you to develop, and most of all enjoy playing the music.

Selina.

guitaracademy2

Guitar Academy Book 2

Richard Corr

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This is a very well presented tutor covering many areas that others miss and providing clear explanations. Book 2 follows on nicely from book 1.

Skill Level
Beginner

This volume starts with a quick reference of notes, chords and accidentals followed by an introduction that takes the same format as in book one. It previews what there is to look forward to in book two, focussing particularly on free stroke and the importance of the improvisation and chord exercises in a students overall musical development.

There is an excellent introduction to free stroke describing where and why it is used, and the differences with rest stroke. There are pictures and written explanations on preparation for free stroke and correct and incorrect finger movements.

While many guitar teachers still disagree over the use of free and rest strokes in the early stages of learning (I start my pupils with free stroke) this book provides more information than is usual and so gives the pupil and teacher more choice. This introduction to free stroke is followed up by several exercises using chords in thirds and arpeggios helping the student to become familiar with the finger movements. The book then goes on to cover accidentals and key signatures, scales including the blues scale, ties, swing rhythm, dotted rhythms and 6/8 time signature.

Each new subject has clear written explanations, loads of pictures both amusing and technical, and plenty of exercises for practice. The section on playing fingers with thumb includes some very good open string exercises and even though it does move on to more difficult stretches, these are introduced in a way that makes them not seem so hard! The pieces at the end of the classical section are longer and more involved giving the student a real sense of progress and achievement. The chord supplement uses more involved strumming patterns, and introduces tablature.

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.

325

Sor Variations Op. 9

Fernando Sor

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on a theme from Mozart's Magic Flute edited by Fabio Rizza. Based on the theme 'Das Klinget so herrlich' taken from the first act. This edition is worth owning just for the Preface which has much interesting historical detail. Print quality is clean bright and very easy to read. An excellent edition.

Skill Level
Advanced
musmagicguitareasypieces

Magic Guitar Easy Pieces

Claude Gagnon

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Easy Pieces Book One contains twenty-one graded easy pieces, selected and edited by Claude Gagnon. The Magic Guitar series presents a collection of pieces suitable for the first years of classical guitar study, designed to be used along with a method. The main purpose of The Magic Guitar is to give beginning guitarists the opportunity to express themselves musically at various stages of their technical development.

Skill Level
Beginner

These two volumes offer a wide range and variety of music for guitarists in their first years of playing.

At first the emphasis is on developing melodic playing combined with simple bass lines but even here the student is challenged with detailed phrasing, tied notes and right hand techniques like the arpeggio pattern in "Etude" by Carcassi.

Contemporary, Classical and Traditional styles are all mixed together helping to maintain interest and offering something for everyone, for example the popular "Greensleeves" (it is always particularly satisfying to be able to play a piece that everyone recognizes!).

As the books progress the music becomes more detailed.

The first book works up to the use of thirds in the melodic lines, more complicated bass lines requiring sustained fingered notes and up to three fingered notes together – notably in no.16 "Theme et Variation".

In "Chanson Populaire" the melody to bring out is in the bass and "Souvenir d’Espagne" introduces rasgueado chords and flamenco triplets.

The second volume includes more detailed counterpoint and requires greater musical understanding.

Higher positions are explored here, for example in "Etude"” by Coste and there is a nice mix of arpeggio style and purely melodic pieces.

I particularly enjoyed the collection of classical pieces, "Marlborough" which is an effective arrangement of this traditional melody, and the final "Valse" which is simply great fun to play and listen to!

Selina.

120

The Guitarists Hour Book 1

Schott

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

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
87

Simply Spanish

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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Simply Spanish has established itself as an indispensable part of the early student repertoire. The six pieces in the album are miniature classics, each uncannily evoking the Spanish sound in all its rich colours and rhythms.

Skill Level
Beginner

The sub title of "six evocative pieces" is spot on!

These pieces are Spanish in essence, bringing out the colours and rhythms of Spain through writing that is very accessible.

Clarke manages to introduce techniques and styles of playing that are probably new to the student at this stage while at the same time always encouraging a musical approach.

On playing these pieces, a student of any age will feel that they have arrived and are able to play "proper" pieces of music!

Fandango. Includes a fast rhythmic motif with a flamenco feel throughout combined with single line melodies and a bass melody under a simple repeated chord accompaniment.

Oloroso and Vals Navarra. Slow and contemplative, allowing plenty of dynamic and tonal control.

Tango. Maintains a lovely tango rhythm as accompaniment to the melody - a challenging and effective guitar technique introduced here in a way that is easy to see and understand.

Zincarlo.Requires a lively 6/8 rhythm, picking out a bass melody, and some quick thinking!

Pamplona.Introduces a combination of 3/4 and 6/8 rhythm along with strumming with the "i" finger

Selina.

musburdenguitarprog4

The Guitarists Progress Book 4

David Burden

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Book 4 covers the area approximately Grade 6 to Grade 8. Music has been selected to encourage improvement in areas of technique for Slurs, Development of Melody and Barre with part two of the book being called Recital Section.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
bach-inventions-8-15

Bach Inventions Vol 2 8-15

J. S. Bach

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BMV 773 - 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
musgw2

The Guitarists Way Book 2

Peter Nuttall and John Whitworth

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Book 2 reinforces the skills learned in book 1. We discover quavers, dotted rhythms and two-note chords, as well as sharps, flats and naturals. The remaining bass notes are introduced through a series of carefully graded melodies.

Skill Level
Beginner
95

Five Pictures of Sark

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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These five delightful pieces by Vincent Lindsey-Clark reflect the Channel Island of Sark. Maseline Harbour, Hvre Gosselin, Cycles in the Avenue, La Moinerie and Descent from La Coupee are expertly composed for solo guitar by this highly talented musician.

Skill Level
Intermediate

As with the "Simply" series, these pieces encourage experimentation, exploration and musicianship for all levels of ability.

Clarke somehow manages to make the guitar sound more expansive in scope than it is with the various ways that he writes melodies and, particularly, accompaniments. He achieves many different textures and moods, which are evocative and convincing, drawing real pictures of the scenery and life of Sark.

The music requires dynamic and tonal control and contrast, while the structure and harmony in the pieces introduces the player to a modern and "impressionistic" style.

We often talk about finding pictures to accompany your music and help you to communicate ideas - this music really helps and encourages you to do just that!

In Maseline Harbour the contrast in textures is fantastic, from the flowing arpeggios of the first section to a repeated chord accompaniment over a bass melody; this melody then expands into octaves bringing out wonderful dissonances and producing a big sound picture. The final section highlights a syncopated melody within the semiquavers that is a great exercise for the brain and finger independence. This creates an uneasy atmosphere before melting back into the opening arpeggios.

Havre Gosselin uses a simpler musical texture, mainly two voices, employing repeated notes in the melody to create long undulating phrases. This is a haunting piece; the dramatic centre section uses big jumps between first and seventh position to hold and release the tension in the music.

Cycles in the Avenue is the most cheerful of the pieces -the musical instruction is "scherzando"! The piece uses the whole fretboard and encourages a freedom of movement in the player. This is not easy as there is some challenging high position reading and quick moves. The contrasting middle section uses long slow chords with a "scrunchy" harmonic progression and voicing that requires one part to be staccato and the other legato.

La Moinerie is a beautiful, slow, expressive piece that requires good finger control to bring out the separate voices and fantastic harmonies. The phrases are long and flowing, excellent practice for the developing guitarist and the flow of the music is irresistible. A small phrase using artificial harmonics with other voices is a big challenge (a difficult technique) that is wonderful when mastered, and the way that the ending evaporates has a real "tingle" factor!

The final piece, Descent from La Coupee (304 steps) is the most dramatic, dissonant and exciting. The dissonances may take some time to get used to when you are learning the piece, but the effect they add to the driving rhythms conjures up many pictures including, for me, a thunderstorm, crashing seas and fright in the repeated chord section! The use of strumming and punctuated rhythm in the coda results in a big, dramatic ending.

This set of pieces would stand quite happily alongside more complicated and difficult works in performance and I think that any player would have fun (and benefit from) exploring them - I know that I do!

Selina.

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.

musabscales2

Guitar Scales and Arpeggios, Grades 6 to 8

ABRSM

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This new edition contains all the scales and arpeggios required for the Grades 6–8 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
Intermediate
Advanced
scenesfromwildwest

Scenes from the Wild West

Gary Ryan

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A suite of 6 superb pieces by Gary Ryan. Ryan's lyrical and atmospheric style effortlessly draws on the inspiration of images of America's Wild West to provide an exceptionally attractive set of pieces which can be performed individually or as a suite lasting 25 minutes.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I wanted to write some technically challenging and tuneful contemporary repertoire that would hopefully be rewarding to play and at the same time encourage extrovert, rhythmic and entertaining playing.

This is Gary's opening intro to this unusual and extremely enjoyable set of pieces, and I think that he has succeeded in his wishes! In the suite he has explored a very wide range of techniques taken from many styles of guitar playing and American music.

There are references to steel, slide, plectrum, rhythm, electric and flamenco guitar as well as mandolin, banjo, country, western, gospel, jazz, rock, film soundtracks, classical and nursery rhymes to name but a few!

These pieces are not for the faint hearted, and you do have to be adventurous and willing to "have a go", but the results are such good fun to play and listen too that it is well worth the effort.

Gary has written a description and explanation of each piece at the beginning of the book which is extremely useful. There is no comprehensive list of how to execute the various techniques used in the music although he does include some brief comments on the score. This is probably because he wants it to come from the player as much as possible, and for us not to feel restricted in our interpretation.

I was nervous of this at first but eventually decided that I should get away from any strict "classical" and technical ideas and go for what sounded good! By doing this you get the most out of the music and learn to play with greater freedom, which can only improve your overall playing.

One of the most useful aspects of the pieces is that you need to be able to relax and enjoy playing technically and rhythmically demanding music. Guitarists are notoriously bad in my experience at counting rhythms, but here you have to go through that process to eventually be able to feel the rhythm and pulse and get the best out of the music by achieving the required fluency.

The music includes some of the more unusual guitar techniques such as strumming the strings behind the nut, scraping a fingernail along the length of a string and various sorts of tapping. Getting used to these techniques is great because it necessitates moving you hands and arms away from their set positions, which in turn means that you need to develop a relaxed and correct posture and playing technique. I would put the grade of the set at 7 to 8.

Railroad

"…portrays the long journey of a steam train gaining momentum as it winds its way along a mountain track. The piece is played with the lowest two strings of the guitar tuned to C and G and results in the three open bass strings being tuned in perfect fifths, like the cello. This allows greater freedom in the key of G major, facilitates more unusual 6 string chords and produces a rich bass sonority in the subdominant key centre of C major." This description really helps the interpretation of the music. After the slow introduction the train starts to move and once you have worked out your rhythms you can definitely hear the "chugging"! Techniques include slurred ornaments, strumming with the index finger and getting used to the unusual tuning, as there are many fingered noted on these strings.

Across the Plain

"…is quiet, lyrical and reflective, depicting a family on a wagon journey across the warm, wide-open plains and prairies of America. The musical feel is spacious and cinematic, reflecting the lyrical, sustained sounds of a string orchestra." This piece offers a wonderful opportunity to experiment with tone colours and shaping of phrases to make the most of the cinematic feel which is definitely there. Sustaining a legato line is very important and there are some harmonics to be worked out.

West Coast Breeze

"…combines a fast finger picking style and right hand string stopping with African and Latin American cross rhythms to depict the sunny 'beach lifestyle', freedom and wealth of California. It is partly influenced by Pat Metheny, a guitarist and composer whose music I enjoy." This is a very lively and energetic piece requiring some fast articulation, staccato control and excellent feel for a solid pulse! The rhythm is syncopated and written in 2 voices which makes it difficult to work out at first but great fun when you have done the leg work and can really feel and hear it.

Rockweed

".. is inspired by the intense desert heat of Monument Valley, Arizona and is a musical word play on the tumbleweeds that blow around the landscape. The style draws upon the music of Bobby McFerrin, James Brown, Miles Davies and Steve Reich and uses many of the techniques in electronic dance music……, particularly building energy over time via the use of trance like repetitions and subtle rhythmic alterations." There are lots of directions and unusual effects in this piece but the "slow, spacious & improvisatory" marking at the beginning gives you the time and freedom to experiment and really add something of your own to the music. This is something that you may not be used to but that is so valuable to our musical development.

Rondo Rodeo

"… is a lively finale inspired by Aaron Copland, with many recurrent ideas suggesting the celebration and energy of the rodeo, complete with cowboys (and girls!), bucking bronco, farmyard noises, swinging saloon doors, honky tonk piano and the hoe-down!" This piece is simply great fun to play and helps you to develop confidence with rhythms and effects like glissando and different types of pizzicato. The naturally strong pulse of the music carries you along and the various special effects mean that you have to let go with your left hand quite a lot - very good practice!

Smoke Rising

"…was written for Trinity College London as a study for Grade 7….Extensive use is made of 'tamboura' and there are also some tricky slur combinations to execute. The music depicts a ritual Apache Indian dance around a campfire and contains a short section where the strumming should be improvised around a sequence of chords in the style of a rock track." The strumming technique used here is very useful as well as extremely effective to the music. Overall it is one of the easier pieces in the group and is musically very rewarding; shut your eyes and you can see and smell the campfire! You will be very satisfied when you realise that you can create the atmosphere without too much difficulty.

I would recommend this set of pieces to anybody; they are fresh and exciting and will help to build confidence in technique and musicianship.

Selina.

muswandersguitarandco

Guitar and Co

Jeop Wanders and Harry Hoogenberg

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In Guitar and Co you are the soloist because you can play all 16 pieces along with the enclosed CD. First listen to the complete version and then practise your own part. When you can play it without any mistakes or stops, play along with the track on the CD. Blues rock Dance Latin Jazz Pop Fusion Flamenco Samba Reggae. Great Fun. Difficulty level grade 2/3

Skill Level
Beginner
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