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 265 - 288 of 289

Sheet Music Database

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.

297

Guitar Music from The Student Repertoire

John Mills

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A collection of sixty selected pieces, placed in graded sequence, offering a wealth of material for the student to study. In terms of musical and technical value all of these pieces are worthwhile for both personal pleasure and for public performance should you wish. Aguado, Carcassi, Dowland, Milan, Sor, Tarrega and more.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

This is a lovely collection of pieces, very well put together and thought out. It is a fantastic repertoire resource with pieces that are very enjoyable to play and listen too, while teaching you new techniques and ideas. As John Mills says in his forward, all sixty pieces also provide excellent performance material and can encourage students to play to others and widen their musical experience and knowledge.

There are 8 pages of study notes with information on style, structure, fingering, and techniques such as slurring and balance of voices in chords and counterpoint. These notes are helpful for students in understanding what they are working towards and to teachers for ideas, however in some cases there is a little too much detail.

For example the notes for no.20, Estudio no.1 by Tarrega start with “In this little right hand study the 4th, 7th, and 10th notes should be played using rest strokes.” The problem here is that there is no explanation - why should we use rest stroke? Obviously the intention is to highlight the notes, but this is not made clear.

My advice is to read the study notes as there is a lot of good information and advice included, and then use them to ask questions as you learn the music rather than just following ‘instructions’. We are all capable of listening to the music as we learn and deciding how we want to play it. Having so many pieces with so much variety in one book is great for developing these skills.

The difficulty is graduated through the book, starting with some lovely little pieces by Aguado, Giuliani, Carulli and Sor suitable for beginners of about 6 months to a years experience (depending on age, speed of learning, etc).

I would certainly recommend playing from the beginning even if you are at a higher level, there is much to be learnt from this music and it also provides great sight-reading practice!

There are many old favourites included in the collection; Giuliani’s Andante in C (Tales of the Riverbank), Estudio no.1 by Tarrega with the melody appearing from within the arpeggio texture, Carcassi’s gorgeous study in A (op.60, no.3), lots of Sor studies including the B minor op.35, no.22, and Adelita by Tarrega.

I loved coming back to the Milan Pavanes, lovely serene pieces with great depth and the particular challenge of playing long sustained notes and chords. I also really enjoyed the movements from de Visee’s D minor suite, an excellent introduction to the Baroque period and music that has stayed with me since I first playing it 35 years ago. A lot of these pieces are found in separate books and more obscure editions meaning that a lot of people do not get access due to availability and cost.

This book gives you the taster that can then lead you to explore further or simply enjoy the pieces you have. Particular favourites for me include a Passamezzo (Anon. no.29) with lovely voicing and harmony, Minuet by Diabelli (no.39) with exciting musical shaping and texture where you can be your own little orchestra, and most especially a fantastic little prelude by Tarrega.

My recommendation for this book is summed up by the fact that I am now going to learn this Prelude, and also return to look at Tarregas other preludes and studies (as well as the de Visee!)

A collection like this is so valuable in extending our experience of the Classical Guitar and its music, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do!

Selina.

muslemayprogressivevol5

Repertoire Progressif Volume 5

Les Productions dOZ

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These six volumes of progressive repertoire for classic guitar provide pieces that will please apprentice guitarists at both beginner and more advanced levels. The repertoire was chosen by a large number of Quebec teachers who have been working for many years at all levels of classic guitar instruction. Their precious help has brought quality, diversity and originality to this collection.

Skill Level
Intermediate
giuliani-rossiniana

Giuliani Rossiniana OP.119

Mauro Giuliani

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Returning to Italy in 1819 after years of success Giuliani found himself forced to rebuild his career in a musical environment dominated by opera. It was in this context that the six Rossiniane were created. Constituting one of the highlights of Giuliani's production they also offer an insight into the the reception of Rossini's work by his contemporaries. If this is new work for you then Rossiniana No 1 is a good starting point.

Skill Level
Advanced
musscarlatt_4sonatasUE29149

Four Sonatas UE 29149

Domenico Scarlatti

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Skill Level
Intermediate
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.

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
muswanderslaguitarraespanola9

La Guitarra Espanola

Jeop Wanders

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This is definitely a book I wish I’d been introduced to earlier! These simple Spanish pieces are beautifully printed making for easy reading by the student. 15 pieces, including Rumba, Pasodoblillo, Bolero and Malaquena, are an enjoyable introduction to familiar guitar styles.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is definitely a book I wish I’d been introduced to earlier!

Joep Wanders has written music in a variety of styles for beginners; the theme of this book as revealed by the title is Spanish music. In addition to writing music that conforms to the Spanish style, Wanders incorporates flamenco techniques into the pieces – you will find a number of examples of golpe and tambora. In my mind this makes the music infinitely more interesting to learn as you immerse yourself in unfamiliar percussive techniques.

On the contents page Wanders has included a helpful glossary to describe any unfamiliar words to the reader.

The book contains 15 pieces that become progressively more challenging, however the music is engaging from the off. Entrada Libre begins the book with a catchy melodic line that is easy to bring out and contains a couple of ad libs for those who want to expand even more on the music. El Testamento de Amelia is more lyrical with an interesting syncopated bassline. Flores de Primavera and La Fiesta Espanola highlight the right hand technical issue of adding strummed chords to a piece, and La Guitar Espanola consists of variations on a simple upbeat tune to shake the music up a bit. Wanders has also written in a variety of Spanish dance styles that feature syncopated rhythms (Tango, Bolero, Rumba) and keep your eyes peeled for a familiar tune - but I will leave that one with you.

Despite this being a beginners book there are plenty of examples of musical variety and interweaving musical lines, encouraging us to pay close attention to which “voice” is singing and concentrate on how we can bring them out. The result is 15 pieces of music that will continue to engage both listeners and players, even as the player advances through more difficult music. One to add to the collection.

Jess.

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
318

The Guitar Music of Spain Vol 1 Bartolome Calatayud

Bartolome Calatayud

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A series of three volumes, with over 50 traditional pieces by Bartolome Calatayud, graded from simple to advanced throughout the book. This the first book in a series of three volumes which contain the very best of Spanish guitar music.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
musgoingplaces

Going Places

Peter Nuttall

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

Skill Level
Beginner
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.

283

Progressive Reading for Guitarists

Stephen Dodgson and Hector Quine

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Only recently sight reading on the guitar was described as a nightmare. The traditional way of learning to play the guitar is to start in first position then gradually work up the fretboard. This book dispenses with this method. To obtain the best from this material read the Preface and introduction where there is information on how best to use the book. I have found this to be the best book written for becoming at ease with the guitar fretboard.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
musponce12preludes

12 Preludes

Manuel M Ponce

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This is what I would describe as ‘classic’ repertoire, from a composer who did an awful lot towards exploring new possibilities in composing for the guitar and widening the repertoire during a vital period in the guitars history and development. This is rewarding and essential repertoire that I hope many people will find and enjoy. Arranged by Andres Segovia, edition covers 16 pages. Published by Schott Music.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This is what I would describe as ‘classic’ repertoire, from a composer who did an awful lot towards exploring new possibilities in composing for the guitar and widening the repertoire during a vital period in the guitars history and development.

I am disappointed in myself for not having learnt to play these preludes sooner! They are lovely little miniatures with loads of musical detail and technical challenge packed in to pieces that individually last for 2 to 3 minutes but are still very rewarding to play and to listen to.

Very importantly they represent excellent opportunities for improving music reading and knowledge of the guitar fingerboard through exploration of key signatures and freedom of movement between positions. The keys range from C major to A flat and F sharp major, in other words up to 4 flats and 6 sharps. This is very good for guitarists, taking us out of our comfort zone and forcing us to use different and varied positions and to learn the geography of the fingerboard. As you play the Preludes you quickly discover that there are patterns in every key and if you name your notes and work out the patterns the, at first, seemingly uphill task of reading some of the music becomes fun and in fact very rewarding.

This variety of key signatures and the range of pitch used throughout means that the fingerboard is used in a very fluid way without blocks of notes in positions but constantly changing and also using all 6 strings in the higher positions rather than only the high notes.

For me this is a vital skill for a guitarist, one that gives you freedom of technique as well as musicianship. When learning pieces like these properly it does not take long to learn your fingerboard and become comfortable and at ease moving around.

There are a wide variety of tempos and emotions across the 12 pieces. Some have a more contemporary feel although I think that the majority are very melodic and full of character and storytelling.

Despite being small the Preludes have detailed musical requirements on the score with very clear rhythm and articulation, for example in the use of rests and rhythms crossing bar lines as well as important distinctions in voicing and counterpoint.

There is also a great deal of contrast from the tranquil and flowing lines of no.1 to the lively and bright fast movement of no.2. No.6, probably one of the best known, has a really beautiful, soulful and expressive melody set within a pulsing strummed chord really exploiting the tenor richness of the guitars inner strings, whereas no.8 has a continuous and fluid musical line in a lilting 9/8 time signature with the added challenge of 4 flats!

Particular highlights for me are no.9 which has a wonderful lightness and uplifting feeling with warm and almost ‘oriental’ harmonies forming from the semiquaver intervals, and no.10, a beautifully delicate and intricate sounding piece which is relatively simple to play.

The key to the enjoyment of these pieces is the combination of technical and reading challenges with the storytelling and freedom of expression required.

For me this is rewarding and essential repertoire that I hope many people will find and enjoy. I certainly intend to learn and record them so watch this space!

Selina.

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
108

Eight Sonatas

Domenico Scarlatti

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Of the more than 500 sonatas (originally termed esercizi) written for harpsichord by Domenico Scarlatti, Raymond Burley has chosen to arrange eight for guitar. These include K. 480, K. 379, K. 208, K. 232, K. 491, K. 94, as well as K. 376 and K. 377, which Scarlatti's cataloger, Ralph Kirkpatrick, suggests should be performed together. Burley has done a terrific job of fitting these pieces to the fretboard.

Skill Level
Advanced
mustrinitysands2

Sound at Sight Grade 4 to 8

Trinity Guildhall

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
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40

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 1

ABRSM

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Recordings of pieces from the new ABRSM Guitar Syllabus, from 2009. Innovative and valuable resource for candidates preparing for ABRSM exams. All duos are accompanied by another guitar, and playalong tracks for these pieces are also included.

Skill Level
Beginner
305

First Carols

John Whitworth

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This collection of carols is suitable for the first and second year guitarists, and can be used as supplementary material to tutor books such as the first two volumes of Guitarists Way. Chords have been added to the score allowing the guitarist to provide chordal accompaniment when playing with other instruments.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is a great little book that enables beginners to enjoy being able to play all of the popular carols using simple notes and rhythms, with a clear lay out and the bonus of some amusing drawings by Gerald Garcia.

The book is progressive (reflecting the first two volumes of The Guitarists Way), using common notes on the top three strings and simple rhythms in We three Kings and O come all ye Faithful, and then gradually increasing in difficulty.

Good King Wenceslas and a second arrangement of We three Kings use only bass notes (very good practice!) and Away in a Manger and While Shepherds watched introduce simple position changes.

All of the carols are written as single line melodies, whether in the treble or bass, except for God rest you merry gentlemen which has two note chords using open string bass notes.

Chords have been added above the melody lines giving players options to add to the arrangements, whether with strummed or arpeggiated chords or even, for the more adventurous, bass or middle voices.

This means that although this book is very suitable for beginners in their first year of learning it also provides good material and experience for more advanced learners!

All the chord symbols are at the end of the book.

Complete beginners are welcome here!

Selina.

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muscoste25etuden

Coste 25 Etuden OP38

Napoleon Coste

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Napoleon Coste was a gifted guitarist who established himself as a teacher while still a teenager. He moved to Paris, where his brilliant technique placed him among the great guitarists of his generation. His Twenty-five Etudes are one of the guitar repertory's finest set of concert studies, notable for their attractive melodies and brilliant cadenzas.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I know this set of studies well due to them holding a very important place in my technical development – I will come to that later!

In general, however I think that they are less well known and played than some of the other study repertoire from this period. This is a great shame because there are some great little pieces here with excellent technical development material.

The pieces are quite challenging, going from about grade 5 standard up to advanced.

For me, the things that stand out in this collection are fingerboard knowledge and musicianship. I am always talking about knowledge of the notes leading to greater fluency and musical direction, although it can be something that is difficult to achieve if it has not been there from the beginning. These pieces make no compromise in movement around the fingerboard, chord changing and general left hand freedom. They pretty much cover every single note up to the 12th fret, on every string – in one case probably all in one piece!

This may be frustrating at first but really focuses the mind and encourages you to learn in order to achieve the desired results.

The musical content is varied and engaging with some very interesting harmonies, rhythms, textures and colours. The studies particularly highlight harmonic sequences encouraging you to listen to voices to shape the music.

Technically all the basics are covered and developed including arpeggio and scale patterns, slurs, right hand patterns and speed of articulation, movement in thirds, sixths and octaves, alberti accompaniment figures and fully accompanied melodies.

All of the technical movement around the guitar seems to have musical purpose so that you find yourself really developing the link between sound and movement and so ‘feeling’ the momentum and shape under your fingers. I found this particularly satisfying and a big help when I was struggling with some of the technique!

I have not got the space to talk about every piece but will mention some of my highlights.

No.1 gives a taste of what is to come with its simple chord sequence and variation that gives you the chance to listen to, and feel the harmonic movement without having too many notes to think about. No.4 has a lovely, simple melody with chords on almost every beat and no compromise in movement around the fingerboard i.e. some tricky jumps. It is an excellent exercise in playing melodically (that is horizontally) in more than one voice. No.6 has a long line of melody over a lovely triplet accompaniment, using rests in the accompaniment to great effect. No.7 (Associated Board grade 7) has a strong and compelling character highlighting the guitar’s contrapuntal abilities and challenging the player to hear all of the voices.

I love the lower line melody in No.10 (Associated Board grade 8). This piece has great character and requires real control of lines and rhythm and finishes with a contrasting, smoother major section. No.12 (TrinityGuildhall grade 7) creates drama through lots of movement in semiquaver chords, big interval jumps and full harmonies while No.13 is altogether lighter with arpeggio thirds in higher registers using sliding shapes to produce long sequences. No. 15 has a brilliant ‘quirky’ triplet melody built around the chords giving the piece a very individual character. The 3/8 time and repeated semiquaver pedal give No.19 real flow and momentum carrying the melody in thirds through the piece. No. 21 is very difficult because of its constantly moving quaver chords, maintaining three voices for much of the time, and highlighting some unusual harmonies.

My absolute favorite has to be the piece that was a turning point in my studies, opening my eyes to a technique and resulting musicianship that I am still enjoying and developing today! Before playing study No.22 I don’t think that I had ever thought about controlling and stopping bass notes, however this study has a repeating bass rhythm that is as much about rests as it is about notes. Defining this bass line brings a whole different light to the music and is one of the most valuable techniques that I have learnt as well as being enormous fun to play!

I think that this is one set of studies that every dedicated guitarist should own and learn. They teach us as many lessons in musicianship as technique, are very enjoyable to play and highlight the musical abilities of the guitar. Brilliant.

Selina.

333

Barden-Klange for guitar Vol. 1

Johann Kaspar Mertz

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Mertz dominates the history of the guitar in the 19th century. Bardenklange op. 13 consists of 30 pieces which show Mertz as a musician poet. Vol 1 edited by Piero Viti contains 8 pieces with UTOrpheus excellent quality of printing all of which helps us to interpret and enjoy these wonderful pieces from the Romantic period.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
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musspalding4tangos

Four Famous Tangos

Gary Spolding

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Destined to be a best seller this album incorporates four of the music worlds most famous tangos: La Cumparsita, Hernando's Hideaway, El Choclo, Jalousie. Absolutely brilliant arrangements!

Skill Level
Advanced

I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised on first playing these four Tangos. To begin with, they really are “famous” and they work really well on the guitar! Of course, this is the result of an excellent transcription. Gary Spolding has managed to maintain the musical shape, rhythms and parts in the music while keeping the transcriptions very “guitaristic”.

The pieces are difficult, about grade 6 – 8, but they do not ask you to be too acrobatic by, for example, twisting fingers into unnatural shapes or stretches, or asking for impossible sustaining parts.

The four pieces are La Cumparsita, Hernando’s Hideaway, El Choclo and Jalousie.

The main technical challenges are in reading a lot of high notes, recognizing positions, and left hand mobility. As you work through the pieces, you will quickly discover that notes and chord shapes fall comfortably under the fingers, and big moves around the fretboard are often facilitated by use of open strings, finger shapes and sliding fingers.

One of my favourite things about the edition is that it is not over fingered! Gary has not used position markings and has only used numbers where necessary for positions, setting up a pattern or indicating sliding shapes and voicing. This means that the performer has to think more but also has much more freedom in interpretation.

There are a lot of dynamic and articulation markings that really help as you are learning to interpret and communicate this style of music, and the guitar effects that he uses highlight the style. All of these things help you to push the boundaries in your playing.

I found myself able to enjoy the Tango rhythms and emotions, and had great fun experimenting and bringing out the humour in the music.

I think that these arrangements encourage a different approach to playing, one that cannot be too technical but is based on enjoying yourself and the music.

After all that is what it is all about!

Selina.

88

Modern Times (Full Edition)

Chanterelle

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60 Original Graded Contemporary Works for Guitar. Edited by Robert Brightmore. First published in five separate volumes, each original book is progressive and presents carefully selected pieces, graded in accordance with the various grading standards worldwide. The originality and imagination of the composers presented here speaks for itself and we hope that Modern Times will be a source of pleasure to players and teachers alike.

Skill Level
Intermediate

I was uncertain about this volume at first as I have experienced a lot of contemporary repertoire that has been uninspiring and unhelpful for younger/inexperienced players.

However, in order to write a "proper" review I have played through the book several times and I have found many of the pieces to be very enjoyable, exploring technical and musical possibilities on the guitar in a way that inspires and encourages the player rather than putting them off!

In the introduction the editor explains the priorities behind this collection of pieces, the overriding consideration being -"musical expression dictating the required technique should be foremost in the mind, thus initiating a more creative approach to music making."

The pieces were originally published in five volumes, each one progressive and graded in line with various grading standards. Published from 1987 to 1993 with this revised edition arriving on the shelves in 2007.

Here lies my only problem with this collection.

Grading standards in 1987 were very different than those of today, especially the very latest syllabi, but there is no mention of this in the introduction or effort to adapt the grading ideas to today’s thinking.

My immediate reaction was that the pieces are 1 or 2 grades more difficult than stated, by today’s standards.

It is important to point this out for less experienced teachers or those teaching themselves. However I think that this is a very valuable collection of pieces and one that should be used.

There are many different styles from around the world ranging from popular, to descriptive to dissonant and challenging, all with musical and technical goals to achieve.

There are some beautiful melodies that encourage the player to sing through the guitar. My particular favorite, "Chanson Du Marin Disparu" has one of the best and most poignant bass melodies I have ever played!

The pieces are all very well written for the guitar, exploring various musical techniques with a wide variety of rhythms, melodies and rich harmonies. Some require control of long, slow melodic phrases and others, like "Sea Picture" find melody out of flowing arpeggios that are very evocative of the title.

Other highlights for me include "Chinese Blossom" with its slow and expressive arpeggios; "Motivo de Danza" – a joyful piece; "Arpege" with wonderful harmony and so much room for expression, and "Cancion de Cuna" where the player can really learn expression and shape through scrunchy harmonies!

I have only just noticed that many of the pieces are slow and use descriptive instructions like tranquillo, misterioso, nostalgie, calmo and molto espessivo – all allowing the guitar to sing.

Ihighly recommend this book as it will introduce a wide and new range of music to students, primarily encourage musicianship and expression, and be very enjoyable for the player and the listener.

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
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