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 241 - 264 of 289

Sheet Music Database

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
71

33 Czech Folksongs - (Pupils Part)

Peter Eben

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Learning to phrase melodies is the goal in this well chosen selection of folk songs by leading Czech composer Peter Eben with teacher's accompaniments.

Skill Level
Beginner

These beautiful, melodic, yet simple pieces have been arranged for 2 guitars from Petr Eben’s setting of 100 Czech folk tunes for solo piano – an achievement that he described thus:

Reach into the jewel box, take a handful of precious stones and set them into children’s rings!

The pieces are ideal for early learning as they emphasize the playing of melodies in low and high registers, shaping phrases and bringing out articulation. The pupil part always has the original melody with the teacher as purely accompaniment.

There are suggestions for right and left hand fingering which the preface advises teachers to follow, as they have been included for essentially musical reasons.

This is very enjoyable and charming music that also teaches style and interpretation and, most importantly for guitarists, how to follow a melody. Beginners are learning primarily how to sing a melody through the guitar, a vital first step in musical development.

Grade 1

  • The pipes were playing at Pobuba: emphasizes smooth phrasing across strings with lots of dynamic contrast, using i, m and a.
  • Oh love, oh love: this is a very simple, slower melody with echoing phrases in octaves, and concentration on phrase shape, hairpin dynamics and expression.

Grade 2

  • Andulichko, hello: a lively melody in 3/4 time, G major; question and answer phrases with repeat down an octave and fingering in third position.
  • When I took geese to the pasture: very strong quaver rhythm in 2/4 time, D major, that really brings out the character of the geese!

Grade 3

  • Whose are these geese? : quite a melancholy melody requiring long phrasing and detailed dynamic control. The first melody is repeated down and octave and then again in thirds.

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
musabtheory1

Music Theory in Practice, Grade 1

ABRSM

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The Music Theory in Practice series has helped more than one million musicians worldwide to learn about the notation and theory of music. Now fully revised, this workbook remains the best way to prepare for the Associated Board's Grade 1 Theory of Music Exam, offering:a clear explanation of music notation, straightforward language throughout, many worked examples and practice exercises, definitions of important words and concepts, specimen exam questions,helpful tips for students. As well as supporting the ABRSM theory syllabus, this workbook also provides an excellent resource for anyone wishing to develop general music literacy skills.

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.

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
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
299

Café Music

Michael Stimpson

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Suite for Solo Guitar, was originally conceived as a reflection of the lighter styles of music written for the classical guitar. The character of the suite is predominantly preserved by the contrasts of mood between pieces. Adrian's thoughts - I was introduced to this book many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

Skill Level
Intermediate

This is descriptive music at its best with storytelling created using harmony and texture as well as through title, tempo and rhythm.

In order to communicate the music successfully the player has to be aware of the musical detail and be interested in the emotions and stories being told.

These pieces provide excellent experience in developing musicianship with a lot of detail written in to each piece, for example articulation, dynamics and tone colour. This also challenges the player technically but in the end it is thinking of, and listening to, the music that must be the most important thing.

Ouvert, a gentle introduction with warm cross string resonances, slurs and glissandi that all combine to create atmosphere. I love the closely spaced “talking” voices.

Promenade has a strong storyline and lots of contrast between the repeating, stately ‘promenade’ phrases and sections between. The first of these changes key and uses triplets and warmer colours to give a light and fluid feel. The second is slower and more tranquil while the third is in a minor key and lower in pitch with some lovely dissonances giving a darker feel.

Reverie is slow, sad and dreamlike using a repeated melody in different registers. It requires a lot of tonal control with a beautiful combination of tambora chords and harmonics at the end.

Folies is all in thirds and so the angry and bustling feel is quite tricky technically but very exciting all the same! I particularly like the arpeggios across the strings in thirds at the end.

Chanson is a joyous and flowing piece, again more challenging with barres and flowing arpeggios incorporating an upper melody to highlight.

Ferme is the finale and has great lift and rhythm with plenty of articulation, dynamic contrast and rasgueado technique.

These are great little pieces guaranteed to keep you occupied for months and very effective in performance.

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
musdodgson12intros

12 Introductory Studies for Guitar

Stephen Dodgson and Hector Quine

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These introductory studies are intended to introduce the player to a wide range of technical and musical challenges. A good sense of rhythm and counting are called for to help develop right hand articulation and left hand independence. Many of the rhythmic patterns need to be mastered if one is to advance to the higher grades in classical guitar exam syllabus.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
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
muswanderslatinduetsvol1

Latin Duets Volume 1

Jeop Wanders

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Book 1 is a great place to start for those interested in duet playing. Clear and easy to read this first book in the 2 book series offers each player music in two part harmony with a variety of rhythms that introduce the Latin feel and best of all the music is fun. Joep Wanders style of writing suits the guitar beautifully and you will gain a huge amount of confidence from playing these pieces. A play along CD is also included.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Ensemble
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.

rodrigofantasiagentilhombre

Fantasia para un Gentilhombre

Joaquin Rodrigo

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

Skill Level
Advanced
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
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mussmithsonatano4

Sonata No 4 La Breve

Reginald Smith Brindle

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Smith Brindle began learning the piano at the age of six, and later took up the clarinet, saxophone and guitar (and won a Melody Maker prize for his guitar-playing). Although he wrote for many instruments, Smith Brindle was perhaps best known for his solo guitar music.

Skill Level
Advanced

This is contemporary music and as such is often difficult for students to attempt, as they are not used to the dissonances and unusual melodic and harmonic shapes, that is, there is not necessarily a ‘tune’ to sing!

I have not played any Smith Brindle for years for this very reason and so came to this review with some trepidation.

It is definitely music that you have to keep playing to start to get an idea of what there is to communicate.

Here the music is very well laid out with plenty of space between staves, helpful fingering and lots of musical clues, i.e. espressivo and echo.

In the first movement there are contrasting fast and slow sections with repetitions that help you to navigate your way through the music as well as rhythmic and melodic motifs to latch on to.

The rhythm is very important but not too complicated to count and learn. Once you have this, the shape of the piece can emerge.

The slow middle movement uses the resonance around clashing and harmonic chords to good effect and forces you to really listen to what happens to the sound after you have played the strings. In fact this is an important point about contemporary music – the melody or flow of the music is not always obvious and so you have to listen more and you cannot only concentrate on fingers!

I liked the last movement the best. The rhythms are great with lovely dissonances that together are exciting.

If you can be open to new sounds this music is great for developing reading and fingerboard knowledge. It helps you to find and develop moods and means of expression on your guitar and is very open to your interpretation, but with plenty of ideas toget you started.

Selina.

124

Suite in D Minor

Robert De Visee

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Robert de Visée's origin is unknown, although of Portuguese origin he was likely to have studied with Francesco Corbetta. About 1680 he became a chamber musician to Louis XIV, in which capacity he often performed at court. Visée wrote two books of guitar music which contained twelve suites between them: Livre de guitare dédié au roy (Paris, 1682) and Livre de piéces pour la guitare (Paris 1686). Suite in D minor is his most popular suite.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This really is a hidden gem in my opinion, but because of the explosion in music being written for students over the last few years in modern styles it is repertoire that is, all too often, overlooked.

It is a fantastic introduction to the Baroque style and period and offers an accessible step on the ladder to the complex lute music of Weiss and Bach.

The short introduction by the editor is very informative, talking about the manuscript source and the considerations needed in transcribing to the modern classical guitar, for example dealing with the double octave strings A and D on the Baroque guitar.

What is particularly good for guitar students is that you have the opportunity here to play a whole suite, which together is quite an extended piece of music and teaches a lot about contrasting movements and musical continuity.

You can also choose to play single movements and learn how smaller groups work together as they would have been played in the Baroque, for example the two Menuets with a da capo repeat. All the movements are very accessible and represent all of the popular dance forms that you will find in other music of the period, with voicing and part writing that fit very well under the fingers.

There are loads of opportunities to develop musical and technical skills, particularly in the long musical lines, phrasing and counterpoint.

There is a lot of fingering but if you are open to experiment with this it really helps you to define melodies and bass lines and demonstrates the importance of getting the correct fingering to allow the music to sing as intended.

Rhythm is of course very important with the different dances and is in general quite challenging here, ideal I think for the average guitarist who does not like to count!

For example in the Allemande the melodic lines are long, interweaving and often the rhythm can seem syncopated with less importance on the first beat of the bar. There is a similar effect in the Courante together with the combination of 3/2 and 6/8 in the time signature and the need for constant movement. Add to this the slow, stately line of the Sarabande, the bright spirit of the Gavotte, the poise of the Menuets, a simple lively Bouree and the light and lilting final Gigue and you have a wealth of music to explore and enjoy.

This Suite will help you with musical expression in finding tone colours and trying to bring out the differing dance characters, as well as coping with the counterpoint, phrasing and challenging rhythms.

Most importantly in approaching this more complex style of music it offers plenty of variety and enjoyable playing.

Selina.

94

Cavatina

Alexandre Tansman

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Tansman met Andres Segovia in Paris in the 1920s, a meeting that inspired him to write a number of important works for guitar. In 1952 ‘Cavatina’ was a prize winner at the International Music Competition in Sienna, Italy. Cavatina is a suite of 4 movements written in a style that is ‘contemporary’ (in its time) but also lyrical and, I think, romantic, using rich harmonies and driving pulsing rhythms.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

The last time that I played part of this suite was when I was doing exams myself too many years ago to mention! It is brilliant to revisit and realize how much there is in the music in colour, texture and expression. In fact since I have started reviewing I am going to be learning and relearning a lot of different and exciting pieces!

Tansman met Andres Segovia in Paris in the 1920s, a meeting that inspired him to write a number of important works for guitar. In 1952 ‘Cavatina’ was a prize winner at the International Music Competition in Sienna, Italy.

Cavatina is a suite of 4 movements written in a style that is ‘contemporary’ (in its time) but also lyrical and, I think, romantic, using rich harmonies and driving pulsing rhythms.

The opening ‘Preludio’ (grade 8) is marked Allegro con moto and has a bright and rhythmical opening section using motifs and patterns that help the ear to learn the style, along with more chromatic writing. The central section is slower with a lovely singing melody line.

The Lento ‘Sarabande’ (grade 7) has a tranquil melody built around a wistful triplet figure with contrapuntal voices and lovely harmonies created from suspended notes and gentle dissonances. I particularly like the long, singing, mellow bass lines – great for shaping and developing tone.

You then have to turn to the final page of the edition for the 3rd movement, ‘Scherzino’ (grade 8). This has a tremolo opening with a subtle build up of tension leading into the Piu vivo that echoes rhythm patterns from the 1st movement. There are lots of left hand patterns, falling sequences and rhythms that cross the bar lines. There is a great, ‘bouncing’ central melody with a fanfare type ending building chords across repeated bass ‘E’s, again echoing the beginning of the suite.

Turning back a page the final ‘Barcarole’ (grade 7) has a 6/8 rhythm, starting ‘dark’ and opening into warmth and light with a lovely lilting movement over the full range of the guitar.

This movement was one of my first experiences of more contemporary music, and a very good one since I have continued to enjoy exploring new music over the years.

It is great that this music is back in the syllabus and I hope that many more guitarists will be adventurous in exploring this classic and important repertoire.

Selina.

109

Tombeau sur La Mort de Mr. Comte d'Logy

Silvius Leopold Weiss

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Weiss was the most important and the most prolific composer of lute music in history and one of the best-known and most technically accomplished lutenists of his day. Anyone who knows how difficult it is to play harmonic modulations and good counterpoint on the lute will be surprised and full of disbelief to hear from eyewitnesses that Weiss, the great lutenist, challenged J. S. Bach, the great harpsichordist and organist, at playing fantasies and fugues.

Skill Level
Advanced

This is an absolutely beautiful piece of music, so majestic and full of tension and emotion.

I learnt it from this edition when I was younger but have not considered it for a while due to more modern editions.

Coming back to it I have found that, even though the key is further from the original than other editions, it gives a better rendition of the piece as the low D tuning allows ‘bigger’ chords and helps to create the depth and atmosphere needed. The Baroque lute had many more strings than the classical guitar and the piece has some wonderful bass lines that are impossible to recreate. However this tuning goes a long way to helping us hear the full, intense and compelling harmonic language of the original.

There is a facsimile of the original tablature source at the back, which is a great bonus and if you really enjoy the music it is well worth researching how to read this as you learn the piece.

The music is very slow, which is difficult, with a lot to listen to in the voicing and the harmony. A feel for pulse is very important with the slow speed as well as a good sense of rhythm, definitely one to count and not guess!

Tension and resolution is a big feature and wonderful to play – dissonant ‘scrunchy’ chords resolving and creating wonderful movement. The sequences are fantastic and help you with playing long phrases and bringing out individual notes and voices.

There is too much fingering for me and so it is good to try to adapt this for your needs.

The chords and melodies in this piece are heavily charged with emotion with long and beautiful phrasing making this is such a rewarding piece of music to play.

It is definitely one of my all time favourites.

Selina.

71

33 Czech Folksongs - (Teachers Part)

Peter Eben

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Learning to phrase melodies is the goal in this well chosen selection of folk songs by leading Czech composer Peter Eben with teacher's accompaniments.

Skill Level
Beginner
musabsightreading

Guitar Specimen Sight-Reading Tests, Grades 1 to 8

ABRSM

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This volume contains valuable practice material for candidates preparing for the ABRSM guitar exams. Specimen tests for the new sight-reading requirements from 2009. Written in attractive and approachable styles representative of the technical level expected in the exam.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
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musabtheory2

Music Theory in Practice, Grade 2

ABRSM

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The Music Theory in Practice series has helped more than one million musicians worldwide to learn about the notation and theory of music. Now fully revised, this workbook remains the best way to prepare for the Associated Board's Grade 2 Theory of Music Exam, offering: a clear explanation of music notation, straightforward language throughout, many worked examples and practice exercises, definitions of important words and concepts, specimen exam questions, helpful tips for students As well as supporting the ABRSM theory syllabus, this workbook also provides an excellent resource for anyone wishing to develop general music literacy skills.

Skill Level
Beginner
guitaracademy1

Guitar Academy Book 1

Richard Corr

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This is a very well presented tutor covering many areas that others miss and providing clear explanations.

Skill Level
Beginner

This excellent tutor has now been divided into smaller volumes that are more manageable for the student. They still contain a lot of music and information, especially as the difficulty increases, but they are very well presented, cover many areas that others miss, and provide clear explanations without being too "wordy".

The books as a whole are accessible to all ages and would be suitable for adults to work through without a teacher (although this is never ideal!). The pictures illustrating technique are first class and there are constant references to maintaining good technique throughout each book including revision pages and tests. Each book follows a similar format beginning with a quick reference page and introduction, followed by a classical section, ensemble section and final chord section.

The structure and layout helps the student feel that they are learning something new and exciting on every page, even if it is only a game based on what they have already learned. This is very important for maintaining interest and momentum, especially for younger children. The many ideas for improvisation, ear training and theory are fantastic and so helpful for me, as a teacher who struggled to produce my own material while teaching such short lessons in too many schools! By bringing all of these elements together in such an easy way Richard Corr has produced a fun tutor that is helping to develop musicians, not just guitarists! It is a tutor that I highly recommend and will use - a breath of fresh air!

Book One

There is a comprehensive intro, addressed in turn to the student, the parent/guardian, the teacher and those teaching themselves. The writing here really draws you in emphasizing the excitement to the student, explaining the teaching method and practice to the parent, outlining the thoughts behind the teaching ideas to the teacher and adding encouragement to the self taught. This is followed by descriptions of different types of guitar, fitting strings, technique and sitting positions, tuning, reading music and a note reference picture. As each note is introduced, you can see it being played as well as having a written explanation.

Of course, all good teachers use demonstration, but it is invaluable to have the pictures to refer to between lessons. There are plenty of tunes to practice on as the notes are learnt which is so important, as repetition is vital to learning and variety maintains interest during this initial period. By the end of the classical section, the notes in first position have been covered, along with open basses, simple two-part music, rests and quavers. The ensemble section introduces the pentatonic scale and improvisation within an ensemble piece, which works brilliantly! A final ear training section explains intervals and describes ways to recognize them.

Book Two

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.

Book Three

The introduction to this volume explains that you are now moving on to more advanced repertoire and techniques, and what this entails e.g. regular practice and care in matters relating to technique and most importantly, commitment and performance!

The revision page is followed by a brief history of the guitar with photographs of instruments through the ages, and mention of important composers, players and makers right through tp the birth and rise of the electric guitar. I think that this is a great idea as it takes the learning process beyond just learning to play a few notes or chords on a guitar.

The subjects covered in book three include left hand positions up to seventh, articulation, more complicated rhythms and key signatures including minor keys, damping with the thumb and slurs. Most importantly the book includes a lot of music to play! There are excellent original pieces by Richard Corr along with classical repertoire, easy arrangements of more difficult works and popular tunes from all styles of guitar playing. The chord supplement introduces different chord styles and theory, something that a lot of students learning to play chords simply miss out on altogether.

carulli-duo-op62-no3

Carulli Duo op. 62 no 3

Ferdinando Carulli

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CH 83 - Written for 2 guitars. Carulli, one of the most prolific composers of his century with at least 400 pieces to his name. A pioneer in his field he popularised the classical guitar in Paris where many guitarists came to study under him. This edition, for two guitars, is clearly printed with both score and parts. Fingering is absent which is great as this allows freedom for ones own interpretation.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Ensemble
  • Containing
  • Moderato
  • Larghetto molto sostenuto
  • Trio
  • Rondeau - Presto
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