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 97 - 120 of 289

Sheet Music Database

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.

musdivertissements2

Divertissements 2 Pour Guitar

Gerard Montreuil

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11 Popular pieces written in order to stimulate the beginner's interest and to improve the learning of the guitar. These entertaining pieces will please players and listeners alike.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

These are a nice range of pieces written in a variety of musical styles.

My favourite thing about this book is Montreuil’s phrasing. He has taken time to write specific phrasing into the music, in his words, “in such a way as to show several possibilities of articulation”. This really makes you think about how the music is constructed and how different inflections can give a piece new life. With this in mind, these pieces are musical and fun to play.

Each piece is crafted to develop different skills; the two tangos introduce the player to syncopated rhythms and complex semiquaver rhythms, and are great when played with gusto! Unusually for beginners pieces, Crépuscule and Emeraude are slow burners; this helps the player to develop a sense of space in the music, improving musicality no end as the player learns not to rush through the music. Montreuil has written more interesting chord progressions into Emeraude, making the harmonies lush.

Other techniques are covered toward the end of the book, such as strummed chords (Orgue de barbarie), and the last piece (Premier Amour) is beautifully lyrical, making use of notes higher up the first string and harmonics. Overall, these are simple yet memorable melodies with interesting musical lines that provide you with an arsenal of pieces to entertain as well as enhance your playing.

Jess.

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
musponcevalse

Valse

Manuel M Ponce

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

Skill Level
Advanced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

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.

91

The Guitarists Progress Book 3

David Burden

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The Guitarist's Progress Book 3 - A selection of the best 19th Century works for guitar. Music for the intermediate stages of classical guitar playing, arranged by David Burden.

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
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
319

The Guitar Music of Spain Vol 2 Bartolome Calatayud

Bartolome Calatayud

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A series of three volumes containing the very best of Spanish guitar music. Over 50 traditional pieces by Bartolome Calatayud, graded from simple to advanced throughout the book. This the second book in a series of three volumes they contain the very best of Spanish guitar music.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
300

Estudios Sencillos

Leo Brouwer

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Etudes simples volume 1 studies 1-5. These are a must for any aspiring guitarist. Leo Brouwer's attention to musical and technical detail stretches the player encouraging expression and freedom of movement.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

This is definitely a case of good things come in small packages, a classic edition for the classical guitar, unchanged since its first publication in 1972.

The ‘book’ consists of an A5 piece of card for the front and back covers and an A5 piece of paper that provides 4 pages for the printed music, however within this the music is excellent and essential repertoire for any beginner or intermediate guitarist, as well as offering great technical and musical practice for those of us who consider ourselves more advanced.

These 5 pieces are wonderful miniatures packed full of musical and technical detail covering articulation, syncopation, voicing and a wide range of colour and dynamics. The use of descriptive words is also great including “movido’, ‘cantando’ and ‘sonoro’, descriptions that are so evocative and good for your musical knowledge!

There are great bass melodies in nos.1 and 4 with an upper accompaniment of repeated thirds (chords) requiring technical and rhythmical control. The shifting time signature in no.4 gives it lovely flow and overall movement. No.2 consists of very slow moving chords highlighting balance and voicing with some wonderful dissonant and emotional harmonies. No.3 concentrates on rapid articulation and no.5 is beautifully lyrical despite some quirky harmonies and fantastic syncopation.

Great, musical and emotional pieces that really help you to develop your technique.

Selina.

284

Travelling in Style Stage Two GM15

David Burden

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This book gives the student attractive and accessible pieces to work on developing a wide range of guitar and music techniques. The emphasis is on learning with enjoyment, developing technique and absorbing different styles of music. Styles of music include, Blues, Celtic, Ragtime, Spanish, Scottish and Russian

Skill Level
Beginner

This series of books provides a wide variety of music for adventurous students wishing to get a taste of other musical styles and cultures, and in so doing, developing their technical and musical skills.

The Travelling in Style series was conceived alongside The Guitarists Progress teaching series but also works perfectly well as a stand-alone repertoire book, in this case for beginners with 2 to 3 years playing experience.

The book is arranged in groups of pieces of different styles, for example ‘Blues set no.3’, ‘Celtic collection part 1’, and ‘South American sketchbook studies volume 2’. There are performance notes at the end of each section giving an approximate grade (take note) to help you to use the book effectively.

Burden also includes notes on ‘Techniques” including specific technical and notation issues as well as style and musical suggestions. For the ‘Caribbean Collection’ he lists syncopation and suggests emphasizing notes with accents, being careful to observe rests and feeling the beat.

The music is clearly laid out with the minimum amount of fingering (a big plus point) and plenty of musical information. There are some good arrangements of traditional pieces such as Ye Banks and Braes, I Saw Three Ships and Jamaica Farewell, plus some lovely original pieces by David, a Spanish Fandango, ‘Latin Quarter Rag’ and ‘Sao Paulo Samba’ are among my favorites.

Most importantly there is a lot of music to learn and hours of practice to enjoy here.

Selina.

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musscarlatti4sonatasUE29179

Four Sonatas UE 29179

Domenico Scarlatti

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Sonata K83 is one of the minority with more than one movement. The forst contains some startling dissonances, produced by adventurous contrapuntal activity, typical of Scarlatti's impish disregard for the established rules; the second is a minuet. Sonatas K80 and K94 are both minuets. Scarlatti is often difficult but he springs too many surprises ever to become boring.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

Scarlatti’s music is very effective on the classical guitar having originally been written for the harpsichord, which, even though it has a keyboard, is a plucked string instrument.

The music is clearly printed with plenty of space in the layout, and even though there is too much fingering advice in my opinion, the page does not look overcrowded or cluttered with numbers giving the player a feeling of choice!

There is a short but comprehensive forward well worth the read as it gives a concise summary of the harmony and style of the pieces, enough to help you to start to understand the pieces. For example he mentions “startling dissonances” and “adventurous counterpoint” – definitely attracting my interest before even starting to play.

There is also a paragraph explaining the notation and fingering at the end of the book.

Duarte uses the interesting (and wonderful) tuning of 6th sting to D and 5th string to G for the first two pieces. Don’t let this put you off! It does not take long to get used to and really helps the music to sit naturally on the guitar.

I particularly like the lilt of the triplet semiquavers in the second piece with the tuning creating a lovely open bass.

Watch out for the misprint at the end of the second piece – the bass note should be a G! The third Sonata maintains a steady crotchet pulse with shifting rhythms above and continuously moving chords with fascinating harmonic changes, while the final piece challenges you with the counterpoint of two very separate voices and lots of drama in the music.

These are all interesting, and less obvious, choices giving us a clear insight into the Baroque style of Scarlatti with its distinctly Spanish feel.

As Duarte says “ Scarlatti is often difficult but he springs too many surprises ever to become boring!

Selina.

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
220

Theory of Music Workbook Grade 6

Trinity Guildhall

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
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
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.

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