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 217 - 240 of 266

Sheet Music Database

musdowlandsolowerke

Solowerke 1

John Dowland

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I think every guitarist should have some experience of Renaissance lute music. It has so much to offer us in musicianship skills and we are very lucky to be able to play the music of such a great composer. John Dowland Solowerke Vol.1: Solos for classical guitar. Universal Edition

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

One of the most important things to look for when playing music that has been arranged or transcribed is the quality of the edition, for example notes and explanations on sources and performance.

This edition has a short preface covering all the main points; sources, recognition of the main, comprehensive edition of the complete lute music, explanation for the use of F sharp tuning and the suggestion to raise the pitch of the guitar with a capo so imitating the lute more closely and getting more detail from the music.

There are also some facsimile prints to show you what the original lute music would look like. I absolutely love this music, an interest that goes back to falling in love with my guitar teachers lute at the age of 8!

It has so much to offer us in musicianship skills and we are very lucky to be able to play the music of such a great composer.

In this collection you are introduced to the various dance forms used as the basis for many of the compositions in the Renaissance. There are simpler, chordal pieces in Tarletons Riserrectione, My Lord Willoughby's Welcome Home and Round Battle Galliard as well as complex, contrapuntal pieces in The Right Honourable Robert, Earl of Essex, high Marshall of England, his Galliard. Are not the titles fantastic as well, giving you a real sense of history and living music! In the first Galliard we are introduced to imitation between voices and suspensions in inner parts creating wonderful dissonances. This little piece demonstrates how important listening is with this music, that is listening to horizontal lines and phrases rather than just learning through fingering and shapes.

The compositional technique of using Divisions to build a piece is perfectly demonstrated in Sir John Smith his Almaine (this is probably one of my favorite ever pieces by the way). Divisions are when each theme is repeated in a more decorated version so adding to the build up and variety in the piece. John Smiths is lively and strong, with simple, long flowing phrases and a real sense of movement. The Frog Galliard (grade 8) is very similar, without complex counterpoint but with strong rhythm, dance movement and constant development through the piece. Another Renaissance technique was to extend bar lines at cadences, which has the effect of pushing the music towards the conclusion. This happens at the end of each section in The Frog Galliard effectively creating a 3/2 bar from 3/4 bars before each cadence. In this edition the hemiola technique that I have just described is indicated with brackets under the music.

One result of the use of divisions in a piece is some quite extended, quick and virtuosic semiquaver passages to deal with. There are also decorated final chords in several of the pieces which look to have very quick notes but are intended to be played more freely, as a finishing flourish! The idea of suspensions comes out beautifully in The Shoemakers wife and the counterpoint in Lady Rich and The Earl of Essex is stunning.

I think every guitarist should have some experience of Renaissance lute music. There really is something for everyone, from strong driving rhythm to interweaving lines, beautiful dissonance and pure singing melodies. This collection goes from about a grade 4 standard virtuoso pieces that are not out of place on the concert platform. And there is so much more to explore!

Selina.

bach-inventions-1-7

Bach Inventions Vol 1 1-7

J. S. Bach

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BMV 772 - Written for 2 guitars. Transcribed by Mario Martino & Andrea Schiavina. As with all UT Orpheus publications this edition is very clearly and cleanly printed which really helps when sight reading ensemble pieces. Music written by Bach, what more can I say, if you have an interest in playing ensemble which in my opinion you should at least try, then these Inventions are fun and challenging.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Ensemble
classical6

The Classical Book

Chanterelle

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This is the first accurate and reliable modern edition of Matteo Carcassi's 25 Melodic and Progressive Studies op.60. They are presented complete in their correct order with the composer's original fingering and phrasing. An indispensable part of the repertoire, these studies cover a wide variety of guitar techniques and are musically both inventive and attractive

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

The 25 Melodic and Progressive Studies Opus 60 by Carcassi are fantastic pieces that should be an essential part of every guitarists repertoire.

They are more than studies, encouraging players to find musical shape and develop ideas using combinations of melody, accompaniment, various intervals both split and together, slurs, arpeggios and chords, creating some little musical gems.

At the same time they give an excellent grounding in the basic guitar techniques that are all to often taken for granted but that form the backbone of pretty much all the music that we play.

The most recent edition by Chanterelle has an excellent preface with information about Carcassi, a general description of the music and discussion about sources and early editions.

Of most interest to me are the comments on fingering.

They have used the Rowies edition as the main source, printed in 1914 and fingered by Miguel Llobet. Their reasoning is that this edition is very important in the history of The 25 Etudes, having, as they say one foot in the 19th century and one foot in the 20th century. This means that the edition respects the traditions of the past while looking forward to the development of guitar technique.

This is great information for a player to have and recognizes how playing techniques are constantly changing. It is very important for us to understand techniques and performance practice from the past so that we can use the information to help us interpret the music.

My problem comes when looking at the studies and seeing the level and very specific nature of the fingering. There is a lot of explanation in a long section following the preface entitled Playing The Studies. This is very interesting, especially useful if you are looking at the pieces without a teacher.

A lot of fingering is explained in detail with suggestions on learning the music. It is of course very technical, an important part of learning, but not the only one. The detailed fingering is then continued in most of the pieces and seems to result in learning by numbers.

For example in no. 1 the student is so involved in getting the printed right hand fingering correct (there is a letter for almost every note) that they haven’t got time to listen to musical lines, and so follow the natural flow of the music and discover a fingering that fits.

Since this edition has such a good preface and section of notes on the music, a lot of the technical information could be referred back to this, allowing the player more freedom to learn and interpret the music.

The reasons for using a later edition rather than Carcassi’s original fingering are ones of technical and musical progress.

Surely that still applies!

Moving on – I think that this music is fantastic. It really is collection of musical miniatures that, with the right attention to detail, make lovely little concert fillers and provide an excellent education for all guitarists.

Carcassi uses a number of different compositional styles and what I find most interesting is the music that is shaped with harmony, in other words with no obvious melodic line but the tension, relaxation and movement provided by changing harmonies. The best examples are no.8 using slurs to add texture and increase movement, no.4 with many more slurs to negotiate, no.2 with a dramatic build up in pitch and intensity, and no. 7 with a combination of repeated ‘tremolo’ notes and arpeggios underpinned with a clear bass melody.

Many of the studies are based on the harmonic movement with melody found within the arpeggio pattern or chord shape. The most well known example is no.3 in A major with a simple upper melodic motif and strong bass to help develop shape. Nos.1 and 6 clearly use simple scale patterns and show how developing smooth and fluent movement between notes brings simple lines to life.

I particularly like the vitality and bubbly character of no.9 with quick movement around the fingerboard, and the melancholy melody singing out from the triplet patterns in no.13. Nos.16 and 21 show how effective close chords punctuated by rests are in giving character and rhythmic shape to music and nos.20, 21, 22 and 23 develop quick, free and full movement up, down and across the fretboard resulting in breadth and excitement in the music. Nos.24 and 25 combine all the skills and musical ideas worked on in the book in two beautifully contrasting pieces from melodic lines moving smoothly between bass and treble voices in no.24 to the flowing and expansive arpeggio passages of no. 25.

If you can fluently use the techniques in these pieces and shape the music from them then the guitar repertoire opens out before you and you can move forward knowing that your foundations are strong. You will also thoroughly enjoy the learning process and will be able to experiment with lots of musical ideas, textures and emotions.

Just don’t get distracted by the fingering – be independent and learn more!

Selina.

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289

Specimen Aural Tests 2011 Grades 4 & 5

ABRSM

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Aural tests are an integral part of all ABRSM Practical graded music exams. The Specimen Aural Tests provide teachers and students with many practice examples of the tests to use as part of a music lesson or when preparing for an exam. This volume covers Grades 4 & 5 and includes practice examples for each test in a range of musical styles the examiner rubrics (the exact words that will be used by the examiner to deliver the tests), so that candidates can be fully prepared for what will happen on the day. Descriptions of the tests as they appear in the syllabus model answers, where appropriate, as a guide to the sort of responses that would be successful in the exam. The Specimen Aural Tests come complete with 2 CDs.

90

Guitar Crackers

Cees Hartog

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Solos for Classical Guitar. Traditionals, Folk, Blues, Country, Latin Americans, Romantic Moods. Popular. Level: Easy. Book. 24 pages. Published by Alsbach

Skill Level
Intermediate
musbarriosvol1

Barrios Guitar Works Vol I

Agustin Barrios Mangore

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A comprehensive publication of the works of Augustin Barrios Mangore, the first guitarist/composer from the New World of truly universal importance. These volumes are designed for the performer, student and teacher. Volume I has 21 pieces, including: El Sueno de la Munequita * Oracion por Todos * Danza Guarani.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
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tocaguitar

i toca Guitarra

Cees Hartog

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The fantastic thing about this book is how Spanish the music sounds even when the pieces are quite easy and do not have many notes!

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

The fantastic thing about this book is how Spanish the music sounds even when the pieces are quite easy and do not have many notes!

Hartog has managed to capture the essence of Spain in his melodies and harmonies and the strumming and arpeggio passages reflect the flamenco flavour without being complicated and difficult to read.

There are 11 pieces in "I Toca" ranging from grade 2 to 4 although the pieces are quite chordal which may make them seem more difficult for some students.

The contrasts within the Spanish style are big offering plenty of variety for students from the mysterious "far eastern" melody of Danza Oriental to the traditional Malaguena and the fast thumb melody in La Monteria.

Danza Espanola has a melodic first section followed by a contrasting second half that uses alternating "p" "i" arpeggios to great dramatic effect and gives tremolo alternatives for the adventurous to build up speed!

I particularly like El Papamoscas, which has a fast flowing melody that requires rhythmic drive and shape and so teaches understanding of phrases and breathing.

All the pieces in the book will particularly help students with chord shapes - recognizing them quickly from the music, fingering and smooth changes.

Selina.

tapasdeespana

Tapas de Espana

Cees Hartog

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Like I Tocca Guitarra the fantastic thing about this book is how Spanish the music sounds!

Skill Level
Intermediate

The fantastic thing about this book is how Spanish the music sounds even when the pieces are quite easy and do not have many notes!

The 12 pieces in Tapas de Espana are more difficult than I Tocca Guitarra and even more fun to play.

All of the pieces are full of contrast in texture and colour.

They are great for developing basic technical skills such as arpeggio patterns, left hand versatility, rasguado and quick articulation, as well as improving feel for changing rhythms and melody with accompaniment.

Guajiras uses alternating 6/8, 3/4 bars producing a driving pulse and carnival spirit.

Boceto Menorca changes from a flowing quaver melody to triplet arpeggios and finishing with a strong, very Spanish bass melody with quick thumb articulation and slurring.

All of this transports you to Spain and the traditional dance forms, colourful outfits and stamping of feet! I think that my overall favourites are La Coruna which has a more mysterious feel with fast arpeggios and subtle harmonic changes, and Bolero which is simply great fun needing well controlled rasguado, fast articulation and a strong "dancing" pulse.

Selina.

musicbrouwer4

El Decameron Negro.

Leo Brouwer

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I have loved this work from the first time I heard it played. Yes it is difficult and you may be put off by the rhythm patterns, counting and shear range of movement required to get around your guitar however it is definitely worth the effort no matter how many years it takes you to learn.

Skill Level
Advanced
290

City Scenes

Gary Ryan

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Three original compositions Rush, Metropolis & Birds Flew Over The Spire. These works are challenging and very musical with The Birds Flew Over The Spire being one of the most popular pieces enjoyed by our own students and others who hear it played. If you are looking for new pieces to play and enjoy, City Scenes is a must have item.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

We came across this book through the Trinity grade 5 syllabus which includes the third piece Birds Flew over the Spire. If you read my guitar reviews you will recognize this as one of my firm favourites because it is a beautiful little piece of music, using the guitar so well and highlighting what the classical guitar is best at. The pieces in this book are very contrasting and fit beautifully within the title City Scenes.

Rush was originally conceived as a study for the right hand thumb and is full of energy, with the 5/4 time signature constantly pushing the music forward, a strong bass melody and lots of syncopation and articulation. It is great to see how adding a title and ‘story’ to a study can transform it into an exciting, descriptive piece of music.

Metropolis is a long piece with a difficult rhythm that looks very complex on the page but is fine once you get into the swing of it, as long as you work it out properly with counting first! The way that Gary uses material gives a real bustle to the music with gradually evolving patterns and harmonies and repeated sections bringing in subtle changes of mood.

In the preface Gary describes it as “the non-stop bustle of a musical city where influences combine from many different ages and musical cultures.” Birds flew over the Spire is a wonderful relaxation after this with lovely campanella harmonies accompanying a fluid melody that twists and turns gently depicting the birds floating on thermals and warm currents of air. It is great for fingerboard knowledge and left hand movement but, more importantly for listening ad enjoying the musical phrasing.

The preface by the composer is very good and the music is well laid out with clear fingering (not too much) and musical instructions.

This is definitely music to have fun with!

Selina.

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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
bach-inventions-8-15

Bach Inventions Vol 2 8-15

J. S. Bach

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BMV 773 - Written for 2 guitars. Transcribed by Mario Martino & Andrea Schiavina. As with all UT Orpheus publications this edition is very clearly and cleanly printed which really helps when sight reading ensemble pieces. Music written by Bach, what more can I say, if you have an interest in playing ensemble which in my opinion you should at least try, then these Inventions are fun and challenging.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Ensemble
carulli-duo-op62-no1

Carulli Duo op. 62 no 1

Ferdinando Carulli

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CH 81 - 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
  • Romance - Largo
  • Minuetto - Allegro
  • Polonaise - Con poco moto
carulli-duo-op62-no2

Carulli Duo op. 62 no 2

Ferdinando Carulli

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CH 82 - 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
  • Largo
  • Minuetto - Allegro
  • Rondeau - Allegretto con poco moto
musvivaldiconcerto

Guitar Concerto in D

Antonio Vivaldi

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This delightful Concerto was originally composed for Lute, two Violins and Bass Continuo, but in the more familiar transcription for Guitar, Strings and Continuo. it has become a highly popular mainstay of the Guitar repertoire. A must for any enthusiastic guitarist, even if you do not have access to string players.

mussanzanthology

Anthology of Selected Works

Gaspar Sanz

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The pieces in this anthology are selected from Sanz's treatise for the five-course guitar. The various tunings used during the history of the Baroque guitar were quite different from that of today's instrument. In this edition Raymond Burley has tried to remain as faithful to Sanz's original tablature as its transcription for modern guitar will allow.

Skill Level
Intermediate
f-m-torroba-castles-of-spain

Castles of Spain

Federico Moreno Torroba

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Federico Moreno-Torroba's Castles of Spain Invokes images both of his countries noble past and present. The collection was recorded by Andres Segovia in 1969. Immensely popular with players and audiences. Definately one of my bucket list acquisitions.

Skill Level
Intermediate
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.

192

The Guitar Music of Spain Vol 3 Bartolome Calatayud

Bartolome Calatayud

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This sort of collection is great since as well as including some well-known and very popular pieces it introduces guitarists to some fairly obscure pieces and less well-known composers. This the third book in a series of three volumes contains the very best of Spanish guitar music. Traditional Spanish and Hispanic music by composers such as Rodrigo, Calatayud, Llobet, Cardoso, Sainz De La Maza and other masters.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This sort of collection is great since as well as including some well-known and very popular pieces it introduces guitarists to some fairly obscure pieces and less well-known composers.

This sort of collection is great since as well as including some well-known and very popular pieces it introduces guitarists to some fairly obscure pieces and less well-known composers.

Included are quite a wide variety of styles from within this genre from the brightness and relative simplicity of Bolero and El Majo by Calatayud to the contemporary feel of Pajaros De Primavera by Rodrigo and the rich, romantic melody of Capricho Arabe by Tarrega.

The edition is very good with plenty of space allowed for each piece (which is very important for the amount of notes that some of them contain) and clear musical instructions and fingering.

As for the latter, there is not too much; the Torroba and Rodrigo have none at all allowing much more freedom for the performer even if it takes a little longer to work it out!

If you are considering this book for one or two pieces it is very worth while. For one thing the price is very good for the variety that you get!

Madronas by Torroba (grade 8) is a rich and beautiful piece that really captures the spirit of Spain and highlights the warmth, sonority and lyricism of the guitar as brought to us by Segovia.

Capricho Arabe is also here – a great repertoire standard with its soaring melodic lines and rich harmonies.

Another highlight for me is the music by Sainz De La Maza, which, unfortunately, is not heard so much these days. He uses the guitar very effectively having a lighter, simpler feel and so depicting the vitality of Spain.

There are some big and more complicated and contemporary pieces by Llobet as well as his glorious arrangement of El Noi de la Mare.

Some of these pieces take more working out and effort to learn but the experience is great for any guitarist in learning about musical style, shape and interpretation.

Selina.

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.

musbachcello

Bach Cello Suites 1 to 4

J. S. Bach

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For more than a century guitarists have been irresistibly drawn to Bach’s remarkable cello suites. Here, for the first time, are the first four in the easiest and most resonant guitar keys. Suites I–IV must be transposed to work on the guitar, whereas Suite V is always played in A minor, in Bach’s own lute version, and the equally demanding Suite VI can only be played in its original key of D. By adding as little as possible, these arrangements preserve the integrity of the originals.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

This edition is very well researched, laid out with clear printing and plenty of examples and explanation. It gives guitarists of all standards and musical knowledge an opportunity to explore this fantastic music. As Richard points out in his introduction the guitar repertoire already has ‘difficult’Bach in abundance, whereas these 4 suites are altogether more approachable.

Before the music starts there are 4 pages of notes which are clearly laid out in sections; Keys, Realising the notation, Added notes and other changes to the text, Ornaments and Acknowledgments. This is by no means a daunting read (and must be read!!) covering his reasons for changing keys, his choice of fingering and added harmonies and help in interpreting the hidden counterpoint in Bach’s single line melody. Although some of the language is quite academic it is not difficult to gather the overall meaning and points about literal length of notes for example really do help in your interpretation.

Richard has chosen to, for the most part, stick with the cello’s single line melody, clearly stating his reasons why There have been many arrangements of this music with guitarists keen to add harmony to exploit the abilities and richness of the guitar, perhaps most famously John Duarte’s arrangement of the first cello suite. The main problem with adding too much to the original is that you end up taking a lot away, the extra notes often impeding the natural flow of the music. This is music that speaks for itself and through simply playing the original notes you start to hear the shape of the phrases and implied voices, with the musical qualities of the guitar enhancing them further. In its original form, as printed here, we learn much more about playing musically rather than working out fingers and chords all of the time!

Any notes that have been added or changed (in octave for example) are written in small print and there are examples in footnotes to help with interpretation of ornaments and ideas on embellishing the music stylistically.

The edition is by no means over fingered and allows plenty of space for changes and adding your own fingering. Sometimes it is necessary for an arranger to add fingering when they feel that the music has to be played in a certain way to communicate the composer’s original intentions. My only question here is that the method of fingering is a little inconsistent and requires stopping to think. For example in places a note will be marked with a string number that indicates a different position but is not immediately obvious. There is quite a bit of right hand fingering which is fair enough as long as the player realizes that they are simply suggestions and should not hold up your musical line. This last point is key; the only important thing is the music. If you find it difficult because you are trying to impose a fingering that does not fit for you then you are losing out! (Having said that one finger repeated throughout is not good enough technically and will also not bring the musical line out fluently!)

This edition does give very clear explanations of the reasons for using certain fingerings and in doing that immediately offers the player choice – excellent!

As for the music - it is wonderful, offering excellent melodic, listening and phrasing work for the guitarist. It may feel strange at first playing mainly single lines but you will find yourself listening so much more and eventually really enjoying the freedom of movement and expression that this music gives. I particularly enjoyed Suite IV, which is majestic and full of wonderful twists and turns, rhythms and beautiful lines. I was unfamiliar with the music but am now inspired to explore it further – what more evidence do you need of a good edition!

To sum up, whether you want to try playing Bach’s music for the first time or are experienced and looking for something new, this edition would be an excellent and very worthwhile addition to your library.

Selina.

musryanscenesbrazil

Scenes from Brazil

Gary Ryan

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In Scenes from Brazil Gary Ryan continues the theme of attractive concert pieces from his hugely popular Scenes from the Wild West. The three pieces that comprise Scenes from Brazil draw their influence from a variety of sources including 1960s jazz legend Antonio Carlos Jobim, who played alongside Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz on the famous Girl from Ipanema. The 3 pieces are titled Junglescape, Rio Bay (from the Corcovado)and Sugarloaf Mountain.

Skill Level
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
66

Repertoire Progressif Volume 1

Les Productions dOZ

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Repertoire Progressif is the first book in a series of six graded volumes. Each album contains a wide spectrum of styles and is split into organised sections. The 52 pieces in this volume come under the headings of Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Various (traditional, romantic and contemporary), Studies and Duos. They contain a mixture of traditional guitar repertoire (Sor, Aguado, Giuliani, etc), new arrangements and some previously unpublished compositions by one of the editors of this series, Claude Gagnon (Marakesh, an evocative solo and two attractive duets.

Skill Level
Beginner

I really like the printing and layout in this book. It has a clean and spacious appearance that is immediately encouraging! The gradual progression of difficulty level through the book is well paced, travelling, at the same time, from the 16th to the 19th century.

The music was chosen by a large number of teachers from Quebec, resulting in a diverse collection of very tuneful and accessible music predominantly from the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical periods.

The first 9 pages offer loads of experience with easy 2 part pieces using mostly open bass strings. From there the technical progression includes arpeggio style, dotted rhythms, chords in thirds, keys up to 3 sharps and 2 flats, and, to finish the solo section, an easy arrangement of the opening of Asturias by Albeniz highlighting the bass melody

It is so exciting and encouraging to have music like this at the early stages of learning! I would like to highlight the single line, melodic studies by Sor which are so important for developing phrasing and singing skills.

It is also great to see a good collection of the standard repertoire by composers such as Sor, Aguado and Carcassi, music that is fantastic for developing a good solid technique while at the same time being enjoyable and satisfying.

There is a good selection of duets at the end of the book enabling the student to enjoy being part of more complicated music, with excellent arrangements.

Overall, this is an excellent edition with a clear and uncluttered layout and fingering that is kept to a minimum.

Grade 1

  • V’la l’bon vent: this is a simple, rhythmical 2 part piece using open basses, excellent for developing singing of the melody!
  • Lecon: a single line melody developing basic skills of phrasing and legato playing with simple 3 note chords at cadences

Grade 2

  • Chanson: a flowing waltz in D major and a crotchet rhythm.
  • Valse: a well-known “standard” by Aguado developing thirds and moving left hand shapes.
  • Ecossaise in A minor: this is a flowing 2-part piece by Giuliani using the accidentals of the minor key with the second half in the relative major, and some more detailed articulation in the bass.
  • Lecon in C: an extended single line melody by Sor excellent for shaping phrasing across wider intervals and for legato playing.

Selina.

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