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.

Sheet Music Database

musdodgsonodetotheguitar

Ode to the Guitar

Stephen Dodgson

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

musoneplusvol16

One + One Volume 1 (Pupils Part)

Chanterelle

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The three volumes of One + One contain arrangements of music from the renaissance, baroque, classical and romantic periods as well as folk-song settings and new compositions written specially for the EGTA Series. New compositions, even though they don’t apply to the exam list repertoire, are included, in order to maximise the books’ general value to the player and to show how this approach can work for all types of music.

Skill Level
Beginner

These volumes of duets were conceived and put together through the efforts of EGTA, the European Guitar Teachers Association, and are designed to help students develop their musicianship, co ordination, tone and articulation without the excessive physical demands that the chordal and contrapuntal repertoire can impose, particularly on the left hand.

The pieces were the first duets to be used in the ABRSM guitar syllabus, a change in approach that has been invaluable for encouraging students and introducing them to repertoire that would have previously been inaccessible until much later. Of course, it also promotes ensemble playing and all the rhythmical, musical and “communication” benefits that this brings, as well as being so much fun!

There is a comprehensive preface to each volume, which is important to read as it outlines the ideals in general as well as the technical demands and thoughts about fingering, positions and musical indications. It is great that fingering has been kept to a minimum and the preface makes it clear that the fingerings that have been added are just suggestions based on achieving the best musical result.

There is a wide variety of repertoire represented from the Renaissance to the present day, including arrangements of music by Dowland, Purcell, Haydn, Schubert, Mozart, Grieg and Tchaikovsky, as well as original, contemporary guitar pieces. I was a little disappointed not to find any arrangements from the guitar solo repertoire, since there is so much to choose from that would provide an insight into the world of the classical guitar – in other words all the exciting things to come!

All the student parts are single line melodies across the two volumes.

Volume 1 stays in first position, with pieces tending to use the bass or treble voices so working on the separate articulation of fingers and thumb. The arrangements are very well done with a lot of emphasis on ensemble skills i.e. counting and listening, and a good mix of popular and unknown melodies.

In volume 2 fingers and thumb are combined within pieces and left hand positions range from first to fourth. In both books there are some challenging rhythms and time signatures with the articulation and musical indications getting more detailed in volume 2.

There are also some quite unusual and tricky accompaniments in these arrangements, which is worth noting for teachers!

I have to admit to finding some of the modern melodies a little “dry” and more difficult to follow (for young ears) especially when being played without accompaniment. However, overall, there are plenty of lovely tunes, lots of invaluable ensemble experience and counting practice and a strong emphasis on the importance of melody and phrasing.

Grade 1 (volume 1)

  • Riggadoon: a lively, straightforward melody using the treble strings.
  • German Dance: another energetic piece in ¾ time using a dotted crotchet rhythm and some accents.
  • Theme from Rosamunde: this is a flowing, Andante melody, with some longer quaver passages.

Grade 2 (volume 2)

  • Minuet: this piece is in F major, has some detailed phrasing indications and uses 2nd and 3rd positions.
  • A Fairy Tale: the phrasing is detailed again here with a strong, rhythmical, flowing melody and quite a lot of accidentals!
  • Slavonic Waltz: this piece is marked con moto and has a clear character with a contrasting second section and change of key signature.
  • Grade 3 (volume 2)

    • Musette en Rondeau: this is a lovely dance in ¾ with long quaver passages in treble and bass voices.
    • Sweet Reveries: marked Andante, this piece requires long legato phrasing with detailed dynamic control. A dotted quaver rhythm is used throughout and the left hand plays up to the 7th fret.

    Selina.

    musoneplusvol1

    One + One Volume 1 (Teachers Part)

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    The three volumes of One + One contain arrangements of music from the renaissance, baroque, classical and romantic periods as well as folk-song settings and new compositions written specially for the EGTA Series. New compositions, even though they don’t apply to the exam list repertoire, are included, in order to maximise the books’ general value to the player and to show how this approach can work for all types of music.

    musoneplusvol23

    One + One Volume 2 (Pupils Part)

    Chanterelle

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    The three volumes of One + One contain arrangements of music from the renaissance, baroque, classical and romantic periods as well as folk-song settings and new compositions written specially for the EGTA Series. New compositions, even though they don’t apply to the exam list repertoire, are included, in order to maximise the books’ general value to the player and to show how this approach can work for all types of music.

    Skill Level
    Beginner

    These volumes of duets were conceived and put together through the efforts of EGTA, the European Guitar Teachers Association, and are designed to help students develop their musicianship, co ordination, tone and articulation without the excessive physical demands that the chordal and contrapuntal repertoire can impose, particularly on the left hand.

    The pieces were the first duets to be used in the ABRSM guitar syllabus, a change in approach that has been invaluable for encouraging students and introducing them to repertoire that would have previously been inaccessible until much later. Of course, it also promotes ensemble playing and all the rhythmical, musical and “communication” benefits that this brings, as well as being so much fun!

    There is a comprehensive preface to each volume, which is important to read as it outlines the ideals in general as well as the technical demands and thoughts about fingering, positions and musical indications. It is great that fingering has been kept to a minimum and the preface makes it clear that the fingerings that have been added are just suggestions based on achieving the best musical result.

    There is a wide variety of repertoire represented from the Renaissance to the present day, including arrangements of music by Dowland, Purcell, Haydn, Schubert, Mozart, Grieg and Tchaikovsky, as well as original, contemporary guitar pieces. I was a little disappointed not to find any arrangements from the guitar solo repertoire, since there is so much to choose from that would provide an insight into the world of the classical guitar – in other words all the exciting things to come!

    All the student parts are single line melodies across the two volumes.

    Volume 1 stays in first position, with pieces tending to use the bass or treble voices so working on the separate articulation of fingers and thumb. The arrangements are very well done with a lot of emphasis on ensemble skills i.e. counting and listening, and a good mix of popular and unknown melodies.

    In volume 2 fingers and thumb are combined within pieces and left hand positions range from first to fourth. In both books there are some challenging rhythms and time signatures with the articulation and musical indications getting more detailed in volume 2.

    There are also some quite unusual and tricky accompaniments in these arrangements, which is worth noting for teachers!

    I have to admit to finding some of the modern melodies a little “dry” and more difficult to follow (for young ears) especially when being played without accompaniment. However, overall, there are plenty of lovely tunes, lots of invaluable ensemble experience and counting practice and a strong emphasis on the importance of melody and phrasing.

    Grade 1 (volume 1)

    • Riggadoon: a lively, straightforward melody using the treble strings.
    • German Dance: another energetic piece in ¾ time using a dotted crotchet rhythm and some accents.
    • Theme from Rosamunde: this is a flowing, Andante melody, with some longer quaver passages.

    Grade 2 (volume 2)

  • Minuet: this piece is in F major, has some detailed phrasing indications and uses 2nd and 3rd positions.
  • A Fairy Tale: the phrasing is detailed again here with a strong, rhythmical, flowing melody and quite a lot of accidentals!
  • Slavonic Waltz: this piece is marked con moto and has a clear character with a contrasting second section and change of key signature.
  • Grade 3 (volume 2)

    • Musette en Rondeau: this is a lovely dance in ¾ with long quaver passages in treble and bass voices.
    • Sweet Reveries: marked Andante, this piece requires long legato phrasing with detailed dynamic control. A dotted quaver rhythm is used throughout and the left hand plays up to the 7th fret.

    Selina.

    musoneplusvol28

    One + One Volume 2 (Teachers Part)

    Chanterelle

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    The three volumes of One + One contain arrangements of music from the renaissance, baroque, classical and romantic periods as well as folk-song settings and new compositions written specially for the EGTA Series. New compositions, even though they don’t apply to the exam list repertoire, are included, in order to maximise the books’ general value to the player and to show how this approach can work for all types of music.

    musplayford

    Playford Fantasia

    John Whitworth

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    This imaginative and evocative piece is a continuous set of variations on the English dance tune Goddesses, and provides a rare opportunity at this level to play and experience a work of real substance. It has a distinctive English flavour.

    Skill Level
    Intermediate
    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
    Out Of Stock Enquire
    105

    Pumping Nylon

    Scott Tennant

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    Scott Tennant, world-class classical guitarist and well-respected guitar eduactor, has brought together the most comprehensive technique handbook for the classical guitarist. In addition to technical information not available elsewhere, he has compiled selections from Giuliani's 120 Right-Hand Studies; musical examples by Bach, Turina, Rodrigo and others;Tarrega arpeggio studies; and original compositions by Andrew York and Brian Head. Essential information and a great sense of humor are effectively combined in this best-selling book.

    Skill Level
    Advanced
    282

    Pumping Nylon Intermediate

    Scott Tennant

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

    Skill Level
    Intermediate
    Advanced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Selina.

    281

    Pumping Nylon Level Easy

    Scott Tennant

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    The pieces in this book are selected and designed around the various techniques addressed in Pumping Nylon. They are offered as an extension of the exercises presented in that book and to provide attractive and easy pieces in which to apply the various techniques. CD Included.

    Skill Level
    Beginner
    Intermediate

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

    The variety of music is fantastic with a firm base in the 19th century, a grounding that we should all have, and the book is very well presented. The preface is very interesting especially for me as I have long highlighted the importance of the 19th century repertoire. I do disagree with Tennant’s initial description of this music – “old fashioned, boring” - but I am glad that he has seen the light in putting the book together!

    He explains how the pieces are chosen with technical development in mind and in the table of contents he has a checklist so that you can easily choose the areas that you would like to concentrate on. Each piece then has its own checklist for you to think about and develop as you learn. There is also a glossary of the musical terms and signs used, something that many of us neglect to learn!

    Studies by Sor, Carcassi, Giuliani and Tarrega sit happily alongside exercises and pieces by York and Tennant and I am particularly pleased with the inclusion of 3 Pavans by Luis Milan, quite intricate and beautiful pieces that require good control of chords and multiple voices. Other, less well known, favourites of mine are the two little studies by Giuliani offering excellent right hand balance practice, Sor’s op. 35 no. 18 which has fantastic harmonic movement and again works on balance in the right hand, that is evenness of strokes with all fingers and thumb, Carcassi’s Etude no. 6 from op 60 that carries a beautiful flowing melody with the thumb and a lovely slur study by Giuliani.

    Snowflight by Andrew York is a simple arpeggio piece that creates a beautiful, dream like atmosphere and A Pale View by David Pritchard is so gentle and unusual and I love it, with sustaining melody over campanella arpeggiated harmonies – a new one for the collection!

    I do not necessarily agree with all the ideas and methods of practice presented in the checklists, however it is great to read these ideas and investigate how the pieces work. For me it is great to use as a reference, but mainly offers an excellent collection for any guitarist to work with and expand their knowledge of the repertoire. You can also enjoy all the quotes! My favourites are; serious – “The language of music is understood everywhere” (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) and humerous – “I know what a sextet is, but I’d rather not say.” (from a grade school essay on classical music)!

    Selina.

    musmartinquatrepiec

    Quatre Pieces Breves

    Frank Martin

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    This edition presents the work in the form in which it appears in the definitive manuscriot written in 1955. The original composition for guitar solo dates from 1933 which was later arranged for large orchestra.

    Skill Level
    Intermediate
    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.

    muslemayprogressivevol5

    Repertoire Progressif Volume 5

    Les Productions dOZ

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

    Skill Level
    Intermediate
    musscarlatti

    Scarlatti for Guitar

    Domenico Scarlatti

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    It is great to see these two collections being published, as the music is often difficult to find and choose when students reach the technical level required.

    Skill Level
    Intermediate

    It is great to see these two collections being published,as the music is often difficult to find and choose when students reach the technical level required.

    I was especially impressed with the Weiss collection where the 10 movements chosen (from a huge repertoire of suites) work very well as stand alone pieces and transfer beautifully onto our 6 string classical guitar, without the player having to perform too many acrobatics and without losing the musical flow.

    It is very important to introduce the repertoire of these two composers to guitarists as soon as possible. Weiss because he was a contemporary of Bach and wrote pieces of high quality and, arguably more suited to the guitar, and Scarlatti whose harpsichord music helps to develop a feel for the Spanish Baroque style where the guitar can recreate the textures of the harpsichord very well.

    The editions are clearly set out and printed with excellent historical notes at the beginning of each volume. These notes are very informative and useful for the technical and musical interpretation of the pieces.

    For the Scarlatti there is some background for individual pieces, as well as musical ideas and explanation of ornaments.

    For the Weiss there is a more general history of how he wrote for the Baroque Lute developing the instrument to include 13 courses, and of his main format for composition, namely the suites of dance movements.

    I particularly found useful the explanation of the Prelude or Fantasia, a form represented in the first piece in this book.

    The Scarlatti pieces all fit the guitar well although the last two are technically complicated. My favourites are 3, 5, 6 and 7 from which I felt I could really get a lot of musicality, texture and rhythmic drive.

    All of the Weiss movements are lovely with a lot of contrast to be found between pieces. The player can get a real feel for the dance styles and sophisticated harmonies that Weiss used. My highlights are the Rondeau and Sarabande (5 and 6), Paysanne (8) and Courante (9).

    The only thing that I would like to have seen less of in these editions is fingering, especially for the left hand. The music is complicated and it is nice to have fingering advice but I found that it hindered my initial reading of the pieces and so it ended up taking me longer to become fluent!!

    It is good for students and teachers to work out the best fingering for themselves through trial and error - in my experience you learn more thoroughly and have a better understanding of reading and technique this way.

    Overall, this is excellent source material for any guitarist, not only to be used for exams but as essential repertoire. It is also beautiful and detailed music that all will be able to enjoy learning and mastering.

    Selina.

    320

    Scenes for Guitar Book 1

    Gary Ryan

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    Hopefully you will find something to enjoy in this collection of ten pieces for guitar (which I like to think are the kind of pieces I would have enjoyed learning). I have certainly enjoyed writing all of them and always try to incorporate useful technical and musical ideas into each one to create a particular image or mood. Gary Ryan

    Skill Level
    Beginner
    Intermediate
    3212

    Scenes for Guitar Book 2

    Gary Ryan

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    When I meet people at recitals or after adjudicating at music festivals they often say to me "I really like your Scenes from the Wild West but it is too hard for me. Please can you write some easier pieces?" Here is a set of eight pieces which I have tried to make accessible and a little easier. Hopefully you will find something to enjoy. Gary Ryan

    Skill Level
    Intermediate
    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
    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.

    3314

    Selected Studies for Guitar Vol. 1

    Mauro Giuliani

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    One of the two most important guitarist-composer of the first half of the 19th century Giuliani excelled as a teacher. Giuliani understood where the guitar can be brilliant and where it lacked power and was able to mix together the requirements for teaching and the creativity of music. A definite yes for any student guitarist.

    Skill Level
    Intermediate
    Advanced
    mussimplyguitar1

    Simply Guitar Book 1

    Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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    Book 1 offers a structured programme of easy repertoire for the beginner. The selection of pieces is designed to develop guitar technique, improve reading skills and most of all encourage the ability to perform with musical feeling.

    Skill Level
    Beginner
    Page 7 of 11