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

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
296

Bach Lute Suites for Guitar

J. S. Bach

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The complete works for lute solo newly transcribed and annotated, including historical and performance notes. This publication is very nicely printed with space between lines and around notes so for those of us who either wear or should wear spectacles it makes life a lot easier. This edition is Selina's favourite and in her opinion the best!

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
333

Barden-Klange for guitar Vol. 1

Johann Kaspar Mertz

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
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106

Berkeley Quatre Pieces

Lennox Berkeley

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Composed and dedicated to the great Spanish exponent Segovia. This beautifully balanced set of four pieces adds significantly to the guitars repertoirs.

Skill Level
Advanced
muswandersbluesrags

Blues Rags and Rock n Roll

Jeop Wanders

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20 easy pieces in the lighter vein. With a number of familiar traditionals like Midnight Special, The House of the Rising Sun and some new pieces composed in familiar styles, this collection is a welcome addition to the student repertoire. Now with PLAY-ALONG CD. Difficulty level grade 1/2

Skill Level
Beginner
299

Café Music

Michael Stimpson

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

Skill Level
Intermediate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

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
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
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
94

Cavatina

Alexandre Tansman

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

musburdencertainhits3

Certain Hits 3

David Burden

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Songs and Themes from Stage & Screen for solo guitar. This book offers the student popular hits of contemporary music and pieces from other periods that have been used in Film, TV & Stage. Castle On A Cloud, Romance, The Harry Lime Theme, Summertime, The Godfather Love Theme, Ragtime Dance.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
certainhits5

Certain Hits 5

David Burden

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10 Songs and Themes from Film and TV. Ticket To Ride; And I Love Her; The Windmills of Your Mind; Pastorale(Vivaldi); The Harmonious Blacksmith(Handel); Plaisir d'Amour; Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head; Scarborough Fair; Eye Level; The Jeeves and Wooster Theme

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
musburdencertainhits

Certain Hits Songs and Themes from Films

David Burden

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Seven great hits from films in effective and easy to play arrangements for guitar ensembles. Essential experience in ensemble playing gained in the most enjoyable way. Romance, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, The Siamese Cat Song, If I were a Rich Man, Walking In The Air & The Pink Panther.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
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musferrercharme

Charme de la Nuite

Jose Ferrer

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A charming selection of character pieces for Guitar. Ferrer's compositions were written mainly for solo guitar and resembled the fashionable salon music of his time

Skill Level
Intermediate

I think that this book offers a great opportunity to guitarists of all levels to explore and, most importantly enjoy, some wonderful pieces.

The preface describes it as charming salon music, a perfect description for music that challenges the technique but is always imaginative and fun encouraging exploration of colour, texture and musical shape. This is not heavy or serious music, which is refreshing, and highlights the reason that we play – to enjoy and let others enjoy lovely music!

The music requires the player to look into what they are doing musically and to think about shape and direction. For example Ferrer uses for lightness, drama and suspense – the music doesn’t just stop! There is a lot of colour and texture to be found in the music, as well as dynamic control that is not necessarily marked.

There are demands on technique appropriate to the different levels of difficulty, all strongly associated to musical shape and style – articulation, right hand arpeggios, slurs and fluent movement around the fingerboard to name a few. The music is more romantic and emotional in style, falling really between Aguado and Mertz.

I love the use of the whole fingerboard in Ejercicio, creating drama, and the slurring motifs in El Amable with the melody moving easily between treble and bass parts. Ferrer uses some more unusual keys for guitarists; F major in Estudio developing a strong barre technique, and C minor in Nostalgia which has the added challenge of constant accompaniment figures. L’Etudiant de Salamanque has some lovely Spanish flavours and contrasts in a Tango and Vals finishing off with an effective and great tambora section. In complete contrast is Charme de Nuit, a nocturne that is free and unashamedly romantic! My personal favourite is Belle. This is such a happy piece guaranteed to bring a smile, especially the tuba section, while still challenging the player’s technique, particularly right hand.

The pieces in this little book go from grade 4 to 7, giving a player a great sense of development both technically and musically, introducing new music and style, and providing great entertainment. What more do we need?

Selina.

329

Christmas Carols

Fabio Rizza

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18 easy arrangements for guitar solo includes titles such as Coventry carol, The Wexford Carol, O Tannenbaum, Away in a Manger and many more. Beautifully printed, no cumbersome page turns, bringing fun and variety to the holiday period.

Skill Level
Intermediate
233

Circles End

Steve Marsh

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Eleven works altogether, eight of which were originally written as teaching pieces and three as concert items. Titles are: Mystery Waltz; The Rainbow; Song for a Gentle Maiden; Rush Hour; The Seagull; Carnival Time; Mountain Stream; When the Cats Waltz at Midnight; The Empty Attic; The Haunted Carousel; Circles End. Circle's End written in memory of the singer/songwriter, Harry Chapin and chosen by one critic as his 'Pick of the Year' piece in Classical Guitar magazine after it was included in their music supplement.

Skill Level
Intermediate

This is a lovely collection of pieces that bring out and highlight the very best that the guitar has to offer encouraging the musician within!

Steve Marsh is a guitarist and a teacher writing music on many different levels for guitarists from about a grade 3 standard, say 2 to 3 years playing experience. By this I mean that his pieces help us to develop our technique on the instrument as well as introducing new sounds and encouraging our communication skills and imagination.

In this collection the pieces are so interesting and full of character with lots of material for us to work with including simple melody and accompaniment, various arpeggio patterns with melody above, below or within, movement around the guitar, shifting rhythms, texture, movement and, most importantly, feel.

The Rainbow is simple in 2 and 3 voices with straightforward rhythm but is very uplifting. The harmonic movement and interest in this really carries the player along and this is true of all the pieces from the gentle rise and fall of flight in The Seagull to the bubbling arpeggio texture of the Mountain Stream and the macabre, spinning twists and turns of The Haunted Carousel.

A great sense of humour comes across in When the Cats Waltz at Midnight and the rhythm of Rush Hour reflects the title brilliantly.

The title piece Circles end is simply beautiful with lovely breadth and depth to the sound creating a big and emotional sound picture.

The key thing with this music is that it introduces an idea through the title that you can grasp quickly as you start to learn through the way the piece is written, and then allows you to let your imagination run free and encourages feeling and enjoyment.

Just what we need!

Selina.

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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.

103

Collected Works for Solo Guitar

H. Villa-Lobos

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Introduction by Frederick Noade. The music in this collection has probably been more studied, performed and recorded than any other guitar compositions of the twentieth century. This collection gathers Villa-Lobos' most famous works in their original forms and complete with Andrés Segovia's original introduction to the Twelve Etudes. Includes: Choros No. 1 * Suite Populaire Brésilienne * Douze Études * Cinq Préludes.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

There is so much movement in his pieces with lots of sliding shapes, sequences and big interval jumps, with musical shape and direction that requires great freedom, relaxed agility and flowing technique.

The music is advanced, grade 6 upwards and I think that it is invaluable for technical and musical development – as well as making you think about fingering and teaching you how to get about!

The short introduction by Frederick Noad provides an excellent summary of Villa Lobos’ history with the guitar, his innovative style and his meeting and subsequent association with Segovia to whom he dedicated his 12 Etudes. The introduction also explains his notation of harmonics and the associated problems. In fact there is a section at the end of the book that concentrates on specific problems which is very helpful for players looking at this music for the first time.

Much of this music is very well known to guitarists of all standards, and as Noad says it “has probably been more studied, performed and recorded than any other guitar compositions of the twentieth century.” This is reason enough I think for it to be an essential part of a guitarists library.

The book starts with Choros no.1, the first of a set of pieces of the same name written for various combinations of instruments. The word choro is Portuguese for weeping, tears and became the name used for music played by an ensemble of Brazilian street musicians using both African and European instruments who improvise in a free and often dissonant kind of counterpoint. This piece has great pulse and rhythm as well as a sense of freedom that makes it very evocative. It is technically difficult for the left hand requiring lots of quick movement between big chord shapes and barres while maintaining melodic shape and direction. As in many of these pieces much of the melody is in chords providing the challenge of thinking horizontally in up to 4 voices rather than in vertical finger shapes. There is a lot of rubato indicated in the music and this is very important but the music does need the underlying pulse and rhythmical structure in place before you start to pull it around. Again this is a feature in all of these pieces and is often what spoils my enjoyment of the music – rubato without structure tends to lead music without sense and direction. Unlike the rest of the pieces in this collection the Choros does have some fingering but it is not overdone. The player does need to have very good technical control and knowledge of the fingerboard to really communicate the spirit of this piece.

The Suite Populaire Bresilienne is made up of five melodic and emotional pieces that use contrasting dance forms combined with Villa Lobos’ choro style. They are Mazurka Choro, Schottish Choro, Valsa Choro, Gavotta Choro and Chorinho. They all have a natural flow and rhythm and are made up of repeating and contrasting sections. There are many unusual and more dissonant sounds combined with easily singing melodies and rich harmony. I love the delicate opening figure in Schottish and the sweeping melodic line of the Mazurka. There is a constant feel of movement in the music with no compromises made for travel around the fingerboard. The Valsa highlights control of voicing between parts and within the chordal melody. Similarly the Gavotta requires three distinct parts throughout with constant movement in chords. The Chorinho is purely from the Brazilian tradition and is more unusual and quirky. It is all about the rhythm and feel for the pulse with lovely, moody, low harmonies and a major section that is simply great fun to play!

The Twelve studies truly represent an important and innovative change in writing for the guitar. They pushed the boundaries of classical guitar technique further than ever before while maintaining musicality as performance pieces, as Segovia points out in his preface to the first edition, which is printed here in full. The first 4 cover basic techniques – right hand arpeggio patterns, left hand arpeggios moving around the fingerboard, slurs and rapid repeated chords. The rest of the pieces cover combinations of techniques and musical ideas such as maintaining voices, melody and accompaniment, multiple slurs, rhythmical challenges and ornaments. I particularly like the peaceful flow of the ostinato lower voice in no.5, the contrast between tumbling scales and emotional melody with accompaniment in no.7, the beautiful and mournful melody in no.8 and the contrast of drama with the lightness of multiple slurs accompanying a bass melody in no.10 – very tricky!

With all of the studies it is obvious what you are trying to achieve and so satisfying when you start to hear progress. Add to that the fact that they are very suitable for performance repertoire and you are killing two birds with one stone as they say. This set of pieces really does represent a lifetime’s work for the performer.

The Five Preludes are perhaps some of the most recognizable guitar pieces ever written, not heard so much in performance these days which is a great shame as they are so wonderful for developing a guitarists technical freedom and musical interpretation skills. One of these skills is controlling musical shape and direction through the use of rubato. When you look at the pieces on the page you can see a lot of rhythmical detail and subtlety that is very important but often gets neglected. Freedom in these pieces is wonderful and necessary but needs to have a structure to build on to have the desired effect.

The melodies are quite romantic, notably in no.1 and no.4 and it is easy to get carried away! However as soon as you start to recognize the rhythm and pulse the musical shape shines through and creates its own freedom.

The 5 pieces are similar in structure – loosely A B A – and contain many contrasts in dynamics, texture, emotion and musical ebb and flow. No.1 has a fantastic, long melody line with extended phrases and a great emotional build up. No. 2 has a more graceful and delicate arpeggio based melody with an intense and dramatic contrasting section. The rising lines of no.3 really highlight the sonorities of the guitar and its singing voice, with a second section that is very difficult to pull off and requires lots of musical thought, but the end result is exquisite! I love the stillness and sonorous melody of no.4 with its busy and compelling centre section and no.5 is simply a lovely, sunny melody with lots of voicing needed to bring out the harmonies that move with the melody and, again an intense and melancholy middle section.

It is great to have all of these pieces together, challenging you as a player both technically and musically for as long as you play and making you think about, and work out fingering so giving you a better knowledge of the fingerboard.

Selina.

323

Complete Studies for Guitar

Fernando Sor

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Edited by Paolo Cherici. In editing Sor's studies Cherici is attempting to seek new performing possibilities. Cherici has not restricted himself to Sor's original fingering or even to the traditional solutions adopted. Cherici wishes to develop an outcome that reflects his own personal view of how these pieces should be performed.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
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