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

85

The Young Guitarists Progress Part 2 GM7

David Burden

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This collection of guitar pieces takes the beginning guitar student from reading music to playing pieces of approximately Grade Two standard. It leaves the teaching of technique, hand positions, and other fundamentals to the teacher but provides material for all aspects of the very early stages of learning the guitar.

Skill Level
Beginner
83

Simply Guitar Book 2

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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Simply Guitar introduces the basic skills of the Spanish guitar through the music of Vincent Lindsey-Clark and Alexander MacDonald. Book 2 introduces higher positions on the fingerboard, articulation techniques, tonal effects and interpretational skills. These are the skills that will turn you into a real musician.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
82

The Guitarists Progress Book 2

David Burden

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This collection of guitar pieces brings the guitar student from approximately Grade Two through Grade Four standard. It leaves the teaching of technique, hand positions, and other fundamentals to the teacher but provides material for work on specific techniques such as barres. The notes in the higher positions are gradually introduced and musical notation is explained with helpful hints.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
81

Simply Swing

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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Bringing alive the Jazz era with five stylish pieces capturing the atmosphere of the 1940's. They are easy to play and they will be enjoyed by the most sophisticated jazz connoisseur.

Skill Level
Beginner

These pieces capture the 1940s jazz style beautifully and are great fun to play, from the straightforward 2-part Ragatelle, to the more technically and musically complex Icy Blue.

As a player it is easy to get into the "atmosphere" of the music with fantastic harmonies and off beat rhythms that are not difficult to understand or execute, but are really effective when played fluently.

This is particularly noticeable in Mississippi Ditty with his use of ties, slurs and accents.

The off beat rhythms and "swing" are easy to get into at the beginning of the book as there is a constant crotchet pulse maintained in the bass which helps to drive and shape the music.

In Steely Blue, the bass line comes and goes, highlighting the "solo" melodic passages, which include very effective use of "glissando".

There are detailed dynamic indications throughout the book that really add to the experience as they initially teach you the style through shaping the music. You can then enjoy playing and bring your own interpretation to the pieces.

Icy Blue provides a contrast in the book because it uses constant quavers that produce a driving, exciting feel to the music and require some quick thinking!

My favourite piece from the collection has to be Swing Swang Lane. I love the slow and thoughtful atmosphere of this piece with its moving harmonies, relaxed swing and simple, flowing melody.

Selina.

80

Diversions

Peter Nuttall and John Whitworth

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An exciting collection of eleven guitar pieces that cover a wide range of popular styles; from folk to blues, Elizabethan music to Jazz and Classical. The mixture of arrangements and original compositions will ensure that this selection has something to offer players of all ages.

Skill Level
Beginner

This is a wonderfully varied little book.

For Diversions, Peter Nuttall and John Whitworth have written music within 5 different styles – Folk, Jazz, Elizabethan, Classical and Blues. The result is 11 pieces each with their own technical and musical challenges. This book is great for building repertoire; in their introduction Nuttall and Whitworth say that their aim is to ‘provide the intermediate guitarist with a repertoire of pieces covering a wide range of popular musical styles’, and many of the pieces introduce the player to different techniques that are used across the board in classical guitar music.

Nuttall and Whitworth have written an ‘introduction’ to each piece, in which they point out the prevalent musical characteristics, give advice on counting or ‘feel’, and provide some interesting context. From the off the player is introduced to swing rhythms and slides in ‘Inside Blues’, techniques that will pop up again later in the book. With the slides and accidentals, Inside Blues has a very fluid, gritty feel that will get any player into the groove! It is followed by a more mellow piece called ‘Celebration’, in which a lingering top line melody is supported by flowing right hand patterns. The melody switches to the bass halfway through the piece, so we get the chance to use the thumb to bring that out. ‘The Helston Floral Dance’ and ‘The Rakes of Mallow’ work well both separately and as a pair, and are both arrangements of traditional tunes that contain more technical semiquaver runs.

My favourite tunes in this book have to be in the Jazz Suite, a collection of three pieces designed to test the player’s musicality. The pieces all contain a certain amount of space and are open to a little more interpretation, from the improvisatory feel of ‘Lazy Afternoon’ to the syncopation and catchy melody of ‘Stomp’, finishing with ‘Night Piece’ with it’s irresistible energy and walking bass line.

There is so much scope in this book to develop ones musicality; each piece has its own character and is fun to play in its own way. What Nuttall and Whitworth have produced is music that is appealing to listen to and play, but also can help to improve ones technique.

Jess.

79

Moving On

Peter Nuttall

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For students of all ages who enjoy melodic pieces in popular styles. The technical demands remain modest, and the idiomatic nature of the compositions makes them rewarding to both player and listener.

Skill Level
Beginner

I really like this little collection of pieces as they highlight development of musicality and emotion in your playing.

Realistically the level here is grades (or years playing) 2 to 3. Although the pieces are not complicated there are more notes to read on the page, more ‘involved’ rhythms and much more musical input required. Several of the pieces use a bass melody, fantastic for improving reading of these often neglected but very important notes!

In The Wheatfields the accompanying 3 note chords look difficult but are all using i m a for mostly open strings or with one fingered note. This provides a very full accompaniment for the beautiful bass melody with lots of musical instruction to keep you on your toes.

In contrast On The Prairie has a treble single line melody with arpeggio filling, with the evocative title clear ideas on how to interpret the bright and flowing music.

The Old Lute is a simple piece in two voices reflecting a Renaissance style with a modern twist and To Mexico has a mixture of arpeggio chords and melody, syncopated rhythm, D and A chord shapes and loads of character!

There are three good blues pieces written in 12/8 time to give the swing feel with some very effective syncopated rhythms, teaching a lot about chords and about feeling the pulse and movement in the music. The final Danza has quite a medieval feel to the harmony, with the melody swapping between treble and bass registers and a lovely gentle flow throughout.

All in all a very enjoyable set of pieces with lots of potential for technical ad musical development as well performance opportunity!

Selina.

76

Solo Now Volume 1

Chanterelle

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Volume One of the Solo Now! series contains twenty-five original progressive guitar solos for the beginning classical guitarist. Part of the EGTA Series, Solo Now! focuses on development of a stable yet relaxed right hand position while nurturing correct technique for the left hand.

Skill Level
Beginner

The aim of the three Solo Now! books is to provide the elementary guitarist with a progressive and stimulating collection of pieces that specifically develop one of the most fundamental guitar techniques – that in which the right hand thumb and fingers combine to play mainly broken chord configurations using the tirando stroke.

The main principles behind the EGTA series of didactic music are establishing a good, balanced technique while not putting excessive demands on the hands of young players. Much of the 19th century teaching repertoire is focussed on developing the right hand but in doing so does make life difficult for the left hand! In these Solo Now books, the brief for composers was to concentrate on the right hand while keeping the left hand relatively simple.

Volume 1 concentrates on establishing the sense of “placement” of pima over a set of strings and maintaining a relaxed hand shape while playing across the strings. The left hand is mostly limited to placing one finger at a time, and keeps to 1st position.

In volume 2 the right hand is developed to include playing consecutive notes on a single string as well as more difficult arpeggio figurations. The left hand now has more double stopping and extensive use of 2nd and 3rd positions.

Volume 3 has a lot more left hand work including barre and slurring techniques, and movement over the first 5 positions. The right hand has more varied combinations of fingers, as you would find in most pieces, the culmination of the balanced and relaxed hand technique developed in the previous volumes.

When the aims of the books are laid out like this, it sounds like the pieces are going to be very dreary and technical but that is certainly not the case here. Nor are they very contemporary and difficult to interpret! In addition to the technical ideals, musicianship is the key.

There are lots of stories, feelings and pictures in the music with inspiring titles like “Chatterbox”, “Cowboy in the Saddle” and “Aquarium”. In fact, in looking through these books I have come to realise how important a title can be in giving us ideas and feelings to communicate in our playing.

There is extensive use of phrase lines throughout the series, wide ranging dynamics, articulation and musical indications that get progressively more detailed. There are excellent melodies, especially in the bass, and interesting rhythms that are contemporary but easily accessible through the titles.

In volume 1 “Toy Soldiers” starts the series with an excellent marching bass line maintained throughout; the “Stone Circle” requires thought and a picture to capture the majesty and “Three Ghosts” is marked “dark distant and cold”- a real challenge for the player! “Going for a Spin” at the beginning of volume 2 has a lovely, lilting quaver movement with the melody singing from the arpeggios; in “Ducks and Swans” you can really hear the difference between the graceful swans and quacking ducks – great fun! If you close your eyes at the beginning of “Circles in the Water” you can see the widening ripples and “Whirligig” makes you want to dance with a strong pulse and uplifting melody.

The pieces in volume 3 are a lot busier and more challenging but still continuing the original right hand arpeggio ideas within pieces with 2 and sometimes 3 voices. “Wishing Well” has a beautiful, relaxed melody with some scrunchy harmonies and in “Aquarium” you can follow the fish swimming over the arpeggio accompaniment! “Carillon” is a great finale to the series with a joyful stream of semiquavers forming arpeggios and melodies, syncopated bass notes and exciting harmonies.

These are just a few examples from a wide range of pieces in this series that are written with very important technical considerations in mind but also manage to inspire listening and musical invention, and are great fun to play! Ideal early repertoire.

Selina.

75

First Guitar Pieces

Gerald Garcia and John Whitworth

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A very popular collection of eight attractive pieces, drawn from many parts of the world. The pieces are suitable for the elementary player who is ready to study music in two voices, and have been chosen for their musical value whilst remaining within strict technical limits.

Skill Level
Beginner
109

Tombeau sur La Mort de Mr. Comte d'Logy

Silvius Leopold Weiss

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

Skill Level
Advanced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is definitely one of my all time favourites.

Selina.

108

Eight Sonatas

Domenico Scarlatti

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Of the more than 500 sonatas (originally termed esercizi) written for harpsichord by Domenico Scarlatti, Raymond Burley has chosen to arrange eight for guitar. These include K. 480, K. 379, K. 208, K. 232, K. 491, K. 94, as well as K. 376 and K. 377, which Scarlatti's cataloger, Ralph Kirkpatrick, suggests should be performed together. Burley has done a terrific job of fitting these pieces to the fretboard.

Skill Level
Advanced
107

Guerau Five Pieces

Francisco Guerau

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Five dances selected from Guerau's Poema Harmonico. If the themes have a familiar ring it is because they were in general use and were often built on traditional groungs rather like as this century has made use of the 12-bar blues sequence. Guerau treats his themes with much greater freedom and resource than Sanz.

Skill Level
Advanced
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
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
102

Hommage a Tarrega

Turina

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This piece is from the repertoire that brought a lot of people of my generation to the guitar, and still does due to its rich, evocative musical language. It is part of the huge contribution that Andres Segovia made to our repertoire by inspiring and encouraging new composers to write guitar music, without which I am sure we would not be where we are today. The edition covers 7 pages. Published by Schott Music.

Skill Level
Advanced

This piece is from the repertoire that brought a lot of people of my generation to the guitar, and still does due to its rich, evocative musical language.

It is part of the huge contribution that Andres Segovia made to our repertoire by inspiring and encouraging new composers to write guitar music, without which I am sure we would not be where we are today.

The key is the way that Turina uses the characteristics of the guitar to create the emotion, depth and colour in the music. The piece is very much written for the guitar with a fantastic and varied texture created using ponticello, tasto, rasgueado, subito dynamics and loads of musical instruction on the score.

The music also uses the natural tone colours of the guitar, for example the full and mellow sound high up on the inner strings, and accuracy in right hand articulation is important.

The two movements are based on flamenco dance forms, which are distinguished by, among other things, their rhythmic patterns.

Garrotin has an exciting opening and driving rhythm. There is a lot of variety with melodic motifs tying the movement together, lots of slurring, rasgueado and golpe.

The singing melodies contrast with driving repeated notes, rhythmical chords and flowing scales. Soleares is more flamenco in style in its distinctive rhythm, rolling arpeggio patterns, sequences of scales and triplets. Slurring is very important for free movement as well as texture and rhythm, and much of the fingering is for colour.

Overall this piece reflects the flamenco tradition while remaining classical in style. It is a true guitar piece using the guitars attributes to the full and it is very exciting piece – an important part of the repertoire.

Selina.

101

Dyens Mambo des Nuances

Roland Dyens

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Skill Level
Advanced
100

Aquarelle

Sergio Assad

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Single piece for guitar. D Major. 14 pages. Published by Editions Henry Lemoine

Skill Level
Advanced
99

Five Bagatelles for Guitar

William Walton

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The Five Bagatelles were written for Julian Bream and dedicated to Malcolm Arnold on his 50th birthday. They were first performed by Julian Bream on 27th May. The five different bagatelles each capture a different mood from the relentlessly upbeat first, the languid second, the smoky, seductive third, the dreamy fourth and the frantic finale. All feel instinctively like guitar music.

Skill Level
Advanced
95

Five Pictures of Sark

Vincent Lindsey-Clark

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These five delightful pieces by Vincent Lindsey-Clark reflect the Channel Island of Sark. Maseline Harbour, Hvre Gosselin, Cycles in the Avenue, La Moinerie and Descent from La Coupee are expertly composed for solo guitar by this highly talented musician.

Skill Level
Intermediate

As with the "Simply" series, these pieces encourage experimentation, exploration and musicianship for all levels of ability.

Clarke somehow manages to make the guitar sound more expansive in scope than it is with the various ways that he writes melodies and, particularly, accompaniments. He achieves many different textures and moods, which are evocative and convincing, drawing real pictures of the scenery and life of Sark.

The music requires dynamic and tonal control and contrast, while the structure and harmony in the pieces introduces the player to a modern and "impressionistic" style.

We often talk about finding pictures to accompany your music and help you to communicate ideas - this music really helps and encourages you to do just that!

In Maseline Harbour the contrast in textures is fantastic, from the flowing arpeggios of the first section to a repeated chord accompaniment over a bass melody; this melody then expands into octaves bringing out wonderful dissonances and producing a big sound picture. The final section highlights a syncopated melody within the semiquavers that is a great exercise for the brain and finger independence. This creates an uneasy atmosphere before melting back into the opening arpeggios.

Havre Gosselin uses a simpler musical texture, mainly two voices, employing repeated notes in the melody to create long undulating phrases. This is a haunting piece; the dramatic centre section uses big jumps between first and seventh position to hold and release the tension in the music.

Cycles in the Avenue is the most cheerful of the pieces -the musical instruction is "scherzando"! The piece uses the whole fretboard and encourages a freedom of movement in the player. This is not easy as there is some challenging high position reading and quick moves. The contrasting middle section uses long slow chords with a "scrunchy" harmonic progression and voicing that requires one part to be staccato and the other legato.

La Moinerie is a beautiful, slow, expressive piece that requires good finger control to bring out the separate voices and fantastic harmonies. The phrases are long and flowing, excellent practice for the developing guitarist and the flow of the music is irresistible. A small phrase using artificial harmonics with other voices is a big challenge (a difficult technique) that is wonderful when mastered, and the way that the ending evaporates has a real "tingle" factor!

The final piece, Descent from La Coupee (304 steps) is the most dramatic, dissonant and exciting. The dissonances may take some time to get used to when you are learning the piece, but the effect they add to the driving rhythms conjures up many pictures including, for me, a thunderstorm, crashing seas and fright in the repeated chord section! The use of strumming and punctuated rhythm in the coda results in a big, dramatic ending.

This set of pieces would stand quite happily alongside more complicated and difficult works in performance and I think that any player would have fun (and benefit from) exploring them - I know that I do!

Selina.

92

Easy Pieces from Shakespeares Time Vol.1

Karl Scheit

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This music, in its beauty and easy playability, constitutes an excellent introduction to the extensive lute literature of the Elizabethan Era. Through the pieces in this collection the player, from the outset, will be made familiar with the most diverse interpretation techniques, such as ornamentation, diminution and song settings for lute alone. Includes pieces by John Dowland, Francis Cutting and Thomas Robinson. These two volumes are full of pieces that have stood the test of time and are a must for anyone learning the classical guitar.

Skill Level
Intermediate

I am so enjoying reviewing our music because I am being reintroduced to a lot of the music that has been part of my life with the guitar and realizing how much great stuff there is to choose from whatever your level and expertise.

These books probably represent my first introduction to music of the Renaissance, music that is still my favourite.

We are so lucky as guitarists to have repertoire that spans so many centuries to choose from and the pieces here are simply great for developing musical skills like counterpoint, highlighting voices, repeated chords and exciting rhythm.

These books have been around for a long time, a fact that reflects their value on technical, musical and enjoyment levels. The printing is clear and the edition is good with fingering suggestions rather than the blanket fingering that is common among modern editions. The books include a wide range of music, from simple dances to slower more gentle pieces and on to quite difficult rhythms, voicing and counterpoint. Many of the pieces use compound time like the delightful A Toy and Wilson’s Wilde in volume 1, so good for improving your counting skills and developing a real feel for pulse which is so vital for flowing and musical performance.

What if a Day (vol.1) is excellent chord voicing, listening to harmony and keeping a smooth melody over the top. More detailed counterpoint is evident in Grisse his delight, An Almaigne and Alman (vol.1) with melodic lines being introduced in up to three lines as well as supporting harmony. This is such valuable experience for the developing guitarist as we are so used to thinking vertically. Here we can learn to find, sing and highlight the different melodies and the resulting phrasing, dissonances and musical drive are fantastic.

Volume 2 also includes a range of pieces reaching to a higher level than the first volume. I particularly love the Volt and Currant, musically simple with great drive and technically tricky with a fast melody over a repeated arpeggio in the bass – learning what it is like to be more than one musician on one guitar! Go From my Window and Fortune introduce the idea of F# tuning which allows the fingering to follow how it would have been played on the lute.

There is a lot of detail in this music but also loads of spirit, movement and fun. From an early stage it particularly teaches us to listen and on a technical level is especially good for the left hand developing independence and flexibility across the strings. I will certainly be bringing these into my teaching. The music may be very old but it is some of the best and accessible from an early stage. It may not seem trendy but that doesn’t matter because it is great fun to play!

Selina.

94

Cavatina

Alexandre Tansman

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

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

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