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

132

The Guitarists Hour Book 3

Schott

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An hour with the guitar presents a careful selection of the most beautiful pieces of guitar literature. The pieces contain in the book progress from easy to moderatly difficult giving not only the beginner but also the advanced guitarist valuable material for teaching, entertainment and performing.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I remember well the Guitarists Hour books from when I was young and I know that I gained a lot from playing a this repertoire! The problem is that there is so much choice in the 19th century repertoire and, yes, there are inevitably some ‘ordinary’ pieces. However there are also many excellent, exciting and fun to play pieces that always teach you a lot in the process of learning them.

The main strength of this book is that it offers choice and variety within the 19th century, introduces new composers and gives an overall snapshot of the repertoire so that players can then make informed choices and don’t necessarily have to buy lots of books to find music that they enjoy.

I have had brilliant fun playing through these pieces, several times now! There is so much drama, excitement and colour in the music with a good cross section of composers to compare. The added bonus is that you are learning a great deal as you play.

The 19th century was the beginning of the classical guitar; although the proportions of their instrument were quite different, the composers of the time started to lay down the techniques that are so important as a foundation to modern technique.

I firmly believe that without the ‘grounding’ that the 19th century repertoire gives us we cannot fulfill our technical potential in other styles of music. For example basic slur technique, scale and arpeggio playing, movement in thirds, sixths, octaves and tenths – intervals that are fundamental to the way we voice harmony and fluid movement around the fretboard.

The opening ‘Galopp’ by Carulli is full of drama and joy, contrasting beautifully with his lyrical ‘Alla Polacca’. Molino’s ‘Menuett’ has more detail in the harmony, introducing double slurs while the ‘Menuett’ by Matiegka contrasts strong rhythm in the opening section with delicate three part writing in the trio. These two composers are not as well known to us - a welcome inclusion in this volume.

The ‘Allegro’ by Aguado employs very free and quick movement around the fretboard emphasizing musical intervals, with a wider use of ornamentation.

Mertz is one of my very favourite composers and the ‘Polacca’ (grade 8) and ‘Capriccio’ are great examples of his music. Both are full of drama and ‘theatre’, the ‘Polacca’ in light, bright and lilting way and the ‘Capriccio’ using insistent repeating notes, accents and off beat melody to give drive and energy. These really are pieces with which you can “let rip”!!

Giuliani’s music is very free flowing and rhythmical; ‘Sonatine’ (grade 6) produces a sense of grandeur with the octaves and rests in the music, and the ‘Capriccio’, stands out for me in the way that the melody is within the arpeggio changing from bass to treble and running all over the fingerboard.

The ‘Andantino’ by Coste is particularly demanding as no concession is made for the difficulty presented by a lovely, decorated melodic line and very big interval jumps between chords. His ‘Studie’ (grade 7) is strong and dramatic with a great motif in the bass accompanied by full chords. Sor is perhaps the most famous and prolific writer for the guitar in this period and there are 7 of his pieces here showing the variety in his output and depth and fun to be found in his music. I particularly like the light, cheerful and quite cheeky ‘Hunting Piece’ (grade 6) in which the hunting horn can be clearly heard and the ‘Galopp’ which is very true to its name! His ‘Rondo’ (grade 8) is a longer piece that is more ‘virtuosic in tempo and flair with moving thirds, very quick semiquaver rhythms, free flowing arpeggios and an almost orchestral build up to the final cadence.

All in all an excellent volume of music that is very important to guitar students, not least for performance practice.

By the time that you have worked through these pieces you will have mastered so many basic techniques, as well as learning to hear and highlight melodies through arpeggio texture, control the projection of individual voices so gaining right hand balance, and perhaps most importantly learnt to “let your hair down” and enjoy the theatrical side of the music!

Selina.

120

The Guitarists Hour Book 1

Schott

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An Hour with the Guitar presents a careful selection of the most beautiful pieces of guitar literature. All the names familiar to every professional and amateur guitarist - Aguado, Carulli, Carcassi, Coste, Giuliani, Sor, and many more - are represented in this collection and ensure much stimulating variety. These pieces, with grades of difficulty progressing from very easy to moderately difficult, will give not only the beginner but also the advanced guitarist some valuable material for teaching, entertainment and performance.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
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
musabauralcd3

Aural Training In Practice CD Grades 6 to 8

ABRSM

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Old Syllabus - for practice only. Aural Training In Practice provides clear, structured guidance for candidates preparing for the aural tests in the Associated Board's practical exams. These CDs accompany the Aural Training workbooks. I have used the book and CD with many of my pupils achieving great success. I highly recommend both for those wishing to achieve high marks in their graded exams.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
328

36 Caprices Op. 20

Luigi Legnani

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In the varied world of the 19th century guitar Legnani was an inspired and prolific composer. Initially trained as a violinist he became famous as a guitarist and was held in great esteem by Paganini. The Caprices were first published in 1822 with each having a defined character and some are outstanding examples of pure virtuosity yet with emotion and spontaneity.

Skill Level
Advanced
aguado27studies

Aguado 27 Studies for Guitar

Aguado

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Edited by Gianluca Allocca, published by UTOrpheus with a forward by Angelo Gilardino. A range of books of which this is one are beautifully printed, very easy to read making a good addition to ones music collection even before one considers playing the studies. This publication is from the third part of the Aguado method and is the most important.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
giuliani-rossiniana

Giuliani Rossiniana OP.119

Mauro Giuliani

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Returning to Italy in 1819 after years of success Giuliani found himself forced to rebuild his career in a musical environment dominated by opera. It was in this context that the six Rossiniane were created. Constituting one of the highlights of Giuliani's production they also offer an insight into the the reception of Rossini's work by his contemporaries. If this is new work for you then Rossiniana No 1 is a good starting point.

Skill Level
Advanced
288

Specimen Aural Tests 2011 Grades 1 - 3

ABRSM

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Aural tests are an integral part of all ABRSM Practical graded music exams. The Specimen Aural Tests provide teachers and students with many practice examples of the tests to use as part of a music lesson or when preparing for an exam. This volume covers Grades 1–3 and includes practice examples for each test in a range of musical styles the examiner rubrics (the exact words that will be used by the examiner to deliver the tests), so that candidates can be fully prepared for what will happen on the day. Descriptions of the tests as they appear in the syllabus model answers, where appropriate, as a guide to the sort of responses that would be successful in the exam. The Specimen Aural Tests come complete with 2 CDs.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
Out Of Stock Enquire
121

Solo Now Volume 3

Chanterelle

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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 triando stroke. Volumes 1 and 2 take great care to try to minimize the demands made on the left hand so that the student can focus on the formations of a stable right hand technique.

Skill Level
Intermediate

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.

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.

300

Estudios Sencillos

Leo Brouwer

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

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate

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

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

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

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

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

Selina.

270

Anthology of Selected Pieces

Silvius Leopold Weiss

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Many of the works of Weiss were originally grouped by common key and it is to be assumed that the composer intended them to be performed as suites. However, it is from a number of unrelated pieces that the present anthology is taken - exceptions being the Ciacona, which belongs to the tenth 'suite', and Pasagaille from the fourteenth. In my opinion the set of eight pieces offered here represents Weiss at his most inspired.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

In my opinion the music of Weiss is a must for every guitarist. It is a great introduction to the music of the Baroque, being written specifically for the lute and so feeling more natural under the left hand when compared to the Bach lute suites

The Baroque lute was of course a very different instrument to our classical guitar, but the only real compromise is on bass lines and this edition is very well done with good explanations about the original music, ornamentation and steps taken to fit the music onto the guitar in the most effective and sympathetic way.

This information (contained in the preface – essential reading!) and the way that the music is fingered gives the player control. This is important; we have to remember that the music is transcribed from another instrument and there should be flexibility for the performer. For example, the editor decides the length of sustained notes as the original tablature does not show this. Burley points this out and it is important to be aware of this when learning the pieces, teaching you to listen to and interpret the music and not just learn technique and fingers.

The pieces in this volume are simply fantastic. The music has great depth and intensity with big chord progressions and sequences, long melodic phrases, wonderful clashes and resolutions in the harmony, lovely scrunchy dissonant chords and real musical drive created through melody and rhythm.

The notes carry us over the whole range of the fingerboard with rising sweeping arpeggios in the Fantasie, very long slow melodies in the Tombeau and lovely variations of melody in the Ciacona and Passagaille. The majesty of the latter is brilliant and overall the pieces are packed with emotion and excitement.

The Capricio is lively with driving counterpoint and great arpeggio chord progressions and the simplicity of the main theme of the Ciacona is sublime, the melody being varied over the same sequence throughout and always returning to that simple statement creating very powerful music.

This is difficult music and requires good technique, rhythm and pulse, however it is the musicality that shines through and teaches us so much about feeling our way through pieces and being directed by the sound and movement of the harmony and melody.

Selina.

musdowlandanthology

Anthology of Selected Pieces

John Dowland

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John Dowland was one of the last in a line of English Renaissance lute virtuosos. The suggested fingering in this edition assumes the third string of the guitar is lowered to F sharp, thus reproducing the pitch spacing of the Renaissance lute. Beautiful music from a beautiful period.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
baroque

The Baroque Book

Chanterelle

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The Baroque Book for guitar is a treasury of carefully selected pieces from the greatest composers of the 17th and 18th centuries. The music of the baroque era has always been a popular and important part of the guitar repertoire. A thorough understanding of the style, forms and rhythmic and harmonic conventions of the period are an essential part of the guitarist’s training. The Baroque Book introduces today’s guitarist to baroque music in a way that is both technically cumulative and musically comprehensive. Comprising arrangements of all the standard dance movements and other characteristic forms from across Europe, it is a critical part of any progressing classical guitarist’s repertoire.

Skill Level
Beginner
Intermediate
38

Guitar Exam Pieces CD Grade 3

ABRSM

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Recordings of pieces from the new ABRSM Guitar Syllabus, from 2009. Innovative and valuable resource for candidates preparing for ABRSM exams. All duos are accompanied by another guitar, and playalong tracks for these pieces are also included.

Skill Level
Intermediate
114

Libra Sonatine

Roland Dyens

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A piece of three movements consisting of A - India, B - Largo, C - Fuoco. Definately a tour de force, this piece will request much from the player yet will deliver something special to both the player and the audience. 11 pages of music Published by Editions Henry Lemoine

Skill Level
Advanced
musmagicguitarveryeasypieces

Magic Guitar Very Easy Pieces (la Guitare Enchantee)

Paul Gerrits

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Book One of The Magic Guitar series, containing twenty-seven graded very easy pieces, selected and edited by Paul Gerrits. The Magic Guitar series presents a collection of pieces suitable for the first years of classical guitar study, designed to be used along with a method. The main purpose of The Magic Guitar is to give beginning guitarists the opportunity to express themselves musically at various stages of their technical development.

Skill Level
Beginner

These two volumes offer a wide range and variety of music for guitarists in their first years of playing.

At first the emphasis is on developing melodic playing combined with simple bass lines but even here the student is challenged with detailed phrasing, tied notes and right hand techniques like the arpeggio pattern in "Etude" by Carcassi.

Contemporary, Classical and Traditional styles are all mixed together helping to maintain interest and offering something for everyone, for example the popular "Greensleeves" (it is always particularly satisfying to be able to play a piece that everyone recognizes!).

As the books progress the music becomes more detailed.

The first book works up to the use of thirds in the melodic lines, more complicated bass lines requiring sustained fingered notes and up to three fingered notes together – notably in no.16 "Theme et Variation".

In "Chanson Populaire" the melody to bring out is in the bass and "Souvenir d’Espagne" introduces rasgueado chords and flamenco triplets.

The second volume includes more detailed counterpoint and requires greater musical understanding.

Higher positions are explored here, for example in "Etude"” by Coste and there is a nice mix of arpeggio style and purely melodic pieces.

I particularly enjoyed the collection of classical pieces, "Marlborough" which is an effective arrangement of this traditional melody, and the final "Valse" which is simply great fun to play and listen to!

Selina.

musmagicguitareasypieces

Magic Guitar Easy Pieces

Claude Gagnon

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Easy Pieces Book One contains twenty-one graded easy pieces, selected and edited by Claude Gagnon. The Magic Guitar series presents a collection of pieces suitable for the first years of classical guitar study, designed to be used along with a method. The main purpose of The Magic Guitar is to give beginning guitarists the opportunity to express themselves musically at various stages of their technical development.

Skill Level
Beginner

These two volumes offer a wide range and variety of music for guitarists in their first years of playing.

At first the emphasis is on developing melodic playing combined with simple bass lines but even here the student is challenged with detailed phrasing, tied notes and right hand techniques like the arpeggio pattern in "Etude" by Carcassi.

Contemporary, Classical and Traditional styles are all mixed together helping to maintain interest and offering something for everyone, for example the popular "Greensleeves" (it is always particularly satisfying to be able to play a piece that everyone recognizes!).

As the books progress the music becomes more detailed.

The first book works up to the use of thirds in the melodic lines, more complicated bass lines requiring sustained fingered notes and up to three fingered notes together – notably in no.16 "Theme et Variation".

In "Chanson Populaire" the melody to bring out is in the bass and "Souvenir d’Espagne" introduces rasgueado chords and flamenco triplets.

The second volume includes more detailed counterpoint and requires greater musical understanding.

Higher positions are explored here, for example in "Etude"” by Coste and there is a nice mix of arpeggio style and purely melodic pieces.

I particularly enjoyed the collection of classical pieces, "Marlborough" which is an effective arrangement of this traditional melody, and the final "Valse" which is simply great fun to play and listen to!

Selina.

musduarteenglishsuite

English Suite

John Duarte

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This piece is obviously written for the guitar as it exploits all the best bits, but it certainly doesn’t give the performer an easy ride! An exciting addition to any advanced guitarist's repertoire. Duarte's English Suite contains three movements: 1) Prelude, 2) Folk Song and 3) Round Dance.

Skill Level
Advanced

This work is in three movements - Prelude, Folk Song and Round Dance, all of which are full of life and movement with a strong sense of the tradition upon which they are based.

The music in the Prelude is immediately bright, sunny and spirited and I was drawn to the full rich harmonies and varied texture. There is definitely a modal feel highlighting English folk influence in the music making it easy music to explore and develop. The melodies are expansive and ‘singing’ with plenty for the player to think about in shaping and shifting rhythms. I really like the slow, minor section with its interweaving lines making very evocative music.

The Folk Song is in two sections, firstly calm and expressive and then with a little more movement. There are some beautiful melancholy melodies combined with big harmonies, dotted rhythms and sweeping arpeggios requiring good left hand movement and freedom. The feel is full and almost majestic at times but always manages to maintain the ‘folk’ simplicity.

The Round Dance is lively and energetic with a contrasting lyrical section in the middle. There are plenty of changes in time signature with an overall 9/8 that really pushes the music along, with nothing being held back in physical movement for the performer.

This piece is obviously written for the guitar as it exploits all the best bits, but it certainly doesn’t give the performer an easy ride!

I think that it is great music for the imagination and for finding out about expression and especially texture in performance.

Selina.

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