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

309

Trinity Guitar 2016-2019 - Guitar Grade 3

Trinity College London

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Containing pieces required for the Trinity Guitar exam. Three pieces to be performed from those listed in this book, at least one from each group, or from the duets or alternative pieces listed for this grade, to form a balanced program. This is an excellent book even if you have no intention of taking the exams.

Skill Level
Beginner
muspujolhispanae

Hispanae Citharae Ars Viva

Emilio Pujol

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I am afraid that I will have to start this review by saying that this is one of my favourite music books ever!There is a short preface describing the history and sources of the pieces, with some information for the player on tablature, original instrumentation, tuning and performance practice followed by a short description for each piece. Contains music composed by Various Composers and arranged by Emilio Pujol Vilarrubí.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

I am afraid that I will have to start this review by saying that this is one of my favourite music books ever! The music is simply fantastic and it is great to have a volume with a nice variety of pieces from this period to help guitarists become acquainted with the style and, as I did, fall in love with the music.

There is a short preface describing the history and sources of the pieces, with some information for the player on tablature, original instrumentation, tuning and performance practice followed by a short description for each piece. In these descriptions the editor gives approximate tempo markings and an indication as to whether note values have been changed due to the fact that during this period the semibreve is thought to have been equal to today’s crotchet, hence the pieces ‘looking’ slower to us!

The tempo markings are mentioned but unfortunately not translated! Despacio = slow, Apresurado = fast, Apriesa = fast, Compas = beat, Medio = neither slow nor fast! It is also important to understand the words redobles indicating rapid passages of notes and scales, and consonancias indicating passages of harmony and slower melody. Understanding the musical language is always important, especially here as it helps to explain performance practice and interpretation of a style that we are very unfamiliar with.

The preface states; “ (this music)…should be considered indispensable for the artistic development of the guitarist” and I cannot agree more! From a reading point of view the altered tuning makes us think and the Renaissance style forces us listen to musical lines and phrases, clashing harmony creating movement and emotion, multiple voices, interweaving lines and long extended phrases with unfamiliar structure. The rhythms are unusual and there are lots of long notes and space to play through, especially where the pieces are based on vocal works, like Cancion del Emperador by Narvaez on Mille Regretz by Josquin.

There are also many contrasts from the simple chordal structure of the first two pieces by Pisador, through the long interweaving lines of Milan’s Fantasia del quarto tono, to the imitation, energy and dissonance of the Fantasia by Mudarra. This Fantasia, written in imitation of the harp in the manner of Luduvico is a fantastic piece and great fun, if a little tricky, to play. At one point in the piece Mudarra has written a note saying “from here to the end there are some false notes; when played well they do not sound bad”!

I also love the Fantasia del quarto tono by Milan with its stately opening chords from which melodies emerge and open creating continuous momentum throughout the music. The contrasts in Fantasia de consonancias y redobles are great and encourage a freedom in interpretation that many of us find difficult at first.

Finally Diferencias sobre Guardame las vacas is probably the most famous of the pieces and has wonderful movement and development throughout the continuous variations, rhythms that appear to twist and turn, imitation and flowing scale passages that rise and build towards a final phrase that relieves the tension in a calm ending.

Brilliant and definitely music that should be in every guitarist’s repertoire.

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.

bach-chaconne

Bach Chaconne BMV 1004

J. S. Bach

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Chaconne from Partita for violin No2 for guitar solo transcribed by Paolo Cherici. Adopting Bach's own criteria for transcription Cherici has been able to adapt the violin writing to the guitar helping to bring out the natural resources of the guitar. At the same time fingering has been considered to help suggest a possible phrasing.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
315

Elogio de la danza

Leo Brouwer

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A much loved and often performed piece that will test your technical and interpretive abilities yet give a great sense of achievement when mastered. The two movements Lento & Obstinato have been clearly printed making for easy reading and page turns are well catered for.

Skill Level
Advanced
mussor20minuets

20 Selected Minuets GA15

Fernando Sor

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How should one perform Sor's music? I believe the answer is with considerably more freedom, expression and passion than has, for the most part, been done in the recent past. These 20 Minuets are a must have for the aspiring student wishing to develop the emotional side of their playing.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
mustwelve

Twelve Inventions

Peter Nuttall

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Covering a wide range of musical styles,these twelve pieces are characterised by strong melodies, idiomatic harmonies and an inventive use of the fingerboard. They have become one of the most popular guitar publications at this level.

Skill Level
Beginner
musponcevalse

Valse

Manuel M Ponce

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Ponce was in fact born in Mexico City but by 1904 was living in Europe where he studied music in Bologna and Berlin. In 1925, after a spell back in Mexico, he was inspired to make the move to the French capital. It was a stay that was to last seven years and was arguably his most creative period. It was when he met Andres Segovia in 1923 that he began to compose music for guitar.

Skill Level
Advanced

This is a new to piece to me and I enjoyed playing through so much I have decided to learn it properly!

It is so full of life making full use of the powerful resonance of a guitar with dropped ‘D’ tuning.

The strong and bright main theme has an almost ‘rustic’ feel accompanied by full strummed chords and moves at a lively one in a bar pace.

The articulation and musical directions are detailed and need good control, the articulation particularly bringing loads of texture and shaping to the music.

The main theme has a lot of contrast in register and dynamic and is repeated throughout the piece giving it its structure with great, unexpected harmonies and twists in direction in between.

The centre section changes key to B?. It has more chromatic movement and emphasis on melodic lines in the treble and bass with fewer chords in the accompaniment texture.

I love the falling bass line building up to the return to D major. In contrast to the full and energetic theme the ending is ‘grazioso’ and understated – a lovely surprise!

This little Valse has fantastic movement and swing throughout, making full use of the tone colours in the guitars voice, and leaving you with a definite ‘feel good’ feeling – an excellent little repertoire filler.

Selina.

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
42

The AB Guide to Music Theory, Part II

ABRSM

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Provides an introduction to the basic elements in harmony and musical structure. Separate chapters on voices, string instruments, woodwind and brass instruments, percussions and keyboard instruments, and instruments in combination. Covers non-harmony notes, tonal harmony and chromatic chords, and musical structure.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced
mustimescapes

Timescapes

John Whitworth

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Nine compositions aiming to broaden the repertoire of the intermediate guitarist. The most fun I have had in ages, if you are searching for music to challenge the player and give pleasure to the audience this is definately for you.

Skill Level
Intermediate

I first started to play these pieces a week ago and I am already completely hooked!

They are beautifully simple in concept and very aptly named. John seems to have a knack of putting across expressive ideas in relatively few notes, and not asking the guitarist to perform acrobatics, ensuring that you can enjoy the music!

I was immediately attracted to the high levels of interpretation and musicianship being asked for. All the pieces work at many levels; if you are working up to this technical level the pieces will sound good without too much control of sound and dynamics, but if you are more advanced you can still get loads of enjoyment from the music by challenging yourself on matters of colour and shape.

The amount of instruction in the book is excellent. Each piece has a description that varies from the origin of, or inspiration for the piece, to technical instruction and musical goals.

The introduction on the title page briefly explains the history of the pieces and ideas for performance; for example as a continuous suite, individually or in smaller suites created by grouping three or four pieces together.

These are great ideas for students embarking on their first performances, and for more experienced players developing their musicianship.

The phrasing, dynamic and articulation markings are very detailed throughout giving you plenty to work with that will help you to bring out the shape and character of each piece.

The first section of First Light is made up of long legato chords asking for lots of dynamic control and it finishes with a simple but beautiful quaver melody.

Road to the Hills and The Traveller are more lively and rhythmical while Edge of Storm uses low dissonances and a throbbing bass line for dramatic effect.

Serenade pays homage to Erik Satie's famous Gymnopedie No 1 for piano and Walton's 2nd Bagatelle for guitar asking for a legato melody line with accompaniment very much in the background.

The rhythm in Milonga is easy to highlight and great fun to play.

Introduction and Tango is very cleverly written with two simple voices that fit together and bring out the spirit of the dance perfectly.

Late Night contrasts a slow, broody introduction (great melody), with a lively swing rhythm and the collection is brought to a close by the haunting Beneath the Stars where the bass melody is backed by a fast but gentle open string arpeggio, finishing with the melody from First Light in harmonics, dying away.

The most important aspect of this collection for me, and, for that matter, of being a guitarist, is summed up by John at the end of his introduction;

"I hope you enjoy playing these pieces and bringing them to life…"

Selina.

musscarlatti4sonatasUE29179

Four Sonatas UE 29179

Domenico Scarlatti

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Sonata K83 is one of the minority with more than one movement. The forst contains some startling dissonances, produced by adventurous contrapuntal activity, typical of Scarlatti's impish disregard for the established rules; the second is a minuet. Sonatas K80 and K94 are both minuets. Scarlatti is often difficult but he springs too many surprises ever to become boring.

Skill Level
Intermediate
Advanced

Scarlatti’s music is very effective on the classical guitar having originally been written for the harpsichord, which, even though it has a keyboard, is a plucked string instrument.

The music is clearly printed with plenty of space in the layout, and even though there is too much fingering advice in my opinion, the page does not look overcrowded or cluttered with numbers giving the player a feeling of choice!

There is a short but comprehensive forward well worth the read as it gives a concise summary of the harmony and style of the pieces, enough to help you to start to understand the pieces. For example he mentions “startling dissonances” and “adventurous counterpoint” – definitely attracting my interest before even starting to play.

There is also a paragraph explaining the notation and fingering at the end of the book.

Duarte uses the interesting (and wonderful) tuning of 6th sting to D and 5th string to G for the first two pieces. Don’t let this put you off! It does not take long to get used to and really helps the music to sit naturally on the guitar.

I particularly like the lilt of the triplet semiquavers in the second piece with the tuning creating a lovely open bass.

Watch out for the misprint at the end of the second piece – the bass note should be a G! The third Sonata maintains a steady crotchet pulse with shifting rhythms above and continuously moving chords with fascinating harmonic changes, while the final piece challenges you with the counterpoint of two very separate voices and lots of drama in the music.

These are all interesting, and less obvious, choices giving us a clear insight into the Baroque style of Scarlatti with its distinctly Spanish feel.

As Duarte says “ Scarlatti is often difficult but he springs too many surprises ever to become boring!

Selina.

musscarlatt_4sonatasUE29149

Four Sonatas UE 29149

Domenico Scarlatti

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Skill Level
Intermediate
muswandersgfiesta

Guitarra Fiesta

Jeop Wanders

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A collection of 10 pieces in a lighter vein for the more advanced guitar student. Fingerpicking, a choro, a Venezuelan waltz, a salsa and a ragtime, finishing up with a bossa-nova duet, reflect important aspects of performance culture. This is a fun book extending the repertoire of the classical guitar beyond the usual. The book is really a collection of light entertaining pieces. All are nicely melodic with an interesting rhythmic variety. Well recommended to widen the average student fare.

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
musabauralbook1

Aural Training In Practice Book 1

ABRSM

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Aural Training In Practice Book 1 provides clear, structured guidance for candidates preparing for the aural tests in the Associated Board's practical examinations. covering grades 1-3. A CD of all exercises covering grades 1-3 is also available. 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
Beginner
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
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
mustimepieces1

Time Pieces for Guitar Vol 1

Peter Batchelor and Richard Wright

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These are excellent books and I find myself asking, Why wasn't this sort of syllabus available years ago. Preparing an exam syllabus is much more difficult than it may seem, and a thankless job, but with these books they have got it just right.

Skill Level
Beginner

These are excellent books and I find myself asking, "Why wasn't this sort of syllabus available years ago". Preparing an exam syllabus is much more difficult than it may seem, and a thankless job, but with these books they have got it just right.

They are beautifully laid out with clear printing and just a little fingering that is by no means intrusive and allows the students to really learn about the guitar fingerboard. The best thing however is the way that they introduce the history of music to guitarists, from the thirteenth to the twenty-first century, with very sympathetic arrangements throughout that allow you to forget that the pieces were not originally written for the guitar!

As guitarists, we have a wonderful repertoire of music but it is great to have the opportunity to experience the music of Mozart, Handel and Beethoven in a first hand and positive way. This is especially important for young people to develop understanding and enjoyment of classical music (and for GCSE and A level exams!) For this reason, I will happily use these books for all of my students in future whether taking exams or not.

There is a good mix of music throughout including traditional, classical, jazz influenced, popular and song arrangements, in solo and duo formats. Many of the pieces have explanatory notes of, for example, the history of the piece, translation of the title, and original format as in accompanied song or original instrument.

All of the early dance forms are explained and given context so that the student is learning far more than just (!) how to play the guitar. There are 36 pieces in the first volume and 32 in the second so you are getting an awful lot of music for your money! Each piece also states clearly the year in which it was written so, as the books quote, "you can map your journey through time."

The books clearly cover all the technical requirements of the first years of learning including legato melodies, shaping phrases, articulation and ensemble playing to name but a few.

To summarise the choice of music, quality and suitability of arrangements, and accompanying notes are all excellent. There are many recognisable tunes "throughout the ages" and contrast in styles from Personent Hodie (1360) to Bach (1736), and from our own Aguado (1843) to Granados (1902) and Lennon/McCartney (1966)!

The editions are easy to read with a level of fingering that is not overpowering and I can truly say that all the pieces are enjoyable to play (from personal experience!)

Highly recommended.

Grade 1 pieces

  • Ductia: a gentle flowing melody in 6/8 time using the open D string as accompaniment.
  • Branle d’Ecosse: a lot of running quavers in this dance using the open A string as accompaniment.
  • Gavotte: this lively dance by Handel has been arranged as a duet. The student’s part is a single line melody on the treble strings with a steady crotchet and quaver rhythm.
  • Douce dame jolie: this is a "virelais" which is an old French musical form related to dancing. It has an interesting syncopated rhythm and open A as accompaniment.
  • Leccion: a simple single line melody "Alla marcia"! in 2/4 time
  • Valse: a flowing waltz using an arpeggio style in the first half and then separating into 2 voices.
  • El Noy de la Mare: this is a duet arrangement of a beautiful traditional Catalan melody in F major using a dotted crotchet rhythm.
  • Poor Wayfaring Stranger: an arrangement of a traditional spiritual with an interesting syncopated rhythm.
  • One Hand, One Heart: a lovely arrangement of this song from Westside Story, with simple melody using long sustained notes in G major.
  • The Dangers of Poking Holes in Ice: as the title suggests this is great fun with staccato and accent articulation and dynamics that are vital to bring out the character.

Grade 2 pieces

  • Pavane: a short stately dance using 2 and 3 note chords.
  • Can she excuse my wrongs: a duet arrangement of this beautiful Dowland song. The student plays the vocal line including some syncopated rhythms and changes of pulse.
  • Farewell Manchester: this is a lively little piece, mostly in 2 voices with more challenging left hand changes.
  • Aria detta la Frescobalda: a duet arrangement; the student plays a single line melody which uses long tied notes, mostly in 2nd and 5th positions. In the key of E minor.
  • Ode to Joy: an excellent arrangement of this popular melody using 2 voices.
  • Menuet: a duet arrangement of this famous Haydn Menuet with longer quaver passages in the melody and detailed left hand fingering using positions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
  • The Sixpence: a traditional Irish melody with a lot of quaver passages and dotted rhythms and some fingered bass notes; in G major.
  • Here, There and Everywhere: a very effective duet arrangement of this Lennon/ McCartney song. The melody is syncopated requiring a good feel for the pulse and style.
  • Ballroom Blues: this little waltz is an original guitar piece written in a blues/ reggae style with simple 3 note chords and a bass melody. Great fun!

Selina.

mustimepieces2

Time Pieces for Guitar Vol 2

Peter Batchelor and Richard Wright

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These are excellent books and I find myself asking, Why wasn't this sort of syllabus available years ago. Preparing an exam syllabus is much more difficult than it may seem, and a thankless job, but with these books they have got it just right.

Skill Level
Intermediate

These are excellent books and I find myself asking, "Why wasn't this sort of syllabus available years ago". Preparing an exam syllabus is much more difficult than it may seem, and a thankless job, but with these books they have got it just right.

They are beautifully laid out with clear printing and just a little fingering that is by no means intrusive and allows the students to really learn about the guitar fingerboard. The best thing however is the way that they introduce the history of music to guitarists, from the thirteenth to the twenty first century, with very sympathetic arrangements throughout that allow you to forget that the pieces were not originally written for the guitar!

As guitarists, we have a wonderful repertoire of music but it is great to have the opportunity to experience the music of Mozart, Handel and Beethoven in a first hand and positive way. This is especially important for young people to develop understanding and enjoyment of classical music (and for GCSE and A level exams!) For this reason, I will happily use these books for all of my students in future whether taking exams or not.

There is a good mix of music throughout including traditional, classical, jazz influenced, popular and song arrangements, in solo and duo formats. Many of the pieces have explanatory notes of, for example, the history of the piece, translation of the title, and original format as in accompanied song or original instrument.

All of the early dance forms are explained and given context so that the student is learning far more than just (!) how to play the guitar. There are 36 pieces in the first volume and 32 in the second so you are getting an awful lot of music for your money! Each piece also states clearly the year in which it was written so, as the books quote, "you can map your journey through time."

The books clearly cover all the technical requirements of the first years of learning including legato melodies, shaping phrases, articulation and ensemble playing to name but a few.

To summarise the choice of music, quality and suitability of arrangements, and accompanying notes are all excellent. There are many recognisable tunes "throughout the ages" and contrast in styles from Personent Hodie (1360) to Bach (1736), and from our own Aguado (1843) to Granados (1902) and Lennon/McCartney (1966)!

The editions are easy to read with a level of fingering that is not overpowering and I can truly say that all the pieces are enjoyable to play (from personal experience!)

Highly recommended.

Grade 1 pieces

  • Ductia: a gentle flowing melody in 6/8 time using the open D string as accompaniment.
  • Branle d’Ecosse: a lot of running quavers in this dance using the open A string as accompaniment.
  • Gavotte: this lively dance by Handel has been arranged as a duet. The student’s part is a single line melody on the treble strings with a steady crotchet and quaver rhythm.
  • Douce dame jolie: this is a "virelais" which is an old French musical form related to dancing. It has an interesting syncopated rhythm and open A as accompaniment.
  • Leccion: a simple single line melody "Alla marcia"! in 2/4 time
  • Valse: a flowing waltz using an arpeggio style in the first half and then separating into 2 voices.
  • El Noy de la Mare: this is a duet arrangement of a beautiful traditional Catalan melody in F major using a dotted crotchet rhythm.
  • Poor Wayfaring Stranger: an arrangement of a traditional spiritual with an interesting syncopated rhythm.
  • One Hand, One Heart: a lovely arrangement of this song from Westside Story, with simple melody using long sustained notes in G major.
  • The Dangers of Poking Holes in Ice: as the title suggests this is great fun with staccato and accent articulation and dynamics that are vital to bring out the character.

Grade 2 pieces

  • Pavane: a short stately dance using 2 and 3 note chords.
  • Can she excuse my wrongs: a duet arrangement of this beautiful Dowland song. The student plays the vocal line including some syncopated rhythms and changes of pulse.
  • Farewell Manchester: this is a lively little piece, mostly in 2 voices with more challenging left hand changes.
  • Aria detta la Frescobalda: a duet arrangement; the student plays a single line melody which uses long tied notes, mostly in 2nd and 5th positions. In the key of E minor.
  • Ode to Joy: an excellent arrangement of this popular melody using 2 voices.
  • Menuet: a duet arrangement of this famous Haydn Menuet with longer quaver passages in the melody and detailed left hand fingering using positions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
  • The Sixpence: a traditional Irish melody with a lot of quaver passages and dotted rhythms and some fingered bass notes; in G major.
  • Here, There and Everywhere: a very effective duet arrangement of this Lennon/ McCartney song. The melody is syncopated requiring a good feel for the pulse and style.
  • Ballroom Blues: this little waltz is an original guitar piece written in a blues/ reggae style with simple 3 note chords and a bass melody. Great fun!

Selina.

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