CLASSICAL GUITAR PAGE
Here are lots of free resources for those of you interested in playing (or simply listening to) classical guitar. Just click on an item in the list below, or scroll down the page:
Classical Guitar MP3s
This section contains some recordings of short classical guitar pieces that are part of the student repertoire. Some of them are set pieces for grade exams. My main aim is to record these pieces to help aspiring guitarists decide whether they want to invest the time and energy necessary to learn the pieces themselves.
The music for some of these tunes is available where shown, or can be downloaded from the websites offering free classical guitar sheet music (see below). Just click on any link below to hear or download these free MP3s. Lots more recordings and scores will be added soon, so please keep calling back to check what's new:
Rujero, Gaspar Sanz (ABRSM Grade 2) Free music
Minuet 1, from Anna Magdalene Notenbuch
Minuet 2, from Anna Magdalene Notenbuch
Menuet, J.S. Bach (ABRSM Grade 4)
Valse, D. Aguado Free music
Gavotte, J.S. Bach (ABRSM Grade 3)
Andante part 1, Carulli Free music
Andante part 2, Carulli Free music
Andante in C major, Giuliani Free music
One book I can recommend for people who want to teach themselves classical guitar is an old favourite called Solo Guitar Playing by Frederick M. Noad. It contains lots of good pieces for beginning and intermediate players, so I've decided to record some of them and include them in this section of the website.
Allegretto, Frederick Noad
Sarabande, Robert de Visee
Canary Jig, Gaspar Sanz
Minuet, Henry Purcell
The Harmonious Blacksmith Theme, Handel
Minuet, G.P. Telemann
Bouree, J.S. Bach (ABRSM Grade 2)
Bouree, Robert de Visee
There are even more classical guitar MP3s to be found on the Recordings page of this website. This music is rather more difficult (around grade 8 standard), and includes most of the pieces from two of Bach's 'cello suites. There are also a couple of easier pieces by Ponce and Guimaraes.
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Free Classical Guitar Sheet Music
This section contains free classical guitar music for grade exams (immediately below), and then some other non-exam pieces further down the page. New pieces are being added all the time, so please call back now and then.
Music for Grade Exam Pieces
Here is some free music for pieces that are set works for classical guitar grade exams:
Giuliani, Allegro A minor Op 50 No 1 (ABRSM Grade 1)
Gaspar Sanz, Rujero (ABRSM Grade 2)
J.S. Bach, Bourree in A, BWV1010 (ABRSM Grade 2)
Sor, Op 44 No 6 (Trinity Grade 3)
Carcassi, Study, Op 60 No 7 (ABRSM Grade 4)
Sor, Op 44 No 19 (Trinity Grade 5)
J.S. Bach, Bourree in Em, BWV 996 (ABRSM Grade 6)
Grade 7 and grade 8 pieces coming soon!
About this free guitar grade exam music
Please use this free music to sample some of the grade exam pieces. You should be able to get an idea of their difficulty and decide whether you want to invest more time and energy in any of the pieces and include them in your exam performance.
If you want to take the actual exam you'll then need to buy the published versions approved by the examining board. There may be some slight differences between the different versions.
Follow these links or scroll down towards the bottom of the page for more detailed information about grade exams and up-to-date syllabus details.
Other Free Classical Guitar Music
Here is some more free classical guitar music for pieces that are not set works for grade exams. They each have some explanatory notes, and an accompanying MP3 audio file so you can hear how they sound:
Giuliani, Andante in C major
Aguado, Valse in G major
Carulli Andante in A minor, part 1
Carulli Andante in A minor, part 2
There are lots of other websites that offer free classical guitar music. Here are links to some of the best sites I've visited (updated 29th December 2010). Please note: I'm not connected in any way with these websites:
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Articles on Classical Guitar Technique and Interpretation
This section will soon contain a number of short articles on aspects of classical guitar playing such as ligados, rest and free strokes, tremelo, developing sight reading etc. Here are the first two:
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Classical Guitar Summer Schools & Other Events
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Classical Guitar Grade Exams
What are Grade Exams?
Grade exams are a way of formally recognising your musical progress on your instrument. These exams are practical, and usually require you to:
1. Perform three contrasting pieces
2. Play certain prescribed scales and arpeggios
3. Sight read a short piece of music
4. Do some short aural tests
5. Answer some verbal questions about music (viva voce)
There are different examining boards that offer grade exams. Probably the best known are:
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM)
Trinity College of Music
These examining bodies are based in England, but their examinations can be taken at any one of hundreds of local centres throughout the world.
Each examining body publishes details of their requirements for each grade, such as the performance pieces you can choose from, and the scales and arpeggios that need to be learnt.
There are also published examples showing the standard of sight reading expected for each grade.
Standards for the Grades
Exam grades normally range from 1 (beginners) to 8 (advanced), although some boards offer preliminary (or pre grade 1) assessments. It's not necessary to take exams for each grade in turn, but in order to take the higher practical grades (6-8) it is normally necessary to first pass grade 5 music theory or some equivalent.
If you are successful in taking a grade exam you will either be awarded a pass, a pass with merit or pass with distinction, depending on how well you do.
Grade exams are not professional qualifications, but if you are a self-taught guitarist the chances are that you will find the standards quite demanding. Most people would be well advised to have some formal tuition before taking classical guitar grade exams, especially for the higher grades.
The examining boards also offer professional qualifications in the form of Diplomas awarded for performance or teaching.
Can I Hear Some Grade Exam Pieces?
Yes. Follow this link to the Classical Guitar MP3s section, or just scroll up this page. You'll see some MP3s of pieces that are currently ABRSM set pieces for grade 2 (Sanz, Rujero and Bach, Bourree), grade 3 (Bach, Gavotte) grade 4 (Bach, Menuet).
We'll be adding more of these grade exam pieces (higher grades) in the near future.
Can I See Some Music for Grade Exam Pieces?
Yes. We'll be making the music available for a number of grade exam pieces, and including some study notes to accompany them. Because of copyright restrictions these will be arrangements of works mainly by Renaissance, Baroque and Classical composers that are in the public domain.
Please go to the Free Classical Guitar Sheet Music section above for these pieces.
Grade Exam Syllabuses
Here are classical guitar syllabus details for the various grades with the main examining boards. You need to have Adobe Acrobat installed in order to access them:
ABRSM Complete Guitar Syllabus
For the following Trinity Guildhall materials, first click on the link below then go to right hand side of the page and click on the 'Resources' links.
Trinity Guildhall Complete Guitar Syllabus
Please note that the former Trinity College Scales and Arpeggios now appear in a revised and streamlined version in the above syllabus. The book Technical Development for Guitarists published by Trinity Guildhall contains scales, exercises and studies.
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Classical Guitar Books and CDs
We now have a new online store for guitarists. Click on a category below to browse:
Classical Guitar Books
Classical Guitar CDs
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If you've found any of the resources on this page useful, have any questions or suggestions to make, then please feel free to get in touch - it'll be great to hear from you!