Corda Music - Guitar Books, Guitar Solos and Teaching Methods

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See 19th Century Guitar Songs for two books (19th Century Guitar Songs and Guitar Music from the 16th to 18th Centuries

also a CD - The Rowan Tree - folk and traditional songs from the 18th and 19th centuries for voice, guitar and harp. 

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19th CENTURY GUITAR SONGS - an Idiosyncratic Survey ISBN 978-0-9528220-7-3


This book has 264 pages, including 50 pages of music examples.  The volume is a general survey of the many thousands of guitar songs currently held by the British Library which were published in the period c.1770 - 1900. A number of other collections are also detailed. The book includes full reference to the publications, extensive notes about the myriad composers and arrangers featured, also much detail from writers and other sources of the period, as well as information from more recent research. Additions and updates will be added online, as and when they become available.  See  Guitar Songs


GUITAR MUSIC from the 16th to 18th Centuries - A Reprint


Here is a reprint of 19 articles written by Ian Gammie between 1982 to 1984 for the now defunct publication GUITAR Magazine. These were commissioned by the editor George Clinton to introduce guitar players to the repertoire, history and development of the four- and five-course guitars. The purpose was to provide an outline for players who had limited knowledge of their instrument's early history and also to examine the problems of transcribing music from the historical re-entrant tunings to make a performing version on the modern guitar. There are copious music examples and detailed text in the 52 pages. Though much research has been done since the 1980s in this area of guitar history, the articles still stand as a very useful introduction to the subject. The original publications in the magazine had numerous misprints and problems with layout presentation (beyond the control of the writer) and these have been corrected, including improved clarity of the facsimile examples.

CMP 01



Eight charming pieces in a melodiously modern style, illustrating moods of the seasons through the year. Easy enough for players who are approaching Grade 2 standard

CMP 02



Introducing notes on the lower strings, simple solos with melody and open bass strings, dotted rhythms and familiarity with notes played in second fret position, etc. See also CMP 05 (Book 1 of this series) and CMP 09 (Book 3)

CMP 03

GUITAR for STARTERS : Book 1 - Ian Gammie


26 very easy pieces beginning with single note melodies and progressing to the simplest solos using double notes or open bass strings; designed to enlarge upon what has been learned in the "First Notes" series. See also CMP 10 - Book 2

CMP 04

CUATRO SANTOS - Four South American Solos


4 concert solos by Ian Gammie for more advanced players (approx. Grade 6-7) in a South-American style. One is a pastiche of a Barrios dance, another a Milonga in the style of Fernado Sor. etc, etc. Now in a newly type-set edition, replacing the old hand-written version from 1986.

CMP 05



An ideal beginner's book for group or individual tuition, working thoroughly on single line melodies and duets, playing tunes across all the strings before introducing double notes and solos. Based on finger-style playing, the book can also be used by plectrum players because it is based on the playing of melodic lines. The duet accompaniments can be played by the teacher or a slightly more advanced pupil, making the book ideal for use with classes and groups of mixed abilities. See also CMP 02 - Book 2

CMP 06

READ and PLAY : Sight reading for beginners


Sight reading for real beginners, assembled by Ian Gammie. A highly entertaining book of beginners' tunes, all of which have an easy second part to be played as a duet; underlaid with nonsense verse and doggerel to assist in reading and understanding rhythms. Read all about William the Conker and King Canute's visit to Butlins! With zany illustrations.

CMP 07



25 varied melodies (with chord symbols underlaid) for practice in sight reading at the level a student has achieved achieved by the end of First Notes on the Guitar Book 1. Includes a chart of chord windows. See below CMP07-D for an edition with accompanying CD.

CMP 07-D



25 varied melodies (with chord symbols underlaid) for practice in sight reading at the level a student has achieved achieved by the end of First Notes on the Guitar Book 1. Includes a chart of chord windows and a CD with one page per track, played once with melody and accompaniment, then repeated with accompaniment only so that the student learns to play the tune accurately in time.

CMP 08



15 solos drawn from 4 centuries of music, including Bach, Dowland, Schubert, Tarrega and Vishnick. Selected and edited by Martin Vishnick. Mostly Garde 5 level.

CMP 09



Introducing more simple double notes, chords and chord symbols, plus semiquavers, rests, duets and solos, and also reading in the third and fifth positions. See also CMP 02 - Book 2 and CMP 05 - Book 1

CMP 10

GUITAR for STARTERS : Book 2 - Ian Gammie


16 very easy pieces continuing the introduction of the solo style for beginners, double notes and open bass notes with melodies on upper strings. See also CMP 003 - Book 1

CMP 11



A precisely callibrated series of exercises devised to give pupils a manageable and satisfying task for a maximum of 5 minutes in any one day. A warm-up for both hands and brain, without the risk of boredom. This book is for absolute beginners, Preliminary and Grade 1 standard.

CMP 12

A PACKET OF PASTICHE 11 solos by Ian Gammie


Egregious and eclectic solos. Eleven substantial pieces ranging in style from the mood of the lute to the ambience of the Argentinian pampas. The works include a Tango, a homage to the Argentinian guitarist Eduardo Falu, a meditation on Dowland's Lachrimae Pavan, and pieces with oblique reference to Barrios and Tarrega. 28 pages. For players Grade 4 to 7.

CMP 13

SONATA in D major by Willem de Fesch (1687-1757)


Transcription of a cello sonata to make a noble baroque solo in the style of Sylvius Weiss. Three movements: Larghetto, Minuet, Alla Breve . For players of approx Grade 5 standard.

CMP 14

TWO 18th CENTURY ARIAS (by Gluck and Mozart)


Che faro senza Eurydice and Voi che sapete arranged by Martin Vishnick as guitar solos for players of approx Grade 6 -7. Two of Gluck and Mozart's most celebrated operatic arias.

CMP 15

TUNES TO READ Spirituals, folk tunes, dances etc.,


A collection of traditional melodies arranged into keys that make ideal reading practice for beginners up to Grade 1, either finger-style or plectrum. With chords for simple accompaniments. Arranged by Ian Gammie.


CMP 16

LAS FLORENCIAS and SONNERIE —Two solos by Ian Gammie


Both pieces are for low D tuning on the sixth string. Las Florencias is a lullaby written for two Chilean infants in 2004. Duration approx 3 mins. Sonnerie is an exploration of bell chimes, partly inspired by works of baroque composers Marin Marais and John Jenkins. It passes through many transformations and rich sonorities with much use of campanella effects, and reflects also the moods of church bells, from joyous to funereal. Duration approx 7 mins. Grade 5 – 6. For other recently issued guitar solos see: CMP 33, CMP 34, CMP 35, CMP 36, CMP 37, CMP 38, CMP 39, CMP 40


CMP 17



26 very easy settings of Christmas carols from various countries, arranged as a melody with mostly open string bass notes and no awkward stretches for the left hand. Ideal for Grade 1 & 2 players

CMP 18



English Broadside Ballad tunes from the 16th and 17th centuries arranged for guitar solo. 28 pieces from the days of Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth I and James I. Popular melodies that would have been sung in the streets and taverns, and were used as the tune for political and topical ballads or satirical songs. Mostly Grade 3 – 4.

CMP 19



A selection of beginner's sight reading examples with word underlay to give a sense of the rhythm and shape of the music. Saying the simple rhymes gives a clear feeling of the shape the music must take. Grades 0 -1

CMP 20

FINGERS and THUMB : Book 1 - Nicholas Mackey


Easy pieces to train the right hand, the thumb plays open bass strings while the fingers play the melodies; with cartoons and drawings by Carole Mackey to illustrate each title. Approx Grade 1 standard. See also CMP 22 - Book 3, and CMP 25 - Book 4

CMP 22

FINGERS and THUMB : Book 3 - Nicholas Mackey


By Nicholas Mackey. Most of the pieces (21 in all) are arranged to be played as solos or in conjunction with a companion piece as a duet; each part of the duet thereby serves as a solo or as part of an ensemble. Approx Grade 1-2. See also CMP 25 - Book 4

See also CMP 25 - Book 4

CMP 23

CELEBRATION : A solo suite for Guitar - Derek Hasted


A four movement suite for Solo Guitar - Captivation, Contemplation, Consolation and Celebration. A highly enjoyable set of pieces well within the range of a Grade 4 or 5 player.

CMP 25

FINGERS and THUMB : Book 4 - by Ian Gammie


An excellent new development of this series. The 24 solo pieces are specifically designed to link with the last four pages of First Notes on the Guitar Book 2, using open bass notes with a melody played on the three upper strings. In addition, there are seven simple arpeggio exercises, each with a preliminary practice routine, to accustom players to using p - i - m - a in various combinations with free stroke. Grade 1& 2 level. See also CMP 22 - Book 3

CMP 26

FINGERS and THUMB : Book 5 - by Ian Gammie


Continuing the theme of using mostly open string bass notes with a flowing melody above, played by the fingers. Many of the tunes are folk or traditional melodies. Together with book 4 of the series, this prepares the player for a wide range of the guitar's solo repertoire Grade 1 & 2 level. See also CMP 25 - Book 4 and. CMP 22 - Book 3

CMP 27

HIGHER and LOWER : Book 1


Popular tunes (Scarboro' Fair, John Brown's Body, Greensleeves, etc) arranged as melody and bass, the lower line for pupil/teacher duets. The aim is to familiarise Grade 1-2 players with reading notes in ledger lines above and below the stave.

CMP 28



Starting with common chords in first position, players learn to associate chords in groups of tonic, relative minor, subdominant, dominant, etc. This is much better than learning a few shapes without understanding harmonic relationships. Once these are mastered, barree chords are introduced gradually, leading on to the ability to move shapes up and down the neck of the guitar to cope with different keys. Major 7ths, diminished and half diminished chords, 9ths, 6ths, 4ths or 11ths, minor 7ths etc., are then introduced to complete a user friendly and compact volume.


CMP 29

. . . TEN SOLOS - Uros Dojinovic


Ten short pieces for Guitar. Cameo portraits, descriptive pieces in conventional tonalities for Grade 4-5 players by this well-travelled Balkan guitarist


CMP 30

FOLLY by Neil Luckett


Three guitar solos in modern idiom: Träume Süss, Yak and 44.332 suitable for Grade 7-8 players


CMP 32



4 famous Chorales arranged by John Zaradin for players of approximately Grade 4-5 level. These are the same pieces as SM 101, but arranged for solo guitar rather than ensemble. See also SM 101

CMP 33

EL LLADRE REFORMAT for solo guitar by Ian Gammie


Variations for solo guitar by Ian Gammie on the famous Catalan folk-song El Lladre. Richly varied harmonies and contrasting moods as the melody is remoulded in various contrapuntal and modal ways. Duration approx 7 mins. Grade 7 – 8.


CMP 34



28 easy and intermediate guitar solos from the 19th century. Composers: Beethoven, Carulli, Sor, Offenbach, Aguado, Neuland, Ferrer y Esteve, Coste, Giuliani, Horetzky, Carcassi, Küffner and traditional. Grades 2 - 4


CMP 35

LES FEUILLES VERTES by Ian Gammie. Guitar solo


Reflections and variations for solo guitar on a most famous 16th century English melody The Leaves be green. 8 minutes rich in counterpoint and fascinating melodic development through several keys and modes. Review in Classical Guitar Magazine said: Here is a beautifully crafted new solo guitar offering . . . . . a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable composition, extremely well-written . . . . and a work I imagine would be most appreciated by audiences. Approximately Grade 6 -7.


CMP 36

TRES PIEZAS FAMILIARES by Ian Gammie. Guitar solo


These three pieces are dedicated respectively to three different ladies from the composer's family. The first is in the style of a Venezuelan waltz, the second is a set of variations on a Catalan song La Filla del Marchant, and the third is in the style of an Argentinian chacarera. Each one lasts approximately three minutes and is within the compass of a good intermediate player. Review in Classical Guitar Magazine said: Here are three attractive pieces written in a South American idiom and all very skilfully written for the instrument. . . . . A lovely little group ideally suited to the intermediate player. Approx Grade 5 - 6


CMP 37

NADALA by Ian Gammie for guitar solo


This is a superbly lyrical set of variations on the Catalan Christmas carol El Desembre Congelat, (nadala being the Catalan word for a carol). Dedicated to a talented student (Soshana Fernando), it moves through several keys with full use of the very best sonorities of the classical guitar. For players of approx Grade 6 -7. Review in Classical Guitar Magazine said: . . . . with clear printing and excellent fingering this is a superb new solo guitar repertoire piece ideally suited to the Higher/Intermediate player. Duration approximately 8 minutes.

CMP 38

NOCTURNE by Ian Gammie. Guiatr solo


An atmospheric and broodingly expressive work for solo guitar for players of approx Grade 6 -7. Duration 6 minutes.

CMP 39

ESTRIBILLO and LORELEI by Ian Gammie for solo guitar


Estribillo is an exhilirating solo in Argentinian style with vigorous and intriguing counter-rhythms. Lorelei is a finely wrought set of variations on the 19th century setting of Heine's famous poem, the original theme by Friedrich Silcher. Both pieces have bass D tuning for the sixth string. For players of approx Grade 6 -7.

CMP 40

IN MEMORIAM GEOFFREY BURGON by Brian Wright, for solo guitar


This is a set of nine variations on the late Geoffrey Burgon's arresting melody from his Nunc Dimittis, which was used as the theme tune for the TV series Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The memorial piece for guitar was written by his school friend and fellow composer Brian Wright. F sharp tuning for the third string. A version in renaissance lute tablature is also available on request. Approx Grade 6.

CMP 41



Following his highly successful books First Notes on the Guitar, Bob Power was invited by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music to contribute a variety of pieces to the new Medals guitar syllabus, designed to support teachers who teach groups rather than individual lessons. This book is a further development of material based on that project and includes pieces on the Medals syllabus. It is a comprehensive method for teaching in groups, training beginners to play in ensemble from the very start. Based on the same principles as the Associated Board five Medals exams for beginners (Bronze, Copper, Silver, Gold and Platinum) it has the flexibility to be used as a starting point, no matter what systems teachers may use in the very first stages. Thus teachers can choose to start pupils on the fifth string, on the third string or on the first string — all the exercises and ensembles are designed to provide suitable material. Grade - Beginner


CMP 42

THREE RAVENS for solo guitar by Ian Gammie


A series of profound reflections on a Jacobean ballad, whose original words give a sharp and brutal image of life, loyalty, devotion and death. A moving and sonorous concert item, duration approx 7 minutes.

CMP 43

GENTEEL WALTZ for solo guitar by Ian Gammie


This is a delightfully whimsical and sentimental web of melodies in ternary form. Lightly influenced by the Venezuelan waltzes of Antonio Lauro, approximately 7 minutes in duration and within the range of a Grade 7 player.

CMP 44

THE BIG BASS D BOOK for solo guitar


This is a collection of pieces to introduce the player of approx Grade 3 standard to reading with the 6th string tuned to D and progresses to approximately Grade 6 in the course of twenty nine pieces. Repertoire includes folk songs, some lute music, a musette by Bach, Ombra mai fu by Handel, Offenbach's Barcarolle and Elgar's theme for Nimrod.

CMP 45

PASTORALE for solo guitar by Ian Gammie


An atmospheric and sonorous guitar solo inspired by images of a serene summer's day in the countryside. In five sections: Prelude, Contemplation, Balletto, Allegretto, Moderato. For players of approx. Grade 6-7 level.

CMP 46

SOLILOQUY for solo guitar by Ian Gammie


This was composed during a Covid-19 lockdown, as a contemplation of an uncertain world. It has beautiful and rhetorical melodic lines. For players of approx. Grade 6-7 level.

CMP 48



A selection of solos for the Grade 2 player, ranging from works of the Elizabethan and baroque periods, 19th century classics and some easy 20th century works. (24 pages) Grade 2.


CMP 49



For Grade 2 and 3 players with works ranging from Bach and Handel to Amazing Grace; it includes a graded introduction to Bass D on the 6th string and five easy solos all set in 9th fret position and using open bass strings. (24 pages) Grades 2-3


CMP 50



For the Grade 3 and 4 player, including nine items from former Associated Board's exam lists as well as a Boogie, Kemp's Jig, some Giuliani and a set of variations on Greensleeves. (20 pages) Grades 3 -4


CMP 51



More solos for the Grade 4-5 player, including pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Offenbach and Elgar, as well as several from an earlier Associated Board syllabus for Grade 5. (28 pages) Grades 4 - 5


CMP 87



7 easy Christmas guitar solos - the melody with simple bass notes, for Grade 1 or 2 players. Nice large print.


CMP 88



Arranged by Nick Clarke and illustrated by Nick Inman. 15 Christmas carol melodies in the easiest keys for guitar players, with hilarious cartoons to illustrate each one. The tunes are printed in staff notation with chord "windows" on every page; verses printed in full, with chord symbols throughout. Useful for creating easy ensembles with other instruments.


CMP 100



Featuring the collected guitar solos composed by Ian Gammie over a period of more than forty years. Four books in a custom-made folder, 144 pages.



CMP 101

JAZZBITS : Book 1 - Ian Gammie


Introduction to jazz improvisation. The first volume of a series for those who would like to improvise but have often felt inhibited by lack of suitable starting material. Each book provides 5 complete melodic solos for guitar with chord accompaniment, based on some of the most common jazz chord sequences. Extensive suggestions are given with each piece for use of modal scales, chords, rhythmic figures, etc, so that players can develop dozens of ideas for their own solo improvisations.


CMP 102-S

HUNKY DORIAN (solo version) - by Ian Gammie


See Jazz Ensembles for the version with four guitars. This arrangement features the solo guitar part, with all the usual hints and examples for developing improvised ideas, and includes a CD backing track so that players can practise their solos with a private backing group who never get bored with playing it again, . . . and again.


CMP 107-S

TINO LATINO (solo version) - by Ian Gammie


Another piece for the budding jazz player. See Jazz Ensembles for the version with four guitars. The arrangement features a solo guitar part, with all the usual hints and examples for developing improvised ideas, and includes a CD backing track so that players can practise their solos with a private backing group who never get bored with playing it over and over.

CMP 111

FIRST FOLIO - Ian Gammie


Easy and very easy pieces for the beginner, devised by Ian Gammie. 30 pieces, a mixture of folk tunes, classical tunes and simple modern compositions; some as plain melodies with open bass strings to support the harmony, some as duets with a written accompaniment for the teacher (or a more advanced pupil). Ideal beginners' repertoire, Grade 1 + .

CMP 112



More easy pieces for the beginner, devised by Ian Gammie. 29 pieces, duets and solos from 4 centuries. Grades 1 – 2.


CORDA MUSIC PUBLICATIONS - Other items relating to teaching

A Music Note Book


There is a memo section for every lesson, with sufficient space for teacher's comments and reminders. Enough pages for a whole year of lessons, plus a daily column for pupils to keep a note of their practice times.


 Musicianship : First Set - Rhythm



A series of simple tapping exercises, initially with one hand, then with both hands reading two separate rhythm parts. An essential aid for any pupil who has difficulty with counting and reading.

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