The guitar has a long history, and like many other instruments it has evolved over time. Classical Guitar music largely originated in Spain and spread from there to other parts of the world. Classical guitar music is traditionally played on an acoustic instrument with nylon strings. The strings are plucked using the fingers and, since it has 6 strings, chords and contrapuntal music (with more than one part) can be played in a similar way to classical keyboard music. Guitars have also been used for hundreds of years to accompany folk music in many countries, either using a similar finger-plucking technique or by "strumming" chords. Those that are just starting to learn should first learn guitar strum patterns because they allow you to play a wide variety of songs at the beginning. The electric guitar uses steel strings whose vibrations are captured by a "pickup" and the signal is then amplified with the option of adding a large variety of electronic effects to change the tone. Versions of the folk guitar and the electric guitar have been used consistently by many popular music artists.
The notation for classical guitar is usually written for a single treble stave, with the notes sounding an octave below the notes as written. Note tails can be used to differentiate between different parts or voices, and additional notation elements can be used to specify individual strings and possibly fret numbers where necessary. Tabs are a more recent pictorial method of notation which uses 6 lines to represent the 6 guitar strings rather than the 5 lines of traditional notation. For chord-based accompaniments, chords can be identified simply by name or by using small pictograms which indicate which frets are used on each string. For writing guitar notation, you can download Blank Sheet Music and TABs from mfiles.
A number of Classical Composers played or composed for the guitar with the composer/violinist Paganini and Berlioz being notable examples, though even Beethoven and Schubert were well acquainted with the instrument. While many composers specialising in the instrument were from Spain, there were several notable players and composers from Italy and elsewhere in Europe. While many musical works have been written specifically for the guitar, the instrument's repertoire also contains many examples of guitar arrangements of works originally created for other instruments such as the Lute or Piano and similar stringed or keyboard instruments.
For classical guitar, the following pieces by the spanish composer Fernando Sor range in difficulty from beginner to intermediate works for the guitar student, while those by Francisco Tárrega tend to be more difficult:
There are also the following works by other composers:
And here is a selection of pieces originally written for other instruments, which have been arranged for guitar:
The guitarist Glenn Jarrett has regularly contributed music to mfiles. The following are all original arrangements of traditional Christmas Carols.
Here are some simpler arrangements of other Christmas Carols by Jim Paterson. These are available in PDF format only, but they include guitar tablature and chords in addition to classical notation. They are designed so that you can play along with other instruments or singers. The sheet music for other instruments can be found on the Traditional Sheet Music page in the Christmas Carol section.
And here are some classical pieces and traditional songs arranged for guitar, or in some cases for a combination of instruments including guitar.
There are several websites which have a wide range of sheet music for guitar, and here are some of the options:
Virtual Sheet Music allows you to download sheet music and print it instantly. For Guitar sheet music start here on the Guitar page at Virtual Sheet Music. If you think you might want to buy several pieces of music over a period of time, then it is worth considering taking out Membership of Virtual Sheet Music which allows you to download thousands of works for a single fee of only $37.75. Although the prices is in dollars you can download from anywhere in the world using a credit card or debit card or paypal.
The Music Room also has a large catalogue of digital sheet music titles for instant download and print. We suggest the following digital music pages as starting points for Guitar music at The Music Room: sheet music for guitar, TABs for guitar or Easy TABs for guitar. Each of these sections has lots of different genre categories to help you find what you want. For sheet music books at The Music Room there are sites based in the UK, France, Germany and Australia and each of these sites will ship music books to anywhere in the world - just choose your site or location using the flags at the top of the page. There are various currency options too. For sheet music books the best starting page is the Guitar and Bass section where you can choose whether you are interested in classical notation, guitar or bass TABs, or Chords.
Sheet Music Plus has one of the largest if not the largest catalogue of sheet music books in the world. The site doesn't have a separate section for download items, but you can search for "digital" or "download" products. Sheet Music Plus is based in the US and you can choose from a wide range of currency and shipping options when ordering books - just click on the flag at the top of the screen and change it to the option you want. For guitar music start at the main Guitar page at Sheet Music Plus and from there you can choose from a range of notation options, genres and formats, and it is very easy to search for the items you want.