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Easy Classical Guitar: Aguado's Etude in A Minor in Guitar Tab, Standard Notation and Audio

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Chasmac is a semi-retired guitar teacher who has taught in various schools in London and elsewhere for over 30 years.

D. Aguado: Etude in A Minor

D. Aguado: Etude in A Minor

Easy Tabs for Classical Guitar

This easy classical guitar etude is based on a popular extract from a famous guitar method by the 18th/9th century Spanish guitarist, Dionisio Aguado. Etudes or studies are designed to give guitar students practice in a particular aspect of guitar technique. In this case, it's fast-flowing arpeggios over a bass melody.

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The Video

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Dionisio Aguado: Etude in A Minor

Dionisio Aguado: Etude in A minor

Dionisio Aguado: Etude in A minor

Download Etude in A Minor PDF

Click to open and download Aguado's Etude in A Minor as a PDF file for offline viewing and printing.

Classical guitar finger labels

Classical guitar finger labels

Study Notes for Learners

Here are some helpful notes for those studying classical guitar.

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In this arrangement, there are two sections, A & B, each of which is immediately repeated, so the 'playing plan' is A A B B. The repeat dots (||:----:||)| separate the two sections.

Time Signature

The 'two-four' time signature means that each bar receives two quarter note beats. As almost every bar consists of sixteenth notes, there will be four per beat (eight per bar). Count them as "1 e & a 2 e & a".


  • Picking Hand: The bass melody is very simple and played with your picking-hand thumb (p). It's the first note of every bar and is shown with downward pointing note stems in the notation. The upper notes are played with i and m picking-hand fingers. (See the fingering chart for the fingering labels.)
  • Fretting Hand: The fretting hand fingering is quite straightforward. In bar three, (as the tab makes more clear) move up to the 3rd position and play with the fingering shown. In bar 7, using fingers 3 and 2 instead of the usual 2 and 1 for the E and C notes makes for an easy move to the G# with your first finger.
ChordsChord Tones

A minor



E G# B D



C major



A C# E

D minor


Key and Chords

If you're interested in knowing about the key and chord structure of this piece, here they are:

  • Key: The key (as you probably guessed from the title) is A minor. The chords are formed from the notes of the bass and arpeggio throughout each bar, and some of them are only implied as some of their notes aren't present.
  • Tonic and Dominant 7th Chords: The opening section alternates between A minor, which is the 'tonic' chord (the one that feels like 'home') and E7, the 'dominant 7th' chord. The 'dominant' chord in any key is the one built on the 5th scale degree. Its job is to lead back home to the tonic. Before it gets to the end of the section, though, it takes a scenic detour via A7 and D minor before bringing us home to the tonic chord via the dominant chord.
  • Secondary Dominant Chord: A7 is foreign to the key as it contains the note C#. It's called a secondary dominant in this context, because it leads to the next chord, D minor, with the the same forceful conviction as the true dominant chord (E7) leads to the tonic chord (A minor).
  • Subdominant Chord: D minor is the subdominant chord. The subdominant chord in any key is the one built on the 4th scale degree (note) of the key.
  • Subtonic Chord: In the second section, the key is also A minor, but there's quite a bit of hinting at C major as a secondary key due to the G7 chords resolving to the chord C major. G7 belongs to the key of A minor and being built on the 7th scale degree (one below the upper tonic) it goes by the name of subtonic. In this case, though, by resolving strongly to C major, G7 is another secondary dominant.
  • Mediant Chord: C major is known as the mediant chord—the chord built on the third scale degree (halfway between tonic and dominant). The key of C major is a common key to hint at in the key of A minor as they are relative major and minor keys of each other. They share the same set of natural notes. Hinting at the relative major is the composer's way of achieving some tonal variety by briefly escaping from the hold of the tonic chord, A minor.

Dionisio Aguado

Dionisio Aguado (1784–1849) was a Spanish guitarist and composer of guitar music. He moved from Madrid to Paris, where he enjoyed considerable success as a performer and teacher. You can learn more about Dionisio Aguado on Wikipedia.

More Easy Classical Guitar Pieces

Here are some more easy classical guitar arrangements—all in the same format as this one.


Ther music is composed by Dionisio Aguado (1784–1849) and is in the Public Domain.

The score, audio track and images are by chasmac and produced on Finale, Goldwave and Photoshop.

© 2014 Chas Mac

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