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Carulli: "Waltz No.3 in E Minor" in Standard Notation and Guitar Tab With Audio

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

This article will offer the guitar tab, standard notation, audio track and study notes for Ferdinando Carulli's "Waltz in E Minor."

This article will offer the guitar tab, standard notation, audio track and study notes for Ferdinando Carulli's "Waltz in E Minor."

"Waltz in E Minor" is an easy classical guitar waltz by the famous 18/19th century guitar composer, Ferdinando Carulli. Apart from a few bass note changes in the first few bars and being scored in 34 instead of 38, it's identical to the original and provides good practice in the key of E minor for beginner students.

To listen to the track and read the score while it plays, play the video at full size and at high playback quality if you can. The score is also shown in full under the video, which is better for study and practice purposes. If it's too small, you can magnify any line of the score by clicking on it.

Downloading the PDF of "Waltz in E Minor" might also help.

"Waltz No. 3 in E Minor" From Opus 241


"Waltz in E Minor": Learners' Notes

If you need some help understanding how to play the piece, the following tips will be useful.

Musical Form

The musical form of the piece is three-part, or ternary, form. There are two 16-bar sections, A & B. Section B follows section A, which is then repeated to end the piece. So the playing order is A B A. There's a repeat after every eight bars in each section. The D.C. al fine sign at bar 32 (the last bar shown but not the last bar played) means go back to the beginning (after you've repeated the last eight bars) and play from there until you reach the fine sign at bar 16.

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Fretboard Position and Fingering

"Waltz in E Minor" is mostly played in the first position of the guitar fretboard apart from a couple of bars where the notes B & D notes are played in 3rd position for that bar (as the tab shows).

Fingering is shown in several places, but only as suggestions. Use whichever fingering you feel suits your playing style better. The classical guitar convention for showing fingering is numbers: 1, 2, 3 and 4 for your fretting hand, and the Spanish abbreviations p, i, m, a for your picking hand fingers (thumb, index, middle and ring). The 4th finger isn't used in standard classical guitar technique.


The music is in the key of E minor, but like most classical music, there's a change of key within the music so that each of the sections has its own key. Section A is in the main key of E minor and lasts for 16 bars. Section B is in the relative major key of G major and also lasts 16 bars. For notation readers, both keys use the same 'one sharp' key signature, so remember that all F notes are automatically played as F sharp. Tab readers don't have this problem as the string-fret numbers have already taken that into account.


You can hear how the melody (tune) is sometimes in the upper notes and sometimes it appears in the bass. Try to emphasise melody notes a little in whichever voice (upper or lower) they appear.


As it's a waltz, it's in triple time with three beats to the bar. The time signature I've chosen for this arrangement is 34 'three four' for easier readability, but 'three eight' is also commonly used and is what Carulli himself used. With a 34 time signature, it means that the note lengths are no shorter than 8th notes rather than 16th notes. It makes no difference to how it's played or how it sounds, though, just how it's read. It's the tempo that dictates the speed, and you dictate the the tempo. Easy classical guitar waltzes like this are meant to be listened to, not waltzed to, so play it at whatever tempo is comfortable for you.

Chords of "Waltz in E Minor"

Chords and their chord tones in "Waltz No.3 in E Minor"

KeyChordChord TonesTonal Function


E minor



B major

B D# F#



G major




D F# A C

Dominant 7th

Chord Tones and Tonal Functions

For those interested in knowing the harmonic structure of this easy classical guitar waltz, the chart above shows the chords used in this piece. Chord-wise, it's very simple. Section A, which is in the key of E minor, consists only of chords E minor and B major. Section B, which is in the key of G major, consists of G major and D7. These are the chords sounded (or sometimes just implied) by the melody, bass and inner harmony notes in combination, spread out in each bar. The chart also shows their chord tones and tonal functions:

  • The TONIC chord is the home chord of the key. Most music ends on the tonic chord as it's the only one that can impart the sense of finality and of arriving home. Ending on any other chord would sound less final.
  • The DOMINANT chord is the chord built on the 5th note (scale degree) of the major or minor scale. The 'feel' of the dominant chord is the opposite of the tonic. It's 'away from home' but gives the impression of always looking to return to the home chord. That's all this piece does; it moves back and forth between tonic and dominant. Many easy classical guitar pieces do much the same thing.

Ferdinando Carulli

Ferdinando Carulli (1770–1841) was an Italian virtuoso guitarist, composer and teacher. Most classical guitar students are familiar with Carulli's easy classical guitar pieces, but he also composed advanced pieces for guitar as well as a famous classical guitar teaching method.

More Easy Classical Guitar Waltzes by Carulli

All of these are considered easy classical guitar pieces well within reach of guitarists (classical or fingerstyle) who have been playing for at least a few months.


The music is composed by Ferdinando Carulli (1770 - 1841) and is in the Public Domain.

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

© 2014 Chas Mac

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