Chasmac is a semi-retired guitar teacher who has taught in various schools in London and elsewhere for over 30 years.
This is an easy classical guitar piece by the 18/19th century Italian guitar virtuoso and composer of guitar music, Ferdinando Carulli. It's the first of several pieces named 'Andante' in his teaching method for guitar, which he published in 1825 as "Opus 241," a revision of his original teaching method ("Opus 27"). It was hugely influential in its day, and many of the guitar pieces composed for it are still popular today among classical guitar students and teachers.
The score is shown below in standard notation and also in guitar tablature. As guitar tab (unlike standard notation) doesn't show timing information clearly, those who don't read standard notation well enough to sight read, can hear a software-generated MIDI to audio rendition of the piece in the video capsule below the score. The score is also shown in the video line by line in time with the recording. Full-screen, high playback quality is needed for the best viewing experience, and depending on the device you're viewing this piece on, that may also apply to the score, too. If it's too small to see clearly, simply click on it to view it enlarged.
F. Carulli: Opus 241 - Andante No.1
Study Notes for Learners
This is a four-section piece. (A, B, C & D) Each sections is repeated after eight bars, and the D.C.al Fine instruction at the end of section D sends you back to play from the start without further repeats until you reach the Fine sign at the end of section B, which signals the end of the piece. The complete playing plan is A A B B C C D D A B.
The time signature of 24 means there are two quarter note beats per bar or measure. Most of the bars in sections A & B contain eight 16th notes, so count those as 1 e & a 2 e & a. Other bars containing just four 8th notes are counted simply as 1 & 2 &. There are no other duration values used anywhere in this piece.
The numbers 1 - 4 shown at several places within the notation staff indicate the fretting-hand fingering suggestions. Picking-hand fingering isn't shown as it's mostly obvious, but some bass notes (those with downward pointing note stems) are played on the open G string. You can choose whether to use your thumb (p) or your index finger (i) for those notes. If you use your finger, give the note a little more emphasis so that it doesn't sound weaker than the other thumb-played bass notes.
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Musical Features at a Glance
Andante No.1 from Opus 241
Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841)
4 x 8 bars
Meter (Time signature)
Simple duple (2/4)
Highest fretboard Position
Position I (fret 3)
Key and Chords
The principal key of this piece is C Major and it follows a typical key plan of modulating (changing key) to the key of G Major at the end of section A. Section B is back in the key of C Major throughout. Sections C and D are in the relative minor key of A Minor.
The Tonic chord (C major) is the 'home' chord and is the one built on the first note (scale degree) of the scale of the key. It's the natural chord to end the piece on.
The Dominant chord (G major) is the chord built on the 5th scale degree. It's the polar opposite of the tonic and its most common role is to lead to the tonic chord. The effect is even more noticeable when the chord is a 7th chord instead of just a plain major chord. That's because it's dissonant, so the need to resolve to the consonant tonic chord is more urgent and more satisfying when it does.
Secondary dominant chords are foreign to the key but are the native dominant chord to some other key. In this case, it's D7, which is the dominant chord of the key of G major. It occurs as an incomplete chord in bar 7, but the effect is clear. It leads to G major with almost the same force as G7 leads to C, so it causes a temporary shift of key at the end of the A section. It's an incomplete chord as it lacks the note F#, so it doesn't have quite the same resolving force.
Sections C and D are in the key of A minor and the chords are A minor, which is the tonic chord of that key, and E major, which is the dominant chord.
Score-generated MIDI to audio soundtrack of Andante No.1
More easy classical guitar pieces to try
Theme and Variations Opus 50 no. 5 by Mauro Giuliani
Wilson's Wilde - Anonymous Renaissance/ Elizabethan Period Lute - Guitar transcription
These are fairly simple pieces in the same format, although not quite as simple as the Carulli piece.
Born in Italy in 1770 (the same year as Beethoven), Ferdinando Carulli gained a reputation as a formidable guitarist and was highly popular, especially in Paris, where he composed, performed and taught guitar. He wrote and published several revisions of his famous teaching method among his many works. Opus 241, from which this piece is taken, is the last of them and was published in 1825. Carulli died in Paris in 1841.
The music featured in this article is composed by Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841) and is in the Public Domain.
The score, audio track and cover image are produced by chasmac.
© 2015 chasmac