Chasmac is a semi-retired guitar teacher who has taught in various schools in London and elsewhere for over 30 years.
Fernando Sor is one of the most important names in the classical guitar world. He composed a large body of guitar music covering a wide range of difficulty, ranging from easy classical guitar studies to full-blown concertos.
This study is the first from his Opus 31, a collection of 24 progressive lessons for beginners, so as easy classical guitar pieces go, they don't get much easier than this.
The Score—Tab, Notation and Audio
The score is displayed staff by staff in the video capsule along with the audio recording. It's also displayed in full below the video capsule. Use the gallery feature to see the score enlarged. Click on the score's "See all photos" link that becomes visible when you place your cursor over any of the music notation or tablature staves.
Note* The video recording quality is 1080HD. The audio quality isn't great but good enough to hear how the piece is played if you have trouble reading the notation. Keep the volume quite low to reduce the hiss that's present in the recording.
"Study No.1 in C"—from Opus 31 by Fernando Sor: Notation and Tab
Download Opus 31 No.1 as PDF file
Click to download Opus 31 No.1 as a PDF file for offline viewing and printing
Study Notes For Learners
The piece is in two sections, A & B, both of which are repeated once. The B section also contains a slightly modified version of the second part of section A within it. That's why it's longer as you can see from the repeat bars. So the layout in sections is A A B (A2) B (A2).
Study No.1 is played in the first position of the guitar fretboard. There are no notes any higher than the 3rd fret so every fret has a designated finger poised to land on that fret. Sometimes you need to use your 4th finger for the 3rd fret melody notes as shown by the finger numbers in the notation. That's because your 2nd or 3rd finger is busy on the 2nd or 3rd fret of a lower string, so it's much more practical to use your 4th finger.
The picking hand fingering is straightforward. Play all bass notes on strings 4 & 5 with your thumb (string 6 isn't used in this piece), and use your index middle and ring fingers to play the upper notes in the way that feels most logical and practical. Apart from notes played with your thumb, you should avoid using the same finger twice in succession. Always alternate your fingers for greater fluency.
The music is in two parts: bass and melody. The melody notes are shown in the notation with stems pointing up while bass notes have stems pointing down. Emphasise the melody notes a little to make it more clearly separated from the bass.
The piece is in simple triple metre meaning three beats to the bar or measure. So the chosen time signature for notating it is 34 or three-four, i.e., three quarter note beats per bar.
C E G
G B D F
D F A
The harmony of this piece is provided by the melody and bass in combination, and the chords produced (or implied) by the two voices are C major, G7 and D minor - exactly the chords you'd expect to find in a piece in the key of C major. If you're interested to know which chords are produced or implied in any bar, look at the chords and chord tones chart.
C major is the home chord or tonic. It's the principal chord of this piece and any piece that is in the key of C major.
G7 is the dominant 7th chord. It naturally leads back home to the tonic. When the note G is missing, it can be called B diminished (B D F), but really it's still performing the same dominant function and leading us back to the tonic chord, C major. None of this matters much except that knowing how the harmony works in the piece gives you more understanding and more confidence to play it.
D minor is the supertonic chord. It's function is pre dominant, i.e., it leads us to the dominant 7th. This is tonality at its simplest
More Easy Classical Guitar Pieces
If you want to try some more easy classical guitar pieces, have a look at these hubs. They all contain standard notation, guitar tablature, audio demo track and study notes for learners.
Waltz in D by Carulli - From Carulli's 5 waltz collection. Simple and tuneful
Etude in A minor by Giuliani - A very popular and easy classical guitar piece with a Spanish flavour
Kemp's Jig - An anonymous Elizabethan period dance tune.
All of these pieces are considered quite easy in terms of technical difficulty. If you want to see how guitar pieces are graded into levels of difficulty, have a look at the graded guitar exam syllabus of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
Fernando Sor (1778 - 1839) was born in Barcelona, Spain. He achieved fame as a virtuoso guitarist and guitar teacher in Paris, and later as a composer in London, Moscow and elsewhere. His later life was spent in Paris and he sometimes took to touring European cities with great success. He produced many works including guitar and orchestral compositions and a guitar study method. Many of his guitar pieces are still available today and form an important part of the classical guitar student repertoire.
© 2014 chasmac