Chasmac is a semi-retired guitar teacher who has taught in various schools in London and elsewhere for over 30 years.
"Study in C Opus 35 no.2" by Fernando Sor is an easy classical guitar piece that is quite popular among classical guitar students who are at a pre-intermediate stage of learning to play. That is, it's not quite a complete beginner level piece, but it's not at all difficult. It's all played within the first position of the fretboard. There's no awkward fingering and neither are there any tricky rhythms to deal with.
If you want to listen to an audio demo of the piece while reading the tab or notation line-by-line, click the video capsule and view it in full screen mode (at 1080HD playback quality). Alternatively, you can read a static version of the tab and notation underneath the video. Use the gallery "see all photos" feature to see the score enlarged if you need to.
Sor—"Study No. 2 in C (Opus 35)" Notation and Tablature
Sor "Opus 35 no. 2"—Notes for Learners
In common with many similarly easy classical guitar pieces, there are two sections, A & B, and both are repeated. The repeat marks show the two different sections. The B section is longer than the A section because it also contains a slightly modified version of the A section's theme tagged onto the main theme of the B section. So the overall 'thematic' plan including the repeats is
- A A B (A2) B (A2).
Time and Tempo
The Time signature of 38 (three-eight) in this piece means that there are three beats per bar or measure, and the eighth note is the note duration chosen to represent the beat in standard notation. It has nothing to do with how fast the piece is played. That's what the tempo is for - and you decide what that will be. Obviously it can't be any faster than you're capable of playing. The shortest duration notes are sixteenth note pairs in a copuple of places, (each gets a half beat). So play the piece at a tempo where you can play those sixteenth notes in time.
C E G
G7 (B dim)
G (B D F)
Dominant 7th, (Leading note triad)
D F A
Key and Chords
The following information is included for those interested in the harmonic framework of the piece. It's not something that you need to know in order to play the music, but it's always good to have an understanding of the music that you're playing.
The key, as the title helpfully informs us, is C major, and there are only two principal chords used: C major and G major. C major is the tonic or home chord and G7 is the dominant seventh or 'want-to-go-home' chord. The chords are usually incomplete, so the dominant seventh chord often appears without the root note G, technically making the chord a B diminished triad (notes B, D & F) - but it's doing exactly the same job as G7 and can be considered like a 'rootless' G7. The chord D minor appears very briefly in bar 7 and with its usual function of 'pre-dominant', i.e., leading smoothly to the dominant chord.
At the end of the main theme of the B section (bars 15 - 16) the chords formed by the notes are D7 and G. The chord D7 is foreign to the key of C major because it contains the note F sharp (The key of C major has no flats or sharps).
The purpose of this foreign chord is to lead more strongly to the following G major chord than D minor does. The foreign note (F#) weakens the key of C major and makes it sound like the key is changing to G. That happens because, although D7 is foreign to the key of C major, it's not foreign to the key of G major. In fact it's as important in the key of G major as the chord G7 is in the key of C. It's called a secondary dominant. At this point in the composition, Sor could have decided to stay in the new key of G and establish it completely, but he didn't, he went straight back into C major. Briefly touching on a new key like this without fully establishing it is called tonicisation (or tonicization, depending on your brand of English). Staying in the new key long enough to fully establish it is called modulation.
Fernando Sor was a Spanish virtuoso guitarist (1778 - 1839) and a prolific composer of guitar music as well as orchestral and ballet music, but it's his easy classical guitar compositions that makes him popular with classical guitar students, and with publishers of easy classical guitar music collections by various composers. You can learn more about the life and times of Fernando Sor on Wikipedia.
More Easy Classical Guitar Pieces
Here are some more easy classical guitar pieces that you can study and play. All have standard notation, guitar tablature, and an audio track for reference.
The music featured in this hub is by Fernando Sor (1778 - 1839) and is in the public domain.
Cover image, score and audio track produced by chasmac on Photoshop, Finale and Goldwave