Chasmac is a semi-retired guitar teacher who has taught in various schools in London and elsewhere for over 30 years.
Here's a great classical guitar piece from Opus 50 (Papillon Series) in "theme and variations" form by the 19th century Italian composer, Mauro Giuliani. The video has both the score and an audio track generated from the MIDI output of the notation software. View the score in full screen mode at HD playback quality for a clear display. Alternatively, see the tab and notation below the video. Enlarge it if necessary by clicking on any line of the score. For offline viewing and printing, download the score in PDF format from the link below the score.
Giuliani: Opus 50 No.2 "Grazioso"
PDF of Giuliani's Opus 50 No.2
Click to download a free PDF of Giuliani's Opus 50 No.2 for convenient offline viewing and printing.
Giuliani's Opus 50 no 2 is around pre-intermediate level. It's quite easy to play in terms of fingering as it never leaves the first fretboard position of the guitar, and it makes a lot of use of open string notes, too. The main difficulty, as you might have guessed, is in the 'variations' section. It needs to be played quite fast to make the most of all those 16th notes that fill in between the melody notes.
There are just two sections and no repeats: the plain melodic section, which lasts for sixteen bars (or measures), and the variation section, which is also sixteen bars, plus an extra bar to finish with a flourish.
The 24 'two-four' time signature means each bar contains two quarter note beats. The first section is mostly 8th notes, so it's an easy count of 1 & 2 &. When it comes to the variations section, the count will be 1 e & a 2 e & a. Counting like that is good to begin with if you're not sure of the timing, but when you've got it, just feel the beat as you play. Don't think numbers.
The melody is shown in the notation with upward pointing note stems. Try to emphasise those melody to make them sound clear of the bass notes underneath.
The tempo in the audio track is 72 BPM (beats per minute). Start slow so that you can ensure that you play the 16th notes accurately and evenly. Make the second section the section that decides the tempo. You don't want to play the first section well and at speed only to have to slow down for the second section.
Key and Chords
The key is C major throughout, and the chords are mainly just the main chords of the key. The 'home' or tonic chord is C major, and the dominant chord that leads home to C is G major. These are the chords that are formed from the melody and bass notes mostly as arpeggios. They're not played as full chords anywhere except right at the end where C major is played with a flourish.
Bass notes are shown in the notation with downward pointing stems and should be played with your thumb. The fill in notes are also shown with downward pointing stems, but they're not bass notes; they're the fill in notes that add to both the harmony and melody. Play those with fingers not thumb. Play only notes on the 4th string or lower in pitch with your thumb - those are the true bass notes. For the other notes, use the fingers that feel most practical. Always alternate fingers where possible, and try to avoid using the same finger twice in a row with successive notes on the same string.
As for your fretting hand, the fingering is straightforward as you're mostly holding cut-down chord shapes. Use the fingers that need the least movement from one location to the next.
The music is by Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) and is in the Public Domain.
The score, audio track and cover image are by chasmac produced on Finale, Goldwave and Photoshop.
© 2014 chasmac
chasmac (author) from UK on June 30, 2015:
Thanks, Stella. I agree about Giuliani - lots of tuneful pieces that are easy to play.
stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on June 30, 2015:
Hi, I enjoyed reading your hub and playing the music. I love Giuliani because he wrote for the beginners and in easy keys.