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Giuliani: Opus 50 No.8 "Allegretto" in Guitar Tab and Standard Notation

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

Giuliani: Classical Guitar Opus 50 No.8

Giuliani: Classical Guitar Opus 50 No.8

Opus 50 No.8 "Allegretto", from the Papillon Collection by the Italian 19th century composer and guitarist, Mauro Giuliani, is a relatively simple piece to play. You can follow the guitar tab or standard notation below, and you can hear a software-generated demo version of the piece in the video capsule as the score is displayed line by line.

Score-Generated Audio of Giuliani's Opus 50 No.8

Here's a static version of the same score. You can magnify any line of the music by clicking on it.

Study Notes for Learners

The biggest challenge in this piece for beginners are the arpeggiated chords that play continuously under the melody. They're not difficult chords, although the one that has the F# in the bass might be unfamiliar. It's actually a D major chord in first inversion. The 'form' of the piece is very simple. There are no repeat marks to deal with; you just play through from start to finish.

Time Signature

The time signature of 68 (six-eight) means there are two beats to each bar and each beat is assigned a dotted quarter note's duration. Each beat starts with the lowest bass note of the chord, so count them as 1 - - 2 - -. Try to avoid counting the bar as six eighth notes (1 2 3 4 5 6). It still fits because one dotted quarter note is worth three 8th notes, but that's not what the 68 time signature means. You should try to feel the two beats per bar. That's why the chord notes are grouped (beamed) in threes the way that they are.


Giuliani marked the tempo as 'allegretto', which is how the piece got to be named "Allegretto" either by him or (more likely) by his publisher. "Allegretto" indicates a tempo of around 100 BPM (beats per minute) - more or less. The audio track that you can hear in the video capsule is played at 92 BPM, which is a bit slower than 'allegretto'. Feel free to play it even slower than that, though. Slow and fluent is far better than fast and faulty.

Classical guitar fingering diagram.

Classical guitar fingering diagram.

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Some fretting-hand fingering is shown at the start with numbers, and some picking-hand fingering too with letters. These are a guide to get you started. See the chart for the meanings of the fingering labels used in classical guitar. Always try to be logical and practical. For example, the chord arpeggio notes need to be done with your picking-hand thumb so that your other fingers are free to play the melody notes. Also, you should always try to alternate picking-hand fingers where practical to achieve greater fluency of finger movement.

ChordChord Tones

G Major


D Major

D F# A

C major


Key and Chords

The key is G major, so keep an eye on the 'single-sharp' key signature that makes all F notes automatically become F sharp (F#). That sharp symbol on the top line of every staff affects all F notes no matter which line or space of the staff - including the very low F# chord note on the third ledger line below the staff.

If you're reading from the tablature staff, then this doesn't concern you as the tab makes clear which fret to play all the F sharp notes on.

There are only three chords, and you can tell which chord is being played at any time by referring to the chart. It shows the notes belonging to each chord from its 'root' and not necessarily in the order played in the piece.


Allegretto - Opus 50 No.8 is composed by Mauro Giuliani (1781 - 1829) and is in the Public Domain.

The score, audio track and images are by chasmac.

© 2015 Chas Mac

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