Chasmac is a semi-retired guitar teacher who has taught in various schools in London and elsewhere for over 30 years.
Here's a short but interesting classical guitar piece by Mauro Giuliani, one of the most famous composers of classical guitar music of the 19th century, and a virtuoso guitarist, too. Fortunately, this relatively simple piece doesn't require any virtuosity to play it. It's probably around lower intermediate level of difficulty.
The score is shown in full below and also in the video capsule along with a software-generated MIDI demo converted to audio. Each line of the score can be enlarged by clicking on it and can also be enlarged in the video by viewing it in full-screen mode with high playback quality for best readability.
Mauro Giuliani: Opus 50 no.7
Giuliani: Opus 50 no.7: Study Notes for Learners
Opus 50 no.7 is a 33-bar (measure) piece played straight through with no repeat sections. The main theme does reappear towards the end but is modified, so just play it as it comes. The piece is characterised by an interplay between melodic phrases in the upper part alternating with melodic phrases in the bass.
The time signature is 24, and most bars contain the full complement of eight 16th notes. Count them as 1 e & a 2 e & a. There's also a half beat pick-up bar consisting of two 16th notes. Count from 1 and start playing on the final "& a" of the pick up bar.
The tempo in the audio track is 70 BPM (beats per minute), but play it as slowly as you need to, (or as fast as you want to). You can also slow down the playback speed of the audio track in the video with the same settings control as for the playback quality (shown above).
Some of the notes are a little awkward to reach, so some fretting-hand fingering suggestions are given at various places in the notation staff, numbered as 1 to 4 (counting your index finger as 1). Play all the bass notes (those with downward pointing note-stems) with your picking-hand thumb. Sometimes your thumb will be quite busy as there are a few chord arpeggios to play in the bass starting at bar 8.
Most of the piece is played in the first and second positions of the fretboard. The D major chord (D F# A) that occurs in bar 4 needs to be played in second position on the strings and frets shown in the tab. The D bass note can't be played on the open 4th string because that string is needed for the F# note on fret 4, so the D is played on string 5 fret 5 with your 4th finger.
The key is G major, but the music modulates briefly to the key of D major starting in bar 18. As G major is the home key, the one-sharp key signature is used in the notation staff, so if you're reading from the standard notation staff rather than the tab staff, don't forget that all F notes are played as F sharp regardless of where they appear on the staff.
All other note inflections are shown in the score placed in front of the affected notes. Some are just chromatic embellishments, such as E# and A#. The A# on the first beat of bar 8, for example, is called a 'retardation'. That is, it delays the arrival of the true chord note (B) of the chord G major by one beat. The C# notes are foreign to the key of G major, but they're there to cause a change of key from G major to D major. Once D major gets under-way, they then appear as in-key 'leading notes' of the key of D major until bar 25, which sees G major re-established as the home key until the end.
About Opus 50
Giuliani's Opus 50 is 32 classical guitar pieces collectively known as "Le Papillon" (The Butterfly). They're described as 'easy pieces for beginners', although the later pieces are closer to intermediate level than to beginner level.
The music featured in this article is composed by Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) and is in the Public Domain.
The score, audio track and images are produced by chasmac.
© 2015 chasmac