Lagrima by Francisco Tárrega: Classical Guitar Tab and Standard Notation

Updated on November 9, 2018
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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.


Lagrima is a very popular and relatively simple prelude by the 19th century Spanish guitar legend, Francisco Tárrega. You can play it from the score below either by reading the guitar tablature or the standard music notation staffs, and if you want to study it at your leisure, you can download a PDF file of it for viewing offline or printing. You can also see any line of the score magnified on-screen by clicking on the music staff or tablature.

A software-generated audio version is included that you can hear in the video capsule near the bottom of the article. It will gives you an idea of how it should sound if you're unfamiliar with the piece or if your reading skills aren't quite up to playing it straight off.

Lagrima by Francisco Tárrega


Download Lagrima as a PDF file.

Click the link to open and save Lagrima as a free PDF file that you can view offline or print.

Study Notes for Learners


Typical of short guitar pieces of the Romantic Period, Lagrima is a prelude in ternary form, meaning it has two sections: A & B, with the B section sandwiched between two A sections. Each section lasts for eight bars or measures and is immediately repeated. After the second repeat of the B section, the D.C. al Fine instruction sends you back to the beginning to play the A section once again without repeating. The piece finally ends at the Fine sign in bar 8. So, the complete playing order of the two sections is: A A B B A.


Each of the two sections of Lagrima has its own key. The principal key is E major and is the key of the A section. The B section is in the key of E minor to provide some tonal contrast. Note the change of key signature between sections (bars 8 and 9). The four-sharp key signature of E major is cancelled by 'natural' signs and replaced by the one-sharp key signature of E minor.

Fretboard Positions

This prelude involves quite a bit of position playing and reaches as far as the 9th position with some barré chord shapes that may be unfamiliar to many learners. Most of them can be played as half-barrés. This is the main technical challenge of Lagrima, and although it's not an overly difficult piece, this is why it's not considered a classical guitar piece for complete beginners. Most of the fretting-hand fingering shown is the original fingering by Tárrega, himself, although the original, handwritten manuscript shows that he changed his mind a few times.

Performance Style

Coming from the late Romantic Period and given the name Lagrima, which is the Spanish word for "teardrop", is a clue that this prelude should be tinged with a touch of melancholy and played with an expressive singing style in the melody. The machine-produced audio version below can't reproduce that very 'human' quality, so it's up to you to infuse your playing with the necessary emotion - but not to the point that it sounds sentimental. Use some vibrato on the higher notes that have a longer duration, and also play the melody notes (where practical) with rest stroke to emphasise it and add some sweetness to the tone.

Rest Stroke

If you're not familiar with rest stroke, it's a picking-hand technique that involves plucking the string and bringing your finger to rest momentarily on the string above. In other words, if you pluck the first E string, let your finger come to rest on the 2nd (B) string. The slightly different angle of the stroke and the extra force needed to pluck and follow through to rest on the next string produces a louder sound and sweeter tone. It makes melody notes stand out from the inner harmony notes, which are played with normal 'free stroke'.

Solo Guitar Playing - Book 1, 4th Edition
Solo Guitar Playing - Book 1, 4th Edition
Improve your ability to read the standard notation staffs of Lagrima and other pieces instead of using tab with its many limitations. Solo Guitar Playing by Frederick Noad is an excellent teaching resource that I've used for teaching notation to my fingerstyle and classical guitar students. It takes students from complete beginner level to sight reading intermediate level pieces.

Lagrima - Musical Features at a Glance

Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909)
Andante (80-90 BPM)
Simple Triple (3/4)
E major and E minor
Highest Fretboard Position
Pos IX (fret 12)
Ternary (A-A-B-B-A)

Lagrima - Audio Demo

The video below contains the score of Lagrima displayed line by line in time with a score-generated audio version of the piece. View the score in full-screen mode with high playback quality such as 1080HD to ensure that the tab and notation staffs are clear and legible. The video quality control is the cog-shaped icon at the bottom right of the video screen. It only appears after you click 'PLAY'. The speed of playback can also be changed via this control. If you need to slow it down in order to hear the piece and read the score more easily, just select a slower speed.

Questions & Answers

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