Chasmac is a semi-retired guitar teacher who has taught in various schools in London and elsewhere for over 30 years.
Opus 50 no. 13, more popularly known as Etude in A Minor or Study in A Minor, is an easy to play guitar piece by the 19th-century Italian composer and guitarist, Mauro Giuliani. As an authentic classical guitar piece (not composed for another instrument and transcribed) it sounds best on classical (nylon string) guitars. It still sounds effective on steel strings, though, so fingerstyle acoustic guitarists can do it justice too.
Beginner classical or fingerstyle guitarists with a few months to a year's experience should find this piece no problem in terms of the technique required.
This piece is an 'etude'. Etudes (or studies) are compositions that feature a particular technique. The purpose is to provide music students with an alternative to boring exercises. A technique exercise sneakily woven into a composition by a gifted composer is far more attractive to play than scales and arpeggios. By learning the piece, you can't help but benefit from the technique practice that you get every time you play it. In this case, the techniques featured are fluent arpeggio practice and melodic bass runs.
Opus 50 No. 13 is the official name, but it's usually found in guitar books, where it appears unofficially named as Etude in A minor, Study in A minor, or andantino. (A tempo marking) or some other term. These are descriptions more than titles, but they're used as titles in preference to the official (but highly unimaginative) Opus 50 no. 13.
Etude in A minor (Opus 50 - No.13)
Download Etude (Study) in A Minor as a free PDF file for convenient offline viewing or printing.
Notes for Learners
Etude in A Minor is played in the first (nut) position of the guitar and features arpeggiated chords: A minor, D minor and E7. The melodic bass runs contrasting with the arpeggio patterns are what make the piece interesting and memorable.
Emphasise the bass runs wherever they form part of the melody. You can play it at the speed on the audio track, or you can play it faster for a more intense sound.
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For those who don't read standard notation, guitar tab is provided too. However, even if you don't read notation, you can still use it to see the suggested (fretting hand) fingering. You can also see which notes are bass notes by their downward pointing stems.
The (picking hand) fingering is straightforward arpeggio/ fingerstyle technique - thumb for the bass and the three fingers used across the strings for the upper notes of the arpeggios.
The YouTube video capsule below displays the score line by line in time with an audio track of the Etude.
Mauro Giuliani (1781–1829) was a famous Italian classical guitar composer and virtuoso performer. He composed and published a large body of work ranging from simple studies (etudes) for beginners to technically advanced concert pieces.
His simpler pieces make him a popular choice for authors and publishers of classical guitar methods available today.
Another Worthy Classical Guitar Piece to Learn
Waltz in C by Carulli (an easy 19th century classical guitar piece)
Etude in A Minor (Opus 50 No. 13)was composed by Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) and is in the Public Domain. The score and images are produced by Chasmac using Guitar Pro and Photoshop, respectively.
© 2012 chasmac
chasmac (author) from UK on December 29, 2012:
Thanks Ari. I agree. Giuliani is up there with the best of them. I don't have any more hubs of his music right now - hopefully, I will later. BTW - Those are some excellent hubs you have there - with very useful links too.
Ari Lamstein on December 29, 2012:
Great playing, and great Hub! That is one of my favorite pieces. In fact, I wrote a Hub about the book where I first learned this piece (http://bit.ly/WRE7A3).
Do you have any other Hubs about Giuliani's Op. 30? I generally feel that Giuliani's works are at least as good as those of his contemporaries (Sor, Carulli, Aguado, etc.), but that he doesn't seem to get as much credit as them. I am also a big fan of his Sonata in C (http://bit.ly/VoQ0yE)