Learn to Play Tarrega, Bach, and Sor on Classical Guitar
By the end of this course you’re going to be able to play 5 classical guitar pieces with confidence. You will learn to play “Lagrima” and “Adelita” by Francisco Tarrega, “Prelude No.1” from the 1st Cello Suite and the “Bouree” from the Lute Suite in E minor by J.S. Bach, and “Waltz in E” by Fernando Sor.
You’ll be able to follow along with video lectures that show the hands from a variety of angles (and watch as many times as you want) and you’ll be able to download and print PDF files of the sheet music in both standard notes and guitar tablature.
Everything about the course is designed to take the uncertainty and stress out of learning .Whether you’ve playing simpler studies and pieces for awhile and now you want to get to the next level, or your returning after some time away from the guitar, or you just want to learn and play the pieces in this course, your going to have a great time learning and playing.
What you can expect from the course
- To play each piece all the way through with a lot more confidence and to become a more advanced, more insightful guitarist
- You’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of your time playing guitar as you develop a more relaxed technique that won’t leave your hand feeling fatigued.
- You’ll avoid mistakes and bad habits by thoughtfully going through each phrase and learning each piece correctly the first time
- You’ll be able to go at your own pace, and use the discussion boards if you ever have a question, so even though it’s a video-course, you’ll still have the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback
Playing the classical guitar is such a rewarding and enjoyable experience, and for many of us, practicing is a crucial part of the our daily routine. Practicing classical guitar each day can help your brain feel settled, and it is a powerful tool for self-expression. That being said, even if you have a guitar, you still need music to play, and that’s where this course comes in.
When you learn a new piece on the guitar, it’s like having a new insight that changes the way you feel about things and see things. It’s like going around a corner, and seeing a new and surprising view. You’ll be able to share this with others, as your able to play for your friends, family, and colleagues.
As our experience grows, so does our inner life, and music is a great way to express that. The reason that each of these pieces of music has endured for so long is that each one speaks the need, or you could even say compulsion, to express yourself with music.
If you’ve ever thought “I play that piece pretty well, but that one part always gives me trouble,” or “I wonder how I can use my hands so I have more flexibility and don’t have discomfort” or “I would like to play well enough to be able to play for others,” then this course will help you reach your goals, and will help you enjoy your practicing and playing time even more.
If you would like to start on this journey, just click on the button that says “Start Learning Now” and you’ll get lifetime access to all of the video lectures as well as the sheet music files. I hope your guitar playing goes well, thanks for reading.
This lecture features a brief introduction before we jump in to the course. You can skip to whichever classical guitar piece you want to learn.
Lagrima by Francisco Tarrega
This lecture features a performance video and a brief introduction to the piece "Lagrima" by Francisco Tarrega. This lecture also contains a PDF file of the sheet music for Lagrima. You can download it and/or print it out, look for the letters in boxes on top of the staff for the section. In the next lecture, we'll look at the A section, marked by a letter A in box. The lecture after that is on the B section, which starts where you see the B above the staff.
Keep in mind, these letters and sections are just for this particular course. If your a music theory stickler, you may know that musicologists use A, B, C, etc. to analyze the music. I'm not doing that here, I'm just breaking up the piece into bite-size chunks.
"Lagrima" means "terar-drop" in Spanish, and I think it helps to keep that in mind as your playing this great piece. All of this talk of technique and fingerings is designed to help you make music, and be expressive.
There are some tricky left-hand moves in this section. If you put in the effort up front and stick with it, doing the fingerings as I show them here will eventually let you play this piece more securely and easily.
It may be helpful to practice each measure by itself until it really sparkles, since Tarrega is using so many gestures and ideas in such a small amount of time.
Make sure that you ends the minor section strong. I don't talk about dynamics too much in this course, but it's always to follow the shape of the musical line. So if the line goes up, get louder (but not faster), and if the line comes down, try backing off.
Adelita by Francisco Tarrega
This lecture contains the performance video of the piece "Adelita" by Francisco Tarrega, and also contains the PDF file of the sheet music. Once again, The section marked with the letter A in a box is the A section, the section with the letter B is the B section, and so on.
As I said earlier, these letters and sections are just for this particular course. If your a music theory stickler, you may know that musicologists use A, B, C, etc. to analyze the music. I'm not doing that here, I'm just breaking up the piece into bite-size chunks.
This piece is kind of like a mirror image of Lagrima. This time, we start in tjhe key E minor, go to E Major, and then repeat the section in E minor. A good goal is to get the music going fast enough that it feels like a omp- pah- pah waltz in 3 time.This lecture looks at the first part, or Part A.
This lecture will look at what I'm calling Part B, which is the beginning of the E Major section of Adelita. Look for the box with a B around it in the sheet music. "Adelita" means lovely in Spanish, so try to get the music to sound lovely, so that the listener doesn't know that there are any difficult techniques going on.
This section is a little tricky, with a lot of left-hand shifts. You'll notice that it's a fairly long video for such a short section of music, so go at your own pace and be careful about how you want everything to sound.
Prelude From Cello Suite No. 1 by J.S. Bach
This lecture contains a performance video as well as the sheet music for the Prelude by Bach. This is the longest piece in the course, so make sure you have plenty of time to tackle this masterpiece.
This is a relatively long piece, so remember that I have letter in box above the staff throughout the piece, and these letters and sections are just for this particular course. Part A starts at letter A, Part B at letter B, and so forth.
This lecture features Part A of the Prelude by Bach. This piece was originally written for cello, and it is the first piece of the first suite of the famous 6 Suites for solo cello. It's a good idea to listen to some recrodings of cellists playing this piece. If you search for a title like "Prelude from first cello suite" you'll find lots of good recordings, I recommend Janos Starker's version in particular.
This (long) lecture looks at the second part of Bach's Prelude from the first cello suite. Remember that the sheet music has a letter B with a box around it to mark this section of the piece.
This lecture looks at the third part of the Prelude by Bach, marked here as Part C. A prelude in Bach's day meant a piece that goes all over the place, like a free-form improvisation. There's kind of an idea of warming up in a particular key or keys, and you can really see that in this piece.
This lecture looks at Part D (or you could think of it as the 4th section) of the Prelude by Bach. Once you get the idea of this section, it's actually not that hard to play and is pretty fun. Make sure that you balance the voices so that melody in the bass is more prominent.
- This is the last lecture for the Prelude by Bach, and it begins where you see the letter E with a box around on top of the staff on the sheet music. Remember that this piece was originally written for cello. I have included sheet music that reflects the way I play and teach this piece, but if you already own a copy of the music and there are things that are slightly different, that doesn't mean that I'm right and the other person is wrong. There are a lot of possible ways to transcribe a piece, especially when it is as long and complex as this Prelude. A good way to start is to play the piece the way that I've done it here, and if you find an alternate fingering that works for you then you can always incorporate that into your playing.
Bouree from Lute Suite by J.S. Bach
This lectures contains the performance and sheet music for the piece Bourree by J.S. Bach. Just like the Preldue, this piece is a transcription. It was originally written for lute, which is instrument that can thought of as an early version of the guitar. (although that's simplifying so much that I hope my Guitar Literature professor doesn't see that) A Bourree is a French dance form where the phrase is 2 beats. I think that will help a lot as you are playing this piece.
Part A begins at the letter A, Part B at letter B, and so forth. This is to make the piece manageable and let you watch the lectures in bite-size chunks.
This lecture looks at Part A of the Bourree by Bach. To be honest, if you can play this section well then you should have little difficulty with the rest of the piece. The big idea of this piece is the 2-bar phrases, so make sure that each phrase is strong before going on to the next one.
This lecture features Part B, which begins at the letter B with the box around it.
This lectures looks at the last part of the Bourree by Bach. Since this piece is a transcription, and since it's such a famous piece, you may have encountered a version where the fingering or even the notes are slightly different. Try playing the the piece the way it's written here, but if end up finding a solution that's easier for you, it's totally ok to give that a try as well.
Waltz by Fernando Sor
This lecture features a performance of the Waltz by Fernando Sor and includes the PDF file of the sheet music. Each psrt is clearly marked with a letter, A through E, and in this piece it's easy to see each section because each section is repeated and has a repeat sign.
This lecture features Part A of the Waltz by Fernando Sor. Make sure to feel the waltz time in 3. In fact, feeling the big note groups and making the piece dance is more important than playing every single note perfectly.
This lecture looks at Part B of the Waltz by Sor. This part features a lot of pull-off, so make sure they are nice and even and fit within the larger idea of the waltz time of the piece.
In Part C of the Waltz, the key changes to E minor. Make sure to use the right hand to keep strict 3 time in the bass part.
In Part D, there are a lot of ideas and gestures jumping in. Fernando Sor was a virtuoso guitarist, and he liked to improvise and jump all over the guitar neck. Something to strive for in this lecture is to be able to play the notes so securely and easily that it almost sounds like you're improvising.
In this lecture, we finish up the Waltz by Fernando Sor and pick up where the letter E in a box is above the staff. Even though there is a lot of flashy, fast left-hand work in the section, make sure that you keep the focus on the 3 time for the waltz. You may be surprised by how good the piece sounds to the listener even if you make a few mistakes, as long as you do a good job of keeping the time strictly.
This lecture contains the conclusion for the course. If you can play all 5 pieces, great job.