Carulli: Opus 211 No.1 - Andante| Easy Classical Guitar in Standard Notation and Guitar Tab
Study in C - Opus 211 No.1
Here's an easy classical guitar piece by Ferdinando Carulli, the Italian composer and guitar virtuoso of the late 18th and early 19th century. This one is very short. It's two eight-bar sections repeated once, so it's just a total of thirty two bars, which makes it very easy to memorise. Play it with lively, bouncy feel to get the best effect.
You can hear an audio demo track and follow the score in the video capsule (preferably in full-screen mode and high quality playback). The static score below the video is more useful for seeing it in its entirety and studying it at your leisure. The audio track is software-generated so don't be looking for any kind of artistic interpretation - it's just the right notes in the right order.
Magnify the score below the video if necessary using the HubPages Gallery feature. Point to any image and click the 'see all photos' link when it appears. This will show each staff individually large and clear.
Carulli: Study in C
Carulli: Study in C - Playing Tips for Learners
This is technically an easy classical guitar piece as it has no difficult stretches or tricky rhythms, but it needs to be played quite fast for it to sound good. Start off slow, though, and don't forget you can slow the video down on the video quality settings.
The piece consists of two sections that are played twice. The repeat signs tell you where one section ends and the other begins in case it's not obvious.
The fingering is shown in places for both your picking hand and fretting hand. They are just for guidance, and you can change it to suit. See the fingering diagram for the finger labels used in classical guitar pieces if you don't already know them. Non-classical fingerstyle guitarists tend to use a different picking-hand convention (T-I-M-R) but the fretting hand numbering is the same.
The whole piece stays within the first position of the fretboard, although, if you follow the fingering instructions, you'll need your 1st finger on fret 2 a few times. So it looks like it's going into second position but it's just because your 2nd finger is needed elsewhere.
Time Signature and rhythm
The time signature of 'two-four' means two steady quarter note beats per bar. The only difficulty in the rhythm is the rhythmic figure of a dotted 16th note followed by a 32nd note that appears at the start and elsewhere. It's more difficult to read than play, however, so if you can't figure it out from the notation, use the audio track to let your hear how it sounds and just copy that. At the start of section two, you can see the melody and bass are composed of 8th notes that are out of step with each other. The two parts combine to produce a series of rapid 16th notes. Just fill in the bass note with your i (picking-hand) finger between the melody notes to get the effect.
C E G
G B D (F)
Dominant (going home)
B D# F#
E G B
F A C
D F# A
E G# B
A C E
Key and Chords
If you're interested in the chord structure of the guitar music that you play, then read on. It's not necessary to know about the chords and harmonies of the pieces you learn, but it can give you more confidence in your playing if you do.
The piece starts in the home key of C major and alternates between the tonic or 'home' chord of C major and the chord of G major, called the dominant chord. That's the one that drives us home to the tonic. The piece then modulates (changes key) to the key of E minor in bar 8.
After reaching E minor (and repeating the section), it's straight back into the key of C major for section two. This section briefly flirts with two more keys all within the last four bars. The F# and D notes on the last beat of bar 13 imply a D major chord resolving to G major. Then we see E major resolving to A minor.
Both D major and E major are foreign to the home key of C major, so they sound a little out of place and create an expectation to go somewhere not so out of place. They're called secondary dominants in this role because by resolving to G major and A minor, in the same way that the 'primary' dominant chord G major progresses to the home chord of C major, they make those chords sound like the tonic or home chords of their own keys. This process is called tonicisation and is very common in virually all Western music styles. It's how most modulations to new keys are achieved.
Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841) was an important guitar composer, teacher and performer from Naples in Italy. His compositions range from easy classical guitar pieces written for beginners up to pieces that probably only he could manage. You can read more about Ferdinando Carulli on Wikipedia
Three more easy classical guitar pieces to try.
Wilson's Wilde - a Renaissance - Elizabethan, English traditional piece in typical 'olde-worlde' style.
Bourree in E minor - a Baroque Period lute piece By J.S. Bach. It's not an easy classical guitar piece but is worth the effort to learn it.
Study in A minor by Giuliani. An impressive sounding but quite simple piece by Giuliani, a contemporary of Carulli.
The music is by Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841) and is in the Public Domain.
The score, audio track and images are by chasmac and produced with Finale, Goldwave and Photoshop.
The article text is by chasmac for publication on HubPages only.
© 2014 chasmac