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Easy Classical Guitar: Giuliani Opus 50 No.1 in Standard Notation and Tab with Audio

Updated on July 17, 2016

This piece is the first of Giuliani's 'Papillon' collection of thirty two easy classical guitar compositions. In terms of technical difficulty, it's around grade 2 (of 8), using the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music's (ABRSM) criterion for grading guitar music used in their exams throughout the UK and elsewhere.

The quality control appears after you click play.
The quality control appears after you click play.

The Score and Audio

You can click the video to see the notated and tabbed music while listening to the score-generated audio track (MIDI converted to audio). View it at 1080HD playback quality to be sure of a clear display. You can also see the music written out below the video. To see it more clearly, click anywhere on the score to open the HubPages Gallery feature. Click through to see any part you want.

Giuliani Opus 50 No. 1 - Standard Notation and Guitar Tablature

Giuliani Classical Guitar Piece Opus 50 no.1
Giuliani Classical Guitar Piece Opus 50 no.1 | Source

Study Notes for Learners


The form of Giuliani's Opus 50 No.1 is 'theme and variation'. It starts with a simple sixteen-bar harmonised melody followed in section 2 by the same melody accompanied with a more rhythmically decorated harmony part underneath. Giuliani used this form for many of his compositions.


I haven't put fingering information in the standard notation as the tab makes it clear which fingers to use, but see the following:

Fretting-hand Fingering

Like most easy classical guitar compositions, Giuliani's Opus 50, No,1 is played in the 1st position of the guitar fretboard, throughout the whole piece, and no note is located higher than the 3rd fret. The fretting-hand fingering should be the standard 1st position fingering: fret 1 - finger 1, fret 2 - finger 2 and fret 3, finger 3. However, all upper melody notes that fall on fret 3 can be played with your 4th finger instead of your 3rd if you find it easier. This is even necessary in bar 14 where your 3rd finger is needed to play the F bass note on string 4 while your 4th finger plays the D melody note above it.

Picking-hand Fingering

The picking-hand fingering is also straightforward. Play all notes on the 4th, 5th and 6th strings with your thumb and whichever finger is most convenient for the upper melody notes but always try to alternate fingers for the upper notes. This is especially important when it comes to the decorated part, always play those repeated notes with alternating index (i) and middle (m) fingers - i m i m etc. Avoiding using the same finger twice in succession is a standard classical guitar technique that promotes greater fluency.

For example, look at bar 17. The thumb (p) plays the low E while your middle finger (m) plays the upper C. Then play the three repeated G notes with i m i. Then the low and upper C are played with p and m and the final G is played with i.

  • p/m - i - m - i - p/m - i |p/m, etc,

This sets you up nicely for the next bar with p and i - so there's no awkwardness involved from using the same finger twice in a row.


The key is C major throughout, but there's a hint of the relative minor key, A minor, due to the chromatically altered note, G#, leading to the note A in bars 13 and 29. The succeeding bars soon cancel that effect and reconfirm C major as the true key. Hinting at a key change without actually following it through is called tonicization.


The metre is simple triple time - notated with a three-four time signature. Choose a tempo at which you can play the second section comfortably. and make that the tempo for the first part. In other words, resist the temptation to play the easy first part too fast or there will be a disappointingly noticeable slow-down when you get to section 2 - the fast part.

Mauro Giuliani

Mauro Giuliani was an Italian guitar composer and performer. He was born in 1781 in Bisceglie and died in Naples in 1829. He composed over a hundred and fifty works for guitar. He is one of the most important names in classical guitar studies as, in addition to highly complex and technically demanding guitar concertos, he wrote a lot of easy classical guitar pieces that are accessible to beginner classical guitar students.

More Easy Classical Guitar Pieces

Try some more easy classical guitar pieces here on HubPages, all arranged in standard notation, with guitar tablature and an audio track to let you hear how it sounds.

Carulli Waltz in C - This is a simple piece in three-four time around grade 1 level

Kemp's Jig - This is an anonymous Elizabethan dance tune that celebrates the Shakespearean actor, Will Kemp's publicity stunt in which he danced from London to Norwich. It's around grade 4 level - so, it's not quite so easy as the others.

Giuliani's Etude in A minor - From the same collection as the piece in this hub, this is a fairly simple but very impressive sounding and very popular guitar piece.

Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar Pieces

Well-suited to steel string acoustic guitars and open to improvisation, the following pieces, here on HubPages are worth a look (and listen). They are arranged and presented in similar style to this piece by Giuliani - with tab, standard notation and an audio track.

Kimiad - A beautiful Celtic Fingerstyle tune from Brittany in West France.

Lovely Joan - A short and sweet, old English folk song.

The Skye Boat Song - A famous Scottish folk song

© 2014 chasmac


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