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Gaspar Sanz's Canarios - Free Music, Sheet Music and Tab

Updated on May 5, 2012

John Williams playing Gaspar Sanz's Canarios


Gaspar Sanz (1640 - 1710) is one of the most important guitarists from the Baroque era. He is particularly important because his 3 volume textbook for the classical guitar is the only surviving textbook for the instrument from that era. (The title of the book is Instruccion de Musica sobre la Guitarra Espanola, or Musical Instruction for the Spanish Guitar).

His textbook has pieces which range in difficulty from beginner to advanced. Canarios is probably the most famous piece that Sanz wrote. Here you can see the world famous John Williams performing it. It is a fun, lively piece.

Modern students will be interested to know that Sanz did not use modern standard notation in his text; rather, he used a form of tablature. Guitar Magazine has more detail about Sanz's tablature system. Also, the modern guitar did not exist during Sanz's era. I am not sure whether Sanz wrote for the Vihuela, Baroque Guitar, Lute. Regardless, I am sure that Sanz's music sounded different back in his day!

Learning to Play Sanz's Canarios

Many students learn to play Sanz's Canarios. But be warned: it is a difficult piece! The Royal Conservatory of Music places it at level 7. So while a beginner might be able to play parts of the melody, you would likely need several years of study before you can play the entire piece "properly". An important part of learning is having access to a professional recording. Luckily, many great guitarists have recorded this piece. Also, you will of course need the sheet music!


Does Gaspar Sanz's Canarios Rock?

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What do you think about Sanz's Canarios? Do you love it, hate it or something in between? Let us know in the comments below!


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