This lesson comes from my new book Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 3 – Seven pieces at the grade three level with dedicated lessons preparing you for each piece.
Tanz – Supplement from Testudo Gallo Germanica by Georg Leopold Fuhrmann (1578-1616) – YouTube Video Lesson Link. This is a Renaissance lute work played in drop D tuning. One more piece with a different tuning (last one). This should be fairly easy to play besides considering a new tuning. The lowered sixth string tuning, also called Drop D Tuning, is fairly common at upper levels.
Tune the 6th string down to D – Three turns of the tuning peg should be close. You can match the pitch by ear to the 4th string which is a D one octave higher, or use a tuner, or my lesson video. This expands the range of the guitar and allows for a drone or pedal point in this work. You will not need to read music in Drop D yet as this piece only uses the open string. This is only an introduction, higher grades will use this tuning to greater extents.
This lesson comes from my new book Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 3 – Seven pieces at the grade three level with dedicated lessons preparing you for each piece.
Bella Gioiosa from Il Ballarion (Venice, 1581) by Fabritio Caroso (c.1526-1605) – YouTube Video Lesson Link. This is a Renaissance lute work played in relative lute tuning. This charming little piece should present no difficulties other than reading with a new tuning. It might seem annoying to tune a string down and rethink the notes and fingerings but it opens up a huge world of lute music and often makes the music easier to play.
Tune the 3rd string down to F sharp – This is just a small turn of the tuning peg. You can match the pitch to the F sharp on the 4th string at the 4th fret. This brings the guitar into relative lute tuning so you can play the piece in the same way that the original lute tablature indicates. There is a huge amount of Renaissance music that uses this tuning so this can open up a new world of repertoire to you. This music was composed with this tuning in mind so often ends up being much easier to play. Adding a capo on the 3rd fret can bring you very close to the original tuning as well. You can also watch the video I mention: Relative Lute Tuning Video.
Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 3 – Lessons and pieces in notation only with fingering. A TAB supplement at the end includes the pieces (not the lessons). Before each performance edition there is one or two pages of lesson material to teach you concepts and prepare you to play the piece. Watch the free video lessons for even more insight. This item is a PDF Download. 41 Pages. 2019 Edition.
Buy or learn more at my sheet music store
- Classical Guitar Repertoire Lessons Grade 3 (PDF) from Werner Guitar Editions.
Hardcopies – The hardcopy will be combined with grade 4 at a future date.
This book teaches classical guitar repertoire at approximately the grade three level. This level is appropriate for students who have completed my two Method Books and the Grade One and Grade Two Repertoire Lesson books. This book introduces some common tunings for classical guitar repertoire and further develops technique skills, fingering choices, and musical ideas. The image samples on your left show examples. That said, students should continue to play the melody and chord shapes using the knowledge they gained in grade 1.
Contents and Lesson Topics – Each piece has one or two pages of lessons followed by a proper performance edition of the piece.
- Bella Gioiosa by Fabritio Caroso – Renaissance Lute Work, Relative Lute Tuning
- Tanz (Supplement) by Georg Leopold Fuhrmann – Renaissance Lute Work, Drop D Tuning
- Allegro, Op.50, No.10 by Mauro Giuliani – Classical Era, Slurs, Muting
- Andantino Op.44, No.3 by Fernando Sor – Classical Era, Two Voices, Right Hand Fingering
- Study in C Major by Francisco Tárrega – Romantic Era, Barre, Pivots
- Lección No. 86 by Julio Sagreras – Romantic Era, Barre, Left Hand Navigation
- Ejercicio No. 2 by José Ferrer – Romantic Era, Thirds, Grace Notes, Harmonics
All videos coming soon (Dec 2019)
- Bella Gioiosa by Fabritio Caroso
- Tanz (Supplement) by Georg Leopold Fuhrmann
- Allegro, Op.50, No.10 by Mauro Giuliani
- Andantino Op.44, No.3 by Fernando Sor
- Study in C Major by Francisco Tárrega
- Lección No. 86 by Julio Sagreras
- Ejercicio No. 2 by José Ferrer
Student Scholarship - Submission Deadline: March 1, 2020
Calling all college and university students! The GFA is pleased to offer scholarship opportunities for undergraduate students interested in attending the GFA Convention in Indianapolis this summer from June 22-27. This scholarship covers a convention registration pass for the week and up to six nights of campus housing accommodations. Applicants may not be competitors in any 2020 GFA competition and are responsible for paying their own travel costs. We want to help make your participation possible. Don?t miss this opportunity to experience a week of concerts, lectures, workshops, networking, the Vendor Expo, and more! The GFA Board of Trustees will select 10 students to receive this convention scholarship.
I hit publish but then noticed she’s disabled embedding so view this video on Youtube (sorry for the redirect).
Finnish guitarist Mari Mäntylä plays Finnish Rhapsody by Russian composer Nikita Koshkin (b.1956) on a 10-string guitar (decacorde). This comes via her great YouTube channel. I can’t find anything about this piece but I’m going to guess it was written for Mäntylä (I’ll try to find out). She is awesome with this 10-string, impressive and musical playing, just think of the repertoire she could pull off (Weiss etc).
Out of interest, here is some of her Bach from Lute Suite in E minor, BWV 996, Prelude – Presto.
Hanna Link plays ПОРЬІВ (Pariv) by Aleksandr Ivanov-Kramskoi, in Russian: Александр Михайлович Иванов-Крамской (1912–1973). This comes via Link’s great YouTube channel. Great performance by Link with unrelenting determination in the A section and some very musical phrasing for the inner section. Ivanov-Kramskoi was a Russian classical guitarist, conductor, and more. I’d be curious to know where we can track down more of his music. My best bet would be Orphee’s 10 volume Russian Collection. Also, check out Link’s great album (see below). Here’s what she posted about the work on YouTube.
“Here is a very stirring piece by the nearly unknown composer Aleksandr Ivanov-Kramskoi (1912-1973). He was a Soviet guitarist who studied in Moscow with the former student of Andrés Segovia, Piotr Agafoshin. Later he also studied composition and conducting. He wrote copious amounts of works for the guitar, even a guitar concerto, and his compositions include many folkloristic elements. The title ПОРЬІВ (Pariv) can be translated as breakthrough, wind gust or (inner) impulse. Ivanov-Kramskoi articulated this vividly. In the middle section there is a short calm before the wind picks up again. You can find this piece on my solo CD „Serenade“, which you can by on my homepage, Amazon and iTunes.”
Prelude in D minor BWV 999 (orig. in C minor) by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) – Edited for guitar in D minor. The level is mid to late intermediate (Grade 7). Here is a free sheet music edition of Bach’s Prelude in D minor BWV999. Originally for lute in C minor it adapts nicely to guitar. I’ve added fingering throughout to help students. I’ve also made a tablature (tab) version for purchase. It was likely written on lute- harpsichord (lautenwerk), an uncommon instrument, and so it became popularly known as a Lute Suite. The first appearance of the work was found in a collection of keyboard works collected by Johann Peter Kellner (1705-1772). That said, the Prelude aspect of the work is certainly in a style common to lutes works of the era. Join the Email Newsletter to get updates on free sheet music and more. Please consider supporting the site to keep the free sheet music coming.
Free Sheet Music Edition (Fingered)
Free Unfingered Edition
TAB Edition (PDF)
- Buy Prelude BWV 999 from Werner Guitar Editions – My dedicated sheet music store.
Nova Vita Duo with Runar Kjeldsberg and Jacob Cordover play Variations pour deux guitares sur les Folies d´Espagne Op.48 by Matteo Bevilacqua (1772 – 1849). This comes via Kjeldsberg’s YouTube channel. Kjeldsberg is playing a Gennaro Fabricatore from 1830 and Cordover a Vinaccia from 1914. As they mention, “The Fabricatore and the Vinaccia family where some of the most important makers of fine Italian guitars. Even though the two guitars are constructed nearly 100 years apart, they share some common sound aesthetics. To us it was a fantastic experience to let these two guitars meet, so they could sound in the same music.”
I had never heard of Matteo Bevilacqua so this was a very interesting find for me. It’s a great duet and I’ll have to track it down and make an edition. They mention more about it on YouTube: “This variation on the famous “La Folia” theme is rarely performed. Matteo Bevilacqua was (according to Fetis) a flutist and a guitar virtuoso. Born in Italy in 1772, and lived in Vienna for several years. (I wonder if he made friends with Beethoven, Giuliani or even Schubert). He died 22. jan 1849 (same year as François de Fossa – 1775-1849, just because the history of music is always regarded in context of F. de Fossa. Search: Runar Kjeldsberg + de Fossa in your music streaming service, and you will know why)…”
The Brasil Guitar Duo (João Luiz and Douglas Lora) perform Prelude and Fugue in G# Minor and A minor from 24 Preludes and Fugues op. 204 by Polish composer Gerard Drozd. This comes via Drozd’s YouTube channel. I saw on Facebook that the work is dedicated to them and they were just over in Poland performing. That’s a big project and great to have such a huge duo collection. Besides the “Les Guitares bien tempérées” Op. 199 (24 preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys) by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895–1968), I think this is the only collection this large for guitar duo. For those who don’t know it’s kind of a tradition going back to the Well–Tempered Clavier, BWV 846–893, a collection of two sets of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys for solo keyboard by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).
Aaron Haas (guitar) and Anastasia Malliaras (voice) performing Benjamin Britten’s folksong arrangement “Sailor Boy”. Hass is playing a classical guitar built by German Vazquez Rubio. This comes via Guitar Salon International and their YouTube channel. I love these folksongs by Britten and we are very lucky to have them. The collection for voice and guitar includes
- I’ll Give My Love An Apple
- Mister Kilby
- The Soldier and the Sailor
- Bonny at Morn
- The Shooting of His Dear
Lesson: Practicing the Right Hand Alone on Open Strings for Classical Guitar (YouTube Lesson Link). The right hand is often neglected in practice and this video addresses that issue. The main point is to have the right hand so organized that it can function on autopilot. My technique book mentioned in the video has the 100 open string exercises and the 120 Giuliani arpeggios: Classical Guitar Technique: Essential Exercises, Scales, & Arpeggios – Notation, 122 pages. I organize the video into a few sections:
- Practice open string exercises (my book has 100 of them), scales, arpeggios, etc
- Turn other exercises into open string exercises by using only the right hand
- Write out tricky passages from your music on TAB using p, i, m, a. For example, the picture below is an easy section from Lagrima. The top line is music notation and the bottom line is TAB which is great for writing out right hand fingering. I think I got the idea from Joel Thomson or Michael Ibsen when they posted it on facebook.
Lesson: Left Hand Tension and Relaxation Exercises – This is a lesson on how to relax the left hand and learn to do the movements without tension. Although some tension is used in playing we must differentiate between functional tension and dysfunctional tension (some terms from Charles Duncan’s The Art of Classical Guitar Playing). YouTube Lesson Link. In the video I cover 4 main topics:
- The importance of have a good technique and positions overall
- Muted exercises that can help your technique (from my book Classical Guitar Technique)
- The vice-grip problem and thumb tension
- Integrating these exercises into your practice routine
Although I didn’t discuss it above, this is also related to speed work on guitar. My formula is: Speed = Economy of Motion + Accuracy + Relaxation – Economy of motion is the act of eliminating unneeded movements. Keeping your fingers close to the strings and preparing your fingers directly over the frets increases efficiency. Accuracy is self-explanatory but should not be overlooked. Placing your fingers close to the frets allows you to play with less pressure and tension. Relaxation enables you to access reflexes connected to your body’s natural ergonomic movements. Focus on slow, accurate playing and relaxation. Allow speed to come naturally as a result of good practice.
Here’s the video on Speed and Relaxation from my book Classical Guitar Technique: Essential Exercises, Scales, and Arpeggios. The 122 page book includes: Practice Routines, Tips, 100 Open String Exercises, 120 Giuliani Arpeggios, Scales, Slur Exercises, Shifts, Finger Independence, Barre, Tremolo, Common Harmonics, and much more.
Lesson: Prelude No.1 by Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) for Classical Guitar – It’s a 30min video lesson so here’s the outline. The main thing I discuss is the form of the piece but my video lesson is laid out in this format:
- I give a brief overview of the piece in terms of a large two sections (A section and B section)
- I break down the A and B section into smaller chunks. For the A section: the three statements of the melody and linking parts. The B section is a bit more straight forward.
- I then give a walkthrough of every bar of the piece to discuss fingering, technique, and musical considerations. This starts at 8:05 in the video.
Sheet Music: Villa-Lobos Collected Guitar Solos (Eshig) via Amazon. I also encourage you to look up the facsimile in his hand which is floating around online. That said, the Eshig is how the piece is played in general so always good to have a copy of that. After close inspection the Zigante edition fingering is just not doing it for me. There is very little fingering in the Eshig, which is great actually but students might find the video helpful in this regard.
Prelude No. 1 is from a set of 5 preludes written by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. The piece is in is in E minor, and is the first of the five preludes, written in 1940. This piece follows a ternary form which consists of a slow, yearning A section in E minor. The B section is more upbeat and lively in the key of E major.
Level – I’d call this late-intermediate or maybe early-advanced. The RCM puts this at grade 8 but I’m going say grade 9 because it can really benefit from the extra technique a more advanced students can apply to it. That said, the majority of the piece is fairly straight forward and it’s easy to memorize the piece so I use it often to boost students to a new level.
Italian guitarist Lorenzo Micheli plays Prélude op. 28 n. 15 (‘Raindrop’) by Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849), originally for piano and and arranged for guitar by Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909). Filmed in Palazzo Pignano, Italy by Drew Henderson. This comes via Micheli’s great YouTube channel. Beautiful playing by Micheli with graceful legato lines and clean, quick decorations to the primary line. This is kind of an ideal Romantic era performance on modern guitar, it has all the Romantic ingredients (rubato, sweeping dramatic phrasing) but also keeps things clean and moving forward.
Follow along with the free sheet music of Tarrega’s arrangement. Original publisher in Barcelona, Vidal Llimona y Boceta Editions, Plate V. Ll. y B. 1113: Prélude op. 28 n. 15 by Chopin for Guitar (PDF).
The SoundFile – Boutique Nano-Glass Nail Files
Visit The SoundFile Store to buy or learn more.
The SoundFile is more than an ordinary nail file, it is a dedicated tool for classical guitar players. Just as we want the best technique and instrument to make music, we also need dedicated tools to help us achieve and refine our goals. So, I was very excited to receive one for review.
When I first saw online pictures of The SoundFile I was a bit skeptical, I thought maybe it was just a fancy handle on a regular glass file. I was therefore very pleased to find that it was also a better file than my regular glass/crystal one and more of a dedicated tool for classical guitar. The founder, Max Brenner says it all, “We are a boutique accessory nail file company that makes the most precise performance nail files in the world for serious classical and fingerstyle guitarists.” I think that is a pretty accurate statement.
Is it good enough? Yes, it’s better than my glass nail file that I currently use, although you’ll still want some extra polishing tools around. It’s a little bit of a finer grade so more appropriate for daily shaping before polishing. Nails are super important to the sound and control of our right hands, you can see my gigantic lesson on nails for classical guitar to see how much I care. I love glass and crystal files because they never wear out. I’ve had my glass nail file for around 10 years (my student gave it to me, thanks Sofia!), you can see it in the picture below (it’s some no name brand I think). My old file works as good as it was when it was new, it just doesn’t wear out.
I find that glass files are better for shaping than the rough surfaces of some multi-sided files so it speeds up the process of getting it close to smooth. But you’ll still need an additional polishing tool to get it to performance level. Micro mesh and multi-sided polishing is still essential even with glass files. The finest grade of polishing should feel like leather, you’ll literally hear it squeak. Maybe, one day in the future a glass file can be so fine and graded that it will do the polishing step but for now we have to use two methods. That said, The SoundFile is my new choice for glass files.
Any criticisms? Nope, not really. Personally I don’t need the thick wood handle but maybe some people will appreciate that more than me. Maybe they will make just a slim glass one with their logo on the glass instead of the wood. But that is not a criticism just a personal aesthetic thought.
Below – My current nail gear, I always start with a glass file (I’ll use The SoundFile now) and then that micro-mesh stuff is a great finisher but I actually use those no-name brand multi-sided ones quite a bit.
Vibrato Lesson for Classical Guitar – In this video I cover five topics: how to play vibrato, musical context (when and how to use it), using vibrato to relax the left hand, and intonation or tuning problems. Vibrato is a great way to increase your musical expression and is used to great success by other string players. Listen to lots of music from various eras to hear how singers and string players use vibrato. Also, when playing your pieces, orchestrate the music by imagining the voices to be other instruments. For example, maybe your bass line sounds like a cello. I’ve found vibrato to also be an excellent aid to relaxing the left hand for students who keep a very tense and static left hand. It really forces the hand to loosen up. Here’s the Youtube Lesson Link. Find more lessons at the Lesson Page. For updates join the Email Newsletter. Help support the site & free lessons.
Prelude in E Major from BWV 1006a by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) – Arranged for Classical Guitar. From ‘Lute’ Suite in E Major. Includes both a notation-only edition and a TAB edition. Left hand fingering only. PDF download. Performance comments. Level: Advanced.
Fingered Notation-Only and TAB Edition (PDF)
- Buy Prelude BWV1006a by Bach for Guitar – From Werner Guitar Editions, my dedicated sheet music store.
Free Unfingered Edition (PDF) to Create Your Own
The original work by Bach is Partita No. 3 in E major, BWV 1006 for solo violin with a further autographed arrangement known now as Suite in E major, BWV 1006a. It was likely arranged on lute- harpsichord (lautenwerk), an uncommon instrument, and so it became popularly known as a Lute Suite. Bach was familiar with lute players of the day such as Sylvius Leopold Weiss (1687–1750) and so it is not inconceivable that Bach could have imagined a lute performing the work. That said, in terms of performance difficulty and suitability, this is a keyboard work or at least unspecified instrumentation. I’ve created the free unfingered edition for advanced players to make their own editions or for students to read and listen. Students will also be interested in my fully fingered edition and tab edition. Read more in Preface of the free or premium edition.Video Lesson: Exploring the Left Hand Fingering
This is a video lesson exploring the left hand fingering. It is not intended as a tutorial (although it might accomplish that) and also does not cover the vast array of musical information relevant to Bach. It is just an exploration of the fingering.. One correction: Bar 114 last two notes should be D natural and open B. I’ve corrected this in the score. As mentioned, you should get your hands on as many editions of this work as possible, the Koonce is well worth it, even if I don’t like his fingerings they are still very good and worth your exploration: Bach Lute Suites (Koonce) – via Amazon, a standard, and it has facsimiles at the end.Video Perfomances
Andrea González Caballero – Surprisingly similar to my edition, I found this after I made it so this is great to see because I was getting worried my were so different…Thanks for the great vid Andrea!
Rupert Boyd – A nice and musical performance, pretty straight forward fingerings and they work.
Alexander Milovanov – Some cool solutions to a few of the problems. Seems to work well.
Drew Henderson on 8 String – Yes!
Nigel North on Lute
I owned this Perlman album years ago!
I grew up listening to Williams so I can’t help but love this.
Daniel Shoskes, aka Kidney Kutter (he’s a Urologist) plays Fantasie by Guillaume Morlaye (c.1510–c.1558) on Renaissance Guitar by Dan Larson. This comes via Shoskes’ great YouTube channel. Charming piece and well played. Morlaye was a French lutenist, composer and music publisher. Here’s what Shoskes had to say about it on YouTube: “From Morlaye’s first book of Renaissance Guitar music from the 16th Century here is a fantasie. Amazing the polyphony he could write on only 4 strings. Performed by Daniel Shoskes on a Larson Renaissance Guitar.”
I’m always a bit confused by all the names for Renaissance Guitars and Vihuelas as there are many regional names for the instruments. I asked Daniel, and he replied, “Viheula has 6 courses and is tuned like a Renaissance lute. Renaissance Guitar has 4 courses and is tuned like a Uke.” I tried to look up Dan Larson’s instruments which led me to this great early music store/collective, Gamut Music down in Duluth, Minnesota.
Swedish guitarist and lutenist Johan Löfving performs Canario by Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger (1580–1651) on theorbo. This comes via his fantastic Youtube channel. Charming little piece with some spicy strumming and golpe or tapping in the inner section. I love Löfving’s contrasts between a bouncy light dance and extroverted excitement. I’ve featured Löfving a number of times and he always goes the extra mile.
It’s been a good month for Kapsperger and theorbo with Micheli’s video last week.
A lesson on right hand articulation for classical guitar covering how to play legato, staccato, pizzicato, and chords (playing solid, rolled, strummed, and rasgueado chords). For legato playing, make sure the right hand fingers pass through the string spending very little time touching the string (when you touch a vibrating string you mute it). For staccato, place the next available finger on the string as soon as possible purposefully stopping the sound (also called preparation). Beginners might want a little bit of preparation for security and accuracy (you’ll hit the correct string if you fingers are resting on it) – also see my lesson on Right Hand Planting & Preparation. Students often roll chords for no other reason than it being built into their muscle memory or because they have trouble playing a clean solid chord. Make sure you’ve decided to roll a chord and that it benefits the musical texture and does not disrupt the rhythm.