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Matteo Carcassi: A Profile in Classical Guitar


Matteo Carcassi was a classical guitarist and composer in 19th Century Italy. He began by playing piano as a child but quickly switched to the Guitar. His popularity and his repertoire of written works continues today particularly because of his Opus numbers 59 and 60 which are The Carcassi Method for Guitar (opus 59)and 25 Progressive melodies (opus 60). And these two works are still used by classical guitarists and instructors. The two books go hand in hand in that often after a student finishes with the method for guitar they move on to the more challenging 25 Progressive Melodies.

A little biographic information:

He was born in Florence Italy in 1792 and he died in Paris in 1853 and he spent much of his time as a concert performer for the guitar and as an instructor for both guitar and piano. An interesting thing to note is that much of his fame was overshadowed, by a very long time by the popularity of one of his contemporaries (Fernando Carulli) and much of Carcassi's fame and longevity can possibly be attributed to his good friend Antoine Meissonnier who was the publisher of Carcassi's work.

His written works for the guitar include 74 works (Opus 1-74) and some of the more popular ones, other than the method and 25 studies include famous works rewritten for guitar. A good example of this is the William tell overture (Opus 36)

Will Kalif

I have used the Carcassi Method and the 25 Progressive Studies for many years and it is amazing how good these works are. The music is quite beautiful. He was truly a gifted composer :) If you are a beginner to classical guitar you may want to consider starting out with these works. Here is a one of his compositions in an MP3 that I play if you want to get a listen: Carcassi Piece . It is an easy and beautiful piece from his Opus 59 Method (MP3 1:02, 196 kb)


Here are some free sheet music works by Carcassi that you can download; enjoy!

Works courtesy of : (Statens musikbibliotek - The Music Library of Sweden)

Six fantasies

25 Etudes for Guitar Nice set of compositions particularly if you are a beginner. (This is the Opus 60)

Compositions for Guitar - These are more challenging than the previous 25 etudes


The Carcassi Method - This is the method for learning how to play guitar but this particular public domain document is in french. All the music is good and you can use this successfully.

If you are interested in more of his work has his Method for Guitar and his Progressive Studies.

The Carcassi Method Classical Guitar Method (0762) A new edition, Classical Guitar Method offers an elementary approach to playing the guitar. It provides a table of relative value of notes, definitions and explanations about the rudimentary elements of guitar playing such as scales and tempo. This is one of the most famous guitar method books for students and teachers!





Matteo Carcassi - 25 Melodic and Progressive Studies, Op. 60: Book/CD Pack - One of Carcassi's (1792-1853) most famous collections of classical guitar music - indispensable for the modern guitarist's musical and technical development. Performed by Paul Henry. 49-minute audio accompaniment.



If you want to listen to some quality Carcassi pieces right now Amazon has a great music download service and here are Carcassi Pieces you can download and listen to instantly.