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Profiles in Classical Guitar -Francisco Tarrega

In this installment of the series I take a look at Francisco Tarreg. If you came to this web page from a search engine I have profiles of other Classical Guitarists here: Profiles in Classical Guitar

I also have some nice bonuses with this article including the sheet music in pdf for two of his most famous pieces: Adelita and Recuerdos de la Alhambra. If you play, these are absolute musts for your repertoire.

A little anecdote about one of Tarrega's pieces. A small portion of his composition Gran Vals is used as the famous Nokia Ringtone. It is estimated to be heard worldwide about 1.8 billion times a day! Wow! You know this phrase. There is a youtube video of somebody playing it on classical guitar. It is the last six seconds of this video Tarrega's Nokia tune on classical Guitar I also have this composition in pdf format if you want to download it and play it yourself Gran Vals in pdf


Francisco Tarrega

Francisco Tarrega

(1852 - 1909)

Several things define Tarrega. He was a tremendous influence on the classical guitar and still remains so today but there are some things about him that are quite remarkable and interesting. He had an uncanny ability to merge different things together. This was evident in the fact that he played both guitar and piano and this lead him to the ability to transcribe classical piano music over to the guitar. Some of his most famous works are transcriptions from Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin and others.

In his own compositions he also blended classical influences with Spanish folk elements which in my opinion is simply magnificent. There is a definite feel and timbre to his compositions that are hallmarks of the blending of these two influences.


Playing without long fingernails

He also was an advocate of playing with the right hand fingernails trimmed down so the strings were plucked with the fingerpads. This is a bit of an anachronism today and not many guitarists do this. And Tarrega preferred playing in small venues which harkens back to his early days of playing in small engagments. And some argue that this preference was also driven by the fact that playing without the use of the fingernails also reduces the volume that can be achieved - less volume would make it much more difficult to play in large venues.

Health issues

When young he had an eye infection that permanently affected his vision and later in life at the age of 54 he was afflicted with a paralysis of his right side that he never fully recovered from.

He the composer of one of the most beautiful pieces for classical guitar (in my opinion) and it is also reasonably easy to learn how to play. It is called Adelita or " Adelita Mazurka para Guitarra" I have a free copy of the sheet music for this piece right here: Adelita pdf of the sheet music

I also play this piece if you want to give it a listen:

Adelita by Francisco Tarrega - (mp3 711k - 45 seconds) This is a wonderfully haunting piece and one of my favorites. It has some nice sliding around on the fretboard. ........

He composed one of the most famous, and most played Spanish Classical Guitar pieces: Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Memories of the Alhambra) Here is a video of this piece being played on a 1980 Torres Guitar. And, I also have the sheet music for this piece in a pdf so you can download and play: Recuerdos de la Alhambra



Francisco Tarrega free pdf downloads of the sheet music

- Various works by Tarrega - More works and prelude by Tarrega including arrangements on Chopin and Haydn

Adelita - Recuerdos de la Alhambra - Prelude #1 - Gran Vals - This is the piece that the famous Nokia ring tone comes from



Francisco Tarrega The Francisco Tarrega Collection: Book/CD Pack (Guitar Collection) Considered the father of modern classical guitar, Francisco Tarrega revolutionized guitar technique and composed a wealth of music that will be a cornerstone of classical guitar repertoire for centuries to come. This unique book/CD pack features 14 of his most outstanding pieces in standard notation and tab, edited and performed on CD by virtuoso Paul Henry. Includes: Adelita * Capricho Arabe * Estudio Brillante * Grand Jota * Lagrima * Malaguena * Maria * Recuerdos de la Alhambra * Tango * and more, plus bios of Tarrega and Henry.



Francisco Tarrega Guitar Music CD

Francisco Tarrega: Guitar Music

Prelude in D Minor, Prelude in A Minor, Lagrima, Adelita, Recuerdos de la Alhambra and more.




Francisco tarrega the complete early spanish editions

Francisco Tarrega - The Complete Early Spanish Editions (Chanterelle)

This new collected edition contains all Tárrega's compositions which were published in early Spanish editions. They are presented as unaltered Reprints dating from 1902-1920.



Mel Bay's best of Tarrega

Mel Bay's Best of Tarrega for Classic Guitar (Mel Bay Archive Editions)

A popular series of transcriptions and adaptions for the student. Books feature large notes, carefully edited fingering and a wealth of historical and performance notes.




The Classical Guitar: Its Evolution, Players and Personalities Since 1800 (Book)

The Classical Guitar: Its Evolution, Players and Personalities Since 1800 (Book)

We proudly present the fifth edition of Maurice J. Summerfield's highly acclaimed ultimate reference book on the classical guitar. This brand new book features all the original biographical entries updated with new photographs where applicable, plus 100 new biographical entries in the players, composers and makers section - for a total of over 485. This new edition gives the reader a full and clear picture of the classical guitar's development since the beginning of the nineteenth century. Also included are informative sections on composers, scholars, flamenco guitarists and guitar makers. The book's collection of several hundred photographs is the most complete to be published in one volume. There are extensive listings of the most important classical guitar recordings. The final section, Sources of Supply, guides readers to where they can obtain the books, recordings, music and magazines listed in the book. Without a doubt, this new edition will be the essential work of reference on the subject of classical guitar for years to come!"My sincere congratulations to Maurice Summerfield."- Andres Segovia