"La campanella" (Italian for "The little bell") is the nickname given to the third of Franz Liszt's six Grandes études de Paganini, S. 141 (1851). It is in the key of G-sharp minor. This piece is a revision of an earlier version from 1838, the Études d'exécution transcendente d'après Paganini, S. 140. Its melody comes from the final movement of Niccolò Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 2 in B minor, where the tune was reinforced metaphorically by a 'little handbell'. This is illustrated by the large intervals of sixteenth notes in the right hand.
Are you familiar with the iconic Nokia ringtone that was very popular throughout the 1990s and 2000s? It comes from this classical guitar piece composed by Francisco Tarrega, who penned the work in 1902.
Bach is undoubtedly one of the greatest composers of all time, and this piece holds up well for guitar. It features many things that Bach is known for, particularly his long and sweeping melodic lines.
Agustin Barrios Mangore is one of the most accomplished guitar composers in all of history. Interestingly enough, he penned this work shortly before his death. An Alm For The Love Of God (as the title translates) seems to be one last offering for his creator.
For the most part, this can be ideal for the beginner who is working their way toward more complex pieces. It features a few different motifs, with the middle being perhaps the most different compared to the beginning and end. The rhythm is paced at a gentle and casual walking pace, which is perfect for the newer guitarist.
Looking for a staple song for a beginner learning classical guitar? Romanza (often titled Spanish Romance) is one of these pieces. However, this work is not easy to play compared to some of the other beginner-level songs on this list.
Gaspar Sanz was a well-known composer during his life. Throughout his life, he managed to write volumes of guitar studies that have become a commonplace staple amongst classical guitarists. He was also a poet and an author, though he is most known for his music.
Did you think that most of these songs were going to be best suited for beginner classical guitarists? Think again! The song Asturias (or Leyenda) is a prime example of the level that every classical guitarist aspires to play at.
What list of classical guitar pieces would be complete without mentioning Recuerdos De La Alhambra? This is perhaps one of the most popular guitar pieces and frequently enjoys a slot in a performance encore. However, this is an incredibly difficult piece to master if you do not have the skills to play a song at this level.
You might be surprised to see Classical Gas on this list. Classical guitar purists will likely call this heresy. While not a traditional classical guitar song, this song has a well-deserved spot as one of the best.
However, unlike all of the aforementioned pieces on this list, Classical Gas still retains modern music elements. Regardless, this is still a classical guitar piece at heart. Any serious classical guitarist will likely be able to pull this one off (and have fun doing it).
A classical guitar has softer nylon strings when compared to steel acoustic or electric guitar strings, making it easier for their fingertips. Also, this guitar type has a wider neck, which helps the player to put fingers in the right position.
It was written for the solo piano, but it also sounds blissful on the guitar. It is played a bit higher on the fretboard, from the 8th to the 14th fret. Fit your playing into the 4/4 time signature, and a variation in tempo needs to be maintained from fast to slow.
Malagueña is a traditional folk piece and dance from the southern Spanish seaport called Malaga. It dates back to the 1800s. There are various versions of this song, as every guitarist left his stamp on it.
Chords are strummed from bass string to treble and from treble to bass with a strong and steady beat at a moderate tempo. There are a lot of repetitive sequences while playing, so the guitarists can memorize the song easily and play with no struggle.
Classical Gas is an instrumental piece written by Mason Williams, a guitarist from the US. The song was released in 1968 on the album The Mason Williams Photograph Record and won three Grammys and a special Citation Of Achievement from Broadcast Music Incorporated.
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Niccolò or Nicolò Paganini was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was the most celebrated violin virtuoso of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique. His 24 Caprices for Solo Violin Op. 1 are among the best known of his compositions, and have served as an inspiration for many prominent composers.
The French invaded northern Italy in March 1796, and Genoa was not spared. The Paganinis sought refuge in their country property in Romairone, near Bolzaneto. It was in this period that Paganini is thought to have developed his relationship with the guitar. He mastered the guitar, but preferred to play it in exclusively intimate, rather than public concerts. He later described the guitar as his "constant companion" on his concert tours. By 1800, Paganini and his father traveled to Livorno, where Paganini played in concerts and his father resumed his maritime work. In 1801, the 18-year-old Paganini was appointed first violin of the Republic of Lucca, but a substantial portion of his income came from freelancing. His fame as a violinist was matched only by his reputation as a gambler and womanizer.
Paganini's travels also brought him into contact with eminent guitar virtuosi of the day, including Ferdinando Carulli in Paris and Mauro Giuliani in Vienna. But this experience did not inspire him to play public concerts with guitar, and even performances of his own guitar trios and quartets were private to the point of being behind closed doors.
Paganini met Berlioz in Paris, and was a frequent correspondent as a penfriend. He commissioned a piece from the composer, but was not satisfied with the resultant four-movement piece for orchestra and viola obbligato, Harold en Italie. He never performed it, and instead it was premiered a year later by violist Christian Urhan. He did however write his own Sonata per Gran Viola Op. 35 with orchestra or guitar accompaniment. Despite his alleged lack of interest in Harold, Paganini often referred to Berlioz as the resurrection of Beethoven and, towards the end of his life, he gave large sums to the composer. They shared an active interest in the guitar, which they both played and used in compositions. Paganini gave Berlioz a guitar, which they both signed on its sound box.
Other instruments associated with Paganini include the Antonio Amati 1600, the Nicolò Amati 1657, the Paganini-Desaint 1680 Stradivari, the Guarneri-filius Andrea 1706, the Le Brun 1712 Stradivari, the Vuillaume c. 1720 Bergonzi, the Hubay 1726 Stradivari, and the Comte Cozio di Salabue 1727 violins; the Countess of Flanders 1582 da Salò-di Bertolotti, and the Mendelssohn 1731 Stradivari violas; the Piatti 1700 Goffriller, the Stanlein 1707 Stradivari, and the Ladenburg 1736 Stradivari cellos; and the Grobert of Mirecourt 1820 guitar. Four of these instruments were played by the Tokyo String Quartet.
Of his guitars, there is little evidence remaining of his various choices of instrument. The aforementioned guitar that he gave to Berlioz is a French instrument made by one Grobert of Mirecourt. The luthier made his instrument in the style of René Lacôte, a more well-known Paris-based guitar-maker. It is preserved and on display in the Musée de la Musique in Paris.
Of the guitars he owned through his life, there was an instrument by Gennaro Fabricatore that he had refused to sell even in his periods of financial stress, and was among the instruments in his possession at the time of his death. There is an unsubstantiated rumour that he also played Stauffer guitars; he may certainly have come across these in his meetings with Giuliani in Vienna.
Paganini composed his own works to play exclusively in his concerts, all of which profoundly influenced the evolution of violin technique. His 24 Caprices were likely composed in the period between 1805 and 1809, while he was in the service of the Baciocchi court. Also during this period, he composed the majority of the solo pieces, duo-sonatas, trios and quartets for the guitar, either as a solo instrument or with strings. These chamber works may have been inspired by the publication, in Lucca, of the guitar quintets of Boccherini. Many of his variations, including Le Streghe, The Carnival of Venice, and Nel cor più non-mi sento, were composed, or at least first performed, before his European concert tour.
However, his works were criticized for lacking characteristics of true polyphonism, as pointed out by Eugène Ysaÿe. Yehudi Menuhin, on the other hand, suggested that this might have been the result of his reliance on the guitar in lieu of the piano as an aid in composition. The orchestral parts for his concertos were often polite, unadventurous, and clearly supportive of the soloist. In this, his style is consistent with that of other Italian composers such as Giovanni Paisiello, Gioachino Rossini and Gaetano Donizetti, who were influenced by the guitar-song milieu of Naples during this period.
Learning classical guitar songs is one of the best and easiest ways to quickly go from sounding like an amateur guitarist to impressing yourself and others with your fingerstyle finesse and mastery of multiple fingerboard positions. Classical guitars are more affordable now than ever, and if you want to gain confidence on the guitar and prove to yourself that you can create beautiful music on six strings, I recommend picking a few of these beginner classical guitar songs and practicing them to perfection. 2b1af7f3a8