March 6, 2020
I’m very excited to announce the release of my latest album: 20 Classical Guitar Etudes for Beginner & Intermediate Students. To all of my students, former professors, and followers, THANK YOU for making this project possible! I’m eternally grateful for your support.
The album 20 Classical Guitar Etudes for Beginner & Intermediate Students is a collection of some of my favorite guitar etudes to teach to students, especially those of whom are at the beginner and early intermediate stages of learning classical guitar.
Many of the pieces, such as Carcassi Op.60 Etude No.1, No. 2, and No.7, are well-known in classical guitar pedagogical circles. However, this album also includes some lesser-known etudes that students have responded well to, and that I’ve grown to love over the years.
As a whole, the album offers a plethora of essential techniques, including arpeggios, separating the bass and melody lines, voice leading, scales, harmony, chord structure, tremolo, harmonics, triplets, and a variety of time signatures and rhythmic variations.
Apart from their intrinsic teaching value, each etude has a clear and (in my opinion) beautiful melody line. My overall goal with this project is to highlight some of the lesser-known etudes in these popular collections, thereby giving them the renewed attention I think they deserve.
Moreover, I hope this album can inspire students of all ages and skill levels by demonstrating that you don’t have to play the most challenging or virtuosic pieces in the repertoire in order to produce beautiful, meaningful music.
20 Classical Guitar Etudes for Beginner & Intermediate Students – Track List
Below is a track list of the album, with links to each track on Spotify. You’ll notice that I’ve also created my own arrangements for several of these etudes. I’ll continue to add the arrangements to the Sheet Music page of my website, and will add them here as well.
In addition, I’ve recently created a YouTube account where I will publish original videos for some of these outstanding pieces. Please subscribe if you feel inspired!
Lastly, please follow me on Spotify to keep up with my latest releases and playlists! Thanks for your support!
- Tárrega – Estudio in C Major
- Tárrega – Estudio in E Minor
- Giuliani – Op.100, No.1: Maestoso
- Giuliani – Op.100, No.11: Caprice
- Giuliani – Op.100, No.15: Rondo Allegro
- Giuliani – Op.139, No.3: Allegretto
- Carulli – Op.241, No.5: Andantino
- Carulli – Op.241, No.19: Andantino
- Carcassi – Op.60, No.1: Allegro
- Carcassi – Op.60, No.2: Moderato Expressivo
- Carcassi – Op.60, No.6: Moderato
- Carcassi – Op.60, No.7: Allegro
- Aguado – Estudio in A Minor
- Sor – Op.31, No.1: Andante
- Sor – Op.31, No.3: Allegro Moderato
- Sor – Op.35, No.1: Andante
- Sor – Op.35, No.2: Andantino
- Sor- Op.35, No.3: Larghetto
- Sor- Op.35, No.22: Allegretto (Study in B Minor)
- Brouwer – Estudios Sencillos: No.6
1. Tárrega – Estudio in C Major
This is a beautiful arpeggio study, and possibly the “easiest” Francisco Tárrega piece! You can learn more about it here.
2. Tárrega – Estudio in E Minor
Tárrega’s well-known Estudio in E minor guitar study helps familiarize the common (a-m-i) right hand pattern. You also have the opportunity to practice barre chord articulation while maintaining a melodic line with relatively wide left hand stretches. This guitar study also helps you learn how to play a melody line while holding a barre chord.
3. Giuliani – Op.100, No.1: Maestoso
Italian guitar composer Mauro Giuliani’s Op.100 is comprised of 24 cadenzas, caprices, rondos, and preludes. These short studies are lively and melodic. Full of intrigue, Giuliani’s Op.100 offers plenty of fun and challenging patterns for both hands, with a difficulty level that may suit beginners and intermediate guitarists alike. The Italian term Maestoso found at the beginning of the piece indicates that the piece is meant to be played in a dignified, majestic, stately fashion.
You can learn more about the Giuliani’s Etude No.1 here or by checking out the links below.
4. Giuliani – Op.100, No.11: Caprice
Mauro Giuliani’s Etude No.11, Op.100 doesn’t waste any time bringing intensity and passion. Right off the bat, we hear an intricate “call and response” dialogue between the bass and treble voices. This theme of duality continues throughout this intermediate etude, requiring students to pay especially close attention to voicing and control of the right hand.
5. Giuliani – Op.100, No.15: Rondo Allegro
Giuliani’s Etude No.15, Op.100 is a lively and exciting study in ABA form. After a bouncy opening in A major, the piece then modulates directly to the parallel minor key of A minor with a clearer separation of bass and treble voices.
The piece then returns to similar material in A major, but this time with an extended ending. To me, the bass line bouncing between the tonic and dominant notes sounds like the tolling of church bells, bringing the etude to a cheerful and exciting conclusion.
6. Giuliani – Op.139, No.3: Allegretto
One can hear the Italian operatic influence on Giuliani very strongly in his Op.139, Etude No.3: Allegretto. Mauro Giuliani was friends with the famous opera composer Gioachino Rossini, and this piece demonstrates the value of that friendship’s effect for guitar pedagogy!
This intermediate guitar etude in D major introduces chord shapes, ascending and descending 3rds, and other techniques that are are frequently played in various guitar styles. Moreover, one can really feel the independent personality of each string and voicing. The piece concludes as any good opera–with all voices coming together to form a dramatic conclusion!
7. Carulli – Op.241, No.5: Andantino
Italian composer Ferdinando Carulli is well-known for his classical guitar studies and contributions to guitar pedagogy. Carulli’s Etude No.5, Op.241 is one of my favorites to play and teach beginner classical guitarists.
Carulli’s Op.241 is an edited version of his successful “Methode Op. 27”, which went through several iterations during his lifetime. This guitar etude is great for practicing multiple notes played at the same time, bringing out clear melodic line, and practicing intricate arpeggios in the key of G major.
8. Carulli – Op.241, No.19: Andantino
Carulli’s Etude No.19, from the same collection as the previous track, is a fun beginner classical guitar etude in A minor. The piece is broken up into four distinct sections, the third of which modulates to the relative major key (C major). If you’re interested in becoming more familiar with common notes and chord shapes in first position, this etude will help!
9. Carcassi – Op.60, No.1: Allegro
Matteo Carcassi’s Op.60 is one of the most renowned collections of classical guitar etudes in history. Each piece incorporates valuable techniques and exercises, without sacrificing beautiful melody lines. Etude No.1, while largely based on various scale material, also includes moments of melodic and harmonic interest. Speed, accuracy, and articulation are the core concepts to work on in this intermediate study.
10. Carcassi – Op.60, No.2: Moderato Expressivo
Matteo Carcassi’s Etude No.2, Op.60 Moderate Expressivo is one my favorite intermediate classical guitar studies to give to students wishing to learn the classical tremolo technique (p-a-m-i). Although it doesn’t strictly follow the tremolo pattern (I use p-i-m-a-m-i-m-a for this one), the right had mechanics are similar.
The melody of Carcassi’s Etude No.2 is both beautiful and dramatic right away. This is also a terrific study for learning to read and play common chord shapes higher up the neck. Getting the right hand pattern consistent and memorizing the chord shapes is one thing, but paying close attention to the dynamics and playing this piece “con expressivo” takes a lot of practice and control.
11. Carcassi – Op.60, No.6: Moderato
Carcassi’s Etude No.6: Moderato is an intermediate guitar study that starts off with a lively, bold bass line. Later, the melody moves to the middle voice. Then finally, the individual voices play off each other and overlap in a call and response fashion. The parts eventually converge into luscious chords for a mellow, yet dramatic conclusion.
12. Carcassi – Op.60, Etude No.7: Allegro
Etude No.7 might be the most popular from Carcassi’s Op.60 collection. Although the passages that include the recurring p-a-m-i are somewhat brief, this study is a superb introduction to the tremolo technique. This brilliant intermediate etude is beloved by guitarists of various levels. When you hear it, the reason why is clear!
13. Aguado – Estudio in A Minor
Dionisio Aguado’s Estudio in A minor is one of my all-time favorite studies for beginner classical guitarists. This study provides an excellent introduction to arpeggios, while still including interesting phrasing and rich harmonic material.
With a repeating right hand arpeggio pattern of p-i-m-i, students learn how to bring out a distinctive bass melody with the thumb while maintaining a steady accompaniment with the index and middle fingers. You can learn more about this Aguado study here or by checking out the links below.
14. Sor – Op.31, No.1: Andante
Fernando Sor’s Op.31, Etude No. 1: Andante is a fine composition in C major that’s perfect for beginner classical guitar students. One of the main benefits of this piece is learning how to read harmony (two or more notes played at the same time), while also focusing on playing a clear and definitive melody. The piece is in 3/4 time, and often features a dance-like pulse emphasizing beats one and three. You can learn more about Sor’s Op.31, No.1 here or by checking out the links below.
15. Sor – Op.31, No.3: Allegretto Moderato
Sor’s Op.31, Etude No. 3: Allegretto moderato is an upbeat, lively study for students in the upper beginner or early intermediate level. The piece is in the key of D major, 6/8 time, giving the piece a dance-like quality. Etude No.3 offers a variety of techniques (such as grace notes) that can be tricky to execute when playing at the appropriate tempo (Allegretto moderato, or roughly 85-110 BPM). You can learn more about Sor’s Op.31, No.3 here or by checking out the links below.
16. Sor – Op.35, No.1: Andante
Similar to Op.31, Sor’s Op.35 is a popular collection of studies for guitarists of all levels. Sor’s first etude from this collection, No.1: Andante is an excellent introduction to harmony, and playing two parts at once. You can learn more about Sor’s Op.35, No.1: Andante here or by checking out the links below.
17. Sor – Op.35, No.2: Andantino
I included Sor’s lively, dance-like Op.35 Etude No.2: Andantino as a nice contrast to some of the slower Sor etudes in this collection. This beginner classical guitar etude is in C major, 3/8 time–perfect for students still becoming familair with chord shapes and common notes in first position. The harmonies in this etude keep the piece moving in a crisp and deliberate manner.
18. Sor – Op.35, No.3: Larghetto
Sor’s tragic Op.35 Etude No.3: Larghetto feels like a funeral march. This chordal piece gives students the opportunity to practice finding the balance between voices when playing the intense harmonic phrases. But don’t shed a tear! This piece is still suitable for students at the upper beginner level.
Title: No. 3, Op. 35: Larghetto
Composer: Fernando Sor
19. Sor – Op.35, No.22: Allegretto (Study in B Minor)
Etude No.22, Op.35 is possibly Sor’s most well-known classical guitar study. Part of this piece’s popularity is due to the fact that it was included in Segovia’s Twenty Studies for the Guitar (etude No.5 in his collection). I consider this a solid early-intermediate guitar etude. While it sounds simple and somewhat repetitive, there are lots of nuances and tricky shifts that you only realize when learning to play it for yourself!
Title: No. 22, Op. 35: Allegretto (Study in B Minor)
Composer: Fernando Sor
20. Brouwer – Estudios Sencillos: No.6
Contemporary Cuban guitar composer Leo Brouwer’s Estudio #6 is a terrific right hand study for beginner and intermediate guitarists. This study has two distinctive right hand finger patterns. The first pattern is p-a-m-i-a-m-i-p-a-m-i-p. The tricky part of this pattern is the string crossing that happens following the second thumb stroke (p), when the final a-m-i pattern jumps up to strings 2, 3, and 4, rather than staying on strings 1, 2, and 3. This pattern, along with the thumb movement, creates an exciting effect across all six strings of the guitar.
Towards the end of the piece, the right hand pattern changes to a simplified p-a-m-i-p-a-m-i, but still includes a string crossing effect like the first section. Although Leo Brouwer’s Estudios Sencillos: No.6 is an iconic right hand study, it also poses some unique challenges for the left hand as well.