Italian guitarist, cellist, singer, and composer Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) was a leading guitar virtuoso of the early 19th century. For guitar, Giuliani composed many etudes, theme and variations, and a series of numerous opera themes called Le Rossiniane, based on the operas of Gioachino Rossini. The Italian operatic influence is clear in all of Giuliani’s compositions, which contain gorgeous and bold melodic lines.
While Giuliani’s solo works for guitar are grand masterpieces, his collections of studies are also superb for guitar students at all levels. Giuliani’s beautiful song-like melodies compliment his rich harmonies, and explore the full range of what the guitar has to offer. Although he didn’t publish a method book per se, Giuliani has several collections of etudes and right hand studies that remain fundamental to guitar pedagogy.
Giuliani’s 120 Studies for Right Hand Development
In my experience, Giuliani’s collection of 120 right hand studies for guitar is hands down the best resource available for mastering classical guitar right hand patterns. Most studies in the collection are just two measures long (with repeats). The first measure is played over a C major chord, and the second chord is almost always a G7 chord. Each study varies in difficulty, and doesn’t necessarily progress in difficulty until around #80.
For some studies, Giuliani also offers alternative right hand finger pattern suggestions in parenthesis. Therefore, one could consider this collection more than just 120 studies! I recommend you first get comfortable with the standard fingering indicated, then try the alternative fingering in parenthesis. Once you’re comfortable with both patterns, you might want to try playing through the study the first time using the standard fingering, followed directly by the alternate fingering on the repeat.
One of the best parts about these studies is that they expose you to all kinds of right hand patterns–both common and intricate. By spending some time practicing these studies, you’ll teach your right hand how to move in an agile, coordinated, and confident way. As a result, when you come across a piece that calls for one of these patterns, your hand will sort of go into autopilot and know just what to do!
24 Etudes, Op.48
Giuliani’s Op.48 is a collection of 24 etudes most suitable for guitarists at the intermediate level. The studies are relatively short, and present a range of techniques in various keys. These etudes are excellent for students learning how to read classical guitar sheet music up the neck, or increasing your familiarity with common chord shapes in various positions.
You can download Giuliani’s 24 Etudes, Op.48 sheet music for free here.
24 Etudes, Op.100
An additional title for Giuliani’s 24 etudes, Op.100 reads: Cadenzas, Caprices, Rondos, & Preludes. Therefore, each etude in this collection varies in length, style and form. The studies in Op.100 are arguably easier than Op.48, but no less beautiful and fun to play.
The cadenzas (Etude No.1: Maestoso, for instance) are rather short sequences that are meant to serve as a rhythmically free or improvised portions of virtuosic pieces.
On the other hand, rondos (like Etude No.15 and No.16) are more robust pieces with three or more sections and beautiful melodic themes. For instance, Etude No.11: Caprice is a very popular study in classical guitar pedagogy.
You can download Giuliani’s 24 Etudes, Op.100 sheet music for free here.
24 Prime Lezioni Progressive, Op. 139
Similar to the other collections, Giuliani’s Op.139 etudes are full of sweet and melodious pieces. This collection of studies is appropriate for the upper beginner and intermediate guitarists. You can hear my recording of Op.139, No.3: Allegretto on my album of classical guitar etudes here.
You can download some of Giuliani’s Op.139 scores for free here.
Popular Guitar Works by Mauro Giuliani
Grand Overture, Op.61
If there’s one classical guitar solo work Mauro Giuliani is known for, it’s his Grand Overture, (Op.61). This masterpiece of a work is full of drama and excitement, displaying the gamut of emotions as it explores a wide range guitar techniques across the entire fretboard. The Grand Overture is a virtuosic work, and one beloved by classical guitarists worldwide across generations.
Giuliani’s magnificent Le Rossiniane include six substantial compositions largely based on various melodic themes in operas by Gioachino Rossini. Giuliani and Rossini were close friends and colleagues, and likely collaborated to arrange these incredible pieces for guitar. As a result, Giuliani’s Le Rossiniane demonstrates how the various voices of guitar can simulate that of an entire opera cast! My personal favorites from this collection are Rossiniana I, Op.119 and Rossiniana V, Op.123.
Below are the original opera themes featured in each Rossiniana:
Rossiniana I, Op. 119
- Introduction (Andantino)
- “Assisa a piè d’un salice” (Otello)
- “Languir per una bella”, Andante grazioso (L’Italienne à Alger)
- “Con gran piacer, ben mio”, Maestoso (L’Italienne à Alger)
- “Caro, caro ti parlo in petto”, Moderato (L’Italienne à Alger)
- “Cara, per te quest’anima”, Allegro Vivace (Armida)
Rossiniana II, Op. 120
- Introduction (Sostenuto)
- “Deh ! Calma, o ciel”, Andantino sostenuto (Otello)
- “Arditi all’ire”, Allegretto innocente (Armida)
- “Non più mesta accanto al fuoco”, Maestoso (Cendrillon)
- “Di piacer mi balza il cor”, (La pie voleuse)
- “Fertilissima Regina”, Allegretto (Cendrillon)
Rossiniana III, Op. 121
- Introduction (Maestoso Sostenuto)
- “Un soave non-so che” (Cendrillon)
- “Oh mattutini albori!”, Andantino (La dame du lac)
- “Questo vecchio maledetto”, (Le Turc en Italie)
- “Sorte! Secondami”, Allegro (Zelmira)
- “Cinto di nuovi allori”, Maestoso (Ricciardo et Zoraïde)
Rossiniana IV, Op. 122
- Introduction (Sostenuto-Allegro Maestoso)
- “Forse un dì conoscerete”, Andante (La pie voleuse)
- “Mi cadono le lagrime” (La pie voleuse)
- “Ah se puoi così lasciarmi”, Allegro Maestoso (Moïse en Egypte)
- “Piacer egual gli dei”, Maestoso (Mathilde de Shabran)
- “Voglio ascoltar” (La pierre de touche)
Rossiniana V, Op. 123
- Introduction (Allegro con brio)
- “E tu quando tornerai”, Andantino mosso (Tancrède)
- “Una voce poco fa” (Le Barbier de Séville)
- “Questo è un nodo avviluppato”, Andante sostenuto (Cendrillon)
- “Là seduto l’amato Giannetto”, Allegro (La pie voleuse)
- “Zitti zitti, piano piano”, Allegro (Le Barbier de Séville)
Rossiniana VI, Op. 124
- Introduction (Maestoso)
- “Qual mesto gemito”, Larghetto (Sémiramis)
- “Oh quante lagrime finor versai”, Maestoso (La dame du lac)
- “Questo nome che suona vittoria”, Allegro brillante (Le siège de Corinthe)