Studying classical guitar is a pursuit full of wonder. You spearhead bringing back music that is already centuries old, and that is no easy task.
The documentation or preservation of music from the past was incredibly difficult. This makes the work of a classical guitarist not only a musician able to reproduce music, but also an interpreter, researcher, as well as a philosopher!
So for someone who loves classical music, how do you decide which music pieces you should learn? At the moment, there are thousands of guitar sheet music to play. And if you want, there’s even classical guitar music to download for your convenience. In this article, we’ll be sharing the top 10 classical guitar pieces that we love, which you can learn to practice and play.
1. Gran Vals by Francisco Tárrega
This is a beautiful piece written by Francisco Tárrega, a Spanish composer. It’s a must-try to play his works, especially for an aspiring classical guitarist like you.
Besides having a lovely melody, Gran Vals is also known as “the most popular tune” as it was used as a ringtone for the popular Nokia cell phone. Some people call it the “Nokia tune” or Grande Valse (Grand Waltz). Since the 1990s, this has been the icon of Finnish corporation Nokia and became the first identified ringtone on a mobile phone.
2. Asturias (Leyenda) by Isaac Albéniz
This classical guitar piece lasts around six minutes and was originally written for the piano. However, the composer Isaac Albéniz intentionally tried to emulate the sounds of the guitar as he was creating this classical music.
In the end, this has become more popular and performed more on a guitar instrument. Its music comprises of Andalusian sounds which paint a wonderful bridge of the genuine connection of Spain with the guitar.
3. Fantasia No.10 by Alonso Mudarra
Composed in the Renaissance by Spanish composer Alonso Mudarra, this music is originally written for the lute. Even before the invention of the guitar, this is already popular among guitar standard repertoire.
Mudarra was quite an innovative composer of instrumental music and songs and was one of the earliest composers of music for the guitar. Since the piece is full of energy, it was the breakthrough of its time for its contemporary-sounding middle section.
4. Op. 9 Introductions and Variations on a Theme by Mozart – Fernando Sor
This wonderful music uses a theme from a section of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, Die Zauberflöte, and has five pleasant variations on it. The sheet music was first published in 1821 in London and was dedicated to Sor’s brother Carlos. This is a great work that every classical guitarist will love to play.
5. Grand Overture, Op. 61 by Mauro Giuliani
Italian guitarist and composer Mauro Giuliani is considered by many as one of the leading guitarist virtuosos of the early 19th century. From the classical era, his spectacular works can’t be overlooked for the beautiful melody that they bring to the guitar instrument.
Advanced Classical Guitar Pieces
Do you want to go beyond playing something easy? Here’s a list of pieces that are more difficult and require an advanced skill level on the guitar instrument.
1. Fantaisie Hongroise, Op. 65 No. 1 by Johann Kaspar Mertz
This is an all-around great piece that is fun and exciting for the guitarist to play and the audience to listen to. Over the past few years, the guitar works of J.K. Mertz have become popular among performing guitarists. This piece in particular has seen a rise both on concerts and competition stages.
2. Chaconne from the Partita for Violin, No. 2 by J.S. Bach
Originally created for the violin, virtuoso Andrés Segovia also wrote this piece in the guitar repertoire. He’s even fooled audiences that this piece was initially for the guitar.
3. Una Limosna Por el Amore de Dios by Agustín Barrios Mangoré
Also known as the Last Song or El Ultimo Trémolo, this was the last piece composed by Agustin Barrios. Befitting its name, Mangoré has composed over 300 works for the guitar instrument before this last piece.
4. Invocación y Danza (Homenaje a Manuel de Falla) by Joaquin Rodrigo
Composed in the 20th century, this represents how far music for the classical guitar has come. Although it may be impossible to play, you should at least listen and gain inspiration from it.
5. Nocturnal after John Dowland, Op. 70 by Benjamin Britten
A great piece from a 20th-century composer, Britten made works for the guitar and paved the way for many guitar composers of today. Based on the piece Come, Heavy Sleep by the Renaissance lute composer John Dowland, this was written for the legendary guitarist Julian Bream.
Relive the past and start playing!
This list is made of easy, fun, and challenging music pieces that any classical guitar enthusiast can learn to play. Even if you’re a beginner or a seasoned guitarist, you can master any musical piece with constant practice and dedication. Refine your techniques and develop your talent until you can play beautiful classical guitar music with ease.
Andrea Parker is a reporter for Zobuz. She previously worked at Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Andrea is based in NYC and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe coffee addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.