Fernando Sor’s guitar technique: a good analysis by Rob MacKillop

“Sor played without nails. He generally used only the thumb, index and middle fingers.”

I think that the blog of Rob MacKillop is inspiring and very useful.

His research on the guitar technique is very interesting, especially regarding the use of the right hand: as I have got to write, Rob plays guitar without using fingernails of his right hand, with extremely charming results.

Today I want to share with you a brief but interesting article written by Rob in 2008, about the guitar technique of Fernando Sor:

Sor’s Method, published when he was 52 years old, presents the mature reflections of a successful, internationally respected musician. 
It contains as much text as music, and speaks with an assured voice.

Obviously MacKillop also focuses on the right hand technique of Sor:

It is in the use of the right hand that Sor distances himself from most of the players of the day, a fact which he was conscious of. 
He shared the same hotel in Paris as his compatriot, Dionisio Aguado, a nail player who could dispatch lightening-fast single-line runs, which Sor could not.

Sor played without nails. He generally used only the thumb, index and middle
fingers. He sometimes placed his little finger on the soundboard.


He never uses the right hand for damping the strings, favouring the left hand


He sometimes plucks the strings nearer to the fretboard in order to imitate the harp, and sometimes places his left hand fingers half-way between frets, producing a deliberate buzzing sound in imitation of the trumpet.

Never in my life have I heard a guitarist whose playing was supportable, if he played with the nails. The nails can produce but very few gradations in the quality of the sound: the piano passage can never be singing, nor the fortes sufficiently full. (F. Sor)

Therefore I strongly recommend you read the full article, available in PDF on Rob’s site, at this address:


Musician’s stuff: 6 good suggestions for a more creative 2017

“Invest in yourself and try new things this year!”

This article from Dan Musselman is very inspiring for me.

6 useful tips to be a more creative musician, 6 good propositions for 2017:

As a musician, few things are more important than developing our own creativity. Our ability to write meaningful songs, to construct inspiring instrumentals, or to find innovative ways of adding post-production nuances depends on our ability to think outside the box and find new, unique sounds.

The 6 ways

  1. Write on an instrument that you don’t usually play.
  2. Get better at what you do play.
  3. Listen to music that is new to you.
  4. Have a jam session — but listen to another band mate more than you listen to yourself.
  5. Pseudo-transcribe your favorite artist.
  6. Learn music theory and develop your ear.

The full article


Tatyana Ryzhkova: some warm-up execises

A good video by a young and talented musician

I have never hidden my esteem for Tatyana Ryzhkova, so every time she publishes a new video on her Youtube channel i’m really happy to see it and review it.

In this video, the belorussian guitarist gives us a good lesson on warm-up exercises, tremolo and guitar methods.

In this lesson, Tatyana mentions two books: “Pumping Nylon” by Scott Tennant and “Introducing the Guitar” by Hubert Käppel.


Goodbye, Roland!

Roland Dyens, the great composer and guitarist, dies at 61

Yesterday, on my Facebook stream, I see this news:


“It will certainly be a hoax!”, I thought.

But later the news was also confirmed by other sources:

From his website:

Born on October 19, 1955, French interpreter, composer, arranger and improviser Roland Dyens began guitar studies at the age of nine. Four years later he became a student of Spanish Master guitarist Alberto Ponce and, in 1976, was awarded the Licence de Concert de l’École Normale de Musique de Paris.
While learning his instrument, Roland Dyens also studied composition with the renowned teacher, composer and conductor Désiré Dondeyne under whose guidance he was awarded the First Prize in Harmony, Counterpoint and Analysis.

I like to remember him with this video, from Guitar Salon International Youtube Channel:

Guitar Tutorial with Matthew McAllister: About filing nails

Fingernails shape? A useful video lesson

Matthew McAllister gives a lesson about the neverending story for classical guitarists: the shaping of fingernails.

The video has published on the great YouTube channel of Siccas Guitars.


About the teacher

From Matthew’s official website:

Matthew McAllister is widely regarded as one of the most exciting and talented Classical Guitarists in Europe. Matthew has been delighting audiences worldwide with his insightful performances and effortless presentation in a concert career spanning well over a decade.

Born in Falkirk and raised in the East Neuk of Fife, Matthew studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, with Allan Neave. Since graduating with BMus (Hons) in 2003, Matthew has enjoyed continued success and is a regular performer and educator at Classical Guitar Festivals and Concert Series worldwide.

Matthew has performed at major venues across the world such as The Concertgebouw Amsterdam, The Purcell Room & St Martin in the Fields, London, Teatro Britanico, Lima, The Sage, Gateshead, Cenart, Mexico City, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Eugene O’Neil Theater, San Jose and Dom Armije, Sarajevo to name a few. Matthew has toured extensively throughout North & South America, Canada, Europe and Asia both as a soloist and chamber musician, and has also produced an extensive discography with Natural Studio Records.

As an educator Matthew holds the posts of Classical Guitar Tutor and Lecturer in Music at the University of St Andrews & Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and most recently established he Classical Guitar Retreat which presents a residential summer course on the Island of Cumbrae off the West Coast of Scotland.

Mauro Giuliani: (almost) all of his guitar compositions free downloadable

A priceless resource!

By chance I came across this site:


If you omit to comment the extremely dated graphic, you can find out that it is a priceless resource that contains almost all production for guitar of Mauro Giuliani, in the original editions.

Mauro Giuliani published more than 200 works; his most noticeable pieces include three lyrical concertos in a late Classical/early Romantic style, and, for solo guitar, the Grand Overture, Op. 61, and a series of six suites, Le Rossiniane, based on tunes by Gioacchino Rossini.

As a special help to other players, Mauro Giuliani notated his works on the treble clef in an innovative manner, with the rests and note-stem directions distinguishing the melody from the bass line and inner voices.

The music sheets

Op 1 Study
 Op 2 Six Variations
 Op 3 Three Rondos
 Op 4 Rondoletto
 Op 4 Six Variations on the favorite air “la Molinara”
 Op 5 Rondo Nouveau
 Op 6 Otto Variazioni
 Op 7 Six Variations
 Op 8 Three Rondos
 Op 9 VI Variationen nebst Polonaise und Finale
 Op 10 Amusemens
 Op 11 Caprice
 Op 12 Twelve Monferrine
 Op 13 Trois romances (voice and guitar)
 Op 14 Six Progressive Rondos
 Op 15 Sonate brillante
 Op 16a Sedici Landler (terz guitar and normal guitar)
 Op 16b Pieces from the ballet Il Barbiere di Siviglia
 Op 17 Three rondos
 Op 18 First Potpourri
 Op 19 Serenade for guitar, violin and violoncello
 Op 20 Six Variations
 Op 21 Twelve waltzes
 Op 22 Trois romances (voice and guitar)
 Op 23 Zwölf Neue Wald-Ländler
 Op 24a Variations for Guitar and Violin
 Op 24b Fourteen National Dances and Three Marches
 Op 25 Duo concertant for Guitar and Violin
 Op 26 First Potpourri
 Op 27 Marie Louise au berceau de son fils (voice and guitar or piano)
 Op 28 Second Potpourri
 Op 29 Divertimenti
 Op 30 First Grand concerto for guitar
 Op 31 Third Grand Potpourri
 Op 32 Six Variations
 Op 33 Twelve Ecossaises
 Op 34 Six variations
 Op 35 Grand variations concertantes for two guitars
 Op 36 Second Grand Concerto for guitar
 Op 37 Divertimenti … Parte 1
 Op 37 Divertimenti … Parte 2
 Op 38 Six variations on “ä Schüsserl und ä Reindl”
 Op 38 Six variations for Guitar and Orchestra
 Op 39 Sei Cavatine (voice and guitar or piano)
 Op 40 Divertimenti … Parte 3
 Op 40 Divertimenti … Parte 4
 Op 41 Niaiserie d’Enfant
 Op 42 Fourth Potpourri
 Op 43 Les variétés amusantes part 1
 Op 44 Twelve Ländler
 Op 45 Six variations on “folies d’Espagne”
 Op 46 Choix de mes fleurs chéries ou Le Bouquet Emblématique
 Op 47 Twelve easy variations on an Austrian national air
 Op 48 Esercizio ( 24 pezzi della maggiore difficolta)
 Op 49 Six Variations on “I bin a Kohlbauern Bub”
 Op 50 Le Papillon
 Op 51 XVIII Lecons Progressives
 Op 52 Gran Duetto Concertante (flute or violin and guitar)
 Op 53 Gran potpourri (flûte or violon and guitar)
 Op 54 Les Variétés Amusantes part 2
 Op 55 Twelve Landler (terz guitar and normal guitar)
 Op 56 Divertimenti … part 5
 Op 57 12 Waltzes
 Op 58 Six Landlers, Six Walses and six Ecossaises
 Op 59 Seize petites pièces
 Op 60 Six Variations
 Op 61 Grand Overture
 Op 62 Six Variations on an original theme
 Op 62 Six Variations for Guitar and Orchestra
 Op 63 Six Variations (violin and guitar)
 Op 64 Six variations on the Russian air Poschaluite sudarina
 Op 65 Variations and polonaise (guitar and pianoforte)
 Op 65 Gran Quintetto (2 violins, viola, cello and guitar)
 Op 66 Three rondos (terz guitar and normal guitar)
 Op 67 Grand pot pourri (terz guitar and normal guitar)
 Op 68 Two Rondos (guitar and piano)
 Op 69 La Lira Notturna (terz guitar and normal guitar)
 Op 70 Third concerto for guitar
 Op 71 Three sonatinas
 Op 72 Eight variations on a duet from the opera “Jeannot et Colin”
 Op 73 Bagatelles
 Op 74 Pièces faciles et agréables (flute or violin and guitar)
 Op 75 Twelve Landler (terz guitar and normal guitar) 
 Op 75 Zwölf Ländler (flute or violin and guitar) 
 Op 76 Potpourri from Tancred (flute or violin and guitar)
 Op 77 Duettino facile (flute or violin and guitar)
 Op 78 Divertissements
 Op 79 Cavatina “Di tanti palpiti” (voice and guitar or piano)
 Op 80 Twelve Landler (terz guitar and normal guitar)
 Op 80 Deux Thêmes favoris
 Op 81 Six variations (flûte or violin and guitar)
 Op 82 Grande sérénade (guitar and flûte or violin)
 Op 83 Six preludes
 Op 84 Variations (flute or violin and guitar)
 Op 85 Gran duo concertant (flûte or violin and guitar)
 Op 86 XVIII Divertimenti Notturni (flute or violin and guitar)
 Op 87 Six variations on Di tanti palpiti from Rossini’s Tancred
 Op 88 Grandes Variations sur la romance favorite de l’Opéra Fanchon
 Op 89 Sechs Lieder (voice and guitar or piano)
 Op 90 12 Walzer
 Op 90 Studio
 Op 91 Variations on “La Sentinelle”
 Op 91 Variations on “La Sentinelle” (two guitars)
 Op 91 Variations Pianostemme af A. Eggers
 Op 91 Variations on “La Sentinelle” (piano solo)
 Op 92 Grand pot pourri national (guitar and piano)
 Op 92 Twelve Landler (terz guitar and normal guitar)
 Op 93 Grand Potpourri National (guitar and piano) 
 Op 94 Twelve Landler (terz guitar and normal guitar)
 Op 95 Sei Ariette (voice and guitar or piano)
 Op 96 Trois sonates brillantes
 Op 97 Variations on “Ich bin liederlich — Du bist liederlich”
 Op 98 Studi dilettevoli (eight relatively simple pieces)
 Op 99 Variations
 Op 100 Etudes instructives
 Op 101 Variations on Deh calma, o ciel from Rossini’s Otello
 Op 101 Variations on Deh calma, o ciel (Strings quartet)
 Op 102 Variations Nume perdonami se in tale istante
 Op 103 Variations on a favourite waltz
 Op 104 variations on “ Partant pour la Syrie”
 Op 104 Variations (guitare et piano) 
 Op 105 Variation on a romance from the opera Liebe und Ruhm
 Op 106 Cinque Divertimenti
 Op 107 Variations on a theme of Handel
 Op 108 Potpourri Nazionale Romano
 Op 109 La Caccia, Gran Rondò
 Op 110 Variations on a march by Cherubini
 Op 111 Raccolta di Pezzi
 Op 112 Sei Grande Variazioni
 Op 113 Fughetta
 Op 114 Variations on a theme by Carafa
 Op 116 Le Avventure di Amore (ten waltzes fot two guitars)
 Op 118 Six variations
 Op 119 Rossiniane No 1
 Op 120 Rossiniane No 2
 Op 121 Rossiniane No 3
 Op 122 Rossiniane No 4
 Op 123 Rossiniane No 5
 Op 124 Rossiniana No 6
 Op 125 Six Irish national airs
 Op 126 Gran potpourri (flûte or violin and guitar)
 Op 127 Sérénade (flûte or violin and guitar)
 Op 128 Variations on “Io ti vidi e t’adorai” by Pacini
 Op 129 Concerto n°4 (lost)
 Op 130 Variazioni concertanti (two guitars)
 Op 130 Grand duo concertant (guitar and flûte or violin)
 Op 137 Tre polonesi concertanti per due chitarre
 Op 138 Variazioni
 Op 139, 24 Prime Lezioni
 Op 140 Quattro Variazioni e Finale Chi t’ha fatto sta scarpettiella
 Op 141 Quattro Variazioni e Finale La Riccioletta
 Op 142 Quattro Variazioni e Finale Si tu Nenna m’amave u’aut’anno
 Op 143 Quattro Variazioni e Finale E nato miezo mare
 Op 144 Quattro Variazioni e Finale Si monaca te faj,io frate mi farò
 Op 145 Quattro Variazioni e Final Si cara, si bona,si bella graziosa
 Op 146 Flora d’Italia parte 1 et 2
 Op 147 La Tersicore del Nord
 Op 147b Variations on “Tengo più di trent’un anni”
 Op 148 Giulianate
 Op 149 Pastorale (two voice, flute and guitar or piano)
 Op 150 Gran Sonata Eroica
 Op 151 Près d’un volcan (voice and guitar)
 Op 151 bis Ode di Anacreonte (voice and guitar or piano)
 Andantino — Allegro
 Rondongino brillante
 Sei Arie Nazionali Scozzesi
 Guitar Albums No 3 Polonaises
 Tre tema favoriti con Variazioni
 Variations on a Savoyard Theme
 Sinfonia nell’ opera Semiramide
 Sinfonia nell’ opera La Cenerentola
 Marches de l’opera Trajano in Dacia
 Duo de l’opera L’Esule di Roma da Donizetti
 2 motifs favoris de Bellini arrangés par giuliani
 La Semiramide ridotta in 12 walzer per chitarra
 IV rondeaux arranged by J T Lehmann Cahier I (piano-guitar)
 IV rondeaux arranged by J T Lehmann Cahier II (piano-guitar)
 IV rondeaux arranged by J T Lehmann Cahier III (piano-guitar)
 Marcia nell’ introduzione di Semiramide per una o due chitarre
 Der treue Tod (voice and guitar)
 Cavatina di adelasia ed aleramo (voice and guitar)
 Variations concertants (Violin, Violoncello and Guitar)
 Der Abschied der Troubadours (Giuliani,Moscheles,Mayseder)(voice,piano,vl,guit,cello)
 Grand duo concertant M. Giuliani & J. Moscheles (piano and guitar)
 Scelta di quattro pezzi esequiti da Madame Catalani
 Cavatina Bel raggio Lusinghiero nell Semiramide di Rossini
 Qual mesto gemito Quintetto nella Semiramide di Rossini (guit/fl ou vl)
 Overture to Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito (two guitars)
 Sinfonia nell’Opera Elisabetta [Il Barbiere di Siviglia] (2 guitars)
 Sinfonia nell’Opera La Cenerentola (2 guitars)
 Sinfonia nell’Opera L’Assedio di Corinto (2 guitars)
 Sinfonia nell’Opera La Gazza Ladra (2 guitars)
 Sinfonia nell’Opera Spontini’s La Vestale (2 guitars)
 Sinfonia nell’Opera Bellini’s Il Pirata (2 guitars)
 Due Grand Arie — Song of Domenico Cimarosa (voice and guitar)
 Ad Altro Laccio — poesie di Metastasio (Voice and piano)
 Tarantella (by G.Lanza arr M.Giuliani) (2 guitars)
 Auswahl der beliebtesten Deutschen vom Apollo Saal (2 guitars)
 Variations composed by Michele Giuliani (two guitars)
 Op 46 Sei preludj (Emilia Giuliani Guglielmi)

The rasgueado technique on guitar: a lesson by Pepe Romero

A great lesson from a great teacher

Rasgueado is a guitar finger strumming technique commonly associated with flamenco guitar music but also used in classical pieces. 
The rasgueado is executed using the fingers of right hand in rhythmically precise and rapid strumming patterns, using also the outer side of the fingernails.

In this video, Pepe Romero offers to his student some useful tips for a good rasgueado:

Practicing Difficult Passages: a video lesson by Gohar Vardanyan

A video lesson focused on one of the most complex passages of the Etude #1 by Heitor Villa-Lobos

A nice lesson of Gohar Vardanyan, about the study and practice of difficult passages.

The video is focused on the execution of one of the most complex passages of the Etude #1 by Heitor Villa-Lobos:

After all, the main advice is always the same: use the metronome!

Who is Gohar Vardanyan?

From her website:

Ms. Vardanyan began studying the guitar in her native Armenia at the age of five under the careful guidance of her father, Vardan Vardanyan.

At the age of eight, she gave her first public performance and also appeared on Armenian National Television.

She was the first prize winner in the Armenian National Music Contest “Amadeus” and was accepted into the prestigious group, “New Names,” for talented young musicians.

She performed in numerous concert venues in Armenia, including Komitas Chamber Music Hall and the Small Philharmonic Hall. She went on to study with Antigoni Goni at the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School.

In 2001, Ms. Vardanyan studied with John Wunsch at the Interlochen Arts Academy. She was awarded the Young Artist’s Certificate from Interlochen Center for the Arts and the Harold Randolph Prize in performance from the Peabody Conservatory.