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Asturias is a staple of Spanish Classical Guitar. If you want to learn Classical Guitar, or a add a new song to your classical guitar solo repertoire, you can do no better than Asturias (Leyenda). If you don't have it... no worries. You can get the sheet music for Asturias (Leyenda) FREE - see left panel.
Isaac Albeniz was a virtuoso pianist and composer born in Caprodon, Catalonia (Spain). His first performance took place at the tender age of four. At seven he passed the entrance examination for piano at the Paris conservator but was refused admission because he broke a glass window while playing with a ball. By age 15 he had given concerts worldwide. After he met teacher and composer Felipe Pedrell, Isaac was inspired to write Spanish music such as Suite Española. Asturias (Leyenda) is the fifth movement of that suite and is probably one of the most well-known classical guitar pieces, although the suite was written originally for the piano.
You'll notice that the melody is played by the thumb in the first part of the piece. As such, we have to make it stand out. One way of doing this is by experimenting and moving the plucking hand until you find a position that really resonates and brings out the melody. This will depend on your instrument, strings used and the style of plucking. Once you notice the right position make a mental note of it.
Starting with measure nine you will have to play the melody while keeping finger 1 on the low B note. This leaves only fingers 2, 3 and 4 available.
The triplets start rolling in with a measure 17. One technique that can be used to play fast triplets is by plucking them in an almost arpeggiated fashion. Please note that while this technique may allow greater speed it does present some problems in that it tends to make triple its very uneven. You should work it until you can get the triplets nice and even. Playing and learning it as slow as possible with a metronome will help tremendously.
At slower speeds the chords may be played with the thumb. However, at higher speeds borrowing a bit of rasgueado technique, depicted here, may work much better.
In his original score for Asturias, Albeniz notes a “piu lento” for the middle section, which basically translates to “a bit slower”. This section really brings out the Spanish flamenco influence and as such it should be played very expressively.Octave harmonics are used to punctuate certain chords.
The first part is then played again, after which a Coda or ending is played. The Coda should be played much slower, as it serves to bring the piece to a conclusion and as such it should be allowed to breathe.
The beauty of this hauting pice is always a crowd favorite and if you want to learn classical guitar, Asturias provides a very good piece both for recitals as a classical guitar solo and to work out on the instrument.
Here is John Williams playing this fantastic piece.