One of the world’s best-known composers of classical guitar music, Francisco Tárrega lived in the late 19th century, a time during which Spanish music—flamenco and classical—rose to prominence. The perennial guitar favorites “Recuerdos de la Alhambra” and the short gem “Lágrima” were penned by Tárrega and remain staples of the repertoire to this day.
“Lágrima” is a miniature in a simple AABBA form that moves from the key of E major to E minor and back again. While the piece is brief, it requires numerous fretting-hand shifts, many of which are made easier by the use of a guide finger. For instance, in the piece’s opening phrase (excerpted here), the fourth finger of the fretting hand glides along the first string in no less than seven consecutive shifts. At the ends of measures 1 and 3, large shifts from the sixth fret down to the first require that the player cover the distance, locate the new chord, and land solidly on the first beat of the subsequent measure. Plan ahead for shifts of this nature by visualizing your hand at the destination fret.
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