Learn to Play the Spanish Classical Guitar Song “Bolero” by Julian Arcas

Andalusian-born Julian Arcas (1832–82) was perhaps the greatest Spanish classical guitarist of his time. This guitar lesson shows how to play his song, "Bolero."

Andalusian-born Julian Arcas (1832–82) was perhaps the greatest Spanish classical guitarist of his time. A composer and performer, he is best known for teaching the legendary guitarist/composer Francisco Tárrega. Arcas’s friendship with guitar builder and fellow Almerían Antonio Torres contributed to the birth of the Torres classical guitar design, a milestone in the history of the guitar embodying a leap forward in guitar construction and sound quality. It was Arcas who, after being impressed by the improvement in volume and tone of Torres’s new design, encouraged the builder to pursue it further.

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Arcas’s musical output included original themes, arrangements, and folk-inspired tunes. Coming of age in southern Spain’s flamenco heartland during a time when flamenco was enjoying ever-increasing popularity, it should come as little surprise that it influenced his music. The lively “Bolero” in 3/4 time is truly representative of Arcas’s Spanish roots. The song’s first four measures are shown below.

music notation for guitar from "Bolero"
Patrick Francis
Patrick Francis

Patrick Francis is the author of Spanish Repertoire for Classical Guitar.

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