Spanish Study
Free Guitar Tabs

Spanish Study is based on a very famous classical guitar piece, "Asturias" by Isaac Albeniz. In spite of being a greatly simplified version of Asturias, even to being set in a different key (the original is high up the neck of the guitar), this piece makes a satisfying and exciting first solo for students wanting to start classical guitar. It sounds more difficult than it really is. 



Look farther down the page to see a couple videos of this beautiful classical guitar piece. But here is a fabulous guitarist, Ana Vidovic playing Asturias by Isaac Albeniz in the original key (Em): 





On this page are 4 versions of Spanish Study. The first complete version, all on one page, has tiny notes and very little in the way of finger markings. It is handy to use once you have the basic idea of the piece: 

Spanish Study free sheet music


Download Spanish Study all on one page 

In classical guitar playing, "p," "i," "m," and "a" stand for the right hand fingers which pluck the strings:

P = pulgar, the thumb

I = indicio, the index finger

M = medio, the middle finger

A = anular, the ring finger

Spanish Study starts with only right hand thumb (p) and middle finger (m), taking turns. For a correct classical hand position, be sure the thumb plucks off to the side of the hand, so it doesn't meet the fingers. (I recommend purchasing a book such as Frederick Noad's Solo Guitar Playing, which has photographs to help students position their hands and bodies correctly... or find a teacher with a classical background!)

Notice where the music changes into triplets (the 3-note groups with a "3" over the top of the beam). The left hand "2" will be placed on "A," the 2nd fret of the "G" string, and stay there for the remainder of the piece. If you are not familiar with reading staff notation, listen to one of the videos on this page (not Asturias, but Spanish Study, below) and notice where the rhythm changes from a feeling of "1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2," to a feeling of "1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3."

A good way to practice this study is to leave off the high E (string 1) and play the thumb melody alone. This is very helpful for struggling note-readers.

Preparatory to starting this piece, it is a good idea to have your guitar students play short scales on each string, using each fret up to fret 5. Starting at string 6 (Low E), that would sound like:

"Open E, F (fret one), F sharp (fret two), G, G sharp, A. Next string: open A, A sharp, B, C, C sharp, D... Next string: open D, etc." I like to do this next to a piano so kids can see that there are no black notes between B and C, and E and F. Otherwise we use a paper keyboard. Unless they understand that the distance between notes is not always the same, they will be baffled by note-reading on the guitar.

The two-page version below is just the same, but it has finger markings on more measures and large notes to make it easy to see! Be careful not to mistake finger numbers (1, 2, 3) for fret numbers -- sometimes they are the same, but not necessarily! Notice in measure 9 that the B is fingered with a 1, even though it is a 2nd-fret note; this is to facilitate playing, as the 2nd finger just played an E (and should stay there through the next measure). "0", of course, means open string.

Just before measure 17, the left hand plays the B with a "1" finger again, because in measure 17 finger "2" must quickly snap down on an A. In the second half of the piece, some of the notes are fingered differently than in the first half, because the "2" finger is busy keeping the "A" note pressed down on the G string for the entire second half. Keep it pressed down! In measure 20, we meet a B note again, once again fingered with a "1" even though the C in the next fret is fingered with a 3. 

Spanish study for guitar free sheet music


Classical music for classical guitar free sheet music


Download the study on two pages 

Here is a boy who plays a shortened version of this piece with a couple of added chords. Notice how nicely he extends his thumb: 





For kids breaking into classical guitar, going "cold turkey" off of tablature may be very scary. I like to help them out with just the first few measures written in tab along with standard notation. 

Spanish study with guitar tabs for beginner guitar students


Download Spanish Study Intro with Tablature


But sometimes, if they have been warming up to standard notation, I give them this version instead: 

Easy guitar tabs for Spanish Study classical guitar


Download the study Intro, no Tab 


Here is the piece as a lesson on Youtube: 



After playing entirely through this lovely piece, you can figure out why it is called a "study" or "etude" - all the right hand fingers get their turn to be part of a pattern, and it is tiring until your hand builds up strength.  Don't overdo it at first!  I mean it - you must be cautious with the small muscles of your arms and fingers.

Here is a final version of Asturias, played by guitarist John Williams. He gives an informative introduction and history to this piece:





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Comments

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Peter:
Thanks for a great web site and a very useful tool for us teaching guitar.


Christine:
Thank you so much for this site! I have just started teaching some really keen Y6 boys who want to play Scarborough Fair, and your version is perfect. I will now go and look at what other goodies you have!


Matt:
THIS SITE IS AMAZING!!I've been teaching guitar for about 5 years now, and I've only just found your website! (I could really have used it 5 years ago) :-)  I teach at primary schools every week day for about 4 hours, so the beginner tabs you have are ideal. Thank you so much for your hard work getting these on the web, you have made many children very happy!!



Bob:
I am a "retiree" and brand new guitar student. I have used your guitar tabs for Shenandoah and Amazing Grace, and find it exciting to hear real music coming out of my guitar for the first time.



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Becky:
A thousand thanks for your beginning piano and guitar songs. I've already printed several for my children, including the Pretty Little Horses TAB and Carol of the Bells for piano. What a wonderful resource!

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Stasi:
...Because I have such a diverse group of students I spend SO much time making supplemental material and I feel like I have to pick through other websites, to only find one or two useful things. I am so thankful for the wealth of supplement that you have offered here! And it's all SO user friendly!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

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Lin:
Thank you for a most excellent site. I am a classical guitar teacher, who endeavors to cover chords and fingerstyle as well. I especially liked the printable Celtic music, as some of my teenage students enjoy it! Thank you, again.





Dylan:
Just wanted to express my overwhelming joy in finding your web site! :D Lots of good info!! My wife and I own our own teaching studio in Texas and I am always looking for new songs to teach my beginner guitar students. You've done a wonderful job of providing great tunes with ACCURATE sheet music/TAB! Your web site is wonderful! Thank you so much!! Many blessings...

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California Student:
Hi, I want to thank you for such a wonderful and educational website. I have found all the information you have posted and your comments immensely helpful, and I am grateful for your posting it. I am sure you are an awesome teacher and person. I am a beginner piano student, so many thanks and Happy New Year.