Lagrima Guitar Tutorial (Spanish Guitar)

Lagrima is one of Francisco Tárrega’s best loved pieces. The title means ‘teardrop’ in Spanish and was written by Tarrega when he was living in London and feeling homesick. The piece is intermediate level because it uses a number of techniques including melody in a number of voices, arpeggio, and position changes.

The form is ABA with the A section in E minor and the B sectin in E major so ti moves to the tonic major in the middle section. Let’s look at the opening passages.

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  • Dominic Swords

    Hi Should I be able to download the tab from this page? The heading says ‘download’ but nothing seems to be enabled to do that. I wanted to practice offline but haven’t yet memorised the whole piece. Lovely choice of song btw. A couple of tricky bits but it falls quickly under the fingers.
    Cheers Dominic

    • Sergio

      I have added the download button to the lesson, apologies for the confusion. Also there is a button on the soundslice player that allows you to print most of the scores. Click on the 3 dots at the bottom right –> click on the settings wheel –> scroll down till you see print button. Hope that helps!

  • Dominic Swords

    Thanks. This is the first ‘classical’ piece I have learned to play. Interesting. I play a lot of fingerstyle arrangements of songs but the key ‘challenge’ for me here is to play the ‘right’ notes. In non classical songs there’s the encouragement to not transcribe note for note what someone else has created but to add your own embellishments and takes on the tune. Playing this by contrast feels very much like playing THE right notes. And there’s a little devil on my shoulder calling out mistakes.
    How far am I making a rod for my own back in thinking that? Should all renditions of Lagrima seek to sound the same notewise with variation given only through personal expression of pauses, tone etc?

    • Sergio

      Yes that’s correct the notes are what they are and can’t really be changed. I liken it to an actor reciting Shakespeare, the words are what they are but there is a lot left to personal interpretation. The creativity in this music is done through phrasing, dynamics, tone, articulation and a variety of other devices. I would say this is the case for music before approx 1950 after that composers are likely to give you more freedom. That being said there are times when you might decide to omit a note but that’s usually due to a technical issue in advanced repertoire. Some of the great players like Segovia we quite heavy-handed in changing and adding notes when they were making their own editions and transcriptions but that is not done as much now. The other factor is that a lot of the classical guitar repertoire is transcribed from other instruments so when making the arrangement removal of notes and occasionally adding them is actually required so let’s just say that you have more license to do that in transcriptions. With a developing technique, it can be difficult to get comfortable with “getting it right”. The metronome is a must to help you find a tempo that gives you enough time to negotiate the positions shifts etc and then you can build speed from there. Often we tend to practice too fast and so mistakes aren’t corrected properly. There are two elements: preparation and consistency of technique, and also mindset and flow. These two elements feed off each other. As I mentioned in my Top 5 mistakes video it is a difficult instrument and we have to also be not too hard on ourselves if we feel like we’re not getting it right, I have seen many masters of the guitar make lots of mistakes. Hope that helps!

  • Dominic Swords

    Really helpful. I love that idea of blending technique AND flow. Each form of music we play on our instrument has its own ‘rules’ and discipline + creative licence. Even folk songs generate discussion if they are played outside an accepted version of what’s ‘right’. And you can’t blag it in a folk club if you aren’t authentic to the music. Jazz too has a discipline and thoroughness to it that might not be obvs. I hope I’m not over-sharing but am finding lots to learn and develop through your lessons. I’ll make the metronome my friend! Thanks for your comments.

    • Sergio

      Great to hear!