Tango by José Ferrer Guitar Tutorial

Tango is an intermediate classical guitar piece by Spanish guitar composer José Ferrer. This piece is in the form of a Spanish tango which features this main rhythm:

It is in binary form (2 sections) with the A section the key of A minor and the B section in A major. There are also a lot of embellishments in the form of ‘crushed notes’ (acciaccatura) and trills, these will need to be played on the beat and quickly.

Bars 1 – 4

Here the melody is introduced over an A minor chord. We start in 5th position with a slur onto the 5th fret A, then move up to a C which we pull-off as a crushed note to the open E string. This melody is alternated with an A minor arpeggio in the first position.


Bars 5 to 8

We make our way through chords D minor , F and then the Dominant E in first position. In bar there is a slur (hammer-on) from E to F. In bar 6 and 7 we have quaver triplets. The three quavers need to be played within the time of one crotchet beat.

Bars 9 to 12

At bar 9 there us another crushed note leading into the semiquaver. One can practice this rhythm without the crushed note to get the feel of the rhythm then add the crushed note which needs to be played quickly. We move to arpeggiated chords G7 to C then E7 to A minor which are V – I patterns.


Bars 13 to 16

In bar 14 the triplet figure returns. The chord here is more like a Bb/D than a D minor with the Bb in the chord. We finish with a low voicing of the A minor chord which requires a bit of a stretch and the 4 finger reaching up to the 5th fret of the bottom string.

Bars 19 to 21

We move to A major here and the melody is played in thirds and some trills are included for extra expression. We shift to higher positional playing, try to keep the thirds as legato as possible. Economical fingering will also help here (see video).

Bars 22 to 25

The triplets return here as we alternate from A major to E 7 and back again. Keep the triplets even so as not create a dotted feel and keep the bass notes ringing over the bar.

Bars 26 to 29

The next 4 bars include a lot of triplets so we end up with an almost 6/8 feel. Use the open E string to make the position changes smoother. The slurs will also add fluidity so be sure to include them. As much as you need to keep the bass notes ringing try and cut them off at the end of the bar otherwise the bottom end can soudn a bit muddy.

Bars 30 to 34

We finish with a contrapuntal (2 part) figure into a V – I ending.

Play-Along Track with TABs

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