4th lesson

This lesson’s target is for you to be able to play this composition below:


This is very famous classical composition from F. Carulli. The tempo of this composition is “Walzer” which means “in Waltz movement” but we will practice this in a slower tempo in the beginning so that every Eighth note lasts 1 second. The time signature is 3/8 so every bit is one Eighth note value and there are 3 bits (3 Eighth notes) in one bar. There are also rest notes which means silence – we do not play these notes.

As you can see there are numbers in front and behind of notes and we spoke about these signs in previous lessons. Numbers, in front of notes, represents left hand fingerings. Behind (on right side) of notes are letters “p”, “i”, “m”, and “a” which represent the fingering of the right hand. Here is the illustration of these fingering signs:


Also, there are notes in circles which are going to be played with the rest stroke technique if it is possible. There are two different ways of picking if we are playing with a finger style technique:

1) The technique for playing “lead” on classical guitar is almost always a rest stroke. This technique is called a “rest stroke”, also known as an apoyando, because the finger comes to a rest on the next lower string. Rest strokes produce a louder and thicker sound than a free stroke. Rest strokes are often used for playing scale passages and for “bringing out” (i.e., making louder) a particular note or group of notes. We will mark notes in circles that we wish to be played with a rest stroke. Here is the illustration of rest stroke picking:

Rest stroke picking


2) Free stroke, also known as tirando, is the most commonly used stroke in finger style technique. It can produce a variety of sounds and dynamics while using very little energy from the right hand. The main difference from the rest stroke is that finger stays in the air after the picking process and it does not come to rest on the next lower string. If the note is not in a circle then we us the common free stroke picking. Here is illustration of free stroke picking:

Free stoke picking:


Note: There are situations where we play with “i”, “m” and “a” finger rest stroke and in the same time “p” (thumb) plays free stroke[1]


[1] Rest stroke picking technique is not playable on acoustic guitars because strings on this kind of guitars are placed near to each other and there is no appropriate place for resting a finger tip on lower string. You can try this technique few times just for practicing purpose, because after practicing rest stroke, which takes more energie in finger, free stroke becomes much easier. Rest stroke picking is most appropriate technique for classical guitar because this kind of instrument is made with more place between strings.


One new sign is a repeat sign. It is a sign that indicates a section should be repeated. If the piece has one repeat sign alone, then that means to repeat from the beginning and then continue on or stop if the sign appears at the end of the piece. A corresponding sign facing the other way indicates where the repeat is to begin. These indicators are similar to the text at very end of composition: “D C al Fine”. Da Capo al Fine (D.C. al Fine) is a sign that indicates repeat from beginning to the end or up to the word Fine. After sign D C we do not repeats sections (in these example Part A and B) two times like in first time repetitions.

So, musical form (or musical architecture) of this composition goes like this:

     Part A x 2 →       Part B x 2→       Part C x 2 →                         Part A →     Part B

                     :II II:              :II  II:            :II  D. C al Fine                        Fine


After having read this theory, you can go back to the top and begin practicing. As we spoke in last lesson the method of practicing is to start with easier examples and to continue with harder things. Easier things are related to smaller details which grow as we get more practice. The smallest detail will be the notes in each bar and they have some logical form. That form can be noted with some text beside the appropriate notes in the higher staff and here is the logical progression of these signs:

So, notes where the sign is “C-major” in this composition will be played always the same, or “*-chord” or “A-minor”. We have 6 different combinations of smallest details for practice:

  • C-major (with tone C in the base. Notice that this chord sounds cheerful)[2]
  • C-major/E (with tone E in the base. Notice that this chord also sounds cheerful)
  • *-chord (the base is tone D and the chord is Bo. Notice that this chord creates some harmonic tension[3])
  • **-chord (the base is tone F and the chord has a similar harmonic function to previous Bo. Notice that this chord also has similar harmonic tension like the previous detail[4])
  • A-minor (with tone A in the base. Notice that this chord has a slight blues sound)
  • Rest stroke parts (some of them are 1 and some of them are 2 bars length)

After you have learned smoothly each of the smallest details we will start practicing bigger wholes. First we will give our focus on each row, and you shouldn’t continue practicing if each specific row isn’t finished. After that, our focus will be Parts A, B, and C and finally our biggest whole will be entire composition. We will practice our composition in full first without repetitions but at the end of practicing we will play it several times like it is written – with repetitions and with D C al Fine returning from beginning.

The most economical way of practicing will be starting the exercise the next day again from smaller details. In this case it will be again smallest details that are illustrated in picture above.

When you want to practice your memory there are several ways:

  • To write down tab-fingering from notes above; (this is good for memorizing details)
  • To write down notes from tab-fingering (this is also good for memorizing details but You will also notice few things about chord building and progression)
  • To write down sings of details like in picture above (this is good for memorizing form of composition)

After you succeed in practicing your memory will improve, you should be able to play Waltz of F. Carulli by heart and you should try to play it in a little faster tempo. But don’t be afraid, learning guitar is a fun process.

On next two pages you will see Waltz in C-major without notes and without tab-fingering and it is meant for your homework for practicing memory using the first 2 ways. Use the list of notes and tab-fingering that can be played in the lowest positions which are illustrated in 1st. lesson.


[2] Note that detail in bar No. 16 with text “simultaneously” above determinates that notes in that C-major detail should be performed simultaneously – whole tones in the same time, unlike other “C-major” or “C-major/E” details. Reason why chord in bar  No.16 should be performed simultaneously is because it comes at the end of composition (there is text Fine next to it).

[3] Right chord symbol will be Bo/D. That chord is diminished and it consists tones: B, D, F with  three minor thirds (musical interval that encompasses three half steps or semitones). Sign “/D” indicates that note D is lowest in this diminished triad. These lines are just informative and we will note this chord because of that with text”*-chord”

[4] Right chord symbol will be G7(no5)/F which indicates Dominant 7 chord from tone G (G, B, D, F) where is no tone D (5th. tone from G) and F is in the base. These lines are also just informative and we will note this chord  with text”**-chord” because it has the same harmonic function like B* but with little difference.


Practice memory on 1st. way:


Practice memory on 2nd. way:


Finally, at the end is illustration of this composition for 3rd. way of practicing memory that is mentioned above

Practice memory on 3rd. way:


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