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Country Dance

An Easy Classical Guitar Piece by Ferdinando Carulli

"The term country dance first appeared in the 16th century" ...

This easy piece by Carulli is an excellent way to practice simplified arpeggios. It is also good for alternating "i.m." fingers with the thumb (providing bass). It is also a piece that highlights the classical era technique of using a major key, then the related minor key in the middle section and returning to the major key again in the last section.

 

This technique was used extensively in the classical era to provide "balance and a pleasing logic" to the music. One only has to think of Mozart, whom Carulli was a contemporary of, to see this technique and idea in its purest form. Carulli was very skilled at writing these types of pieces for guitar. Indeed, Carulli was a very prolific composer writing over four hundred works throughout his life. Most of these works were for solo guitar or involved the guitar in some capacity.

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Back to Country Dance...

By the time he went to Paris aged 38 he was a fine, cultured and highly educated musician. His music was full of charm and grace though not highly difficult like that of his contemporaries, namely Sor and Guiliani.

Even though his music was often less complex than others, it did not mean less harmonic and melodic appeal. Indeed, his real genius was writing for the amateur or dilettante. This is why the music publishers of the time loved him! Read more here...

Most beginners are surprised by the simplicity of this dance and find they can manage it quite easily within a short period of time. It is in 2/4 time or "March" time. In the first two repeated sections,  (bars 1-16) you'll find simplified arpeggios using i.m. fingers together followed by the thumb playing the bass note. This alternates rhythmically in 8th notes (quavers) throughout most of these bars in a similar fashion. The notes make up the basic chords of the G major scale of course.

From bars 17-29,  the piece switches to the minor key, namely: E minor. The music of this minor section continues with arpeggios though in a slightly different form. Starting with a "forward rolling" arpeggio using fingers "p.i.m.a." it then switches to again using "i.m." fingers and thumb for bass though in a reversed fashion i.e. bass first then "i.m." fingers. These bars allow the music to enter into a more "sombre", serious mood. the music then returns again to the "lighter" major key if you will.

In fact, bars 31-47 are the same as at the beginning and bar 48 finishes on the home key chord of G major to produce a strong feeling of finality. You may either pluck or strum this chord. Although it wasn't in the original edition, I put it in there myself to provide you with some practice to finish the Country Dance off with some aplomb and style.

Here is the Country Dance on YouTube video...

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Welcome to LCG! I'm Trevor Maurice, owner of this site. I hope you find inspiration in these pages to help you with  your journey of learning to play the classical guitar. You can read more of my story here...

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