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Rujero by Gaspar Sanz

Popular 17th Century Dance Form on the Classical Guitar

Rujero is a dance form that is similar to the pavane. A pavane being a slow court dance of the 16th and 17th centuries, often in duple time. Actually, I have recorded this piece (see youtube video below) a bit slower than is normal in keeping with the "beginner" theme of this site. Feel free to speed up the tempo because it still sounds great! .The composer, Gaspar Sanz was a Spanish composer and guitarist born in 1640 and died circa 1710.

He became a professor of music graduating from Salamanca University, the second oldest university in Spain. Sanz was also a dedicated priest who took holy orders and his music cannot be separated from his lifelong strong faith. Indeed, it added a wonderfully rich and spiritual dimension to his music. The piece itself is very satisfying to play with its strong melody, including the beautiful grace notes in bars 1, 3, 5, 9 and 15. The key is D major, which makes the piece all the more "bright and happy" for want of a better expression.

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Back to Rujero...

Overall there are 16 bars and it's almost a "call and response" in terms of the two 8 bar sections and even each 4 bar section, 1 to 2 and 3 to 4. It is a good idea to play these aforementioned phrases "tasto" (towards the headstock), in terms of musical expression. You can also employ ponticello (towards the bridge). This aids the "call and response" effect and adds to the musicality of your performance, which is always a good thing.

Additionally, because this piece is in the key of D major, you're basically playing in the second position (your first finger starting at the second fret). That explains some of the fingerings where you're using your first finger on the "D" note on the second string, 3rd fret, and the "C sharp" on the 2nd fret, 2nd string. Indeed, I've tried to use the "stronger" fingers of the left hand to aid in the articulation of notes throughout the piece.

Again, this will also help musically as it helps you to define the melody in Rujero more clearly. Also be careful to play the 3 note chords properly in bars 11, 13 and 14. If you use the fingerings as shown, it should allow you to achieve the desired articulation of all the notes. The grace notes as mentioned above are played quite quickly. Watch and listen in the video below to get the correct speed and articulation...

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When playing each grace note you start on the main note that it is connected to the grace note then quickly play a slur motion on the note immediately above, "D" to "E" or "A" to "B" for example. Although a grace note is played faster than your common slur, it is still the same technique and action that you perform. It is good practice to play lots of these slurs slowly in preparation for this piece. You can see more on the slur (including the trill) here...

I hope these study notes on Rujero have been of use.

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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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