Carulli Waltz

This Carulli Waltz is a charming example of his work for the beginning to intermediate guitarist. Unfortunately, Carulli gained a reputation as being a rather facile composer when in truth he couldn't get the publishers to publish most of his more difficult works. 

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He was born in Italy in the same year as Beethoven (1770) he became one of the most popular and loved classical guitar composers and players of his time. Indeed, that love extends right up to the present day as new generations of guitarists "find" his music and make it their own.

In this particular piece, that being a waltz in 3/8 time, you have to be careful to play faster than you would say a waltz in 3/4 time. This is the generally accepted practice as the 3/8 time is shorter in duration and thus played quicker throughout the piece. Because of this it is necessary to "anticipate" where your fingers need to be and to move quickly and accurately to that position. You'll recall on another page on this site I have discussed "Guide" and "Pivot" fingers. This knowledge is indispensable if you want to learn to move quickly yet retain a clear, clean sound, all the while making it look "easy".

Here is a YouTube video of the piece...

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The structure of this waltz is marked..."D.C. al Fine". That means, in effect, after playing each the repeat section and reaching the end (where it says D.C. al fine) you go back to the beginning and play through to where it says just "Fine" (the end of the second section of music). You do this without repeating either the first or second section. This means there are actually 7 "sections" of music to be played before you complete the piece.

Being reasonably fast, my advice is to play this Carulli waltz slowly first (as with all your music) and build up the speed gradually. If you do that in combination with the correct guide and pivot finger movement, you should achieve a smooth, legato sound that appears relaxed and not at all rushed. Many classical guitar players don't often realize they are trying to play too fast and are often quite tense in their fingers, hands and even upper body including the shoulders. This will have the effect of making the music appear "scratchy" and disjointed. You must "open" your ears and listen to what you are producing. You can do this a lot better if you're not tense or wound up. Playing slowly at first helps you to engender the right habits, so it's "second nature" to you.

Additionally, it's interesting to note that the Carulli waltz is mostly in D major. That is the key signature (and scale that the piece is built on) consists of an "F" sharp and a "C" sharp. This is true of the first 2 sections. The 3rd section is actually in "B" minor, which is the related minor key to "D" major. It was common practice in Carulli's time to do this because it adds interest and "color" to a piece. Naturally, the key returns to the "home' key before finishing at bar 18.

All in all, the Carulli Waltz is quite a nice little piece, but it does present some challenges for the beginning to intermediate guitarist to achieve a standard of legato with poise. Enjoy!

Here are a few related pages in which you might be interested...

More than the Carulli Waltz...

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