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Scarlatti Minuetto

This Scarlatti minuetto is an intoxicating little tune that you have to play over and over again. In this case,  the composer is Alessandro, father of the famous Domenico. See more on Domenico and others on the Guitar Time Line Alessandro was known for his operas, oratorios and keyboard works that displayed..."a level of skill and originality which often surpassed those of his contemporaries.


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The term minuetto was originally an Italian term, but it was adapted into other languages e.g. French and can also be known as either a minuet or menuet. Originally written for keyboard this Scarlatti minuetto seems simple enough, but there are a few difficult areas to "traverse" if one is to render a clean performance.

For instance, there are slurs in bars 3, 4, 11, 12, 13, 20, 22, 28 and 30. In some cases,  the slurs are played whilst holding down a full barre. Traditionally, you are using fingers of the left hand that are regarded as weaker. They are fingers 3 and 4. At other times,  you are playing open string slurs, but you still have to be careful to execute them cleanly and at speed.

The minuetto is basically two sections with a repeat of the first section at the end as a Da Capo Al fine, which literally means go back to the start of the music. Then play to the word "fine" (the finish). Both sections balance one another beautifully, the first being in the more "serious" key of E Minor and the second section in the related G Major. The G major section is almost an "answer" to the "call" of the E minor section.

This minuetto is also very chordal, and you must be relaxed to both get on the chords properly and move from chord to chord. Because the timing is 3/8 it means the piece is relatively fast, If you're not relaxed in both hands (and shoulders and whole body for that matter), you'll find yourself having trouble playing the piece cleanly enough. Play the piece slowly until you can change chords with relative ease.

Actually, that brings up another point of interest in terms of technique in this Scarlatti piece. You'll notice in the video I'm often moving up and down the fret board. Again, you need to be relaxed on the instrument if you're to achieve fluid, flowing hand movements and achieve a good tone and legato sound.

Here's a youtube video of the piece...

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If you have difficulty reading the sheet music and finding out just what fret you should be on, look at the tablature that accompanies the sheet music. It will tell you what fret your fingers are actually on and is always a good supplement to the sheet music if your knowledge of the fret board is a bit scant.

More than Scarlatti Minuetto...

Here are a few related resources in which you may be interested...

Scarlatti Sonatas for Guitar

Scarlatti for Guitar

For information on the Scarlatti clan click here...

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