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'Adelita' Tarrega's Composition Style


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Tarrega 'Adelita'

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In this lesson I discuss aspects of Tarrega's compositional style.

His music is very classical in nature because there is usually a clear melody supported by a bass line that creates traditional classical harmony, chord progression and voice leading. There is also an additional Romantic aspect in the use of extended harmony notes in the melodic lines, such as dominant 9ths, flat 9ths, dominant 13ths, flat 13ths.

In addition, there are usually three "voices" or "lines of music".

1. Top melody notes
2. Bottom bass notes
3. Inner chord voices

Because Tarrega was a guitarist he had a brilliant knowledge of how to write specifically for guitar. His music always shows complete command of the instrument. Each voice, part, line is heard clearly and distinctly in it's own "musical space".

The overall form of 'Adelita' is also typical of his small scale solo guitar pieces. One section is in a minor key, sounds very bittersweet and sadly dramatic. This is contrasted with a section in a major key that is joyful sounding. Finally, there is a return to the original key, be it minor or major.

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