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Classical Period (Guitar Lesson)

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Danny Voris

Classical Period

In lesson 13, Danny discusses the Classical period of music.

Taught by Danny Voris in Classical Guitar seriesLength: 20:53Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (12:34) Introduction to the Classical Period and Ferdinando Carulli's Waltz Lesson Objectives

-Learn how to play a Waltz written by Ferdinando Carulli.
-Learn key stylistic elements and historical information pertaining to the Classical period of Western art music.
-Study the life and works of Ferdinando Carulli.

Classical Period

Stylistic information pertaining to the five most important periods of Western art music (Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern) will soon be posted in the Articles section of JamPlay. This section can be accessed through the left-hand side of the homepage. Learning this information will help you interpret written scores in a stylistically appropriate manner. Without knowing the background information and the approach that went into composing a piece of music, you will not be able to play it as it was meant to be performed.

Ferdinando Carulli

Ferdinando Maria Meinrado Francesco Pascale Rosario Carulli (1770-1841) is one of the most influential guitar composers from the Classical period. Carulli was born in Naples, on February 9, 1770. He began studying the cello as a child. He later switched over to the guitar around age 20. During this time period, the guitar was still not nearly as popular as other chamber instruments. Since there were no guitar teachers to study with in Naples, Carulli developed his own unique style.

Soon after picking up the guitar, Carulli began to perform regular concerts in Naples. The success of these initial concerts eventually led to full tours of Europe. Carulli moved to Paris after a tour through the city. At this time, Paris was heralded as the music capital of the world.

While in Paris, Carulli wrote prolifically. In just 12 years, he composed over 400 guitar pieces in addition to concertos and various chamber pieces. Unfortunately, some of Carulli's finest works have been lost. Music publishers felt that some of his pieces were much too difficult for the average guitarist. Consequently, the publishers thought these pieces would not turn a very large profit. After several rejections, Carulli began to publish his more complex works on his own.

In addition to composing and performing, Carulli devoted much of his time to teaching. One of his most notable accomplishments is his guitar method book entitled "Harmony Applied to the Guitar." This book includes a variety of pieces geared towards a beginner to intermediate level. At the time of its publication, Carulli's method book was extremely popular. It remains to be a popular teaching method amongst classical guitar teachers to this day.

Carulli's Compositions (with Opus Numbers)

Op. 11, Duo In C Major for guitar and piano
Op. 21, Three Sonatas for solo guitar
Op. 32, Three Waltzes for guitar and piano
Op. 37, Duo In D Major for guitar and piano
Op. 45, Great Duo In A Major for guitar and piano
Op. 63, Great Duo In A Major for guitar and piano
Op. 65, Duo In A Major for guitar and piano
Op. 70, Great Duo In D Major for guitar and piano
Op. 86, Great Duo In E Minor for guitar and piano
Op. 92, Three Small Duos for guitar and piano
Op. 127, Nocturne In G Major for guitar and piano
Op. 130, Duo In C Major for guitar and piano
Op. 131, Two Nocturnes for guitar and piano
Op. 134, Duo In D Major for guitar and piano
Op. 135, Duo In C Major for guitar and piano
Op. 140, Petit Concerto de Societé for guitar and orchestra
Op. 151, Duo In G Major for guitar and piano
Op. 161, Great March Of Agthe In C Major for guitar and piano
Op. 168, Great March Of Ries In D Major for guitar and piano
Op. 169, Beethoven's Variations In F Major for guitar and piano
Op. 189, Three Duos for guitar and piano -

Nr. 1, Duo In A Major
Nr. 2, Duo In G Major
Nr. 3, Duo In D Major

Op. 196b, Three Sonatinas for guitar and piano
Op. 207, Nr. 1, Solo In D Major for guitar and piano
Op. 208, Nocturne In A Major for guitar and piano
Op. 233, Two Duos On Themes By Rossini for guitar and piano
Op. 236, Mix On Themes By Rossini for guitar and piano
Op. 333, Grand Recueil (18 Very Easy Pieces for Beginners) - 2 books

(Without Opus Numbers)

Rondo In D major for guitar and piano
Fantasy from "Fiorella" By Auber In A Major for guitar and piano
Variety Of Twelve Overtures By Rossini for guitar and piano -

Cinderella, Or Goodness Triumphant
Bianca And Falliero, Or The Council Of Three
The Italian Girl In Algiers
Othello, Or The Moor Of Venice
The Merry Deception
The Barber Of Seville, Or The Useless Precaution
The Thieving Magpie
Torvald And Dorliska
Edward And Christina

The Waltz

Waltzes can either be written in 3/4 or 3/8 depending on the feel of the music. 3/8 is usually used for slower pieces in which the beat is subdivided in half. For example, in 3/8 time, eighth notes are counted as the beat. When the eighth note is subdivided in half, sixteenth notes are produced.

Performance Example

Danny demonstrates Carulli's Waltz at 02:00 in the lesson video. Listen to this example several times before you begin to practice the piece. Remember that it is always easier to play something that you have heard several times.

Arpeggio Pattern

The majority of this piece consists of a simple arpeggio pattern. Isolate and practice this arpeggio pattern by eliminating the left hand from the equation. Simply drill the right hand pattern with open strings.

Danny breaks down the proper fingering for this pattern at 03:25.

Chord Progression

Danny breaks down the chords that the arpeggio pattern is applied to at 04:30. This progression consists of the following chords: Em - B/D# - Em -B7 -Em

Note: The arpeggio pattern varies slightly to incorporate a melody line on the first string within the B major chord.

Left Hand

Pay very careful attention to the left hand fingerings that Danny uses to play each of the chords. Remember that economy of movement is extremely important to playing classical guitar.

Rolled Chords

The last chord of this section is played as a "blocked," meaning that all of the notes are played simultaneously. Danny "rolls" this chord or separates each of the individual notes in the arpeggio to give the ending to this section a more dramatic effect.
Chapter 2: (08:18) Finalizing Ferdinando Carulli's Waltz Danny demonstrates the second section 00:50. Listen to these 8 measures several times before you dive in and learn them.

Arpeggio Pattern

The right hand pattern changes in this section. Remember to practice each arpeggio pattern with open strings so that you can monitor your right hand technique.


The melody must always be played louder than the supporting accompaniment part. For example, at the beginning of this section, the melody is played in the bass. Bring out the bass line by digging in more with the thumb. Then, bring out the melody as it switches to the higher register on the first string. Remember that there is always more to playing guitar than just regurgitating what is written on the page.

A Few Notes on the Score

Danny teaches only the first half of Carulli's Waltz in this lesson. Using the skills that he has taught you, tackle the second half of the piece on your own.

As you work through the entire piece, make sure that you are following the musical road signs correctly. "D.C. al Fine" is indicated at the end of measure 32. "D.C." is an abbreviation for "da capo," literally meaning "to the head (beginning)." "Al fine" means to the end. The end or "fine" is indicated above measure 16. Follow the instructions listed below as you play through the piece.

1. Play mm. 1-8.
2. Repeat these measures.
3. Play mm. 9-16.
4. Repeat these measures.
5. Play mm. 17-24.
6. Repeat these measures
7. Play mm. 25-32.
8. Repeat these measures.
9. Go back to measure 1.
10. Play mm. 1-8.
11. Repeat these measures.
12. Play mm. 9-16.
13. Repeat these measures. The piece ends here.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Supplemental Learning Material



Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

luvmyyairiluvmyyairi replied

I love this song I learned it as Ramanza...I printed out your lesson version and will give it a try...it's a bit different and it will challenge me with those bars up the neck. The arrangement I have is an ensemble arrangement where we have different parts..you are playing all the parts :-) It's such a pretty song Thanks

gone workingone workin replied

I very much appreciate your talking about not only what to play, but where the emphasis goes and what to key in on to make the music express to full advantage. I think that sensibility you show here can help my playing other works and being able to feature the essence. Great instruction. By your choosing works that are so relatively simple, it's easier to see all the parts with clarity. Thanks Danny. I just took a big leap forward.

rsmitrsmit replied

Nice lesson Danny! Thanks for the tab! Are you going to finish up the last half of it???

greenogreeno replied

Great lesson Danny. More Carulli!

Classical Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

The origins of the classical guitar date back to the fifteenth century. The vihuela, lute, and baroque guitar are the early predecessors of the guitar. With its origins reaching deep into the past, the classical guitar repertoire spans over five hundred years worth of material. Danny Voris explains the techniques necessary to mastering this timeless art form.

Overview of the Classical GuitarLesson 1

Overview of the Classical Guitar

Danny provides an overview of the topics that will be discussed in this lesson set. He also explains the origin of the classical guitar.

Length: 5:57 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Preparing to Play the Classical GuitarLesson 2

Preparing to Play the Classical Guitar

In this lesson, Danny covers proper posture and how to hold the classical guitar. He also explains how to shape the nails in order to produce the best tone possible.

Length: 19:44 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Installing Nylon StringsLesson 3

Installing Nylon Strings

Danny demonstrates how to install nylon strings on a classical guitar.

Length: 12:58 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Left Hand TechniqueLesson 4

Left Hand Technique

Danny covers the basics of left hand techniques for classical guitar.

Length: 20:19 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Finger Independence Lesson 5

Finger Independence

For lesson five, Danny discusses left hand finger independence. He also discusses hammer-on and pull-off technique.

Length: 17:06 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Right Hand TechniqueLesson 6

Right Hand Technique

In lesson 6, Danny discusses and demonstrates right hand technique for the classical style.

Length: 24:26 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
ArpeggiosLesson 7


Lesson 7 is all about arpeggios. Danny provides discussion and exercises designed to build your right hand skills.

Length: 8:43 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
The Importance of ScalesLesson 8

The Importance of Scales

Lesson 8 covers scale exercises in the classical format. Danny provides a few patterns that focus on finger independence and position shifts.

Length: 6:26 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Renaissance PeriodLesson 9

Renaissance Period

In lesson 9, Danny begins discussion of the five different musical periods of classical guitar music. He starts with the Renaissance.

Length: 40:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Robert Johnson's AlmanLesson 10

Robert Johnson's Alman

In lesson 10, Danny takes a more in depth look at a Robert Johnson's "Alman." This lesson contains a detailed explanation of fingering.

Length: 27:36 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Behind the Scenes with Danny VorisLesson 11

Behind the Scenes with Danny Voris

Danny Voris discusses the major music periods and the advent of tonality.

Length: 7:19 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Baroque PeriodLesson 12

Baroque Period

Danny discusses and demonstrates a piece from the Baroque period.

Length: 22:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Classical PeriodLesson 13

Classical Period

In lesson 13, Danny discusses the Classical period of music.

Length: 20:53 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Romantic PeriodLesson 14

Romantic Period

In lesson 14, Danny discusses the Romantic period of music. He demonstrates a famous piece from this period commonly referred to as "Romance."

Length: 21:11 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
The 20th CenturyLesson 15

The 20th Century

In this lesson, Danny discusses the 20th century influence on classical guitar.

Length: 22:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Danny Voris

About Danny Voris View Full Biography

A unique guitarist in the region, Wright State alumnus Danny Voris, musically fulfills audiences with a mixture of exciting guitar playing and talented compositional skills. After graduating WSU in 1989, Danny obtained a teaching position at Sinclair Community College. In the fall of 2000, Danny obtained a scholarship to the graduate program at The University of Akron. After graduating the University of Akron in 2002 with a Master’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance, Danny returned to Dayton. There he began teaching at Jim McCutcheon Music Studios and at The Miami Valley School in Kettering, Ohio.

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