Spanish Romance (Romanza) for Classical Guitar

Spanish Romance (Romanza) – Free PDF Sheet Music or Tab for Classical Guitar with Free Performance and Video Lesson. Comes with both a Notation-Only Edition and a separate Tab Edition. Level is Intermediate, a few big chords, stretches, and upper position (Grade 5-6). YouTube Performance & Lesson.

Spanish Romance (Romanza) – This is an iconic work and may the most popular and well recognized works for classical guitar by the general public. The composer is anonymous. Also known as “Romance Anónimo” (Anonymous Romance), “Estudio en Mi de Rubira” (Study in E by Rubira), “Romance de España”, “Romanza” and “Romance d’Amour” and more titles. Includes fingering.

Free PDF Sheet Music Edition

Or find it in my Grade 5 Repertoire Lessons Book

Quick Lesson Tips for Spanish Romance

Score Comments: The use of the E in measure 19 and 20 is used as a pedal point but feel free to play an F sharp with a barre at the 2nd fret if you prefer. 

Play the melody on its own. The melody to Spanish Romance is the most important element in the piece. You want to practice the melody on its own and get the phrasing and dynamic shaping to be as high quality as possible. Then, when you add in the accompaniment you try to keep the legato melody as high quality as possible despite of the chord changes and fingering. The melody is the upper voice as shown on the first two lines below.

Spanish Romance Melody

Balance the Voices. You want the melody to be the most prominent. The melody should pop out of the texture without interference from the bass or accompaniment. The bass voice is the next most important and can be fairly present so it can sustain through the measure. It’s quite far away in register from the melody so it won’t interfere much. The accompaniment should be the softest. Try to under-play it so it never interferes with the prominent melody.

Spanish Romance Balance

Practice the chord shapes on their own. Getting comfortable with the chord shapes is another aspect of the piece that will need to be practiced. You can do this by practicing the combined notes in a measure or quarter note beat.

Another Video

Some History on Spanish Romance

More info on the piece via its Wiki: “Its origins and authorship are in question. It is suspected of originally being a solo instrumental guitar work, from the 19th century. It has variously been attributed to Antonio Rubira, David del Castillo, Francisco Tárrega, Fernando Sor, Daniel Fortea, Miguel Llobet, Antonio Cano, Vicente Gómez, and Narciso Yepes. The Anónimo (anonymous) part of its name has been incorporated over the years due to this uncertainty. The question of authorship has probably been propagated by three main reasons: the lack of claim by its true author, the desire to avoid paying copyright fees, and the desire of publishing companies to claim the lucrative copyright of this world-famous piece. The style of the piece is that of the Parlour music of the late 19th century in Spain or South America, having a closed three-part form: the first in the minor key and the second being in the major key, with the third being a restatement of the first.”

The piece is certainly not by Sor, that is just way off, but Tarrega would not be a huge stretch. Though, if it was by any legit composers I would imagine the piece has been altered overtime to simplify it and make it more pleasing for mainstream consumption.

Sample Media

Thomas Viloteau on YouTube.

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Ask a Question or Leave a Positive Comment

  1. In the video, you say that c## (double sharp! is there “because that’s how the harmony works out”. Why? It is a melodic line, which is chromatic in this case so that d# goes down to d, which is not a part of E major scale, but… neither is c##.

    Wy question is, why did you write is as c##? Is it because for that short part the piece modulates to another scale? If so what scale is it (the one I mentioned before doesn’t match)? Or what roman numeral would you put to that chord so it works out like that?

    I’m just trying to understand why. It doesn’t help there are so many different variations out there, some with E, some A, F# or even B or in the bass.

    I guess it’s some kind of ii chord (F#m7/E?) in your case. If you write c##, that would be F#m7(#5)/E, right?

    But it’s easier to say the piece modulates to E Mixolydian, which has F#m7 chord, and the melody is using D natural which is in that scale.

    Sorry if I’m talking nonsense, I’m self-taught and trying to figure it out, might be I’m missing something obvious.

    • C double sharp is the lower auxiliary to D sharp. Writing it as a D natural would be incorrect. Not every note in a piece is from the key or scale, chromatic notes will come into play in many different circumstances. In this case, it’s just a non-chord tone and a spicy chromatic lower auxiliary to the D sharp. Nothing to overthink and it does not get analyzed as part of the chord. Furthermore, there is a pedal low E in the bar which is also not part of the chord. Actually the whole section functions as a dominant chord (with secondary dominants) that lead to E major. In short, it’s all tension leading to a resolution in E.

  2. Why c## in bar 20? That would make the chord something like E(##6) in Lydian #2 # 6 mode, which seems way over complicated. Why not a simple Em7 with D natural?

  3. Any tips for how to practice the quick barre transitions like 20->21 or 26->27? Also getting F# to sound properly in 10 is quite hard. I must have a long way to go in my barre technique.

  4. There appears to be a small error in the sheet music. Bars 19&20 have an E in the bass, but F# is typically played as seen in the video (second position).

      • Completely down to preference of course. I just don’t think it’s what learners will expect to find in those bars. It is less traditional and less harmonically stable, but as you say, whatever sounds best to your ears.

  5. There is an interesting article on Narciso Yepes ( 1927-1997 ) and “Jeux interdits ” (Romanza )
    by Rafael Andia in Guitare Classique ( #52, March-May 2011). Yepes would have revealed in 1982 on Spain National Radio that he composed the Romance on his 7th birthday as a gift to his mother. The piece is the soundtrack of the movie Jeux Interdits ( 1952 ) and is often given that title in French. A note: on the free PDF for which I am very grateful there is a typo in measure 19 which was no doubt already brought to your attention.