Study No.2, Op.1, Part 3 by Giuliani (Right Hand String Muting)

Study No.2, Op.1, Part 3 by Mauro Giuliani (1781–1829). An etude on right hand string damping (muting). Free PDF Sheet Music or Premium Tab for Classical Guitar. Left hand fingering, PDF download. Level: intermediate (Grade 4-6 depending on tempo). YouTube Lesson Link.

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Comments – Giuliani’s Op.1 etudes are very pedagogically clear, this one is specific to right hand muting. This is one of those etudes that I used to avoid when I was younger, mainly due to laziness. But now, when I find something that challenges me I love it. You have to seek out weaknesses in your technique or musicality and conquer them.  You will likely find the right hand muting difficult at first but I guarantee that if you take it slow you’ll build up the skill and become confident quickly. Right hand muting is an essential technique for articulation, especially at higher levels. This is a great opportunity to really work on the skill.

String Damping (Muting) – Giuliani included some performance advice regarding string damping (muting) for this etude which I’ll roughly translate and expand on. Let the strings vibrate (sustain) for their full rhythmic value and then mute the strings during the sixteenth note rests. Mute the sound by placing the right hand fingers back on the same strings. In other words, after playing the notes, return the fingers back to the same strings to stop the sound. Make your movements small, relaxed, and reflex-oriented.

Also notice the marking sostenuto which means “sustained” or “sustain for full value”. I would interpret this marking to suggest a certain amount of full sound and tone should come from the notes. They should not sound staccato, clipped, or robbed of their proper value. The notes, although short, are still melodic and full.

  • Right Hand Fingering – Use p for all bass voice notes and rests/muting. For the upper voice use i-m or m-a for adjacent strings and i-a for spaced strings. The original beaming looks different but I feel this rhythmic notation matches the articulation much better.
  • Bar 2 – The awkward squeezed-in fingering is acceptable due to the security of keeping the 3rd finger on C. Alternatively, you could re-finger the chord but the change would be much more active and less secure overall.

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