Updated: November 1st, 2012

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Francisco Tárrega (Spain, 1852-1909)

Francisco Tárrega Eixea was born in Villareal, on the 21st of November 1852.

In 1881 he traveled to Paris where he became widely known as a guitar virtuoso.

After a trip to Granada he wrote "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" (Memories of the Alhambra)

Recuerdos de la Alhambra is hailed as one of the greatest Master Pieces ever written for the Classical Guitar.

This work primordially exhibits the "trémolo" technique, which consists in plucking the same string of the guitar by the ring, middle and the index fingers of the right hand. This technique intends to evoke the sound of the mandolin.

As well as Capricho Arabe, Recuerdos de la Alhambra has an extremely Moorish influence.

“Recuerdos de la Alhambra” and “Capricho Arabe” are two pieces that must be obligatorily included in the repertoire of any world class concert guitarist.

Besides his composition activity, Tárrega introduced several innovations in guitar technique. He was not satisfied with the sound he was getting from his guitar and he decided to radically cut back his fingernails so that the guitar was plucked by the skin of his fingers which, hardened over time, produced the tone that was to become characteristic of his school.

He played throughout in Europe and he was hailed as the best guitar player of his times.

But, in January 1906, a stroke left him partially paralyzed. He recovered slowly and painfully. The long illness exhausted the family's funds, but his friends arranged a series of concerts named "Audiciones de Tárrega" in which the master gave concerts and they were paid by his friends.

Afterwards, Tárrega completely recovered and then he started to tour again.

He composed his final work "Oremus" which is dated December 2nd, 1909.

Francisco Tárrega returned to Barcelona on the 3rd of December because he felt unwell. He died on December 15th, 1909.

Classical Guitar Music