Tarrega, Francisco (11/21/1852 - 12/15/1909)

Historically Francisco Tárrega is of immense significance in the development of the guitar over the last two centuries, in terms of both technical innovations and compositions. His advocacy of the new concepts of guitar construction embodied in the work of Antonio de Torres (1817–1892), the great Spanish luthier, has proved influential right up to the present day. The composer’s use of higher positions up the neck of the guitar and sonorous effects achieved by precisely indicated fingerings, created a new concept of the instrument. Working with the Torres type of instrument (with its enhanced tonal qualities, fan strutting, and a 650 millimetre string length), Tárrega established teaching methods including the most practical way of holding the guitar (using a footstool to raise the left leg), principles of left and right hand techniques, and studies to develop a player’s skills.

Furthermore, Tárrega composed some superb music for the instrument, meticulously indicating the precise placing of notes on the fingerboard to produce the most expressive effects. In these little masterpieces, often influenced by Chopin, he established a Spanish romantic voice for the guitar which has enchanted public and players ever since. Though he did not write a guitar tutor, his methods were propagated through his many students. Among these, Emilio Pujol (1886–1980) and Pascual Roch (1860–1921) wrote down his principles of pedagogy in volumes still in use today.

Francisco Tárrega was the most influential Spanish virtuoso performer of the nineteenth century. His output was modest, with just 78 original scores and 120 transcriptions—mostly for his own use—of the great classical compositions. Tárrega was also the first great arranger for guitar, transcribing works from composers such as J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Berlioz, Chopin, Grieg, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, and Wagner, as well as pieces from Albéniz and Malats and other Spanish contemporaries.

Box Set Release Catalogue Number
Classic Bouquet Naxos 8.505080
Zauber der Klassischen Gitarre Naxos 8.503060


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