Romanza

Unknown author

Most beginners in classical guitar playing get fascinated by the Spanish Romance and hope that they will one day be able to play it. Perhaps it's not stupid to say that the Spanish Romance is the Stairway to Heaven of the classical guitar. This was really the case when I was starting to learn to play the guitar. It's not surprising that people get taken by this song because the melody grabs the imagination and the it suits the classical guitar exceptionally well.

romanza intro

Nobody knows for sure who wrote the Spanish Romance, but many have been named. These include Antonio Rubira, David Del Castillo, Francisco Tarrega, Frendando Sor and more . The song is probably written in Spain after the mid-eighteenth century and it´s style is typical of contemporary music of that time. The first known recording of the song is from Madrid from the year 1897 - 1901. One of those who have been told to be the author of the song is Narciso Yepes, but it can hardly be the case because Madrit's recording was made before Yepes's birth. However, Yepes did an arrangement which was played in the French film Jeux Interdits and that made the piece famous throughout the world.

The Spanish Romance is not particularly hard to play technically but there are things to be aware of. The A part of the song is written in e-minor. The melody line rushes up and down the e string while the other strings are played open. Here you have to be careful not to play the middle voice louder than the melody. The first part of the song is played twice, then B part starts. The B part is written in e-major. It is a bit harder to play technically. Sometimes you have to use barre chords and overstretches which can be a bit hard. The song finishes then the A part played once again. It´s probably a matter of taste whether to play the melody ling with apoyando stoke or tirendo. Two guitar teachers have heard me play the Spanish Romance. One of them wanted me to play the melody with apoyando stroke while the other did not think it was important. I don´t think it is right to play the melody all the time with apoyando stroke. Just play apoyando when you want to get some special tone or to emphasize on particular notes.

When it comes to interpreting there is no right way to do it. The song can be interpreted in many ways, as can be seen in the videos below. An excellent performances in both cases but the interpretation is completely different. When I play the Spanish Romance, I see before my eyes a young couple on a hot summer day. Nothing finds it´s way into their minds other than their love for each other. When I play the A section, I see the sun lowering and casing long shadow on the surroundings. In the B part the sun has set. The young couple walk home in the evening beeze. Finally, the A part is played again and you can see the sun rise again on a new day. This is how I get my self into the right mood to play The Spanish Romaza.