Fingerstyle Guitar Study

Practice your fingerstyle technique by playing this arpeggio-based piece for solo guitar. Although not overly challenging, this fingerstyle guitar study is perhaps best attempted by 'advanced beginner' or intermediate players. TAB is included, and the music can be played on acoustic, classical or even electric guitar.

Fingerstyle Guitar Study

Fingerstyle Guitar Study

This fingerstyle guitar study is an excerpt from 'Serenade', taken from 'Scenes From Hardy Country' for solo guitar. You can download 'Scenes From Hardy Country' here.

This is a very good piece for developing fingerstyle arpeggio technique. It requires even, steady playing, with smooth changes between the chords.

You can also use this piece to practice varying the loudness and softness of your playing. Try to follow the dynamic markings in the music. A list of all of the musical terms used in the piece is provided at the end of the article.



Click music to view full size.


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How To Play Serenade

When learning a new piece, it is a good idea to concentrate on being able to play it all of the way through at a slow, steady tempo. Only when you can do this should you start to increase the tempo to performance speed. Breaking the music into chunks, even as small as one or two bars, also makes it easier to learn.

This piece is made up of arpeggiated chords that change every bar. When you have learned the chord shapes, playing the piece will become much easier.

There is a repeat sign at the end of the last bar, which means that the music should be played through twice.

Left hand fingering is shown by the small numbers before some of the notes. Make sure that you pay attention to the marked fingering (or work out your own). If you don't, you might end up tying yourself in knots!

The Roman numerals above the score are position markings. They tell you at which fretboard position you should be playing. For example, a III means position your hand so that your index finger is over the third fret. A 'C' before the position number means that you should form a barre over the frets (see Barre Chords for more info on this technique). The ½C symbol means create a half barre, which covers only part of the fingerboard.

Aim to achieve a steady tempo, with smooth changes. You can play the piece with the suggested dynamic markings, or experiment with your own.

Other Musical Terms Used In This Piece

The following musical terms / symbols are all frequently used in written music, and should be learned if you intend to read a lot of music:

adagio: play at a slow tempo.

con espressione means play 'with feeling'.

p (piano): play quietly

mf (mezzo-forte): play fairly loudly

f (forte): play loudly

dolce: play 'sweetly'

dim. (diminuendo): gradually decrease loudness

cresc. (crescendo): gradually increase loudness

rit. (ritardando): gradually slow down

a tempo: play at original tempo

We hope that you enjoy playing Serenade. The full piece can be downloaded here.


If you are interested in learning classical guitar, check out this article, which contains everything you need to know about taking up the instrument.

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