UD#80 Gorgeous Classical Piece: Spanish Romance
from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek
My dad was around 30 years old when he started playing guitar. An adult beginner! One of the pieces that I remember him practicing is Spanish Romance, which is one of the best known classical guitar pieces in the world. I’d like to teach you a uke version today. The full piece has two sections: a minor section and a major section. I’ll teach you the minor section today. To learn the the major section please go to UD#83.
First let’s listen to the piece on guitar to hear how it sounds:
Last newsletter, we talked about how ukuleles and guitars are related. We learned that the four strings of the ukulele have the same tonal relationship as the top four strings of the guitar. This is handy to know because it means some guitar music can be played, “as is,” on the uke.
Let’s take a look at the GUITAR tablature for Spanish Romance to see if there there is anything we can play directly on the ukulele. Take a close look at the notes on the top four strings. Here is the GUITAR tab for Spanish Romance:
You may have noticed that there are no notes on the 4th string in this piece, but plenty of notes on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings. These notes we can transfer onto the uke directly. The key is changed but it still sounds like Spanish Romance. Below, you will find the tablature for Spanish Romance on the UKULELE. Notice that the tablature for the first three strings is identical to the guitar version! Cool, eh? Here is the tablature:
There’s one little hitch, though. Did you notice that some notes got left out in our the ukulele version? Yes, we had to leave out the notes on the 6th and 5th string of the guitar version. This is a shame because those notes are the root notes of the chords and help to “ground” the piece musically.
I made a very exciting discovery a few weeks ago!
A student of mine was learning Spanish Romance on his uke. He was working from the classical guitar tab. He knew that he could play everything as it was written on the top three strings. While he was playing it I started thinking, “Gee, I sure am missing those root notes!” Suddenly an idea hit me. “What if we tune the G string on the uke (4th string) up to an A note? We will be able to use it to play the roots. Just like in the guitar version!” It worked really well.
Here is a video of me playing through Spanish Romance on the ukulele. I am playing a uke with a low G string but the arrangement works for low and high G. I play through the simple version, then I tune my G string string up to an A note and play the full version. I’m still a little excited about that discovery! I’m sure I am not the only one to have tried this but I was pretty happy to stumble upon it. The tab for the full version of the Spanish Romance minor section is below. Here is the video:
And here is the tablature for the full version of the minor section:
That’s all for this newsletter. I hope this finds you well. All the best in your playing! If you’d like to learn the major section of Spanish Romance please go to UD#83.