Francisco de Asís Tárrega y Eixea (1852 – 1909) was a
Spanish composer and classical guitarist of the
Romantic period. He is known for such pieces as
Recuerdos de la Alhambra. He is often called "the
father of classical guitar" and is considered one of
the greatest guitarists of all time.
Tárrega was born on 21 November 1852, in Villarreal,
Province of Castellón, Spain. It is said that
Francisco's father played flamenco and several other
music styles on his guitar; when his father was away
working as a watchman at the Convent of San Pascual,
Francisco would take his father's guitar and attempt to
make the beautiful sounds he had heard. Francisco's
nickname as a child was "Quiquet".
As a child, he ran away from his nanny and fell into an
irrigation channel and injured his eyes. Fearing that
his son might lose his sight completely, his father
moved the family to Castellón de la Plana to attend
music classes because as a musician he would be able to
earn a living, even if blind. Both his first music
teachers, Eugeni Ruiz and Manuel González, were
In 1862, concert guitarist Julián Arcas, on tour in
Castellón, heard the young Tárrega play and advised
Tárrega's father to allow Francisco to come to
Barcelona to study with him. Tárrega's father agreed,
but insisted that his son take piano lessons as well.
The guitar was viewed as an instrument to accompany
singers, while the piano was quite popular throughout
Europe. However, Tárrega had to stop his lessons
shortly after, when Arcas left for a concert tour
abroad. Although Tárrega was only ten years old, he ran
away and tried to start a musical career on his own by
playing in coffee houses and restaurants in Barcelona.
He was soon found and brought back to his father, who
had to make great sacrifices to advance his son's
Three years later, in 1865, he ran away again, this
time to Valencia where he joined a gang of gypsies. His
father looked for him and brought him back home once
more, but he ran away a third time, again to Valencia.
By his early teens, Tárrega was proficient on both the
piano and the guitar. For a time, he played with other
musicians at local engagements to earn money, but
eventually he returned home to help his family.
Although originally composed for Solo Classical Guitar,
I created this interpretation of the Study in E Minor
for Concert (Pedal) or Lever Harp.
Download the sheet music here: