Classical guitar lesson #1 Romance TAB and how to play guide

Welcome to the first classical guitar lesson at Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. In this lesson, we will look at the Romance TAB and learn how to play this stunning little guitar piece one step at a time. Romance is a classical guitar piece which is also known by other titles such as Romanza amongst many others. The origins of the piece are not known. The style of the piece is that of the parlour music of the late 19th century in Spain or South America. It has a closed three-part form with the first being in a minor key, the second in a major key and the final part being a reiteration of the first.

There have been many recordings of this classical guitar piece over the years and in this lesson, I’m going to show the Romance TAB so that you can play it for yourself and I’ll also tell you how I play it.

As mentioned above, there are two sections which you need to learn. A major section and a minor section. We’ll tackle both, starting with the minor part and we will break each part down into easy bite sized chunks.

classical guitar lesson 1 romance tab

Romance requires finger picking

You won’t need a plectrum for his one. Romance is finger picked. For many of you, this won’t be an issue. For some, this maybe slightly off putting but don’t run away just yet. Romance is actually an ideal piece for those who’re not all that experienced with the finger picking technique. Not an easy piece, but an ideal one.

Romance TAB minor section

Let’s take a look at the first few bars to get started. Here is the TAB for bars 1-4 of the Romance minor section.

Romance TAB minor section bars 1-4

This is perhaps the most important part of the lesson because the first 4 bars show you the rhythm for the entire piece. As you can see, we’re in the time signature of 3/4 so 3 beats per bar. Those 3 beats are separated into triplets resulting in 3 sets of 3 per bar. This rhythm is persistent throughout so use these first 4 bars to get a feel for the rhythm of the piece.

The bass notes here are performed with the thumb. This will be the case for the entire piece. Bass notes will primarily consist of open E notes and open A notes on the lowest 2 strings, but there are more to be found as you’ll see later. Whatever the bass note is, play it with your thumb. They’re easy to identify.

As for the other notes, we’ll be picking those with our first, second, and third fingers. Our third finger will be picking the highest string, our first finger will be picking the lowest string (excluding the bass note), and our second finger will pick the string in the middle of the two.

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Thanks to the consistency of the rhythm in the piece, the finger picking can be picked up rather quickly, especially if you start slowly. There are times where the 3 strings that are in use change, but that finger picking pattern will remain the same. Let’s continue with the TAB.

Romance TAB minor section bars 5-8

Above, you see the next 4 bars of the Romance minor section. There’s a lovely little slide up opportunity as you move up to the note at the 12th fret and we also see a new bass note which is the A. Still perform that with the thumb as instructed earlier.

We also see a little barre used there at the 5th fret. Fret that barre with your fretting hand’s first finger.

Next, we shall see the hardest 4 bars of this section.

Romance TAB minor section bars 9-12

The above 4 bars are the most difficult because of the awkward chord that is introduced right at the start.

To make this chord, form a barre across all 6 strings at fret 7 with your fretting hand first finger and fret the 8th fret on the G string with your second finger. Your third finger and fourth finger shall fret the notes on the high E. When I write it out like that, it doesn’t seem that difficult but I do remember having difficulty with this back in the day so some of you will have issues here. Stick at it. You’ll get it in the end.

The other 2 bars, you’ll find no issues with as it’s a repeat of what you’ve played earlier in the piece.

Next, we shall take a look at the final part of the minor section of Romance.

Romance TAB minor section bars 13-16 (final part of the minor section)

This is the only set of bars which feature a significant change from myself. I’ve altered the B chord used in the first 2 bars of this part and made it a standard 5 string dominant 7 barre chord shape. I just happen to like the sound of this chord here.

The third bar of this snippet sounds really cool. I love the bass notes here and it concludes very nicely with the open E notes at the end. You can choose to pick all 3 of the high strings in that last bar or you could even experiment with the full E minor chord if you wish. I just happen to like the sound of the octave E notes.

That concludes the minor section of Romance. This is typically played twice before moving on to the major section and then again after the major section. This structure is not set in stone however. For example, I like to play the minor section twice followed by the major section once followed by nothing else.

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The structure is up to you but first things first, let’s learn the major section of Romance.

Romance TAB major section

I considered 2 sets of 8 bars for this section but we’ve got a bit of a flow going here so let’s go 4 bars at a time again. Here’s the TAB for the first 4 bars of the Romance major section.

Romance TAB major section bars 1-4

This section has a warmness to it and you’ll get that right away with this first part. The first two bars are easy enough. The next 2 are as well in all honesty, but they look harder in the TAB. What you have there is that B dominant 7 shape again that we used earlier only this time it’s modified.

It starts as a B7sus4 then moves to a standard dominant 7 and again to a minor 7 chord before moving back to the dominant 7 again. This sounds complex but all you’re doing is starting with your fourth finger a fret higher than normal, then moving it down, then switching your fourth finger for your second for the minor 7 shape and then back to the dominant 7. It’s easier if you just play it.

Major section bars 5-8

Here, we see a return of a 6 string barre at the 7th fret. This is the same as the minor section only this time, you’re to add your third finger at the 9th fret and reach up to the 11th with your fourth finger when required.

The next 2 bars look like a barre, but they aren’t. It’s more like the fingering for an open A major chord but on the 3 high strings at the 9th fret. Use your second, third and fourth fingers to create this chord. When the 7th fret high E notes come, remove your fourth finger and fret the B note with your first finger. The later 11th fret can be reached with the fourth finger.

Major section bars 9-12

The same chord remains in place for the first 2 bars of this snippet with more fourth finger work and a big stretch up to the 12 fret. That may prove a little tricky for some but again, stick at it.

The final two bars of this snippet may prove difficult also. The fingering for the chord is like this. The first finger forms a bar on the E and B strings at the 5th fret. The second finger frets the G string 6th fret and the fourth finger frets 9 on the high E. Quite a stretch right?

As you’ll see in the TAB, after the 9th fret, you move to fret 7 on the high E which you can play with your third finger and then it’s the 5th fret which is already in place with your first finger.

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This part also has that A bass note.

The final 4 bars

We’ve now reached the final 4 bars of the major section of Romance and the final 4 bars that you need to learn.

The first two bars are using another barre chord. Barre all the strings apart from the low E at fret 2 and place your third and fourth fingers at the 4th fret on the B and high E strings respectively. Move your fourth finger up a fret and off the fretboard completely when instructed.

The third bar of this snippet follows what the minor section did only this time, we’re in major. I find it easier to simply finger the whole open E major chord and pick the notes from it as instructed.

The section ends in the same way, with the open E notes. Again, you may find experimenting with the chord at the end quite productive but I like the sound of the two open strings.

Screwing with the tempo

You’ve now learned all the Romance TAB and you’ve also had a few little tips on how I find it best to play it. There is one more thing worth mentioning and that’s the tempo. I’ve set the tempo at 80 beats per minute in the TAB. It sounds nice at that speed but I’ve heard it played both much slower and also much faster so do what you feel is best. It may also be helpful to start slow and build the tempo as you learn.

Another thing that I like to do with this piece is screw with the tempo somewhat. I like to speed up and slow down as I’m performing the piece. Give it a try. It takes practice to make this effective but it can work.

What next?

That about wraps things up for the Romance TAB, lesson, and guide. As you can establish from the title, this is the first classical guitar lesson here at Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat, so linking to something similar is difficult. I’ll just hope that you’re a guitarist who likes to learn anything and therefore, you may be interested in the following lessons. They aren’t song tutorials, they’re technical based guitar lessons. 

How to play the Minor Neapolitan scale and the Major Neapolitan scale on guitar 

Learn all the notes on the fretboard

12 bar blues variations on guitar

Learn the essential skills to play the guitar in your favorite music styles