Favourite Student Repertoire

Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Tárrega (1852–1909)

Created originally for military purposes, the Alhambra, in Spain, was an “alcazaba” (fortress), an “alcázar” (palace) and a small “medina” (city), all in one. Since 1984 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage site and its history stretches back to the 9th century.

Conjuring up memories of the Alhambra, this piece uses a tremolo technique throughout. A fast repeated right-hand pattern, p a m i. I believe that developing a good tremolo technique helps overall control and independence of the right hand fingers, and of course, once there’s control, a palette of musical colours and expression lies at our fingertips.

Throughout the coming months I shall write about some of the ways to develop a good tremolo. Having taught the piece many times I can conclude that there is no definitive practice method which suits everyone, but I can share my observations and experience. I’ll be discussing right hand position over the strings, planting, metronome work, accenting, different finger combinations, listening, various books and exercises.