"Barcarola" Agustin Barrios Mangore Online Classical Guitar Lessons


Agustin Barrios Mangore was an incredibly gifted and accomplished classical guitar virtuoso and composer from Paraguay. He was born in 1885 and passed away in 1944. He was an academic polymath showing gifts for language, writing, and mathematics. During his lifetime he composed numerous works for guitar and concertised throughout South America and Europe on many occasions.

Performance Points 

I remember including this piece as part of my grade 7 exam for the Trinity College of London many years ago. The piece itself requires the 6th string to be tuned down one tone to D.

1st string - E

2nd string - B

3rd string - G

4th string - D

5th string - A

6th string - D

Barcarola is an extremely sonorous piece with the melody actually starting out on the lower strings. The melody eventually rises but the guitarists should carefully monitor where the melody is moving and ensure that its sonority isn't lost amongst the interweaving voices.

Barcarola or Barcarole have their origins in Venice. This musical developed amidst the gondoliers of Venice. 6/8 is the accepted time signature for Barcarolla and that time signature is also used by Barrios in this Barcarole. 

There are some gorgeous guitar techniques that are employed by Barrios. As is typical with Barrios the various techniques that he uses never seem forced or there just for techniques sake. He always finds a way to integrate them perfectly and organically into his compositions. Arrastre (slides), natural harmonics, artificial harmonics, & glissandi are all used in a sublime way to enrapture the listener.

Here are some things you should try:

  • keep a steady pulse just like waves on water
  • pick harmonics near the bridge for more clarity

Remember if you're having trouble working out which fingers to use make sure you get yourself a copy of my classical guitar sheet music with tabs here. It has all my fingerings included so that you don't have to think too much!