Estudio para Guitarra by Antonio Rubira

June 13th, 2012

One of the first pieces I learned was the famous ‘Romance.’ My version was taken from a book called “100 Guitar Best” published in Hong Kong.

Over the years, I’ve seen other versions but have been dissatisfied by them all, especially in regard to two spots where the harmony always seemed suspect to me. These two spots are in the E major section, measures 3-4 and 13-14.

A few years I managed to find a manuscript of a piece called Estudio para Guitarra by Antonio Rubira, an early version of the Romance. I decided to check the two parts in question in the version and became excited by what I found.

In the first part, the version has a dominant 7th in root position (B7 chord with ‘b’ in the bass). My first version has an ‘a’ in the bass which puts it in third inversion. Other versions have ‘f#’ in the bass which puts it in second inversion.

In the second part, the version has a I 6/4 chord (E major chord with ‘b’ in the bass). My first version has a dominant 7th chord with ‘g#’ in the melody while other versions have a I chord in root position. The Noad version keeps it in dominant while taking out the seventh (B major chord with ‘g#’ in the melody).

The root position chord in measures 3-4 in the major section makes perfect sense and is consistent with the minor section where all the harmonies are in root position. Second and third inversions sound oddly out of place in this simple harmonic environment.

The 6/4 chord in measures 13-14 makes even more sense. It is perfectly in line with the harmonic conventions of the time and creates a smooth transition into the dominant chord. It also eliminates having a G# note against a B7 chord for three beats, which has a jarring effect and is not consistent stylistically with the rest of the piece.

Based on the evidence, it became clear to me that this version is the original version of the piece and I decided to relearn it.

There’s one more significant difference in this piece – the arpeggio pattern is reversed. After playing the piece with this pattern, I’m even more convinced of the authenticity of this version.

I just uploaded the version to youtube. Please check it out.

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