Romanza (Spanish Romance or Romance Anónimo) (Anonymous)

Classical guitar Despite multiple attempts to claim its authorship—including by some born after it was first recorded and published—the composer of Romance Anónimo is indeed unknown, but most likely composed the song in the late nineteenth century. The song follows an AABBA structure, but is often played in a shortened ABA form.

Although the melody is universally recognized by audiences, there exists no definitive arrangement of the song. Everyone makes minor tweaks to the piece. I have researched old manuscripts and performances to arrive at a more interesting arrangement than usually encountered. Specifically, the connective B notes in measure 17 and the substitution of the eighth for the third in measure 30 round out the piece. The grace note slide and glissandos are my own interpretive additions. Although not included in the arrangement, I like to play it at a slower tempo and with vibrato (as appropriate) on the first string during the E minor section.

I chose to use a 9/8 time signature instead of 3/4 with triplets because the former is easier to read and the latter requires the charade of showing the triplets in only the first measure in order to make it readable. The two are equivalent. Treat the grace note slide and glissandos as optional. I play measures 24–27 all in position VII, using finger 4 to play frets 10, 11, and 12 while keeping fingers 2 and 3 on strings 3 and 2 respectively at the ninth fret. If you can't stretch your hand like that, switch to a half-barré at position IX starting with measure 26. I think that makes it harder to maintain a smooth flow and make the move down to position V at measure 28. Do whatever works best for you. The ossia in measure 30 notates an alternative way that measure can be played.

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Revision History

Renotated using LilyPond. I changed the C♯♯ in measure 21 to a D♮ because the chord being arpeggiated at that point is an inverted D major. I haven't changed the fingering, but I've changed where the fingering is notated, reducing it by a little. The tempo is now listed as Moderato instead of a range.

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