Mauro Giuliani – The Complete Studies For Guitar. Introduction by Brian Jeffery

Mauro Giuliani’s Complete Studies for Guitar edited by Brian Jeffery is the standard collection of all Giuliani’s studies, including all four parts of his Studio op. 1 which is a celebrated teaching book for students (many other editions include only one or two of the four parts), his famous Esercizio op. 48 which is a collection of 24 fine pieces, and four other works which bear in their title the word study or something like it: opp. 51, 98, 100, and 139.

Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) was one of the most brilliant guitarists of his time and a fine composer of music for the instrument, the principal guitarist in the Vienna of Beethoven and Schubert. For a brief biography of Giuliani, for details of his Complete Works which are published by Tecla, and for other publications, see the main Giuliani page. Also, a detailed study is Thomas F. Heck’s The Birth of the Classic Guitar and its cultivation in Vienna (Yale University thesis, 1970).

This book is a companion to the Complete Studies, Lessons, and Exercises for guitar of Fernando Sor (TECLA 101). Both books are completely new editions, prepared afresh straight from the original editions of the composers’ own time. Both books present strictly the original text without any alterations at all: no modern fingering, no changes in dynamics, only what the original texts gave. That way the reader can be certain of having the authentic text.

What is included

The six collections are of different kinds. Op. 1 is carefully thought out and didactic and has remained famous and in print ever since its first publication. Op. 48 is a set of virtuoso variations, brilliant and also famous. Opp. 51, 98 and 139 are collections of short pieces, not too hard, not really distinguishable just because they have the word study or exercise in their title, from many other pieces which Giuliani composed. Op. 100 is a special collection, interesting for the different kinds of pieces which it contains.

You can see the first and early editions of all the works in the Tecla facsimile edition of the Complete Works, in 39 volumes.


In this edition, no changes whatsoever have been introduced to the fingering, and none has been added, so that if you observe exactly the fingering that is here, you can get a good idea of what Giuliani intended, or if you wish to change it, you can easily do so. Much of the interest lies in the detail, and you can study that detail here if you wish because no changes have been made here. Of the works in this edition, Giuliani gave detailed left hand fingering in the modern sense only in op. 1 parts 1, 2, and 3. In op. 48 and op. 100 he didn’t give left hand finger numbers, but he did give position numbers, which are often subtle and very precise indications of how a passage is to be fingered. In op. 1 part 4, and also in opp. 51 and 98, he gave no fingering at all. (Op. 139 gives detailed fingering, but it is a late work and I suspect that the fingering may not be Giuliani’s but rather the publisher’s.)

It could be argued that I could have added new and modern fingering to this edition, as some modern editions do. However, there are a number of problems with adding new fingering. True, it makes things easier for players of modest accomplishments in the short term. But in the longer term it doesn’t help you to become fluent, indeed it may even stand in your way. I think it is much better to have the actual music without having to look at it through the misty glass of someone else’s view of how it ought to be fingered.

Also, Giuliani composed the particular works in this book with his own brilliant technique in mind, to which fingering was central. After all, he was the greatest guitar virtuoso of the Vienna of Beethoven and Schubert, and he wrote most of the pieces in this book not merely with his own fingering in mind but specifically to give exercise in his own system of fingering. It therefore seems perverse to add new fingering, or even to replace Giuliani’s own fingering with modern fingering.

The Roman figures I, II, etc. indicate positions, that is to say they show at which position on the neck the left hand is to be placed; they do not necessarily mean that a barré is to be used, as they might in a modern piece. They have been left as in the original. They are usually exact and complete but there are a couple of exceptions, as in no. 1 bar 11 where the hand must shift to the first position but that is not indicated.

The position figures are not always placed with precision in the original editions as we would probably expect them to be today. For example, if a position figure refers to a group of four notes, then in the original editions usually the figure will appear above the first of the four notes but often it will be found above say the second or third note, where any player can immediately see that it applies to the whole group. In such cases in this edition I have followed modern practice and placed them usually above the first note. (Anyone interested can compare the Tecla facsimile edition with this present edition; see for example op. 100.)

An asterisk on a bass note means that the note is to be stopped with the left hand thumb, a technique which today is often used by popular guitarists but practically never by classical ones. Here it has been left as in the original. Anyone who wishes to change it can easily do so, for example in op. 1 Part One nos. 113 and 114, or in Part Two no. 3 bar 5 or no. 4 bar 1. Sometimes Giuliani’s use of this can be deduced even though it is not indicated, as in op. 1 Part Four no. 9.


In Giuliani’s music, dynamics are important because he liked to use dynamic contrast a lot. Often, his dynamic indications as well as his fingering are very precise and interesting, even in the simplest pieces. For example, in op. 100 no. 13 the diminuendo signs on the last two notes of each bar at the beginning help to show precisely how Giuliani intended them to be played; yet they are omitted in at least one modern edition. At the same time, one should be aware that such signs at that time might not have had precisely the same meaning as they might today, so play with care!


A dot on a note immediately following a group of notes joined by a slur probably does not mean that the note is to be played staccato, only that it is not to be slurred.

Obvious errors are corrected without note. Some extra accidentals have been added editorially (but only to make the notation clearer, never to alter the music). The duration of the final chords of some pieces has been regularized.

All Giuliani’s prefaces etc. are given here in English translation. The original Italian may be seen in the Tecla facsimile edition of Giuliani’s Complete Works.


Finally, it is planned that much of this music is going to be available electronically directly online, and also other interesting things. I’m originally a lutenist, and when I first started playing the guitar and came across Giuliani’s op. 48, it was much easier for me to play it by first transcribing it into lute tablature. So it is hoped to put op. 48 in tablature on the Tecla website, also possible recordings, reviews, etc. For all these, see the main page for this edition.

The music was engraved by A.V. Trukhin.

I would like to express my thanks to Raymond Burley for reading through the proofs of this edition. The responsibility for the edition, however, rests with me.

Brian Jeffery

Tecla main page.

Copyright 2002 by Tecla Editions. Errors and omissions excepted.