Fernando Sor’s Sixteen Easiest Pieces which I present in this book are the easiest pieces, as far as I can judge, that Sor composed. He intended them for complete beginners on the guitar, and they remain perfect for that same purpose today. As well as being easy, they are also simple and delightful pieces, often of great beauty. Sor was born in Barcelona in 1778, and later lived in London and in Paris.
A contemporary wrote: “Mr. Sor feels what he has to say, and that feeling is not merely true, it is deep and intense”, and that is no doubt true also of the pieces in this book, even though they are for complete beginners.
For this edition, I have edited every piece anew from the original editions, to give a strictly authentic text. Sor fingered them all, and this edition is urtext and gives only Sor’s fingering. I have not added any new fingering (except some o’s to show open strings, and a very few elucidatory fingerings).
Rob MacKillop has kindly recorded all these sixteen pieces on Youtube, from this Tecla book. Here are nos. 1 through 4:
Nos. 5 through 8:
Nos. 9 through 12:
And nos. 13 through 16:
Teachers may care to note that while it is today considered perfectly permissible to make frequent use of the ring finger (a) of the right hand, Sor himself seldom used that finger except in four-note chords, as he explained at length in his method. So, when playing the pieces in this book, I personally find it easiest to follow Sor’s example and to use the ring finger only in chords, not in melodic passages.
It is also clear from his method that he used the right hand thumb proportionately a great deal more, and on higher strings, than we are used to today, something which lutenists are accustomed to. So, you could play melodic passages like those in no. 11 in this book with the right hand thumb and index finger in alternation. It’s easy: try it!
Ornaments and slurs
There are only a couple of ornaments in the pieces in this book, and they can be considered as optional. Slurs also, at this early stage, can be considered as optional.
I have corrected some misprints and standardized some repeats. I have translated titles into English from the original French. Tempo indications at the beginning of pieces (such as Andante, Allegretto, etc.) are all original, but indications in brackets (such as rit., mf etc.) are editorial and should be regarded as suggestions only.
Anyone who likes the music in this collection of Sor’s Sixteen Easiest Pieces and would like to see more, will find all Sor’s music for students (121 pieces in all) in his Complete Studies, Lessons, and Exercises for guitar published by Tecla, urtext and with only Sor’s fingering (no added fingering).
Contents of Sor’s Sixteen Easiest Pieces:
1. Lesson – Op. 60 no.1
2. Lesson – Op. 60 no.2
3. Andante – Op. 44 no.1
4. Allegretto – Op. 44 no.2
5. Lesson – Op. 60 no.13
6. Andante – Op. 31 no.1
7. Andante – Op. 35 no.1
8. Waltz – Op. 35 no.2
9. Lesson – Op. 60 no.10
10. Waltz – Op. 51 no.1
11. Lesson – Op. 60 no.3
12. Lesson – Op. 60 no.5
13. Andantino – Op. 44 no.3
14. Minuet – Op. 44 no.14
15. Lesson – Op. 60 no.6
16. Allegretto moderato – Op. 31 no.3
Fernando Sor life and music (a longer biography)