I am trying to figure out the best way to play the first run in Francesco Tarrega's Caprice Arabe. This run is meant to be played really really really fast.

First way:

       p     i    p     i   p   p i p
       4  1  2  1  4 2  2 1 4 2 4

Second way:

       p     i    p     i   p   p   i
       4  1  2  1 4  2  2 1 4 2 4 1 0

The first keeps most of its notes on one string, which is a plus. (One voice)

The second doesn't mute the first E tone string when it's played again which makes it sound more convincing. This comes at the expense of there being no easy way of pre-positioning your left hand's index finger for the 8-5 pulloff, which may make it difficult or impossible to ever play rapidly.

Which is the most orthodox method with respect to traditional classical theory?

3 Answers 3


I agree both versions' benefits are desirable, but neither actually works – at least not for me.

Keeping everthing on one string is particularly appealing as this makes it easy to start with a nice dolce in the 12th position and "automatically" develop it to a more clearly pronounced sound as you gather speed in the lower positions. You could in fact be consequent and keep every note on the e-string, except for the last one, for which I would aim for a sweet sound again, with a very gentle vibrato. (Definitely if you want it to be "classically correct": open strings in such an exposed place are acceptable in baroque or modern styles, but hardly in a romantic piece like this.)
So that would be

   4  1  2  1 4  2  2 1 4 2 1 0 2

Of course, you need to be careful with this solution: the last notes on the e string can easily start to sound harsh, so I'd also put both of them on the b string as in your second version. It's a nice idea to play both e's in the end on different strings, but again I would definitely not put the last note on the empty string. How about the g string? You should avoid using the thumb three times in a row, so I'd go for

   p     i    m     p   i   p   p
   4  1  2  1 4  2  2 1 4 2 4 1 4

But I shouldn't be sure about it, it's probably better after all to simply play the e twice on the b string as in the video linked by horatio. I also tend to prefer the apoyando plucking used there, i.e.

   i     m    i     m   i   i   m
   4  1  2  1 4  2  2 1 4 2 4 1 1
  • 1
    I posted the one video, but I looked at a number of them, and they all seem to agree on where they stop. Personally, I think some of them play e on both the b and e strings, allowing vibrato on the b string.
    – horatio
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 16:01

It looks to me like you are making this passage harder than it needs to be. I play it like this:


The only challenging part is making the first 4 notes sound smooth (and even that isn't too hard). After that it is really easy using this fingering. The other suggested ways seem harder and not as pleasing to my ear. Although, the vibrato at the end is nice. Also, this is the fingering shown in the original Tarrega score for this song (or so the book I have says).


a quick perusal of youtube videos says (this:

) neither 1 nor 2, but mostly 2


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