I'm trying to figure out the chords of El marabino by Lauro. The score is http://vietguitar2.free.fr/Score/NuocNgoai/Antonio%20Lauro/El%20Marabino.pdf

I would like to play these chords as accompaniment and have failed to do so. The progression I'm getting doesn't make much sense to me. I'm new at this. :-( Any help is very appreciated.

  • What instrument is intended? It can't be violin since it's so low, and there is no lyrics and seems not a song. Feb 12, 2017 at 9:18
  • So, you want to compose a piano accompaniment for it? If there is no existent recording, some chords cannot be sure, and can only be guessed. Feb 12, 2017 at 9:20
  • Note: the original score is for classical guitar. It's not a song; there are no lyrics (none written by Lauro anyway) Mar 15, 2017 at 0:28

2 Answers 2


The trick here is to work out two things: how fast the harmony is changing: what notes are non-melodic (passing notes etc.) Also, the piece largely presents the harmony as arpeggios, rather than having them as (easier to analyse) block chords.

In fact, the harmony mostly changes each bar, so each bar has one distinct chord. Much of the harmony moves between chords I and V.

To get you started:

  • the first full bar has the notes of an E7 chord, V7 in A Major.
  • the second bar is E7, too, firstly in second inversion (with B in the bass), and then with E in the bass. The F# in the melody at the end of the bar is a non-chord tone.
  • the third bar is A, chord I in A Major. The F# written in the bass is a mistake. You can tell because of the "0" fingering next to it.

Hope this helps!

  • 1
    I agree. That note is an open string A. I penciled in the same correction years ago on my own copy of the score. Mar 15, 2017 at 0:00

I'm only going to do the first bit as to demonstrate how you find the harmony and then you can do the rest yourself. It is not that hard and a really good skill to learn.

pic 1

You seem to have an upbeat. In bar 0 you seem to be in the dominant chord of A major, the a being an escape tone, this being an escape tone on the strong part of the beat it is an appoggiatura and not an echappee.

In bar 1 you have an E, G#, B and a D, clearly the dominant seventh of A major.

In bar 2 you seem to still be in A:V but now for the first two beats you have the B in the bass (4/3) and then for the third beat you go to the root position.

pic 2

In bar 3 it looks like your are either in the tonic chord of f sharp minor or the vi chord of A major. I'm feeling more inclined to A major as the tonic with it's seventh is rather unusual and that e is not raised.

In bar 4 it loooks like the tonic chord in second inversion.

In bar 5 it looks like Dominant again, thte f sharp again looks like an escape tone.

In bar 6 it looks like chord repitition.

pic 3

In bar 7 we finally see the dominant chord resolve to the tonic. You can see that the g sharp that has been building suspense the previous two bar resolves to the A and eve the seventh of the dominant chord (D) resolves to the C

In bar 8 it looks like the tonic chord in second inversion again. We have the f sharp being an escape tone again. (See the pattern) and we also now have the g sharp as another escape tone with a slight varation this time.

In bar 9 it looks the same as in bar 1 A:V7

In bar 10 something interesting happens. The g sharp thats was the leading tone of the previous key is held and the e sharps probably want to tell you that we have modulated to thet relative key (f sharp minor). You can also see the seventh of the previous chord resolves like it should.

This could either be the dominant chord of A major or thte Leading tone chord of f sharp minor, either way an excellent modulation done trough the use of a pivot chord.

  • 1
    Bar 0 is a flourish. Start playing chords on the bar 1. At the "da capo" (bar 16), you can keep playing an A chord, or alter the rhythm a bit; for example, that section is often played by accompanying instruments (often Venezuelan "cuatros") by a strum down at the first beat followed by a tacet. Mar 15, 2017 at 0:14

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