In this Asturias (Leyenda) workshop we’ll take a deep dive into this wonderful piece of music by Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz. 

Asturias (Leyenda) Workshop

Where is Asturias? Why does this piece have more than one title? How on earth is one of the most popular guitar pieces not even written for the guitar?! Join me on a fun exploration of all these questions and a deep dive into how to play and listen to this classic. (The workshop took place live and starts at approximately 9:08.)

Not Asturias? 

This piece is one of the most recognizable pieces of music on classical guitar. However, it is not a composition for the guitar. Albéniz originally wrote it for the piano. In fact, its original title was not Asturias (or Leyenda), but “Prelude.” This particular prelude is included in Albéniz’s Chants d’Espagne (Songs of Spain). Later a publisher collected several different pieces into “Suite Española” giving the piece its now legendary title. 


Asturias (Leyenda) borrows a lot from the world of flamenco music. Inspired by his teacher Felipe Pedrell, Albéniz began to compose music that was distinctly Spanish. This was one of the first of his nationalistic pieces of music. For example, we can notice the stomps of dancers’ feet in the big accented chords or the “cante jondo” style of flamenco singing in the melody line.

Asturias on Classical Guitar 

Unlike so many other pieces written for other instruments, arguably Asturias sounds better on the guitar. The most popular arrangement of the piece is that of Andrés Segovia. There are some interesting changes that Segovia made. For instance, the triplets in the accompaniment add drive to the music, but they were not in the original piano score. 

Learn more about Isaac Albéniz 

If you would like to read more about the composer, Issac Albéniz, you can read Dave Belcher’s excellent article: Issac Albéniz : A Portait.