The Studies of Fernando Sor are perhaps some of the most beloved pieces of music on classical guitar. I think a lot of that has to do with the curation of Maestro Andrés Segovia and his popular edition of the “Segovia 20 Sor Studies.” That edition introduced the music of Sor to an entire generation of guitarists and to this day many guitarists still know each study by the Segovia numbering. 

Segovia No.5 & Segovia No.6

For instance, two of the most well-known pieces of that collection are the Study in B minor (Segovia No.5) and the Study in D Major (Segovia No.6).

Both of these studies come from Sor’s Op. 35, which bears the title (in French in the original) 24 Exercices très faciles, or 24 Very Easy Exercises.

What many guitarists have learned, however, is that these are in fact not easy pieces at all.

They are challenging in so many ways, but primarily in the musical demands they place on the performer.

Andres Segovia, live at Concertgeboutw Nov 3, 1962


Sure, there are some technical elements to take care of in each, but what is much more challenging is constructing convincing musical phrases, bringing out the separate voices, and allowing the music to have dynamism and depth.

Sor Study in Bm, first phrase

Especially with these studies, the difference between a performance that is technically correct without mistakes, and a performance that allows the music to truly come alive is stark.

Study in B minor (Op. 35, No.22)

Sor’s Study in B minor from Op. 35 at first glance looks like a simple arpeggio study. And it is indeed a study that develops right-hand arpeggios. However, it is equally a study about voices, and differentiating melody from accompaniment in the right hand. That requires control and balance in the right hand, technically, but it also requires a musical understanding of balance of voices and harmony to know best which voice to bring out at different moments. We’ve included a performance video below of what’s possible with this beautiful piece of music. Moving from technically correct to musical mastery is not only not easy but invites many years of exploration, discovery, and expression. Check out a podcast dedicated to making Sor’s Bm Study really sing here.


Study in D Major (Op. 35, No.17)

Sor’s Study in D Major from Op. 35 is also an arpeggio study on the surface. But here the accompaniment incorporates rests that, when honored, create a completely different rhythmic feel than simple arpeggios might. So in truth the study is really about a dialogue between two voices. Whereas you might hold fingers down in the left hand to create a beautiful wash of sound (similar to using the sustain pedal on the piano), here we can lift the left-hand fingers to accentuate this dialogue and to create more interesting lines in each voice. Likewise, we can use right-hand bass stopping to prevent bass notes from ringing beyond their durations. Essentially these more challenging technical approaches produce a more musical and singing result.



Both of these studies, along with many other Sor studies and other wonderful pieces from the classical guitar repertoire, are included in our Graded Repertoire for Classical Guitar book.

Pick up your own copy at CGC Publishing.

For more lessons and performances of pieces from our Graded Repertoire book, visit our Free Lessons page here.

Graded Repertoire for Classical Guitar