Mertz Guitar Piece: Maestoso (full lesson, with pdfs)

In this Mertz guitar lesson, we take the plunge into Johann Kaspar Mertz’s “Maestoso”.  It’s a great little piece I ran across and fell in love with.

Like many small pieces of this nature, we are faced with a choice:  Do we just hack through it on the way to some other piece?  Or do we bring our highest standards and aspirations to the table?

I am all about the latter.  There is no such thing as an “easy piece“, if you truly show up to it, do the hard work and aspire to make it beautiful.

The great thing about pieces like this (and approaching them this way) is that regardless of your level you can always find new challenges and opportunities to grow as a musician and guitarist.  Sure, it’s more work, but what else are you going to do?  Play pinochle?

Mertz Guitar Music

Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806-1856) was a virtuoso guitarist and composer from Hungary who spent the last third of his life in Vienna.

What I like about Mertz is that his music seems to follow the Romantic* composers music of the day, like Chopin, Schumann and Brahms (if not quite to their level of mastery).  While no better or worse than other periods, it does give the music a bit more drama, which I love (in music, not in life!)  His wife was a concert pianist, and so he was deeply steeped in Romantic piano music, which probably influenced his writing as well.

Just to put him in the timeline, he was born 25-30 years after Sor, Aguado, Giuliani and Carulli (and you can really hear the difference in their musics).  And was just a few years younger than Carcassi, who also left us some really nice Romantic guitar music.  Bach died in 1750, Mozart in 1791, and Beethoven in 1826.

*”Romantic” music refers to music from the Romantic Period (~1830-1900).  It was marked by music becoming more expressive, passionate, inventive, virtuosic, and expansive (longer pieces).  Music was less for the royal courts and church (as it was before) and more for concert halls and artistic expression.

As with all pieces, go slow and take things one step at a time.  A wise man once said:  Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast!

“Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast!”

So download the pdfs and/or TABS below in the orange button and hop to it!

(note:  I am providing TAB, but there really is no substitute for reading music.  You miss a ton of information using TAB.  That said, use the TAB if you need to. It’s better than nothing!)

What do you think?

Any thoughts or questions?  Share them in the comments below!

Allen Mathews

Hi, I’m Allen Mathews. 

I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
Click here for a sample formula.

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