Lecuona, Ernesto – Malagueña
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Learn to Play Malagueña, Ernesto Lecuona
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Malaguenas are a popular type of traditional Spanish music known throughout the world. This flamenco style gets its name from the city of Malaga, in the south of Spain.
A traditional Malaguena is slow, melodic, and has a free rhythm. While most flamenco music has dancers, the Malaguena does not.
In the beginning, the style was simple. Many instruments played in a group and the guitar part was small. Most of the time the guitarist strummed chords.
Over time, the style utilized more advanced techniques. Flashy flourishes and ornaments. Complex rhythmic patterns. And longer melodic lines.
The earliest known popular version is Souvenirs d´Andalousie. American composer Louis M. Gottschalk wrote it using a popular Malaguena theme. It’s the most recognized Malaguena theme of all time.
In the 20th century, Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona used the same theme in his Suite Andalucia. The piece was a commercial success. This popularized the Malaguena theme throughout the world.
After Lecuonas’s piece, jazz and popular music all over the globe adapted the Malaguena theme. This brought the Malaguena to a wider audience.
Many versions of the piece exist in recordings. Paco de Lucia, Jose Feliciano, and Stan Kenton are musicians from different genres who have recorded the piece. Ernesto Lecuona recorded the piece himself in 1955. You can listen to it here.
It’s a delightful piece to play on guitar. If you have never played Spanish music, this Malaguena is a fantastic introduction. You can explore all sorts of new rhythms, techniques, and challenges. For a more in-depth exploration of the piece, consider the full course on “Malaguena”. The course offers insight into musical phrasing, technique, and more.
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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.
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