Recuerdos de la Alhambra

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Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Memories of the Alhambra) is a classical guitar piece composed in 1896 in Granada by Spanish composer and guitarist Francisco Tárrega.[1] It uses the classical guitar tremolo technique often performed by advanced players.

Recuerdos de la Alhambra shares a title with the Spanish language translation of Washington Irving's 1832 book, Tales of the Alhambra, written during the author's four-year stay in Spain.

Performance notes[edit]

The piece showcases the challenging guitar technique known as tremolo, wherein a single melody note is plucked consecutively by the ring, middle and index fingers in such rapid succession that the result is an illusion of one long sustained note. The thumb plays a counter-melody on the bass between melodic attacks. Many who have heard the piece but not seen it performed mistake it for a duet.

The A-section of the piece is written in A-minor and the B-section is written in the parallel major (A-major). This gives the song a melancholy feel in the beginning, and then it resolves to an uplifting feel. This device is used in other Spanish guitar songs as well, such as the anonymous Spanish Romance (also known simply as Romance or Spanish Folk Song).[2]

Soundtrack use[edit]

Recuerdos de la Alhambra has been used as title or incidental music several times, including the soundtrack for René Clément's Forbidden Games (as played by Narciso Yepes), for The Killing Fields (under the title Étude), and in the films Sideways and Margaret.

Performed and arranged by Jonathon Coudrille, it was used as the title music for the British television series Out of Town and a version performed by Pepe Romero was used as incidental music in The Sopranos episode "Luxury Lounge." Gideon Coe on BBC Radio 6Music uses this tune as a musical background at approximately the half-way point of his evening weekday show.[3] A sung version appears in the Studio Ghibli film, When Marnie Was There.

Other arrangements[edit]

Nana Mouskouri has performed a vocal version of this piece and Sarah Brightman has performed a re-adapted vocal version of this piece, in her album Classics. Chris Freeman and John Shaw covered a non vocal version of Recuerdos de la Alhambra on their album, Chris Freeman and John Shaw (May 1981). Julian Bream has recorded this piece. It appears on his album The Ultimate Guitar Collection.


  1. ^ Library of Guitar Classics, AMSCO Publications, 1998
  2. ^ Library of Guitar Classics, AMSCO Publications, 1998
  3. ^ Gideon Coe, BBC Radio 6Music

External links[edit]