Romance (guitar piece)

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"Romance Anónimo" (Anonymous Romance) is a piece for guitar, also known as "Estudio en Mi de Rubira" (Study in E by Rubira), "Spanish Romance", "Romance de España", "Romance de Amor", "Romance of the Guitar", "Romanza" and "Romance d'Amour" among other names.

Its origins and authorship are currently in question. It is suspected of originally being a solo instrumental guitar work, from the 19th century. It has variously been attributed to Antonio Rubira, David del Castillo,[1] Francisco Tárrega, Fernando Sor, Daniel Fortea, Miguel Llobet, Antonio Cano, Vicente Gómez, and Narciso Yepes. The Anónimo (anonymous) part of its name has been incorporated over the years due to this uncertainty. The question of authorship has probably been propagated by three main reasons: the lack of claim by its true author, the desire to avoid paying copyright fees, and the desire of publishing companies to claim the lucrative copyright of this world-famous piece.[2]

The style of the piece is that of the parlour music of the late 19th century in Spain or South America, having a closed three-part form: the first in the minor key and the second being in the major key, with the third being a restatement of the first.

Early recordings[edit]

The earliest recording of "Romance" is on a cylinder (from the "Viuda de Aramburo" label[3][4][5]) featuring guitarists Luis and Simon Ramírez, made in Madrid sometime between 1897 and 1901. The work in question is titled "Sort-Estudio para Guitarra por S. Ramirez".[6][7] It is highly likely that the name "Sort" — as it occurs on the cylinders's title — refers to Fernando Sor, as Sor's surname is sometimes also spelled "Sort" or "Sorts".[8][9][10] The recording may be heard on the Doremi CD release "Tarrega, His Disciples, and Their Students" (DHR-7996) and online at the UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive.[11]

Possible origins[edit]

Early published versions[edit]

Antonio Rubira[edit]

An early publication of the work, known as "Estudio para Guitarra" de Rovira was published by J.A. Medina e Hijo in Argentina probably in 1913, or with complete certainty before 1925, when the publisher ceased activities;[12] which is attributed to Spanish guitarist Antonio Rubira.[13] Guitarist and composer Isaías Sávio (Montevideo, 1900 — São Paulo, 1977) who published the work in 1959 titled "Romance de Amor (Estudo em Mi) Música de Antonio Rovira (Segunda metade do século XIX)"[14] has published information which also cites Antonio Rubira as author (see "Violào e Mestres" Junio, 1966 / Sào Paulo, Brasil[15]): Sávio gives information that Juan Pargas (who knew Rubira) gave the Estudio de Rovira to the guitarist Juan Valles in 1876 (1878?). Sávio also mentions that the work became popular in Buenos Aires, and began to be published by some, such as Spaniard Pedro Maza, and that the work appears in the method of Pedro Mascaró y Reissig (published in Montevideo in 1919), on page 14, with the title "Conocido por Estudio de Rovira".[12] [16] [17] Publishing company Ricordi of Argentina currently publishes the piece and attributes authorship to Antonio Rubira.[18]


The earliest manuscripts of the piece documented so far, are from the late 19th century: one attributing authorship to Antonio Rubira;[19] and an unsigned version which shows a note at the bottom stating "Melodia de Sor" (Sor's melody)[20] arguably attributing the piece to Fernando Sor. A noticeable difference between these manuscripts and the famous version of Yepes is the inverted arpeggio. Both manuscripts, though believed to be from the late 19th Century, have not been formally dated, and are not believed to be in the handwriting of the alleged authors, but rather are believed to be copies made by students or musicians (also note that Fernando Sor died in 1839).

Disproved origins[edit]

Narciso Yepes (1927 — 1997) interpreted and is listed as the author of the piece in René Clément's 1952 film Jeux interdits (Forbidden Games). The popularity of the film gave the piece worldwide fame. Yepes currently has the copyright of this composition in Spain although recordings and manuscripts of this song predate 1952. Newer publications show Yepes as the arranger and the piece being of anonymous authorship, or authored by Fernando Sor.[21]

The official statement from Narciso Yepes[22] and the Yepes heirs[citation needed] is that Narciso Yepes, being a young boy, originally composed the piece for his mother when he was about seven years old (c.1934) and soon thereafter performed it between acts at the Teatro Guerra, in Lorca, Spain. Some time later, he recounts, when he was thirteen years old he attended a performance in Valencia and heard his composition performed by another guitarist, who indicated the authorship as "anonymous". Yepes contends that the melody had been plagiarized (with some changes to the arrangement) by someone who, he assumes, must have attended that first performance.

However, Yepes was born 1927 and cannot be the author of the work, since it was already recorded in 1900 and published before 1925 (possibly 1913) by J.A. MEDINA e HIJO; and in 1919 in the method of Pedro Mascaró y Reissig, etc.[23]

Vicente Gomez (1911–2001)[24][25] published it and performed it in 1941 in the Hollywood movie Blood and Sand with Tyrone Power and Rita Hayworth, also attributing authorship of the song to himself.

Other arrangements[edit]


  • Herrera, Francisco, Enciclopedia de la Guitarra (Spanish), Piles, Editorial de Música / Valencia, 2004. ISBN 978-84-95026-80-4


  1. ^ Sobre el Romance (mentioning David del Castillo) by Juan Dotras. The work in question is not the one with similar title, called "Romance sans paroles" Archived 2007-02-21 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Santiago Porras Álvarez Article (in Spanish)".
  3. ^ Viuda de Aramburo, Madrid (Príncipe, 12), alt.
  4. ^ another newspaper clipping
  5. ^ Early Spanish Cylinders and the Viuda de Aramburo Company (Carlos Martín Ballester - publications)
  6. ^ Message by Jack Silver (from Doremi Recordings)
  7. ^ Information about Jack Silver and the cylinders - including photograph
  8. ^ Estudios sobre Fernando Sor; by Luis Gásser; page 18; published by Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales
  9. ^ La guitarra en Cataluña, 1769-1939; by Josep Maria Mangado; page 13
  10. ^ Josep Ferran Sorts i Muntades Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine; Enciclopèdia Catalana
  11. ^ Estudio para Guitarra by Simón Ramirez (the titles are mixed up. Link shows "Estudio para guitarra Turca", "Marcha Turca", etc. which are obvious errors)
  12. ^ a b Enciclopedia de la Guitarra Archived 2011-01-28 at the Wayback Machine, Francisco Herrera
  13. ^ Aportaciones Sobre El Guitarrista Lorquino Conocido Como Marqués De Rubira, Y Sus Alumnos Antonio López Villanueva Y Pedro Paredes Navarro (Pedro Antonio Martínez Pinilla) published 2012
  14. ^ publication by Savio
  15. ^ English Translation: The Romance of the "Romance" by Isaías Sávio (published in Soundboard Magazine, Vol. 15, No. 1 1988)
  16. ^ "Método complementario para Guitarra (Pedro Mascaró i Reissig)".
  17. ^ "Resonancias n. 45-46 (abr. y mayo 1968)".
  18. ^ "Ricordi publishing company".; details Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "manuscript attributing authorship to Antonio Rubira".
  20. ^ "manuscript citing "Melodia de Sor"".
  21. ^ Jeux interdits - Romance[permanent dead link]; Éditions Musicales Transatlantiques
  22. ^ Narciso Yepes explains his authorship of the Romance
  23. ^ Rico Stover (2013). Romance variations. Mel Bay Publications. ISBN 9781619114036.
  24. ^ "Vicente Gomez Biography". Archived from the original on 2008-05-09.
  25. ^ "Vicente Gomez IMDB Biography".
  26. ^ "Du är den ende" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. 1966. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  27. ^ "Du är den ende" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. 1967. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  28. ^ Harry Amster (20 October 2013). "Jag förstod inte att texten var riktad till Jesus" (in Swedish). Svenska dagbladet. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  29. ^ "I Brought You My Bullets You Brought Me Your Love" (in Swedish). Amazon. 2002. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  30. ^

External links[edit]