If you’re a guitar player, chances are that anytime you meet with your friends and a guitar is available, at some point, somebody will ask you to play something.
But if you’re anything like me who’s horrible at singing, so it often ends up with an awkward situation. You play some popular song, but nobody really knows the lyrics from start to finish, and quite soon, people get bored.
However, classical guitar compositions can come to your rescue in those moments. Nobody needs to sing anything, and even the most simple piece sounds awesome.
So, I decided to take a look at the…
Top 10 Classical Acoustic Guitar Compositions to Wow Your Friends ranked from easiest to hardest
Approaching classical guitar is scary for any player who isn’t that interested in that genre. It’s a completely different world that involves learning new techniques, new scales, and new chords. Certainly, it takes a lot of practice to master a complex piece.
But luckily, some compositions are stunning in their simplicity. Learning them not only will give you the chance to impress your friends, but it will also make you a better guitarist.
The following ten pieces are some of the most famous compositions that even a player who’s not that interested in classical music should know. I’ve decided to rank them from easiest to hardest so that there’s going to be something for any player regardless of their level. Also, keep in mind that all of them can be made harder or easier depending on the arrangement.
So, let’s start with arguably the most recognizable piece of classical music…
1 – Ode to Joy – Beethoven
Written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785, Ode to Joy is best known for being part of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. The melody is really simple and can be easily played in the open position.
If you are at a beginner level, you can learn just the melody; however, if you are slightly more advanced, you can add chords to add the harmony.
2 – Study number 1, OP 60 – Sor
This beautiful study was written by Fernando Sor, a Spanish guitarist at the beginning of the 19th century. The slow tempo and the comfortable left-hand fingerings make it ideal for beginners.
Moreover, it’s a perfect example of how a simple piece can be very impressive to those who’ve never played guitar.
3 – Waltz in E minor – Carulli
Carulli has been a terrific composer in the late 18th century, and many of his pieces are commonly used to learn classical guitar.
Waltz in E minor has a simple chord progression, but it will require you to work on your right-hand picking technique.
This masterpiece has been attributed to various composers, but so far, the real origin is still obscure. Nevertheless, it has become one of the most famous classical guitar compositions, and every player I know has tried to learn it at some point in their life.
Your audience will immediately recognize it from the first three notes. If you’re able to go past the initial ten seconds and you start playing on the higher register, everyone will think that you’re a guitar god!
5 – Bourrée in E minor – Bach
Next on my list of the Top 10 Classical Acoustic Guitar Compositions to Wow Your Friends, we have another piece that sounds much more complicated than it actually is.
The picking part is not hard, and your fingering hand is almost always in the comfortable first position. However, your fingers will be moving all over the place; therefore, a bit of practice will be necessary. The trick is to start really slowly and increase the speed when every transition is smooth and clean.
6 – Swan Lake – Tchaikovsky
Who doesn’t know this piece? Swan Lake is possibly the most famous ballet of all time, and everybody loves the melody. While it’s not too complicated, I decided to put it higher on the list because the thumb of the right hand has to do a lot of work.
If you’ve always played with a pick, it will take a while to acquire the necessary finger independence.
7 – Gran Vals – Tárrega
Everyone who grew up in the 90s knows this composition. Why? Because it’s the Nokia tune!
Tárrega wouldn’t be happy to know that one of its most beautiful compositions is so popular just because it was used as a ringtone. However, it’s a fun piece to learn, and your friends will be amazed when you start playing it!
8 – Speak Softly Love – Rota
You probably don’t recognize this song by its name. But what if I tell you that it is the main theme of The Godfather movie?
Technically speaking, it’s not a classical guitar composition, but when played with passion and feelings, your audience will be blown away.
9 – Bolero – Ravel
Bolero is not only a composition you should learn to wow your friends, but it is also a fantastic tool to practice different techniques that you can apply to other genres.
Keeping that steady pulse with the thumb is hard, but when you master it, you’ll ready to play some traditional fingerstyle blues.
And if you’re interested in slap guitar, Bolero can be a perfect introduction.
10 – Asturias – Albeniz
This is not an easy piece, especially if you play at the original tempo. However, if you made it so far, it’s time to try something more complicated.
If you want to leave your friend speechless, Asturias is the perfect composition!
If these pieces have inspired you to take classical guitar more seriously, I highly recommend reading The Classical Guitar Compendium – Classical Masterpieces Arranged For Solo Guitar, The Hal Leonard Classical Guitar Method: A Beginner’s Guide with Step-by-Step Instruction and Over 25 Pieces to Study and Play, and 50 Easy Classical Guitar Pieces.
Want to learn more about Classical Music?
Then let our experts enlighten you further. Baroque music lovers will love these Amazing Facts About JS Bach, as well as our in-depth Guide to Baroque Music. Or how about A Guide to Musical Instruments of the Medieval Period, Amazing Facts About Mozart, all about The Romantic Period of Music, What is Considered a String Instrument, and the various Types of Vocal Timbre.
Having trouble remembering some of the harder pieces I’ve listed? Then check out my useful Tips for Memorizing Music.
Top 10 Classical Acoustic Guitar Compositions to Wow Your Friends – Final Thoughts
Players are often intimidated by classical music, but many times when they start playing it, they fall in love with it. Classical music is challenging but extremely rewarding and beautiful to play and practice. And the best part is that everything you learn is transferable to other genres.
These very popular Classical Acoustic Guitar Compositions will get you started! However, don’t be surprised if, after learning these pieces, that you decide to explore more classical music.