La Catedral (The Cathedral) 3 – Allegro Solemne

La Catedral (The Cathedral) 3 – Allegro Solemne

This is the third lesson on La Catedral (The Cathedral) and it is going to help you learn the 3rd movement – allegro solemne. And will help you nail this modern classical guitar piece composed by Agustín Barrios. Learn it through small bite size micro studies.

Get the Score

Get your copy of the original fingerings for La Catedral’s Prelude below. This is a faithful reproduction of Barrios’ original manuscript, with TAB, so you can actually see what he had in mind when he wrote this amazing prelude.

La Catedral – Allegro Solemne

La catedral guitar lesson agustin barrios
Street scene opening idea

La Catedral – Allegro Solemne is the second movement to La Catedral (The Cathedral) by Barrios. It was originally composed in 1921 as a two movement piece. The Prelude in B minor was later added, around 1939, to form the now three movements we know today.

Allegro Solemne for the Street

This is a programmatic piece, here we have Barrios exiting the church in Montevideo, after listening to the organist play Bach. The opening idea, see above, is repeated four times throughout this section. There are three different turnaround ideas for each repeat.

In this first video lesson, we cover the opening section with its running sixteenth note pattern. There are some extra lessons at the back of the video to help with the right hand speed and fluidity.

Allegro Solemne Cathedral Bells

This second video lesson deals with that B section. Barrios fully exploits the guitar’s unique tuning to help realize the swing, and peal, of the Cathedral bells. Here we have a G shape (from our friend the CAGED system – see G SHAPE article for more ). This is all right hand fine control. So make sure there are three voices being heard in this section.

Improvisation Section La Catedral

La catedral agustin barrios section 3 improvisation classical guitar lesson
Section 3 opening idea

The next section has the feel of a written out improvised solo. The ideas float freely around the B minor chord shape, and traverse the majority of the frets. So hold onto your hats as this lesson will step you through how Barrios approaches his notes.

Manuscript vs Live vs Modern score

It is worth noting that the original manuscript, and the live version that barrios recorded on La Catedral differ to what is considered the modern score. Take a look at bar 22 above, and compare it to the manuscript below, and you will see vast differences in bass, and chords. The manuscript follows Barrios live recorded version.

La Catedral Agustin Barrios manuscript score

Join the Community

Join the CGRocks community and find the lessons just like this one on La Catedral Prelude delivered to your inbox. Along with a whole host of extras. Add a little slice of #6stringinspiration to your day.

Want More?

Check out this lesson on Barrios’ mighty tremolo piece below. Not for the faint-hearted.


Classical guitarist who strives to share a little #6stringinspiration.

You must be logged in to post a comment