Learn Mallorca by Isaac Albeniz on Classical Guitar Rocks

Learn Mallorca by Isaac Albeniz on Classical Guitar Rocks

Learn Isaac Albéniz’s “Mallorca”: Classical Guitar Lesson

Welcome to our classical guitar lesson on Isaac Albéniz’s “Mallorca”. In this lesson, we’ll explore the history and techniques behind this beautiful piece of music, and provide you with everything you need to play it yourself.

About “Mallorca”

Isaac Albéniz’s “Mallorca” is a beautiful and melancholic piece that captures the essence of the Balearic Island. Composed in 1890 as part of the “Iberia” collection, the piece is a tribute to the regions of Spain. It is characterized by rich harmonies, intricate melodies, and skilful use of Spanish folk melodies. “Mallorca” is a solo piano piece originally. It is part of a larger suite of pieces called “Impresiones intimas” (“Intimate Impressions”) and is one of Albéniz’s most popular works.

It was originally composed for piano but has since been transcribed for guitar. Isaac Albéniz’s “Mallorca” is not technically a barcarole, as it is not in the traditional 6/8 time signature and lacks the characteristic flowing melody. However, the piece does share some similarities with the barcarole genre, particularly in its use of rhythm and harmony to create an evocative atmosphere. Additionally, the piece was inspired by Albéniz’s travels to the island of Mallorca, which is known for its beautiful coastline and picturesque waterways.

So, while “Mallorca” may not be a barcarole in the traditional sense, it does share some musical and cultural connections with the genre.  It is a composition written in the style of a barcarole, which is a musical genre associated with Venetian gondolier songs that were traditionally sung while rowing through the canals of Venice. The barcarole typically features a lilting 6/8 time signature and a gentle, swaying rhythm, evoking the motion of a boat on the water. Albéniz’s “Mallorca” captures this mood and style, with its rolling arpeggios and rich harmonies.


To help you practice and master “Mallorca”, we’ve also included the following resources:

  • Downloadable sheet music Transcription, with TAB, and the original piano score.
  • Video tutorials demonstrating how to play each section of the piece.
  • Historical and contextual information about Albéniz and Spanish classical music.
  • Historical context playlist of composers and pieces from aroun the same time.

Lesson Content:

In this lesson, we’ll break down “Mallorca” and provide you with detailed instruction on how to play it on the classical guitar. We’ll cover the following topics:

  • The history and context of “Mallorca” and Isaac Albéniz’s contributions to Spanish classical music
  • The technical challenges involved in playing the piece on guitar
  • Detailed instruction on how to play each section of the piece, including tips on fingerings and counting
  • Tips and techniques for playing the piece with emotion and musicality.

Lesson 1:

Learn Isaac Albéniz's "Mallorca": Classical Guitar Lesson

In this first lesson, the focus is on the opening bars and the main melody. The piece is arranged for guitar in D minor, and the first 12 bars feature a slow and deliberate tempo. There are tips on counting and alternative fingering. To put the lesson into context, it’s worth noting that Albéniz was heavily influenced by Spanish music and the guitar, and this can be heard in the piece’s rhythm and melodic structure.

Lesson 2:

Learn Isaac Albéniz's "Mallorca": Classical Guitar Lesson

In this second lesson, the focus is on the development ideas and the first scale. The video will provide tips on harmony and performance. It’s worth noting that Albéniz was a prolific composer who produced over 200 works during his lifetime. “Mallorca” is one of his most famous compositions and has become a staple of the classical guitar repertoire.

Lesson 3:

In this third lesson, the focus is on finishing up the A section with two scale/arpeggios and a key change. There are tips for fingering these comfortably on the fretboard. It’s worth noting that the 19th century was a time of great change in Spain, with the country experiencing significant political and cultural upheaval. Albéniz’s music reflects this period of transition, drawing on both traditional and modern influences.

Lesson 4:

Learn Isaac Albéniz's "Mallorca": Classical Guitar Lesson

In this fourth lesson, the focus is on the B section, which features a beautiful melody and a key change to D major. Again, the video will dive into switching into the new rhythms, and structure in this section. It’s worth noting that Albéniz was a child prodigy who began performing in public at the age of four. He went on to study music in France and Germany before returning to Spain to become a leading figure in the country’s musical scene.

Lesson 5:

In this fifth lesson, the focus is on the continuation of the B section. The video will help you nail the performance aspects to this piece. It’s worth noting that Albéniz’s music was highly influential and helped to shape the development of Spanish classical music in the 20th century.

Lesson 6:

Learn Isaac Albéniz's "Mallorca": Classical Guitar Lesson

In this sixth lesson, the focus is on the cadence into the B section repeat. The fingering can be tricky so take your time separating the notes, aim for clarity.

Lesson 7:

Learn Isaac Albéniz's "Mallorca": Classical Guitar Lesson

In this final lesson, the focus is on ending the B section and discovering the ending scales. It’s worth noting that Albéniz’s music remains popular today and is still performed by musicians all over the world.

Spotify Playlists

Here are ten classical pieces that were composed and released in the same period as “Mallorca” (1890-1910). These pieces showcase the wide range of musical styles and influences during this period, from the impressionistic sounds of Debussy and Ravel to the dramatic and emotional works of Mahler and Rachmaninoff.

Claude Debussy – “La Mer” (1905)

Sergei Rachmaninoff – “Piano Concerto No. 2” (1901)

Gustav Mahler – “Symphony No. 5” (1904)

Jean Sibelius – “Finlandia” (1899)

Maurice Ravel – “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (1899)

Edward Elgar – “Enigma Variations” (1899)

Igor Stravinsky – “The Firebird” (1910)

Arnold Schoenberg – “Verklärte Nacht” (1899)

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov – “Scheherazade” (1888)

Guitar based Playlist 2

“Suite Española, Op. 47” by Isaac Albeniz (1886)

“Capricho Arabe” by Francisco Tárrega (1892)

“La Catedral” by Agustín Barrios Mangoré (1921)

“Asturias” by Isaac Albeniz (1892)

“Recuerdos de la Alhambra” by Francisco Tárrega (1896)

“Valses Poéticos” by Enrique Granados (1890)

“Danza Ritual del Fuego” by Manuel de Falla (1915)

“Zapateado” by Pablo de Sarasate (1879)

“Homenaje pour le Tombeau de Claude Debussy” by Manuel de Falla (1920)


In conclusion, Isaac Albéniz’s “Mallorca” is a beautiful and emotive piece of classical music that showcases the composer’s skillful blending of Spanish folk melodies and classical music. These 7 YouTube lessons provide an excellent opportunity to learn how to play the piece on classical guitar, with historical context and tips on harmony and performance. By incorporating these lessons into your practice routine, you can master this iconic piece of music and add it to your repertoire.

Spotify Notes

Claude Debussy’s “La Mer” (1905) is a three-movement orchestral work that represents the height of impressionism, a musical style that emphasizes atmosphere, timbre, and color over traditional harmonic and melodic structures. The piece was influenced by Debussy’s travels to the coast of France and reflects the ebb and flow of the ocean through its shimmering textures and fluid melodies.

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2” (1901) is one of the most beloved and enduring works of the Romantic era. Rachmaninoff wrote the piece following a period of severe depression and self-doubt, and its soaring melodies and lush harmonies reflect both his emotional turmoil and his deep love of Russian folk music.

Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 5” (1904) is a monumental work that showcases the composer’s unique blend of orchestral virtuosity, dramatic intensity, and spiritual profundity. The symphony’s famous Adagietto movement, a hauntingly beautiful string interlude, has become one of Mahler’s most enduring and popular compositions.

Jean Sibelius’s “Finlandia” (1899) is a patriotic tone poem that celebrates the Finnish people’s struggle for independence from Russia. The piece begins with a mournful hymn before erupting into a triumphant march, and it quickly became a symbol of Finnish national identity and resistance.

Maurice Ravel’s “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (1899) is a delicate and melancholic work for solo piano that evokes a sense of nostalgia and longing for a bygone era. The piece is often performed in arrangements for orchestra, which add lush harmonies and rich textures to its haunting melodies.

Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” (1899) is a set of fourteen variations on a theme, each dedicated to a different friend or family member of the composer. The piece showcases Elgar’s gift for orchestration and his ability to imbue simple themes with complex emotional depth.

Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” (1910) is a ballet score that marked the composer’s breakthrough into the world of avant-garde music. The piece’s colorful orchestration and innovative harmonies reflect Stravinsky’s interest in the folk music of his native Russia, and its explosive finale remains one of the most thrilling moments in all of classical music.

Arnold Schoenberg’s “Verklärte Nacht” (1899) is a string sextet that exemplifies the composer’s early style, which combined the lush harmonies of late Romanticism with a new approach to tonality that would eventually lead to his pioneering work in atonal music. The piece tells the story of a woman revealing a dark secret to her lover on a moonlit night, and its lush harmonies and intense emotional drama make it a masterpiece of the late Romantic era.

Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” (1916) is a suite of seven movements that represent each of the planets in the solar system (except for Earth). The piece’s colorful orchestration and vivid musical depictions of the planets’ characteristics have made it one of the most popular orchestral works of the 20th century.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” (1888) is a symphonic suite that takes its inspiration from the tales of “The Arabian Nights.” The piece’s exotic harmonies and dazzling orchestration have made it a staple of the orchestral repertoire, and its famous violin solo has become for its virtuosity and expressive qualities. The character of Scheherazade, who tells the sultan stories to keep herself alive, is represented by a solo violin throughout the piece. 

PlayList 2

Isaac Albeniz’s “Suite Española, Op. 47” (1886) is a collection of pieces for solo piano that were inspired by various regions of Spain. The suite includes movements with titles such as “Granada,” “Sevilla,” and “Asturias,” and features Albeniz’s signature use of Spanish rhythms and harmonies.

Francisco Tárrega’s “Capricho Arabe” (1892) is a guitar piece that is notable for its use of Moorish-inspired melodies and rhythms. The piece is often performed by guitarists around the world and has become one of the most recognizable works in the classical guitar repertoire.

Agustín Barrios Mangoré’s “La Catedral” (1921) is a suite of pieces for solo guitar that was inspired by a visit to a cathedral in Uruguay. The suite features Barrios’s use of traditional Latin American rhythms and harmonies and has become a beloved work in the guitar repertoire.

Isaac Albeniz’s “Asturias” (1892) is another popular guitar piece that is known for its fiery Spanish rhythms and intricate guitar techniques. The piece was originally written for piano but has since been transcribed for guitar and has become one of the most famous works in the guitar repertoire.

Francisco Tárrega’s “Recuerdos de la Alhambra” (1896) is a guitar piece that was inspired by the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. The piece is known for its use of tremolo techniques and its beautiful melodies, which are reminiscent of the intricate designs and patterns found in the palace.

Enrique Granados’s “Valses Poéticos” (1890) is a collection of waltzes for solo piano that features the composer’s signature use of Spanish rhythms and harmonies. The pieces are known for their lyrical melodies and intricate textures, and have become a popular part of the piano repertoire.

Manuel de Falla’s “Danza Ritual del Fuego” (1915) is an orchestral piece that was inspired by a ritual dance from Andalusia, Spain. The piece is known for its driving rhythms and intense energy, which evoke the fiery spirit of the dance.

Pablo de Sarasate’s “Zapateado” (1879) is a violin piece that is notable for its use of Spanish rhythms and its technical demands on the performer. The piece has become a popular showpiece for violinists around the world.

Manuel de Falla’s “Homenaje pour le Tombeau de Claude Debussy” (1920) is a guitar piece that was written in tribute to the French composer Claude Debussy, who had recently died. The piece is known for its use of impressionist harmonies and textures, and has become a beloved work in the guitar repertoire.


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

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