Learn Mozart Variations by Fernando Sor (Op.9)

Learn Mozart Variations by Fernando Sor (Op.9)

Learn the beautiful Learn Mozart Variations by Fernando Sor (Op.9) in this new lesson from us at CGRocks, with TAB, and video walk through of each section, and variation, you will pick up and play this piece in no time at All. Grab your guitar and dive into a little #6stringinspiration today.

Mozart Variations by Fernando Sor (Op.9)

Mozart variations by Fernando sor guitar lesson introduction

This piece was probably conceived in London by Sor, however he had already heard the melody well and truly before this from Mozart’s smash hit Opera of the day, The magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) K. 620. This opera, premiered on 30 September 1791 in Vienna. A later work by Mozart, who died within 2 months of this live performance. It is based on Singspiel, words are spoken and sung, a very popular form of the day. Fernando Sor was in London when the Opera hit the stage in 1819. Check out this well written article from Serenade Magazine, with extra musical videos.

Das Klinget so Herrlich – Snippet

The inspiration for this set of variations was the short aria, Das klinget so herrlich, played on a glockenspiel as Pappageno tries to woo an angry mob away from kidnapping his friend. It is a very small moment in the opera, but the melody is typically Mozart, sweet and all the right notes. Sor took liberties for sure, and turned this very simple melody into a beautiful, and very flashy, set of musical variations on the guitar; which are still enjoyed today over 200 years later. Sor dedicated it to his brother Carlos. Wikipedia has a great short article on this – link here.

Variations and Structure

Introduction & Variations on a Theme by Mozart, Op. 9, to give it the full title, was published in London in 1821. This is important as the Paris edition has different notes, and one less variation. So London is probably the professional version Sor played, while Paris was for his lesser skilled patrons. Each variation, apart from the introduction & ending, are in an A/B format, with repeats. This follows Mozart’s original idea’s structure. The work has the following structure:

  • Introduction – E minor
  • Variation 1 – E major (Trumpet texture)
  • Variation 2 – E major (Strings)
  • Variation 3 – E minor (Orchestral)
  • Variation 4 – E major (Woodwind)
  • Variation 5 – E major (Strings & Trumpets)
  • Variation 6 – E major (Orchestral ending)

The added information above is my guess as to what Sor was trying to achieve with the notes. Please remember the music that these variations are based on is light-hearted, a very funny moment in the opera. So this should inform your interpretation of these variations; variation 4 especially. Those outside notes are there for a reason – comedy.

Learn Mozart Variations – Introduction

Mozart variations by Fernando sor guitar lesson introduction

Lesson one deals with that fantastic opening section to these variations in the parallel minor. (A clever arrangement trick with the keys.) In it, we hear the melody ever so slightly, along with some hints of its operatic setting, the Glockenspiel, in the harmonics. It has the hallmarks of a classical guitar arrangement of the 19th century. Chordal opening, triplets with a melody, bass & accompaniment. Into a very clever harmonic quote of the Opera, before ending on the dominant, B7. Ready to launch us into the very major first variation.

Learn Mozart Variations – Variation 1

fernado sor op. 9 mozart variation 1 guitar lesson

Variation 1 kicks off with slurs, on the 2nd string, with a melody above them. Today this is not an unusual texture for modern classical guitar, but I suspect in the 19th century it wasn’t that common. Sor utilizes thirds to harmonise the melody, opening the intervals out at the end of each section. The trick here will be to keep the melody alive, above these slurs. So pull your left hand finger up slightly to execute the pull-offs, clearing string one. The tricky bits here will be the cadences in the B section, with its diminished chord on the repeat. 

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