Throughout his career as a classical guitarist, composer, and music educator, Fernando Sor (1778 – 1839) wrote and published numerous studies, etudes, and exercises intended for the development of different aspects of guitar technique. Among the most popular of these studies is his Opus 35, No. 22, a lyrical, melodious piece in the key of B minor later published in 1945 as part of Twenty Studies for the Guitar, an edition comprising twenty of Sor’s studies compiled by Andrés Segovia. This edition includes Segovia’s fingerings, dynamics, and tempo indications, as well as Segovia’s name on the publication, bringing Sor’s pedagogical studies to further prominence in the twentieth century. In Segovia’s edition, the piece is titled Estudio No. 5, and is sometimes known as “Study in B Minor”, “Estudio No. 5,” “Estudio No. 5 in B Minor,” and other similar titles. Today, Opus 35, No. 22 (Estudio No. 5) is a frequently performed piece for aspiring classical guitar students, amateurs, and professionals alike, praised for its beauty, pedagogical utility, and highly memorable melody.
Big picture analysis: The piece is in ABA’ form with a brief coda, the texture is arpeggiated throughout, and the melody is in the top voice. Pedagogical purposes include facilitating smooth arpeggios in the right hand while bringing out the melody notes, the barre technique, and legato playing. Phrases are consistently four to eight measures in length. Harmony is mostly diatonic to the key of B minor, with a short series of secondary dominant chords followed by a Neapolitan 6th and leading tone diminished chord in the middle section. An F# pedal tone appears at least once in each section except for the coda, further rooting the piece in B minor via the strong presence of the dominant.
Sections: A (m. 1-16), B (m. 17-32), A’ (m. 33-40), Coda (m. 41-48)
Phrases and cadences: m. 1-4 (IAC), 5-8 (HC), 9-12 (DC on bVI), 13-16 (PAC), 17-20 (HC), 21-24 (HC), 25-32 (HC), 33-36 (IAC), 37-40 (HC), 41-44 (DC on bVI), 44-48 (PAC)
Pedal tones: m. 1-6, 9-11, 17-23, 33-38
Andrés Segovia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDZVadbRZQE
Julian Bream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49x9Csv4KPk
John Williams (starts at 5:18): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDXoejCGMHg&list=PL0FA53sA31GUgrtKjepUqtGXFcWkh_i7t
Matthew McAllister: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgVcYahPFNk
Taso Comanescu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwUgzOriL4E
Hall, John. “Sor Study 22 Op. 35 (B minor) – Analysis and Obligato.” John Hall, 2013. Link: https://johnhallguitar.com/blog/blog/sor-study-22-op-35-b-minor-analysis-and-obligato.
Heck, Thomas F., Harvey Turnbull, Paul Sparks, James Tyler, Tony Bacon, Oleg V. Timofeyey, and Gerhard Kubik. “Guitar.” Grove Music Online. Edited by Deane Root. https://doi.org/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.43006.
Page, Christopher. “New light on the London years of Fernando Sor (1815–1822).” Early Music 41, no. 4 (November 2013): 557-569. Link: https://academic.oup.com/em/article-abstract/41/4/557/390087.
Powis, Simon. “Sor Studies in B Minor & D Major.” Classical Guitar Corner, 2022. Link: https://www.classicalguitarcorner.com/sor-studies-in-b-minor-d-major/.
Powis, Simon. “CGC 105: Sor Study in B Minor – Singing and Playing the Melody.” Classical Guitar Corner, 2021. Link: https://www.classicalguitarcorner.com/cgc-105-sor-study-in-bminor-singing-and-playing-the-melody/.
Powis, Simon. Graded Repertoire for Classical Guitar. New York, USA: CGC Publishing, 2019. Link: https://cgcpublishing.com/collections/classical-guitar-books/products/graded-repertoire-for-classical-guitar-spiral-bound-print-edition.
Sor, Fernando. Twenty Studies for the Guitar. Edited by Andrés Segovia. Milwaukee, USA: Hal Leonard, 1995.
Sor, Fernando. Method for the Spanish Guitar. London, UK: Tecla Editions, 2003.
Wade, Graham. Traditions of the Classical Guitar. Richmond, UK: Overture Publishing, 2012.
Warner, Bradford. “Lesson: Study in B Minor No. 22, Op. 35 by Sor for Classical Guitar.” This Is Classical Guitar, 2018. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VawTqpJaE_c.