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Tales of the Riverbank Theme Music - Andante in C by Giuliani

MP3 of Giuliani Andante part 1 played by Tony Oreshko, guitar Listen to MP3 of Giuliani Andante Tony Oreshko - guitar

(See below for Study Notes)

Sheet music Tales of the Riverbank theme music: Giuliani Andante in C, part 1

Study Notes

The music above is the first section from the Andante in C major by the great Italian guitarist and composer, Mauro Giuliani (1781-1828).

This piece is particularly well-known by British adults over a certain age (and doubtless those in other countries, too), because many years ago it was used as the theme music for a very popular children's TV series called Tales of the Riverbank. This featured characters such as Hammy the hamster, Roderick the rat and GP the guinea pig, all played by real animals who operated miniature cars, motor boats, aeroplanes etc. while voices were provided for them by Johnny Morris.

The first part of the Andante is fairly simple and shouldn't present too great a challenge for guitarists who have played at least one or two other pieces by classical guitar composers such as Giuliani, Carulli, Carcassi etc. The complete piece (it has a second, contrasting minor key section not shown here) is, I believe, about grade 3 standard for classical guitar.

The music is based on a pattern which is very common in pieces by the above guitar composers. This pattern consists of two notes that are played together at an interval of a tenth and then immediately followed by an open G. Bars 1-3 and 9-11 of this piece are entirely based on it. You may find it interesting to make a comparison with the music for the second part of Carulli's Andante, where this same pattern is also used.

The alternating semiquavers in the bottom part (the notes with stems pointing downwards) should be played with alternating right hand thumb and index finger (p i p i). An exception is bar 7 where I'd suggest using p i p p for the four semiquavers in the bottom line, then p p for the two quavers.

Play the quavers in the top line (e.g. bars 1-3) with either the m or a finger. When the top line has a run of semiquavers (e.g. bar 4) make sure you use alternating right hand fingers, usually i m i m.

The left hand fingering should also present few problems. It is entirely in the first position, but when playing the pattern mentioned above you'll need to use your 4th finger on the 3rd fret for the Gs on the first string (e.g. bar 2) and the Ds on the second string (e.g. bar 3).

Bars 13 and 14 are worth a brief mention. Here use your 1st finger for the C, and 2nd finger for E, then play the C# with the 3rd finger, using it as a guide finger to move to the D. Similarly the 2nd finger is used as a guide finger to move from E to the F.

The Andante has a very simple melody and employs lots of cliches found in many other guitar music from the period, yet it is a very endearing piece that I'm sure you'll enjoy playing - and especially so if you remember it from watching childhood episodes of Tales of the Riverbank.

Tony Oreshko

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