Prelude 2 in C Minor

"Prelude 2 in C Minor" is a piece written originally for keyboard, but is transcribed for two six-string guitars. Because of the tempo changes and the endurance needed to get through this piece, it is probably the most difficult one in my book, "Advanced Classical Studies for Modern Electric Guitar", to perform.

PDF - Download the Notation

How to learn this piece

First, play it all the way through without stopping. Try to get through it five times. Second, Look at the whole piece. Third, work on the sections one at a time. I have notated the upper line at pitch and the lower line one octave higher and in treble clef.

Looking at the piece

See that it is divided into three main sections. The first section extends through measure 24. I'll call this section 1. Measures 25, 26, and 27 break up the sections. I'll call this the arpeggio part. The next section begins in measure 28 and extends through measure 33, I'll call this the Presto. Measure 34 is a kind of solo cadenza which bridges the Presto to the final section. I'll call measure 34 the Adagio part. I'll call the final section the codetta.

Now that you have looked at this and played through it, you are ready to begin working on the individual sections. Pay attention to how it sounds. You may need to spend a lot of time on a particular measure to get it to sound right. Just as you approached the whole piece, you can approach each section by first playing it through and then playing groups of measures. This strategy works.

Working on the sections

Section 1

  • Use distortion
  • Both guitars must play in sync
  • On beats one and three, give the first sixteenth note a slightly longer duration
    and a stronger attack.

Arpeggio part

  • inhale before this section to create a slight pause.
  • hold first note of each measure slightly longer than its notated value.
  • Your choice: solo, in unison, in octaves.


  • should be played fast and accurately at a tempo not less than 120


  • The adagio part should be played rubato, either picked or legato
  • the lower guitar part should clean up and quiet during the adagio part

Garrett Smith is a guitarist from Boston who is author of the book, "Advanced Classical Studies for Modern Electric Guitar".

The entire book may be downloaded from Smith's web site.

Garrett Smith