To Live

This is the very first song I ever actually wrote for classical guitar. I wrote it during my college years I think in 1998-99.  That was around the same time that I really started applying myself to Spanish and classical guitar techniques.  I don’t remember if there was anything in particular that inspired me to write the song.  I do remember that the writing process went fairly quickly, which is rare for me.  I actually wrote it out on paper in one afternoon.  Over the years the ‘B’ section has changed slightly as I have adjusted some of the notes to fit the meter better.


The structure of the song is very simple–basically its  an ‘AABA’ form.  The ‘A’ section is in 4/4 meter and played in triplets through out.  Each ‘A’ section is the same without variation.  At the end of each ‘A’ section I play a strumming part, also in triplets.  The first pulse of each triplet stum is a percussive hit to the stings and fretboard. I drag my fingers down for the second pulse and then drag my thumb up for the third pulse.  The chords for the strumming section are Dmin-Bbmaj-C7-Fmaj.

The B section changes meter to 6/8 and it uses a rapid picking technique called “tremolo.”  I’m not sure when it was first used, but but Fransisco Tarrega’s beautiful piece called “Recuerdos de la Alhambra” used tremolo for the entire duration of the song, and is probably the best known song using the technique.  “Recuerdos” was a big inspiration to me for useing tremolo in this song.

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27 thoughts on “To Live”

  1. I think this piece means something completely different to you than it means to me. To me it’s uplifting. Actually tried listening to this piece while reading a poem that I felt somehow went well with it. It’s probably the percussive taps at the first “F” and “E” of each triplet after a series of “triplet triads” in the A section that remind me of the iambic meter, of how English poetry sounds like.
    It’s that hope and a kind of lively passion I hear from this music that makes it special to me.

  2. We love your playing!!
    My 13 year old son has been studying classical guitar for many years. He was starting to drift to other styles of music. We both love The Most Evolved, and that got him re-interested in his classical guitar (yay!!).
    Thanks for sharing your talent.

  3. John, You are a great musician and composer, you have a special gift in your heart, in your mind and in your hands, mostly in your heart, because you force and feeling to playguitar, the inspiration to compose and the good person that you are came from your heart. Don’t forget that. In a World where just the 3% of the population are musicians, you are special, at the end of everything and at the beginning of all. You will be special and that makes you The most Evolved.

  4. Lovely music John, I can get lost in it.

    I’ve had your album on non stop since it arrived, fantastic. wife is bemused because she got me a drednought for xmas and I won’t put down my old classical since I found your youtube stuff 🙂

    Will you put ‘To Live’ on your next album, and will you release it soon 🙂

  5. hi John,

    Everytime I see your videos, I get so inspired to play guitar but, the thing is I don’t know how to. <:) You are by far the best spanish/classical guitar player I've ever heard!

  6. Nice to meet you and oversees more than to hear the music that I’m a fan of the pattern Bazvk of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

  7. Hi John.
    Your music is great, but you know this 😉
    I was just wondering if you could put up the video how to make “tremolo” because I try to play it often but I can’t do it :S
    I finished music school, but we’ve never played “tremolo” or your spanish strumming patterns. What a pity 🙂
    With best wishes, your biggest fan!

  8. Hello John,
    After listening to this I just said one Word which is “WOW” It’s amazing I like it very much and I hope that I can learn to do such a thing,

    Thanks very Much for this


  9. Hello John,

    It is a pleasure to listen to you playing guitar. I would like to go to one of your concerts. Where do you play?


  10. Hi my name is ryan and I am a big fan of you and your work.
    I signed up and was wondering how I get my free tabs. I can’t wait to play and be like you.

  11. Your playing is magnificent! As soon as I get my next paycheck I am buying your CD and spreading the word!!!

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