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Francisco Tarrega

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Tárrega was born on 21 November 1852, in Villarreal, Castellón, Spain. It is said that Francisco’s father played flamenco and several other music styles on his guitar; when his father was away working as a watchman at the Convent of San Pascual the child would take his father’s guitar and attempt to make the beautiful sounds he had heard. Francisco’s nickname as a child was “Quiquet”.

An infection permanently impaired his eyesight and when the family moved to Castellón the child was enrolled in music classes. Both his first music teachers, Eugeni Ruiz and Manuel González, were blind.

In 1862, concert guitarist Julián Arcas, on tour in Castellón, heard the young Tárrega play and advised Tárrega’s father to allow Francisco to come to Barcelona to study with him. Tárrega’s father agreed, but insisted that his son take piano lessons as well. The guitar was viewed as an instrument to accompany singers, while the piano was all the rage throughout Europe. However, Tárrega had to stop his lessons shortly after, when Arcas left for a concert tour abroad. Although Tárrega was only ten years old, he ran away and tried to start a musical career on his own by playing in coffee houses and restaurants in Barcelona. He was soon found and brought back to his father, who had to make great sacrifices to advance his son’s musical education.

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