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The Spanish musician Francisco Tárrega is considered one of the greatest classical guitarists of all time, leaving behind an impressive oeuvre of Romantic compositions when he died in 1909. But by far his most famous piece of music is a three-second snippet from his 1902 guitar solo, “Gran Vals.”

You don’t need a musical ear to hear its most famous passage: The notes jump out 12 seconds into this recording of the song:

The line, as the blog Tedium noted recently in a delightful deep...


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