Gustavo Santaolalla

I think this will be my last transcription from Gustavo Santaolalla’s music from The Book of Life. For those who don’t know, there was a secondary score released with a lot of instrumental music and guitar work — which is kinda more my thing. The Apology Song and I Love You Too Much are from the original soundtrack.

(Note: The Book of Life Theme is my premium content.)

How to play The Book of Life Theme by Gustavo Santaolalla

This is the first song I’ve memorized in quite a while. Typically the material I play on this blog is generalized in one location on the neck of the guitar. I still have to practice a little bit, but I can easily read the tab while playing at the same time. If had to memorize everything, I’d produce only one or two guitar tabs per month.

The Book of Life Theme had so many linear movements, up and down the guitar neck, that to perform it, it would have to be memorized. Interestingly, I was able to memorize it very quickly by never writing down the tab in the first place. I figured out the song, but didn’t have to learn it — if that makes any sense.

I practiced the song all week long, then wrote the tab from memory at the time of this posting. Doing it this way, was almost like creating a song on your own. You never have to memorize your own material — because it’s intrinsic to who you are.

This all-in-one guitar version is about 99% to the original version. There is multiple guitar parts in the recorded version, so I have combined as much of them as I could into a single arrangement. I slightly palm mute the E and A strings in the end to give the feel of an upright bass note.

The guitar tab for The Book of Life Theme is written straight through, without repeats. Needless to say this is a four page behemoth of a guitar tab.

To make it easier to read, I’ve drawn lines to isolate certain chord shapes. Most of the time, I’m holding a single chord shape, and finger picking/strumming different elements of it. I typically use a swiping motion to upwardly strum the higher end of chords. All in all, I’m using just my thumb and second finger (my preference) for nearly the entire thing.

Finger-picking and strumming is largely a personal thing. There is no right or wrong way to do it, only your preference. If you can’t do something, you may need to adjust the way you finger pick.

The guitar tab is available below:

The Book of Life Theme is played in standard tuning. Enjoy, and thanks for being a premium member to Intellimusica! 

The Book of Life Theme by Gustavo Santaolalla

Written by:

Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, short-film composer, creator of modern content for guitar.