Gustavo Santaolalla: The Journey | fingerstyle guitar
Photo by Matt Paul Catalano | Unsplash

The Journey

Free download of this performance on SoundCloud.

The Journey was originally written for Louis Vuitton's Journey campaign in 2008. The video has some really class cinematography to go with Gustavo Santaolalla's world music. This piece eventually found it's way onto Santaolalla's Camino album in 2014.

I think it's one of Santaolalla's best -- up there with Iguazu, and De Ushuaia a La Quiaca. The verse has an ambiguity that allows for the listener's imagination. It's neither major or minor -- and you to draw your own sense from it.

Gustavo Santaolalla (probably unknowingly) makes excellent use of chord suspension -- which I believe is the secret to some of his film score work. The 3rd note of a chord dictates most of the tonality. It is the 3rd, or flat 3rd that makes a chord major or minor. Major progressions sound hopeful, minor progressions sound melancholic.

However removing the 3rd, makes a chord (or series of notes) sound enigmatic and ethereal. This would have great application to film -- as a sound designer can edit the music easily. Of course the chorus of The Journey is clearly comprised of major arpeggios which signals hope and contentment. It's the give and take between these two tonalities where Gustavo Santaolalla's genius lies.

You might also like to play some other pieces by Gustavo Santaolalla...

Brokeback Mountain 1 | fingerstyle guitar + TAB

Cordon de Plata | fingerstyle guitar + TAB

Iguazu (a variation) | fingerstyle guitar + TAB

Gear used

For this piece, I used my Cordoba C7 Cedar guitar. It's a relatively inexpensive guitar that's dark and warm sounding.

You can find a current list of my gear here.

My music

You can find my personal music on Spotify, Apple, Amazon Music, and all streaming services:

Evan on Spotify

Evan on Apple

Intellimusica Spotify Playlist: Cinematic Gustavo Santaolalla
Deep cuts from Gustavo Santaolalla's best soundtracks. This playlist especially highlights Santaolalla's acoustic minimalism. Perfect for meditation and relaxation.

How to play The Journey | fingerstyle guitar

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I originally arranged this piece back in 2014 -- but I wanted to rerecord it with my much improved audio quality. The original guitar tab was exceptional -- so I kept it for this updated version. The guitar tab for The Journey is beautifully written across 4 pages and played straight through. I recommend this piece for intermediate guitar players and up. Enjoy, the tab is available below:

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Written by:

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