The Aguado project

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
2handband
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The Aguado project

Post by 2handband » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:10 pm

My daughter is diving back into CG after taking some time off to work on some rock guitar and singing goals. She is still a classical beginner, having gotten most of the way through Larry MacDonald's conservatory tutor volume 1. A large part of the impetus here is that she's picked up a fascination with the music of Dionisio Aguado, most of which is of course wildly beyond her present reach.

So I got ahold of fascimile copies of the 1820 collection of studies, all three methods (I actually have the Tecla translation of the 1843 method), and his opuses of "non difficiles" pieces and have burned through them looking for some stuff that she could reasonably tackle within the next 12 months. A couple of things struck me during the process. First off, Aguado actually was REALLY good at writing miniatures. There are cases where like Carcassi he gets so wrapped up in his pedagogical intent that he forgets he's supposed to be writing music, but there are plenty that rival the best of Sor's student output. The second thing that really struck me is that he was better than Sor at writing studies that really target very specific aspects of style and/or technique. Thirdly, he had a serious problem with screwing up what would otherwise be a beautiful, pedagogically useful, and fun to play etude with ridiculous stretches that even I, with considerable technique and large hands, have to practice in order to realize.

I did find a number of musically worthwhile and didactically relevant etudes that I've set aside for the coming months, but I'm considering going deeper. I'm thinking it might be worthwhile to go through all of Aguado's numerous etudes (and probably including the stuff in the "non difficiles" opuses as a lot of it is student-level material) and cataloging it by difficulty and didactic intent. I would then go through and toss out the stuff that just isn't very good music (yes I get that it's my opinion but I'm looking at creating a list of material that could be used as graded study material that a student might actually want to play) and generate a final graded list of studies, cross indexed by difficulty level and pedagogical value. It would be freely available at my new website which is going to go online sometime early next year as part of my effort to retire from gigging altogether and become a full-time teacher.

So two questions: would there be enough interest to make it worth the effort? Second, would anyone who has learned from any of these studies post the ones that have been the most useful to you, or any teachers who use them post their favorites?

Laudiesdad69
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Re: The Aguado project

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:37 pm

Please post your website once it's up. I would really like to see this.

Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: The Aguado project

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:45 pm

That's a fantastic project that could have interest to guitarists for decades to come, it seems to me. If you indeed start this project, it might be a good idea to periodically update your call for useful studies, as not everyone will see this initial post. And why not post this same appeal on the French, German and Spanish sites as well, if you have a less than overwhelming response here.
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Cloth Ears
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Re: The Aguado project

Post by Cloth Ears » Tue Dec 27, 2016 1:38 pm

Very interested in your digestion of Aguado's oeuvre.

You mention his stretches, which of course would not be nearly as big on his Baroque guitar with its shorter scale length. Having worked for two years to polish up his Opus 2 Rondo No.3, I found much fun in finding many different fingerings at numerous points in the piece that don't always follow the original or even Breams' version (why did Bream miss the C major section in his video?).

Look forward to digesting your digestion.

2handband
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Re: The Aguado project

Post by 2handband » Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:13 pm

Cloth Ears wrote:Very interested in your digestion of Aguado's oeuvre.

You mention his stretches, which of course would not be nearly as big on his Baroque guitar with its shorter scale length. Having worked for two years to polish up his Opus 2 Rondo No.3, I found much fun in finding many different fingerings at numerous points in the piece that don't always follow the original or even Breams' version (why did Bream miss the C major section in his video?).

Look forward to digesting your digestion.
Even with the shorter scale length some of this would be quite awkward for inexperienced players. Check out this segment from Colección de estudios para guitarra, estudio #3:

Image

The second beat specifically. Now, you can make that much easier by replacing the low G# with a low E, but it kinda messes up the voice leading a little.

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Cloth Ears
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Re: The Aguado project

Post by Cloth Ears » Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:19 pm

It doesn't seem that difficult to me (after 30 years of playing :lol: ), but I would understand that to a beginner it might be a stretch to far. I certainly get your general point about his using such stretches.

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Michael.N.
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Re: The Aguado project

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Dec 27, 2016 3:25 pm

Back in Aguado's day they didn't worry about stretches and beginners. What with Napoleon and the following civil unrest. You either did the guitar stretches or you got sent off to war. No contest really.
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RobMacKillop
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Re: The Aguado project

Post by RobMacKillop » Tue Dec 27, 2016 3:29 pm

Cloth Ears wrote:You mention his stretches, which of course would not be nearly as big on his Baroque guitar with its shorter scale length.
Baroque? Try classical :-)

That E Major triad is an unusual figuration, with two major thirds. Tsk, tsk... :contrat: :lol:

Dustin McKinney
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Re: The Aguado project

Post by Dustin McKinney » Tue Dec 27, 2016 3:52 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Cloth Ears wrote:You mention his stretches, which of course would not be nearly as big on his Baroque guitar with its shorter scale length.
Baroque? Try classical :-)

That E Major triad is an unusual figuration, with two major thirds. Tsk, tsk... :contrat: :lol:
Some truth in that statement, but in the Common Practice Era, partwriting allowed for a doubled major third when it appears in the bass. It's also acceptable since it functions as a leading tone down below.

Regardless, looking at that stretch is daunting. It's definitely a feat of left hand dexterity.
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2handband
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Re: The Aguado project

Post by 2handband » Tue Dec 27, 2016 3:58 pm

Dustin McKinney wrote:
RobMacKillop wrote:
Cloth Ears wrote:You mention his stretches, which of course would not be nearly as big on his Baroque guitar with its shorter scale length.
Baroque? Try classical :-)

That E Major triad is an unusual figuration, with two major thirds. Tsk, tsk... :contrat: :lol:
Some truth in that statement, but in the Common Practice Era, partwriting allowed for a doubled major third when it appears in the bass. It's also acceptable since it functions as a leading tone down below.

Regardless, looking at that stretch is daunting. It's definitely a feat of left hand dexterity.
It's not especially difficult with hands as big as mine, but I have to think somebody with shorter fingers would run into trouble there. And yes, that low G# leads into the A in a rather satisfying way.

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Michael.N.
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Re: The Aguado project

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:08 pm

I can reach it with my small hands but more than 50% of the time the nail on the back of finger 3 inadvertently interferes with the G#. No way is that a beginners chord, it's stuff you expect in grade 8 or above.
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Cloth Ears
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Re: The Aguado project

Post by Cloth Ears » Tue Dec 27, 2016 5:00 pm

I must have confused someone else's biography in my head, but I thought I read that he played a baroque guitar, Rob. I stand corrected.

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RobMacKillop
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Re: The Aguado project

Post by RobMacKillop » Tue Dec 27, 2016 5:26 pm

No problem. I make mistakes all the time. Aguado was a contemporary with Sor. Both of them started their guitar education on a 6-course (double strung) guitar, which did in fact grow out of the baroque guitar, so in some ways you are right. But by the time they were playing concerts and publishing music, they had shifted to the 6-single string classical guitar. Also, fyi, baroque guitars mostly had the same string length as modern classical guitars, anything between 65 and 74 cms, with 66 being fairly common. Classical-period guitars tended to be smaller, from 59cms to 64cms on average.

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Michael.N.
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Re: The Aguado project

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Dec 27, 2016 5:54 pm

Aguado is associated with Lacote or (more commonly) Laprevotte - the one with the oval soundhole. I think both guitars are in the museum in Madrid. No idea where his tripod is, that might be in the museum too.
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: The Aguado project

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Tue Dec 27, 2016 6:36 pm

Dustin McKinney wrote:
RobMacKillop wrote: That E Major triad is an unusual figuration, with two major thirds. Tsk, tsk... :contrat: :lol:
Some truth in that statement, but in the Common Practice Era, partwriting allowed for a doubled major third when it appears in the bass. It's also acceptable since it functions as a leading tone down below.
Regardless, looking at that stretch is daunting. It's definitely a feat of left hand dexterity.
A source for doubled 3rd being OK if possible please? I thought it was only in a minor context. To me that would sound very iffy as is.

Funnily enough perhaps we could improve both aspects? Move the higher G sharp up to B on the 3rd string and finger the result (upwards) 3-1-4-2
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