daverkb wrote:I am glad to see this much interest in Aguado. I had studied Sor, and a little Carcassi, and not much else for student studies. Recently, I took a look at the Aguado Method and was struck right away with the lucidity of the approach.
Which method have you been looking at? There are three. I've been staring at them a lot over the past week and it's instructive to consider the differences.
The first, the escuela De guitarra circa 1825, contains the most music music and would be the most effective to give to a student at or near the beginning stages. It starts with single note lines in the bass with lots of examples and makes a somewhat progressive transition to chords and arpeggios and then to music in two lines. There are A LOT of short pieces in here, more than in later methods and in general a more diverse and interesting selection. It ends with 30 etudes which are musically of high quality and technically challenging. Some are quite lengthy. Sadly the considerable text is either in French or Spanish depending on which edition you get; I know of no translation into English which is a great pity as there is an extensive discussion of theory in here. In particular I am eyeballing this chart which matches scale degrees with sollfege syllables through all the modes and am dying to read the supporting text. I'd pay top dollar for a translation.
Then there is the nouvelle methode De guitare published in 1834. It's supposed to be for amateurs with an aim towards playing "agreeable pieces" quickly. It is NOT a beginners method; really it is a manual to teach someone who already plays how to find his/her way around the higher positions of the neck. The musical examples are all waltzes, and the quality is uneven. An edition was published in England so you can get a facsimile in English.
The last is the one most modern guitarists recognize, the nuevo methodo para guitarra published in 1843 with appendix added in 1849. In comparison with the 1820 method there is far less beginner's study; I wouldn't throw either of them at a novice but the 1843 method doesn't even try. Aguado also omits the section on theory, suggesting instead that the student learn sollfege and harmony before jumping into the method. The musical examples in the earlier stages often are a bit samey one to the next, which I think is deliberate. You'll get three or four pieces in a row with similar characteristics, allowing you to focus on the specific didactic intent of each without having to learn too much new stuff at once. That's the good news here: if you're already playing around level 2 or so this book is wonderfully progressive and insanely thorough. A more complete treatise on every single aspect of solo guitar technique you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere, even today. Once you get past lesson 25 or so the music is delightful although not quite as diverse as that in the 1825 method. It caps off with 27 wonderful if challenging studies, 16 of which are repeats from the 30 etudes that appear at the end of the 1825 method. This book has a modern edition translated into English available from tecla.
In summary, if I wanted to throw Aguado at a beginner I would choose the 1825 method, and I wish someone would translate the damn thing. Editions Orphee has an edition containing the music but omitting the text, which is maddening because apparently they DID translate it but decided at the last minute to not publish the translation. For an advanced beginner and above the 1843 is king for being progressive and thorough although there are some studies from the 1825 I would throw in there. The studies at the end of the two methods are a treasure trove; a total of 41 intermediate to advanced etudes of high musical worth. The 1834 method is mostly of historical interest although there are some nice pieces in there.