76 pp., $19.95, Presser Order number 494-02838 (PWYS-97)
This volume is a collection of exercises, lessons and etudes extracted from the second edition of Dionisio Aguado’s Escuela of 1826. Stripping this guitar method from all of its text, creates a carefully graduated system of teaching which is similar in its construction to the later, much later, Bartók’s Mikrokosmos. As Bartók stated in his preface to his monumental pedagogical edifice, teachers do not need to be told how to teach. They already know. They need good material to work with. The present volume is using all the teaching musical matter of the original source. The lessons, exercises and etudes from this method range progressively all the way from a single line melody on the bass strings to multi--page concert etudes that deserve to be on the program of the most demanding virtuosi. The first 22 lessons are meant to be played by the right-hand thumb only. They are designed to teach basic sight reading in the first position, using a gradual progression of rhythmic patterns. The emphasis is on a correct maintenance of the duration of each note or rest. Chords are introduced in lessons 23-32. Arpeggio patterns are introduced in Lesson 34 using the chords of the previous lesson. The imaginative teacher will quickly understand that the arpeggio studies develop in a logical sequence that allows them to be grouped as pseudo themes and variations (for example Lessons 40-41) that can also be played as a duo, or as class instruction material. Lesson 50 opens the way for polyphony instruction, beginning with simple two-voice textures, gradually increasing in complexity, until Lesson 71 in which a three-voice texture is introduced. With few exceptions, the music remains in the first position until Lessons 88-89 where the concept of equivalent pitches is introduced. From that point on, the music becomes gradually more technically demanding and covering the entire fingerboard up to fret XII and beyond. The 14 Exercises and the 30 Etudes that follow are given here with full fingering. This collection can be useful in any program of guitar education, regardless of the teacher’s approach to pedagogy or his/her attachment to any particular philosophy. I am honored to present this valuable tool of the teaching trade to twenty-first century guitar teachers, a tool that was imagined by Dionisio Aguado at the early nineteenth century. Matanya Ophee.
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