crazyrach97 wrote: ↑
Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:25 am
mainterm wrote: ↑
Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:56 pm
2handband wrote: ↑
Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:23 am
Edited to add:
It's worth mentioning that Aguado's first guitar method contained what I gather was a pretty damned comprehensive (for it's day) discussion of theory and harmony. I'd love to look that over in depth but it's never been translated and I don't read Spanish. Or I shouldn't say it's NEVER been translated... Editions Orphee did a translation a few years ago but opted at the 11th hour to just publish the exercises and not the text. Ophee's explanation of this makes no sense to me, and I suspect the truth is that they wanted something they could retail for $20 or less. I'd happily pay top dollar for a modern edition with a full translation.
Well here's what McFadden has to say about Aguado's 1825/6 Escuela (page 22):
"Aguado's method is obviously thorough but there is no real attempt at direct integration between theoretical principles and their application on the guitar. It discusses harmonic elements but ultimately, it is not intended as a method for harmonic practice on the guitar and thus has little to offer the modern student of fretboard harmony."
From my perspective, the above is arguable to say the least. When western civilization decided to start writing things down (like inventing music notation), it wasn't necessarily because they didn't know how to before...
In general, McFadden's treatment of the historical sources, his assertions about them and the overall tone in that section of the paper has turned me off the whole business.
It seems from other posts in this thread that there's some good practical information later on and perhaps this is a valuable contribution to the literature - a publisher certainly thinks so. And that is just fine.
Unfortunately I can't read the theory section of the Escuela. It is in Spanish.
Regardless of whether McFadden's assessment of historical sources is accurate or not, I don't think it's a good indicator of the value of his own work.
crazyrach97 - I think you are coming from a good place, enthusiastic, ready to dive into various materials, curious, dedicated - keep going. I'm just adding to the discussion, not trying to single your post out for dispute.
So, I don't read Spanish either, but it's not that hard to work out the gist of what Aguado's getting at with a combination of guitar knowledge/skill and internet translation. If one carefully examines the figures and musical examples further clues to intent are found. Of course it would be nice if all of these primary sources were translated, but translators make mistakes too. Modern research methods/standards imply or outright require that serious academic examination of sources requires language skills to match.
McFadden's dissertation is entitled "Fretboard Harmony for University Study: Method and Historical Context" - the historical context bit is perhaps just a distraction as the treatment he gives to modern conception of functional/CPE music theory applied to fretboard knowledge (the Method bit) is far more elaborate and is clearly where the bulk of his energy as a thinker/practitioner was spent. As I mentioned - I think this is fine. For me, the Method he proposes is a bit over complicated and lacking in practical applications. I suspected that his high-level fly by of historical sources was lip service to historical context, while the real aim was to outline his method. Maybe his advisors explained that he needed to do more than just layout a method and so he begrudgingly dug some holes in the history yard... I don't know. Just speculation.
Going back to historical context however: Rameau's ideas and the various lives they took on through subsequent theorists and composition teachers were well established by the time Sor or Aguado were writing guitar methods. It was already mentioned in this thread that Aguado in his 1843 method dropped the theory from his 1825/6 Escuela - this was a choice. The implications of this choice are pretty deep. You'll find plenty of posts/threads on DC about this too - it's one of the contentious, divisive topics (how much music theory does a guitar performer need? ... ready, aim, fire). Sor too states in his method (Merrick trans.):
"To know the nature of them, it is unnecessary to learn that the major third consists of two tones, the minor third of a tone and a half; that the diatonic scale, in the major mode, has three major thirds and four minor thirds; that the major thirds a reproduced by the tonic, dominant, and subdominant, and the minor thirds by the submediant, mediant superdominant, and the lead note. It is necessary merely to know the proportion of the scale, ..."
"Having established my system for thirds, no more was necessary for me to do than to establish one for sixths, in order to have a positive rule for the fingering of all chords imaginable. I shall not relate all the reflections that I made on the subject, because I should not be understood but by harmonists, and because, as long as I can avoid language not comprehensible for every body, I shall not employ it."
I've just pulled these up quickly, but these statements open an interesting topic for exploration: given the historical record of guitar methodologies, what is the case for application of CPE harmonic analysis to fretboard mastery? I mean McFadden assumes that there is a strong case with no counter argument. There is no shortage of opinions on this, but has anyone objectively studied the relation between knowledge of functional harmony and improved instrumental performance? For my part I'm not convinced yet that McFadden's approach isn't actually damaging - not saying it is, but also that it isn't...
Anyway, wrote too much on that one. Not a good enough writer to be allowed to do that. I'll be quiet.