Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Preludes, Cadences and Composition for Guitar in 19th-Century Teaching Practice

Despite the mountain of pedagogical publications for the guitar in the 19th century, we still are unsure as to how a student actually learned the instrument – the practical aspects: technique, theory and performance practice. Presumably the student would visit the local teacher, if there was one, and be instructed in posture, basic technique, and reading music, before being fed a diet of Lessons, Exercises and Studies, leading to ‘proper’ pieces. In that respect, the process would be little different from recent teaching practice since the 1950s. However, one area largely neglected in our own time, but very much integrated into 19th-century practice, is the combined study of improvisation and composition.

Imagine if we had a manuscript workbook by one of Sor’s or Giuliani’s pupils. It would give us a fascinating insight into how they actually taught the guitar. The Georgina Gregory manuscript (henceforth, GGms) from 1830s Edinburgh goes some way to revealing much about how one Scottish teenager learned from one of the world’s finest guitar players and composers of the day, Felix Horetsky. Horetsky – a Polish émigré of international stature as guitar performer, composer and pedagogue – apparently lived in Edinburgh’s fashionable New Town district for some twenty years, teaching, publishing and performing, first in Scotland Street, and then in the slightly down market Clarence Street, the move possibly reflecting his dwindling income in old age. He had one student who would become quite famous, Stanislaus Sczepanowski, who, after a period of study with Sor in Paris , would return to Edinburgh to take over the late Horetsky’s teaching practice. Edinburgh could boast two of the finest guitar performer-composer-teachers, active in the heart of the city for some forty years...

 Preludes, Cadences and Composition for Guitar in 19th-Century Teaching Practice

 

 

 

 

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