Dionisio Aguado

(1784-1849)


Country: Spain

Dionisio Aguado was born in Madrid, Spain. His ancient surname, meaning "soaked", was given to an ancestor, a knight, who once returned from the battlefield caked in mud.

Aguado was one of the early pioneers of the use of standard music notation for guitar music. Following in the footsteps of Frederico Moretti; Spanish guitarists like Aguado and Fernando Sor used a system inspired by violin notation, whereby a 5-line treble staff was employed, and the different parts of the music were distinguished with specific note stems.

After Napoleon's French army invaded Spain in 1808, Aguado perfected his guitar playing method while working as a guitar teacher in the village of Fuenlabrada.

By 1825, Aguado had published two volumes describing the techniques of guitar playing:
  • Coleccion de estudios para guitarra (1820)
  • Escuela de Guitarra (1825)
The guitar tutors indicate Aguado's preference for the use of fingernails to strike the strings, as well as a device of his own invention called a "tripodion", on which the base of the guitar rested in order to reduce the sonic dampening effect of resting the guitar on the player's body. After the passing of his mother in 1824, Aguado made plans to emigrate to Paris.

In Paris, Aguado built a solid reputation as both a performer and a teacher, and his guitar tutor was translated into French by Francois de Fossa and printed in 1826. Aguado was a firm friend with that other Spanish guitar virtuoso, Fernando Sor, who also resided in the French capital. Their friendship was commemorated in Sor's guitar duet "Les Deux Amis" ("The Two Friends"). Sor's playing differed from Aguado in that he did not use his fingernails.

Free sheet music by Dionisio Aguado

Etude no 11