Repertoire Characteristics

Método de Guitarra has a vast repertoire of seventy composers and anonymous tunes. There are scales, exercises, and examples to work on the different techniques, a repertoire of small pieces, and more important works to complement and enrich the learning process. The works encompass music from the Renaissance period to contemporary live composers. They were selected to fit the technical demands according to each level while portraying a variety of compositional styles.

There is music by eighteen composers from Cuba, ten from Latin-American countries, and forty-one from different countries in Europe. The Latin-American countries represented are Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. From Europe, the nations are Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Norway, Hungary, and England.(See Table 1: European composers)

Spain is the most represented European country, with thirteen composers and eighty-three works. There is a comprehensive collection of 19th and 20th-century Spanish music from composers like Fernando Sor, Dionisio Aguado, Francisco Tárrega, Daniel Fortea, Emilio Pujol, and Miguel Llobet; and Renaissance composers like Santiago de Murcia, Luis Milán, Gaspar Sanz, and Diego Pisador. 

There is a wide range of European composers from different musical periods. The repertoire list comprises sixty-five works from Renaissance lutenists like John Dowland to relevant Baroque composers like J. S. Bach. There is music by Classical and Romantic renowned composers for the guitar like Mauro Giuliani, Napoleón Coste, and J. K. Mertz, among others.

Interestedly, there are only a few 20th-century composers such as Edward Grieg, Francis Poulenc, and Francis Kleynjans. There are twenty-five pieces of music from Latin America by influential figures and less-known composers. Names like Jorge Martínez Zárate, Manuel M. Ponce, Agustín Barrios (Mangoré), and Joāo Texeira (Pernambuco), among others, are included in this method. There are also arrangements of Latin American tunes for children and from the regional repertoire of traditional folk music. (See Table 2: Latin America composers)

However, the major representation per a single country comes from Cuba, with a total of two hundred and eleven works. Most composers included were guitar professors or performers except Eliseo Grenet and Jorge Anckerman, whose works were arranged by Leo Brouwer. The composers with the most significant number of pieces and exercises incorporated are Clara Romero (48), Isaac Nicola (37 pieces), Marta Cuervo (32), Martín Pedreira (30), Teresa Madiedo  (15), and Leo Brouwer (12), etc. Many of the composers in the method are still alive and have currently active careers. (See Table 3: Cuban composers)

The primary influence in Nicola’s pedagogical work came from his mother, Clara Romero, and the Spanish school, mainly from his professor  Emilio Pujol and his idol Francisco Tárrega. That is why it is unsurprising that the significant representation of music in the method came from these figures. The other composers with many pieces in the method were vital collaborators/co-authors like Marta Cuervo and Martín Pedreira.

Since all the professors and collaborators involved in creating the method were Cuban, it felt natural to include Cuban music. However, the substantial output of Cuban composers resulted from a conscious effort to put value in the national music and composers. The fact that there is indeed such a rich compendium of music from the island makes this pedagogical work unique. This selection adds nuances to the standard classical guitar output and enriches the student’s learning experience with rhythms and music only found in this method.

Isaac Nicola was a fervent follower of the  Spanish guitar school led by Tárrega. However, he also understood the importance of the Latin American repertoire in the classical guitar context and defended this music throughout his career as a professor. With a visionary approach, he combined the demanding Classical guitar study with the strong tradition of Cuban music. This cultural richness is tangible in the Método de Guitarra and its repertoire.