Madame R. Sidney Pratten’s Guitar School

One of the most important guitarists of the 19th century

A very interesting article of Daniel Nistico on Classical Guitar N Stuff, that made me discover Sidney Pratten and her method book: “Guitar School”.

Catharina Josepha Pratten (1821–1895) was one of the most renowned guitarists of her days. 
She was a child prodigy, and was taught by her father Ferdinand Pelzer.

In her childhood she was friends with Giulio Regondi. Together they played guitar duets, and she also accompanied Regondi’s Concertina playing.

Pratten also performed Giuliani’s Third Concerto to the pianoforte accompaniment of Giuliani’s niece, Madame Lucei-Sievers.

Pratten owned several guitars, one of which was a Lacote made for Fernando Sor.

“Guitar School”

This is a beautiful method book that is full of wonderful information, pieces, and exercises.

The method begins with some basic information about the guitar — its qualities, tuning, techniques, a diagram of the notes on the fretboard, and some remarks on posture.

In the section where she outlines some of the guitar’s effects, it’s interesting to note that Pratten provides a sign for using vibrato!

The book also provides scales, exercises, songs, pieces and basic cadence patterns(in various keys, starting with C major and going up the circle of fifths).

Concerning the right hand technique, the method provides arpeggio exercises and a very interesting diagram that shows the plucking regions of the right hand and their effect:

I believe that Catharina Pratten’s method book takes us as close as we can possibly get to learning about how to think and play like a guitarist of the 19th century.

For a more extensive analysis of the book please refer to Daniel’s article:

Guest Post from Daniel Nistico, The Resourceful Guitarist!

The book is also freely available from the online library of Royal Irish Academy of Music: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD