The following manuscript, while referred to as the método de cítara of Sebastían de Aguirre in the works of Gabriel Saldívar and others, does not have an outward title on the manuscript; the attribution to Sebastían de Aguirre is taken from an acrostic poem at the end in praise of his art, though the inside of the title page of the manuscript contains the name of Anttonio Marttin de Villegas. There is not much in the manuscript to suggest that it is a "method" per se, though the pieces are short.
The manuscript itself contains pieces for baroque guitar and presumably some sort of cittern. The latter instrument is referred to in the text only as zítara, and then only once. However, the tuning and fretting diagrams and instructions on stringing indicate that it is in these ways identical with the cittern of the 16th century, with the possible exception of the placement and order of the diatonic frets. A chord chart on folio 1v taken with the tuning diagram on the same folio and the unnumbered and folded between folios 6v and 7 indicate that the music was written for an Italian-tuned (actual pitches, low to high b g d' e' ) but diatonically fretted triple-strung cittern (i.e. 12 strings in 4 courses). The diagram indicates that for course 3 there is one twisted string and two octave strings, the octave strings being to either side of the twisted one in the course.
While the majority of the music conforms to the tuning and fretting above, not all of the pieces do: Folios 25v (Pabana) through 29 contain an as-yet undeciphered "mystery notation" which is supposedly explained in the unnumbered and folded folio between 16v and 17 entitled "Esplicacion de la Cifra" (and may or may not follow the tuning and fretting pattern); folio 29v contains two pieces in "French" tuning (nominally low to high a g d' e' ) with chromatic fretting; and folios 30, 37v, and 38 also contain pieces in French tuning, but for diatonic fretting.
The works in the last part of the manuscript use different notation formats for the high frets. On folio 29v, the frets for "11" and higher are notated as an X with a number under it as such: whereas on folios 37v-38 the same is rendered as an X followed by a number with a "tie" underneath them, as such: . The differences in notation suggest that for the latter part of the manuscript (at least), several different scribes may have contributed.
The contents and foliation that follow are as provided by Gabriel Saldívar's, Bibliografía Mexicana de Musicología y Musicografía, 1991 and supplemented by notes from Monica Hall. As Saldívar does not give any numbering for the pieces and simply lumps them all together into one paragraph (with title apparently separated by commas), all piece numbers are interpreted by me, based on the order presented in the above mentioned work.
Numbers in the titles (such as "por 1 y 2") refer to the principal chords for each piece based on the Castilian chord chart on folio 1v.
How to cite this page: Hartig, Andrew. "Codice Saldívar II: Sebastían de Aguirre's Método de cítara, c. 1650." Renovata Cythara: The Renaissance Cittern Site. Ed. Andrew Hartig. 02 April 2023. 05 March 2024. <http://www.cittern.theaterofmusic.com/manuscript/aguirre.html>.
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