The Agamemnon project has been the occasion for mentioning different styles of reading. When D. Page was working on his revision and expansion of Denniston's notes on Agamemnon he met weekly for two years with other scholars to work through the text along with Frankel's commentary. I suspect that all the participants had studied Agamemnon for years and years and so they didn't need to lay the basic ground work. Their discussions were probably focused on text critical and lexical problems, with an occasional syntax. This is all speculation of course.
Working on a difficult text for the first time, reading the Loeb edition and using the translation as a crib is a method I have attempted on numerous occasions with Sophocles, Euripides, Thucydides. Eventually, if I decide to go ahead with the project, I always get around to doing notes, something like a page of notes for every four to five lines. So with Agamemnon I picked up my notes for the first 122 lines which were very old notes, over a decade and reviewed the first 122 lines, adding more notes to the existing pages and then proceeded to transcribe the text with notes from that point on. I am now at about line 1050. This is sounds exceedingly tedious.
Back to mountain climbing metaphor. On a summit trip of Mt. Rainier or any similar peak, pace is everything. The seasoned climber starts out slow and keeps moving at a steady plodding pace. They first time up people almost always start moving fast and burn out. I have seen this on very small peaks like Mt. Si, made famous decades ago by the "Twin Peaks" TV drama. Even on a under-two-hour-assent the same principle applies, you start easy and work up your pace. On Mt. Si I have on many occasions passed the fast guys about an 45min into the trip.
That isn't intended to imply that the method I use for Sophocles or Aeschylus is always the best approach. Different peaks have different climbing speeds. The difficulty of the route and conditions can vary dramatically. You adjust your pace to the length of the trip and the conditions (visibility, weather, snow, ice, rock, heat, wind). To illustrate, I spent an hour this morning looking at the first page of Butcher's critical text and translation of Aristotle's Poetics. I didn't take any notes or transcribe any text. I was able with just a few minutes of double checking in Perseus & Diogenes to make out most of what was going on. It didn't seem worth the trouble to write anything down.
In a similar manner, you don't rope up to climb Mt Si. There are no crevasses, ice fall, or technical rock. It's a steep walk, with a 200ft class 3 scramble at the top. Some people carry a rope and rappel off the front side of the summit "Haystack" but this isn't standard procedure. On Mt. Rainer, the guide routes are just steep walks, not as steep as Mt Si for most of the trip. But you rope up on the glaciers and wear crampons. On north ridges: Ptarmigan, Liberty and Curtis there are a whole different set of rules. Liberty Ridge is the Sophocles Electra of Mt. Rainier. Ptarmigan is Agamemnon and Curtis is Pindar. I have lived in the Pacific NW for over half a century and only met one guy who has done Curtis Ridge.
The first page of Aristotle's Poetics was not really Mt Si. It is more difficult than that, perhaps comparable to the pre-eruption Mt St Helens. The first time I did St Helens we had a short stretch of 100mph local wind between the false summit and the top. You had to almost crawl for 100m. You were required to rope up above the "Dog's Head" but you rarely saw a crevasse. You use a rope and crampons but they were just in case the worst happens. On Rainier, you have crevasses to cross, always and every time. So with Aristotle, sometimes you might need to make notes but not every line.
Obviously, another factor is the skill and experience of the reader. Some folks might be satisfied with the results they attain with the Loeb diglot approach to Attic Tragedy. In like manner some people solo climb up glaciers. I have done it on the lower half of Ptarmigan ridge (up to 10,500 feet). My friend who does Mt Rainier every year (48 years so far) almost lost a guy on the Inter Glaicer below Schurman. People do this all time unroped but there are crevasses there and they can kill you. Reading a difficult text with a diglot isn't going to kill you. For some people it might be the best method. I have tried it over and over again, to "save time" but for some reason I usually revert to taking notes. Easy texts like NT or LXX, I just read. I took the notes 20 years ago and never rarely at them again (a few exceptions, like Jude and 2nd Peter).
Anyway, this a long winded exploration of the Mt Climbing Metaphor.
C. Stirling Bartholomew