Just a Brief History of the Guitar

March 29, 2014

The guitar is a musical instrument that makes sounds by the playing of its six strings with the sounds being projected either acoustically or through electrical amplification. it is played by strumming or plucking the strings with the right hand and fretting with the left hand.

Throughout history the guitar has evolved gradually into the form it is in right now.Many theories have been advanced about the instruments ancestry.It has always been claimed that the guitar is a development of the lute,or the ancient Greek kithara. Though,the evolution of the guitar can be traced back to an old stone carving of the Hittite bard playing a stringed instrument that dates to over 3300 years ago.an illustration from the 9th century,showing a chordophone like a lute.

In the 12th century,the guitar was described as an instrument having a long,fretted neck,flat wooden soundboard, ribs, and a flat back, most often with in-curved sides.In the 14th century,atleast two instruments were being used in Spain and they were referred to as ‘guitar’,this was the guitarra latina (Latin guitar) and the guitarra moresca (Moorish guitar). The guitarra moresca had a rounded back, wide fingerboard, and several sound holes. The guitarra Latina had a single sound hole and a narrower neck.The names Latina and moresca were however dropped and the instruments were just referred as guitars.

In the 15th and 16th century,the spanish vihuela a guitar like instrument highly influenced in the development of the modern guitar.

In the 19th century,several changes occurred to the instrument,most innovations here were made by Antonia Torres a Spaniard who established the modern classical guitar.Antonio increased the size of the body,his design improved the volume tone and projection of the guitar.This became the accepted construction standard and has remained unchanged or unchallenged to this day.Imageguitar by Antonia Torres 1959.

The guitar is now widely played in the folk and popular music of many countries.

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  • Reply billnyabbs April 7, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Awesome piece. Now, according to music history I think the earliest descendant of the guitar would be the “lyre” found in the Renaissance Period of music. Mostly played by travelling musicians known as troubadours who would entertain wealthy people in their courts.

    • Reply raquelshiro April 8, 2014 at 9:03 am

      I thought the lyre was a smaller version of the cithara which is the guitar. ..

      • Reply billnyabbs April 8, 2014 at 10:24 am

        It could be since the lyre is most dominant in music history being recorded across Europe

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