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- Guitar, plucked stringed musical instrument that probably originated in Spain early in the 16th century, deriving from the guitarra latina , a late-medieval instrument with a waisted body and four strings. The early guitar was narrower and deeper than the modern guitar, with a less pronounced waist.
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Guitar, plucked stringed musical instrument that probably originated in Spain early in the 16th century, deriving from the guitarra latina, a late-medieval instrument with a waisted body and four strings. The early guitar was narrower and deeper than the modern guitar, with a less pronounced waist.
Dec 11, 2018 · The exact origin of the guitar is still a mystery. The word “guitar” probably comes from the ancient Greek word κιθÎ¬ρα ( kithara ). Mythology attributes Hermes with creating the first kithara from a tortoise shell, but many likenesses of Apollo show him with this instrument.
- Early History of The Guitar
- Ancestors in Guitar History
- Getting Closer…
- The First Modern Guitar in History
- The Modern Acoustic Guitar Is Born
- History of The Electric Guitar
Images of stringed instruments appear in carvings that are more than 3,000 years old, dating from the Mesopotamian and Babylonian Empires. Our modern word ‘guitar’ probably comes from the ancient Greek word κιθάρα (kithara), and doubtless, stringed instruments existed prior to recorded history. Most scholars agree, the two instruments that played the biggest part in the history of the guitar were the European lute and an Arabic instrument called an oud.
The lute had a curved backed and came in a variety of shapes and sizes, had either 4 or 5 courses, and was often strummed with a quill feather. It was a popular instrument for hundreds of years and had passed from the Egyptians to the Greeks, then to the Romans who introduced it throughout Europe.
When the Moors invaded Southern Spain in 711AD, they brought the oud along. It shared common ancestry with the stringed instruments of Europe, and like the lute, it had a rounded body, though it lacked frets and had a smaller neck. Both the Moorish instrument itself and the Arabic style of playing left a significant mark on Medieval music, and ultimately, the history of the guitar as well.
By the end of the Renaissance, the lute had evolved, and frequently had up to 20 or 30 strings, but it was slowly falling out of favor. In Spain, fretted instruments with the familiar curved silhouette of the modern guitar began appearing around the 15th and 16th centuries. Eventually, the Baroque guitar replaced the lute as the most commonly played instrument, and refinements in the number of strings and in the ability to tune these early ancestors of the modern guitar using movable frets made it easier to play than its predecessors. In Spain, an instrument was developed that had an hourglass curve to its body and was played with one hand in front of the hole in the body. Broadly, these instruments were called a vihuela, and are one of the final predecessors in the history of the guitar. By the 1790’s, Spanish guitars had been standardized as to type and had six courses of strings, much resembling a modern guitar. This is where guitar history really gets going, and the innovations...
By the early 19th century, guitars looked very close to the six-stringed instruments of today but were smaller in size. In the mid-1800’s, Antonio de Torres Jurado, a Spanish musician and luthier, began creating the style of guitar that would give rise to all modern guitars. Though in modern times he doesn’t get quite as much credit as he deserves, he is in many ways the grandfather figure in the history of the guitar. With a broadened body, increased waist curve, thinned belly, and machined head which replaced wooden tuning pegs, his creations became particularly notable thanks to an innovative form of fan bracing and body design, which give classical guitars their distinct voicing and thick, heavy sound. Andres Segovia, another influential Spanish guitarist, took the classic guitar that Torres had created and established it as a concert instrument. He also transcribed early polyphonic music and created complex musical compositions that we now think of as ‘classical’ guitar music....
The flat top acoustic guitar
Even today, almost two centuries after its invention, the flat top guitar continues to be the most popular form of the acoustic guitar. It was developed by Christian Frederick Martin, a German-born American luthier who made his first guitar in the United States in the 1830s. Martin created an X-braced guitar body which was able to handle the extra stress generated by modern steel strings, which created too much tension for the Torres-style fan braced Spanish guitars. The tight steel strings a...
The archtop acoustic (and eventually electric) guitar
The creation of the archtop guitar is usually credited to Orville Gibson. The violin-like sound holes, or F-holes, arched top and back, and adjustable bridge were among the design features that gave the archtop increased volume and tone. Gibson found that, by constructing guitars with bodies that were more like a cello, the bridge exerted no torque on the top of the instrument, which allowed it to vibrate freely and produce a louder sound. Many top American luthiers would take on the archtop...
Despite the 20th Century improvements to the steel stringed guitar and the use of picks when playing, musicians found that guitar was simply too quiet for many forms of modern music. This meant that by the big band jazz era, the guitar was relegated to a second-tier instrument in many ensembles, and brass instruments and the saxophone took on a more prominent position in bands. The guitar became a rhythm instrument and seemed destined to disappear as a solo instrument, in mainstream music at least. Although many people tried to amplify the guitar’s sound using attached microphones or telephone transmitters in the first two decades of the 20th Century, it was an electrical engineer named Adolph Rickenbacker—at the time, the vice president of the National Guitar Corporation—as well as Paul Barth, and George Beauchamp—a musician who favored the Hawaiian-style lap steel guitar—who in 1932, finally solved the puzzle . Rickenbacker had founded The Rickenbacker International Corporation wi...
- The Ancestors
- The Oldest Preserved Guitar-Like Instrument
- The Lute
- The Guitar
- from Four-, to Five-, to Six-String Guitar
A tanburis defined as "a long-necked stringed instrument with a small egg- or pear-shaped body, with an arched or round back, usually with a soundboard of wood or hide, and a long, straight neck". The tanbur probably developed from the bowl harp as the neck was straightened out to allow the string/s to be pressed down to create more notes. Tomb paintings and stone carvings in Egypt testify to the fact that harps and tanburs (together with flutes and percussion instruments) were being played in ensemble 3500 - 4000 years ago. Egyptian wall painting, Thebes, 1420 BCE Archaeologists have also found many similar relics in the ruins of the ancient Persian and Mesopotamian cultures. Many of these instruments have survived into modern times in almost unchanged form, as witness the folk instruments of the region like the Turkish saz, Balkan tamburitsa, Iranian setar, Afghan panchtar and Greek bouzouki.
At 3500 years old, this is the ultimate vintage guitar! It belonged to the Egyptian singer Har-Mose. He was buried with his tanbur close to the tomb of his employer, Sen-Mut, architect to Queen Hatshepsut, who was crowned in 1503 BCE. Sen-Mut (who, it is suspected, was far more than just chief minister and architect to the queen) built Hatshepsuts beautiful mortuary temple, which stands on the banks of the Nile to this day. Har-Moses instrument had three strings and a plectrum suspended from the neck by a cord. The soundbox was made of beautifully polished cedarwood and had a rawhide "soundboard". It can be seen today at the Archaeological Museum in Cairo. Queen Hatshepsut
The Moors brought the oud to Spain. The tanbur had taken another line of development in the Arabian countries, changing in its proportions and remaining fretless. The Europeans added frets to the oud and called it a "lute" - this derives from the Arabic "Al'ud" (literally "the wood"), via the Spanish name "laud". A lute or oud is defined as a "short-necked instrument with many strings, a large pear-shaped body with highly vaulted back, and an elaborate, sharply angled peghead". Renaissance lute by Arthur Robb Click on the picture to go to Art's website. Beautiful instruments! It is hard to see how the guitar - with "a long, fretted neck, flat wooden soundboard, ribs, and a flat back, most often with incurved sides" - could possibly have evolved from the lute, with its "short neck with many strings, large pear-shaped body with highly vaulted back, and elaborate, sharply angled peghead".
Dotar two = Sanskrit "dvi" - modern Persian "do" - dotar, two-string instrument found in Turkestan three = Sanskrit "tri" - modern Persian "se" - setar, 3-string instrument, found in Persia (Iran), (cf. sitar, India, elaborately developed, many-stringed) four = Sanskrit "chatur" - modern Persian "char" - chartar, 4-string instrument, Persia (most commonly known as "tar" in modern usage) (cf. quitarra, early Spanish 4-string guitar, modern Arabic qithara, Italian chitarra, etc) five = Sanskrit "pancha" - modern Persian "panj" - panchtar, 5 strings, Afghanistan Indian Sitar The Indian sitar almost certainly took its name from the Persian setar, but over the centuries the Indians developed it into a completely new instrument, following their own aesthetic and cultural ideals. Tanburs and harps spread around the ancient world with travellers, merchants and seamen. The four-stringed Persian chartar (note the narrow waist!) arrived in Spain, where it changed somewhat in form and construct...
As we have seen, the guitar's ancestors came to Europe from Egypt and Mesopotamia. These early instruments had, most often, four strings - as we have seen above, the word "guitar" is derived from the Old Persian "chartar", which, in direct translation, means "four strings". Many such instruments, and variations with from three to five strings, can be seen in mediaeval illustrated manuscripts, and carved in stone in churches and cathedrals, from Roman times through till the Middle Ages. Right: Roman "guitar", c:a 200 CE. Mediaeval psalter, c:a 900 CE. Angel with guitar, St. Stephen's church, 1591. By the beginning of the Renaissance, the four-course (4 unison-tuned pairs of strings) guitar had become dominant, at least in most of Europe. (Sometimes a single first string was used.) The earliest known music for the four-course "chitarra" was written in 16th century Spain. The five-course guitarra battente (left) first appeared in Italy at around the same time, and gradually replaced th...
Guitar History and Origin. Guitars are some of the oldest musical instruments ever created, managing to travel with us over 4 thousand years of modern history with thousands of variations, with big and small forms, and with many designs that influenced countless musical genres.
New influences that happened during the time of Renaissance when Europe finally ended their period of isolation and started interacting with Asia and Africa was Vihuela, Guitar of Spanish origin that served as a basis of a Renaissance and Baroque movement where not only guitars by also many other stringed instruments were viewed as a “rhythm” helpers (except Violin that managed to fight its way to the position of one of the two most popular instruments of modern Europe).
GUITAR Meaning: "cithara," a triangular seven-stringed musical instrument related to the lyre, perhaps from Persian… See definitions of guitar.