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History of the Guitar

Throughout its centuries-old history, the guitar has alternately experienced times of extreme popularity and cultural obscurity. Through the diversity of instruments that now belong to the guitar family and through the diversity of musical styles played upon the guitar, its existence has now been secured.The guitar originated in Persia about four thousand years ago. Historians think that a resonating body such as a tortoise shell combined with the plucking of the hunting bow created the first plucked instrument, which later developed into such instruments as the sitar of India and the guitarra of Spain. Although Spain is thought to be the birthplace of the guitar, it has also influenced many other parts of the world greatly. The guitar traveled all over Europe, winning the hearts of the European people and becoming very popular in Paris. From sailor’s ships to European castles, audiences were pleased by the guitar and adopted it into their traditional instrumental ensembles. As the popularity of the guitar spread, it created new and enhanced versions of the traditional musical styles of many cultures.The guitar was popular for many reasons. It was small and portable; therefore, it was a big hit with the Europeans who were in need of entertainment on their long voyages to the New World. It became an elite instrument and was often played by the well-to-do in the English Colonies. The guitar was also changing. In Europe, a newer, louder guitar was being played. It had six strings and was used for accompanying bowed instruments and woodwinds. But, the enthrallment with the guitar could not last forever. When the Romantic era came, the infatuation with the guitar was nearly replaced by the pianoforte. In the 1800’s it was Spain, and the two men Francisco Tarrega, and Andres Segovia who rescued the guitar from becoming obsolete. The Flamenco style of music was becoming popular in southern Spain. Showy dancing and ...

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