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The History Of The Guitar Essay

2330 words - 9 pages

The Guitar is a stringed musical instrument with six or twelve strings that is played by either plucking or strumming the strings. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. If an individual were asked to identify a guitar most people would answer the question correctly more so than they would if they were asked about another instrument. When people think about famous guitarists, they more than likely think of famous rock and roll guitarists and do not think about the many other famous guitarists in other musical genres such as jazz or country. The guitar is a well-known instrument that influences many musical genres including Country.
The origins of the guitar can be traced back to the Arabic oud. The Arabic oud is stringed instrument closely related to the lute. This instrument does not resemble the guitar structure but its structure is the theory behind the modern day’s guitar structure. The people of Malaga are said to have invented the first instrument recognized as the guitar (Kentor Michael 2). This early version of the guitar incorporated tied frets and gut strings that were arranged in pairs. Pairing the strings gave the instrument the ability to produce a louder, fuller sound. The Malaga’s instrument did not gain much popularity although it did appear in Juan Gil of Zamora’s publication of “Ars Musica.” The next step leading to the modern guitar was the Guitarra Moresca. The Guitarra Moresca was a four stringed instrument with tied frets, similar to the lute, that orginated from Spain in the Thirteenth Century. The Guitarra Moresca led to the advancement of the soundboard. In its early stages, the Guitarra Moresca was an accepted instrument but was not considered for large perfomances. It was not considered for large performances because it was not a really loud instrument.
The guitar began to gain more credibility and viability due to the Guittern. The Guittern was shaped like a violin, played with a pick, and had the ability to be tuned in octaves or in unison. This tuning ability was never used in other guitar instruments. Compared to the modern day guitar, the Guittern lacked a movable bridge and a saddle. The Guittern was also the first instrument to use wire strings instead the traditional gut strings used in stringed instruments (Kentor Michael 4).
After the Guittern, the guitar’s structure stayed the same and had little changes. One of the slightly improved guitars was called the Ghitarra Battente. The Ghitarra Battente was the first guitarlike instrument to use a saddle, a movable bridge, and led the trend towards metal frets (4). The Ghitarra Battente helped the popularity of the guitar grow tremendously. This instrument somewhat slowed down the development and improvements to the guitar until the 1500s. In the 1500s, the Vinuhela de Mano was introduced to the world. The Vinuhela de Mano is the the largest guitar to date and set the size for the modern guitar. This instrument had several soundholes on the top...

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