History of the Guitar

The history of the guitar began in the Middle Ages with traveling troubadors plucking out their love songs on small guitars with oval heads which would be virtually unrecognizable as guitars today. However, the lute always upstaged the guitar in this era, and no one then imagined that the history of the guitar would be at all interesting.

The history of the guitar, in a sense, goes back to Ancient Greek, perhaps in name only, since the word “guitar” is derived from the Greek stringed instrument called the cithara. In spite of the fact that both instruments have strings, they bear little resemblance to each although the guitar became the ancient Greek instrument’s name sake.

The guitar was invented in 16th century Spain, and was used by young men to serenade women and also appeared in classical pieces. Although the history of the guitar would see a radical change in its design, the classical guitar, like the modern guitar, contained six strings and six frets with a fingerboard. The strings are tuned in 4ths, except that there is an interval between the fourth and the fifth string.

Although the history of the guitar saw some notable classical pieces composed especially for the instrument, the guitar fell into temporary obscurity during the 19th century, only to be given new life by Antonio de Torres, who made the body of the guitar larger for optimal amplification. The gut strings were replaced by nylon strings, and the modern guitar was born.

The history of the guitar is less compelling than its popularity today, and the guitar unquestionably dominates rock music. The electric guitar became the feature of heavy metal music, but the “unplugged” movement altered the history of the guitar, taking it from its status as an instrument of volume and rebellion, to a pleasant, sounding, laid-back instrument.

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