Acoustic music for guitar

acoutic music for guitar

As an instrument of classical music, acoustic music for guitar came to prominence largely through the efforts of the Spanish composer Francisco Tarrega and Spanish guitar virtuoso Andrés Segovia.

Acoustic music for guitar became popular, especially in Spain, when Antonio de Torres developed the Spanish guitar in its modern form. Today it has a broadened body, increased waist curve, thinned belly, improved internal bracing, single string courses replacing double courses, and a machined head replacing wooden tuning pegs.

Modern guitars have six strings. Andres Segovia, a Spanish guitarist who lived from 1893 to 1987, helped establish the guitar as a concert instrument, adapting it to the complex music of modern composers and transcribing early polyphonic music. His acoustic music for guitar virtuoso playing inspired compositions by Manuel de Falla and Villa-Lobos.

Early Origins of the Guitar

The guitar had its primitive origins in the ancient Near East. Clay plaques excavated from Babylonia, dated circa 1850 B.C., show figures playing musical instruments, some bearing a general resemblance to a guitar and having a distinctly differentiated body and neck. Later, evidence from ancient Egypt indicates a necked instrument with marked frets about the neck. A stringed instrument from ancient Rome incorporates a wood soundboard with five groups of small sound holes.

During the Middle Ages, guitars with three, four, and five strings co-existed. The Guitarra Latina had curved sides and is thought to have come to Spain from elsewhere in Europe. The Guitarra Morisca, brought to Spain by the Moors, had an oval sound box and many sound holes on its soundboard.

By the fifteenth century, acoustic music for guitar took on a different look. Four double-string guitars, similar to lutes, became popular, and by the sixteenth century, a fifth double-string had been added. During this time, composers wrote mostly in tablature notation.

Italy was the center of guitar world during the 17th century, and the Spanish school of guitar making only began to flourish late in the 18th century after the addition of the sixth string.

During the 19th century, improved communication and transportation enabled performers to travel widely and the guitar became a widely known instrument, as did acoustic music for guitar.

More background

playing a guitar

The guitar used in acoustic music for guitar is a musical instrument of the lute family. It has a flat, waisted body with a round sound hole and a fretted neck along which run six strings. The strings are fastened at the top of the neck to tuning screws, and at the other end to a bridge glued to the instrument's sound board, or belly. The top three strings are usually made of gut or nylon; the others are metal.

The strings are tuned E A d g b e1 (E = second E below middle C; e1 = E above middle C). The acoustic music for guitar player's left-hand fingers stop the strings at the appropriate frets to produce the correct pitches; the right-hand fingers pluck the strings. Some metal-strung guitars are plucked with a small flat plectrum, or pick.

Guitarlike instruments have existed since ancient times, but the first written mention of the guitar proper is from the 14th century. In its earliest form it had three double courses (pairs) of strings plus a single string (the highest). The guitar probably originated in Spain, where, by the 16th century, it was the counterpart among the middle and lower classes of the aristocracy's vihuela, an acoustic music for guitar instrument of similar shape and ancestry that had six double courses. The guitar became popular in other European countries in the 16th and 17th centuries, and by the late 17th century a fifth course of strings had been added below the other four.

In the mid-18th century the guitar attained its modern form, when the double courses were made single and a sixth string was added above the lower five. Guitar makers in the 19th century broadened the body, increased the curve of the waist, thinned the belly, and changed the internal bracing. The old wooden tuning pegs were replaced by a modern machine head.

Various types

Guitars, played in Spain and Latin America, are unique, due to the number of strings and their pitch ranges from contrabass to treble.

The twelve-string guitar has six double courses in standard tuning.

The Hawaiian, or steel, guitar is laid across the knees of the player, who stops the metal strings by gliding a metal bar along the neck. The strings are usually tuned to the notes of a given chord.

The electric guitar, developed for popular music in the United States in the 1930s, usually has a solid, non-resonant body. The sound of its strings is both amplified and manipulated electronically by the performer. American musician and inventor Les Paul developed prototypes for the solid-bodied electric guitar and popularized the instrument beginning in the 1940s.

What Is An Acoustic Guitar?

guitar bridge

An acoustic guitar is a stringed instrument which originated in Spain. It has a flat, waisted body, a round sound hole, and a fretted fingerboard or "neck" along which run six strings. The strings are fastened to tuning screws at the top of the fingerboard, and to a bridge glued to the instrument's sound board or "belly" at the other end. 

The strings on acoustic guitars are usually made of steel. On classical guitars, the top three strings are usually made of nylon or gut, while the lower three strings are metal. The strings are tuned to E A D G B E (starting with the second E below middle C and ending with the E above middle C).

Guitars are designed for either "right-handed" or "left-handed" players. With a "right-handed" guitar, the player's right-hand fingers pluck or strum the strings while the left-hand fingers are positioned at the appropriate frets to produce the desired pitches.

Acoustic music for guitar is used most often in folk and jazz music. It requires no amplification and is portable, making it the perfect accompaniment for singing. Acoustic guitar weddings have become a wonderful way to create memorable musical moments.

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