Guitar is one of the few musical instruments that have caught the fancy of youngsters like nothing else, simply for its stylish and classic appeal. It belongs to the chordophone family of musical instruments. The standard guitar comes with six strings, though four-, seven-, eight-, nine-, ten-, eleven-, twelve-, thirteen- and eighteen-string guitars are also available. While it is the electric guitar that mostly serves the musical purpose today, the classical guitars are the original guitars that have inspired the variety of other guitars to develop overtime. To know about the fascinating history of guitar and how it originated, follow the article.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Classical Guitar
Before electric guitar was developed by using synthetic materials, a guitar was defined as an instrument with "a long, fretted neck, flat wooden soundboard, ribs, and a flat back, most often with incurved sides". In fact, guitar was an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of related instruments that were developed and used across Europe, in the beginning of the 12th century and, afterwards, in the Americas. These instruments descended from similar instruments that existed in ancient Central Asia and India. This is also the reason why guitars have a distant association with some modern musical instruments from this region, such as tanbur, setar and sitar.
The oldest iconographic representation of an instrument similar to a guitar, with all its essential features, is a 3,300-year-old stone carving of a Hittite bard. The word ‘guitar’ traces its origin to the medieval Andalusian Arabic ‘qitara’, which inspired the Spanish guitarra that became guitar in English. In fact, the true origin of this word can be traced to Latin ‘cithara’, which has been derived from Greek ‘kithara’, which in turn has been inspired from Old Persian ‘sihtar’. The Romans brought the cithara to Hispania around 40 AD, and the instrument was further developed with the help of the four-string oud, brought by the Moors in the 8th century, after the conquest of Liberia.
In the other parts of Europe, with the Viking excursions across the continent, the indigenous six-string Scandinavian lut (lute) became widely popular.The four string guitar basically evolved in two types: the guitarra moresca (Moorish guitar), with a rounded back, wide fingerboard and several soundholes, and the guitarra latina (Latin guitar), which bore similarity to the modern guitar, with one soundhole and a narrower neck. The words "moresca" and "latina" were dropped and these instruments came to be simply called as guitars in the 14th and the 15th centuries. In the 15th and 16th centuries, a Spanish guitar-like instrument was known as "viola da mano", and it is believed that this instrument exerted a major influence on the development of modern guitar.
Some vihuelas also began to be played with a bow by the late 15th century, which inspired the development of viol. By the 16th century, the vihuela's construction had more commonalties with the modern guitar, with its curved one-piece ribs, than the viols. It looked more like a larger version of the modern four course guitars. However, the vihuela remained popular only for a short period in Spain and Italy, while the rest of Europe was being dominated by the lute. The five -course baroque guitar was quite popular in Spain, Italy and France from the late 16th century to the mid-18th century. It is believed that this instrument is the closest to the modern guitars that are used today.