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A Journey through Aesthetic Realms

The Guitar: One of the World's Most Beloved Musical Instruments, Part 1 of 2

2022-09-22
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With a history that goes back hundreds of years, the modern guitar, a six-stringed fretted musical instrument, is beloved by people of all ages and nationalities. The guitar can be considered a successor to other stringed instruments such as the lute and vihuela. As the lute and vihuela became less popular during the 17th century, the guitar was increasingly embraced by the public. However, up to the early 19th centuries, the instrument was still not as prestigious as other influential musical instruments, such as the violin and piano.

The Romantic period in music, from approximately 1825 to 1910, witnessed a shift in the musical performance model, from small enclosed aristocratic royal palaces to larger, open-stage concerts. The transition was facilitated by many influential guitar musicians and composers from Italy, such as Matteo Carcassi, Ferdinando Carulli, Mauro Giuliani, and Luigi Legnani; along with some from Spain such as Fernando Sor and Dionisio Aguado y García.

The first classical guitarist to take advantage of these new technologies, and to satisfy the demands of modern audiences, was the Spaniard Andrés Segovia. As a Spanish master of classical guitar, he promoted the modern-romantic repertoire through his expressive performances, wide tone palette, and distinctive musical personality, phrasing, and style. Andrés Segovia’s unique approach to playing the guitar through a combination of plucking with both the fingernails and fingertips allows the guitar to have a wider range of tones.

The first commercial electrically amplified lap steel guitar was called the "Frying Pan" made in 1931 by George Beauchamp, Paul Barth, and Adolph Rickenbacker of the National Guitar Corporation, USA. The type of sound that this guitar produced created a dramatic change on the entertainment stage. Generally speaking, two types of guitars are commonly used; acoustic and electric. Acoustic guitars have hollow bodies that amplify the sound of the strings acoustically. They are usually made of wood and have six strings.
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