Roadhouse Music

The history and origin of the guitar

Written on 28.07.2019   By   in News

The guitar is an old stringed plucked musical instrument. Nowadays, the guitar is one of the most common and popular musical instruments in the world.

Today you can count more than seven types of different guitars, each of which has its own history, sound and features. The guitar is used in the vast majority of genres of modern music due to the wide range of sound and the capabilities of this instrument. The history of creating a guitar as a musical instrument captures centuries and entire eras. Let us briefly describe the process of the appearance of the guitar.

The history and origin of the guitar

The origin of the guitar has many different roots. The ancestors of modern guitars appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC and find echoes in almost all world cultures. One of the oldest relatives of the guitar is the Sumero-Babylonian instrument Kinnor (in the image on the right). He is also a direct relative of the Jewish Psalter or Psalter (in the Old Testament of the Bible there are many references to the psalter and psalter, the ten-stringed instrument on which King David performed his psalms).

In Egypt and India were known sitar, nabla, zither, wine. In ancient Russia, psaltery was widespread. In ancient Greece and Rome they played kifar. In China, in the 3-4 centuries of our era, stringed instruments reuan and yueqin appeared.

Europeans, who also began to experiment with stringed musical instruments, liked Japanese inventions. The formation of the appearance and characteristics of modern guitars was influenced by European instruments of the 6th century: Moorish and Latin guitars. Later in the 15-16 centuries, viuela appeared, which is most similar to a modern classical guitar.

The origin of the word “guitar”

Probably the earliest “ancestor” of the word “guitar” was the ancient Egyptian “sitra” and the Indian “sitar”. In Ancient Greece and Rome, a “cithara” was formed, which later migrated to Europe as the Latin “cithara” (chitarra). From here came the modern words: “guitarra” (Spanish), “guitare” (French), “guitar” (English), etc. … In different languages, this word sounds almost the same, which speaks of common roots and about its final design in medieval Europe.

Further development of the musical instrument “guitar”

In the 15th century, Spain invented a string instrument with five paired strings, which was called the Spanish guitar. From the modern guitar, it was also distinguished by an elongated body and a small scale. The final design of the Spanish guitar takes on everything in the same country in the 18th century. The guitar musical instrument has received pan-European distribution and many works from great composers. Today, this instrument is still popular and is called a classical guitar.

Classical guitar came to Russia in the 18th century and underwent minor changes in our homeland. The most basic thing: one string was added and the guitar structure changed. All this led to the creation of a separate type – the Russian seven-string guitar. It was very popular until the middle of the 20th century, but after the 2nd World War its influence weakened, and in Russia they often began to play the classical six-string guitar.

In the second half of the 19th century, the first place in music was played by the piano, which temporarily overshadowed the guitar championship. But the 20th century was a real triumph for the guitar. Its popularity has grown and become global thanks to the emergence of electric guitars and other new types.

Electric guitar

The discovery and introduction of electricity in human life has affected the guitar. The idea of ​​taking sound through magnetic sensors and amplifying it through speakers came from Adolf Rickenbacker, and the first electric guitar was patented in 1936. In the 50s of the 20th century, Leicester William Polfuss (the famous Forest Paul) introduced the first full-body electric guitar (without cavities in the case). The electric guitar had a powerful influence on contemporary music and even spawned several new genres (rock and roll, rock, metal …).

American acoustic guitar

The development of American culture and music led to the emergence of a separate type of acoustic guitar – pop / American / non-classical. The Americans modified the classical guitar: changed the strings to metal ones, narrowed the neck and changed the shape of the body (the options are different, but everything is mainly upward). In the neck, they inserted an anchor rod to regulate deflection. The pop American guitar became the ancestor of the genres of “country”, “bluegrass” and some others. Depending on the shape of the case, these guitars are also called “dreadnought”, “western”, “folk”, “jumbo” …


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