It so astonishes that how we are all so familiar with guitar, but very few of us actually know its history or its origin.
I’m Rex, guitar instructor at Guitar Confidence and let me take you on a voyage make you see, feel and understand the origin and metamorphosis of this wonderful instrument known as “GUITAR”.
Throughout the years a musical instrument with strings has undergone metamorphosis to be known as what modern world today call it “GUITAR”! It is an ancient musical instrument and its existence can be traced back to more than 4000 years, although the exact time is still debatable. There are many theories about the invention of guitar and its ancestry. Mostly it is claimed that guitar was invented by the Greeks, this is mainly due to the fact that Greeks had a musical instrument known as Kithara. Kithara was a stringed instrument. It was also suggested that guitar was developed from lute, but in 1960 researcherDr. Michael Kasha proved that these statements were incorrect.
Around the same time in Egypt, there was an instrument “Har-Moses”, it had three strings and a plectrum suspended from the neck by a cord. It wasperceived to be one of the oldest instruments that resembled a guitar. You can find this ancient musical instrument at the Archaeological Museum in Cairo.
Where did we find the closest representation of a guitar like instrument then?
So, where and when in history did we find the closest representation of a modern guitar. Well, AlacaHuyuk in Turkeyhas a stone carving Hittite with a long fretted neck, flat top, flat back, and incurved sides. It is approximately 3300 year old and is the oldest recognizediconographical depiction of an instrument exhibiting all the features of a guitar.
Guitar the Name
“Guitar”the word was introduced into English from Spanish word guitarra in the 1600s. During the Middle Ages, gitter or the word gittern was used in England. Both guitarra and gitter came from the Latin word cithara, which in-turn came from the Greek word kithara.
Metamorphosis of Guitar
Before the development of the electric guitar and the use of synthetic materials, a guitar was defined as being an instrument having “a long, fretted neck, flat wooden soundboard, ribs, and a flat back, most often with incurved sides”. The term is used to refer to a number of chordophones that were developed and used across Europe, beginning in the twelfth century and, later, in the Americas.
So, the guitar’s descendants,mostly with four strings came to Europe from Egypt and Mesopotamia. Though there were many similar musical instruments with two, three, four and five stings during that period inhistory.
While by fourteenth century, Latin and Moorish guitars were discussedas guitars. GuitarraMorescawas the name given to Moorish guitar which had a wide fingerboard, rounded back, and many sound holes. While the Latin guitar which was known as guitarralatina, was different from that of GuitarraMoresca,it had one sound hole and the neck was much narrower.
In the sixteenth century, four strings “chitarra”was being talked about in Spain. During the same time five string guitarrabattenteappeared in Italy which slowly replaced the four strings chitarra.
Into the seventeenth century, the guitar was becoming popular in Europe, while toward the end of the eighteenth century, we could see guitar with six strings.
By early nineteenth century, we could start talking about the modern six strings guitar. While it was Antonio Torres, a Spanish guitar maker who increased the size of the body, altered its proportions giving shape to modern classical guitar, in around 1850.
And it was 1931, when George Beauchamp and Adolph Rikenbekeromcreated the first electric guitar. Since then it has taken the music instrument industry like a storm. Play rock, blues, jazz or pop music using an electric guitar.
At the end of twenty-first century, we all know what a guitar is, and we loving playing this wonderful musical instrument. But if you can’t then you can contact us and Rex can help you learn guitar at your home. Rex Lee Bell has now been doing mobile guitar lessons for many years and brings the joy of guitar to anyone who wants to learn guitar.We travel to over 30 cities in the East Bay and South Bay areas; including Danville, San Ramon, Dublin & Pleasanton.
And on this Labor day, all family member are welcome to participate in guitar lessons for free, no extra charge.