THE HISTORY OF THE GUITAR IN SPAIN (translated from the original Spanish by the author

The guitar may be considered the most representative musical instrument of Spain. Throughout the centuries, the modern guitar (with six strings) has evolved principally from three sources: (1) the Arabic lute, (2) the vihuela, and (3) the Renaissance five-string guitar. The three most outstanding personalities involved in the development of the guitar are, in chronological order, Fernando Sor (of the 18th Century), Francisco Tárrega (of the 19th Century), and Andrés Segovia (of the 20th Century). But others deserve mention as well, especially for their mastery on the vihuela, like Alonso de Mudarra, Enríquez de Valderrábano, Luys de Narváez, Miguel de Fuenllana, and Luis Milán, all of Renaissance Spain. This last artist was best known for his repertoire of the pavanas, or stately court dances that were ultimately transcribed for the modern guitar by Emilio Pujol, a student of Segovia, at the dawn of the 20th Century. These true masters of the vihuela became composers as well, having composed their masterworks for the instrument between 1490 and 1570 A.D. Both Milán and Narváez hailed from Villadolid. The Libro de Apolonio, written in the 13th Century, tells how the Princess Luciana played the vihuela in the regal court: Aguisóssen la duenya, fiziriéndola logar, Tenpró bien la vihuela en un son natural, Dexó caer el manto, paróse en un brial, Començó una laude, omne non vio atal«(Grunfeld 72) During the same century, the English gittern was rather popular and even competed with the vihuela for a time, but it never became well received in Spain. Unfortunately, the great majority of the compositions for this instrument were lost or perished forever for lack of adequate printing presses and available publishers. Since written musical notation had not yet been developed, the first method book ever published about the vihuela, using cifra or tablature (a system of graphics with pictures showing the hand positions, numbered fingers for the left hand, etc.) was written by Luis Milán: Libro de música de vihuela de mano intitulado El Maestro. This book appeared for the first time in Valencia in 1535. The book served not only as a manual for learning, it was also a collection of works for different levels of difficulty for the beginning student. Luis Milán (c. 1500-1561) was a courtier and poet-musician who served in the court of Queen Germaine de Foix in Valencia. He also composed Il Cortegiano, adding a vignette and eulogy to Orpheo: El gran Orfeo, primero inventor Por quien la vihuela paresce en el mundo Por amor a nuestro gran Creador Si él fue el primero, no fue sin segundo«(Grunfeld 81)


which has been transcribed and studied in its totality of four movements by such modern guitarists as Christopher Parkening. Such an explosion of artistic creation and composition during two brief decades this was! One of the most famous villancicos or Christmas tunes by Enríquez de Valderrábano is called De dónde venís. Miguel de Fuenllanas then published his Orphénica Lyra in 1554 and Luis Venegas de Henestrosa his Libro nuevo in Álcala de Henares in 1557. a vibrating string length of about 80 centimeters.´«(Tyler 20) In 1546. Julian Bream. amore? Bien sé yo de donde«.4 centimeters. amore? Bien sé yo de donde. Father Tomás de Santa María distributed his Arte de taňer Fantasías in Villadolid as well. Many of these masterworks were adapted by two contemporary music maestros from Belgium. employed much counterpoint and many complex techniques on the instrument. this song spread throughout all the courts of Europe reaching even England as The Sheepheard Carillo his Song in 1540. He performed in the court of Phillip the Second. Narváez followed up with his first book on the vihuela entitled Seys libros del delfín de música. This music was based on the texts of Ovid and Vigil. romances. amore? De dónde venís. He was the very first composer to publish diferencias or "variations" through spontaneous improvisation by creating new musical phrasings in the moment. taught the nobility ³how to play with cleanliness and distinction. while Esteban Daza came out with his El Parnaso in 1567. In Spain they were called Las THE HISTORY OF THE GUITAR IN SPAIN 2 . Spain. The title is an allusion to the Greek legend of Arión. This collection of works that Mudarra published included fantasies. the third great master of the vihuela. Cavallero de mesura do venís la noche oscura? De dónde venís. John Williams (not the composer). Following close behind in 1552 in Salamanca. ³The instrument. and on the sonnets of Petrarch and Sannazaro. Josquin de Pres and Adrián Willaert. a virtuoso on the lyre from out of antiquity: Arión saved himself through his enchanted music by a dolphin that loved the music he played. Diego Pisador printed his own Libro de Música. Alonzo de Mudarra of Seville. Mudarra. the vihuela.´ In 1547 in Villadolid. And in 1563. psalms. and by the ³Royal Family of the Spanish guitar´ the Romeros. villancicos. paintings and etching throughout Europe came out revealing somewhat flirtatious women of high society playing the Renaissance five-string guitar. Andrés Segovia.(Grunfeld 86) In due time. During the lifetime of Narváez.Later. pavanes. and judging from signs of the original bridge position. having a body length of 58. Narváez. produced Tres libros de Música en cifras para vihuela. galliards. is quite large. which was published in Villadolid in 1538. in addition to his performing. ballads. His most famous composition is Guárdame las vacas. Enríquez de Valderrábano published his Silva de Sirenas. Christmas carols. and motets. who was born in Granada (whose precise dates are unknown) and became a master on the vihuela. from Málaga. or ³Watch over the cows for me´.

Then suddenly. more universally accessible level in terms of multi-faceted musical options. ultimately popularizing the instrument by taking it to France and to England. even more so than the Guitarre Royal. Luis de Briceňo published his Método mui facilíssimo para aprender a taňer la Guitarra a lo espaňol in Paris. a country that was beginning to enter its period of the great monarchies.´. he mentions for the first time that the guitar ³is like a woman in shape and in temperament: one must play her well to be successful´. according to historical musicologists. or ³women of quality.(Politoske 106) It was precisely in Spain where the 5th string was added on to the guitar (since the vihuela had only four strings). In his Introduction. la danza or music for the dance was becoming popular among the middle classes: ³Dance music was very important for instruments. from out of Italy there came the true master of the Renaissance five-string guitar of the period: Francesco Corbetta (1615-1681). becoming accepted as the preferential musical instrument to be played among the kings of France for their courts. He spent the greater part of his life in France and this modern guitar. the popularity of the vihuela began to diminish. raising the musical instrument¶s potential to a higher. it was generally paired with the galliard. During his stay there. as if by surprise. leaping dance in triple meter. But the instrument was tuned almost exactly as our modern six-string counterpart except for the highest string being F# instead of E Major. Joan Carles makes reference to la guitarra castellana (the Spanish guitar) for the very first time in Spain. became more popular in France. This marked the dawning of the Renaissance five-string guitar. which had been published by Carles y Amat in 1596. jouant de la guitarre. playing the guitar´. he discovered the Spanish guitar from some as yet unknown guitar teacher. He lived in Spain for an undetermined amount of time. Briceňo praised the Spanish guitar. In this volume of sixty pages. the Duke of Guise discovered him while playing on the streets of THE HISTORY OF THE GUITAR IN SPAIN 3 . processional dance in duple meter. Thus began the age of the ³regal guitar´.. Following is an excerpt from Luis Milán¶s Introducción to his El Maestro: Del presente libro propuse dar inteligencia y aclarar de los ocho tonos que en la música e canto figurándose e son: porque en las reglas obeda en las racciones en los pimapíos de las fantasías que en el libro se conozemos los de tata inteligencia de los quata. playing among the courts in both countries. So Corbetta applied himself dutifully. the musical instrument was becoming known or recognized as the chitarra spagnuola. the Renaissance five-string guitar had already reached a level of popularity so much so that the manual Guitarra espaňola y Vándola. it has been said that Juan Bermudo had already written about the Renaissance five-string guitar beforehand.damas de calidad and in France as Les Dames de qualité. this remarkable invention! Notwithstanding. included a drawing of the instrument. Now the vihuela looked much like our modern guitar. King Louis the Fourteenth of France and King Charles the Second of England began practicing the guitar themselves as they gainfully employed professional guitarists in the courts of their respective countries. la guitarra real. or La Guitarre Royal in France. A slow. stately. A favorite dance of the period was the pavane. Overseas. explaining in great detail the advantages that stand out the most with the newer instrument over the lute and the ancient vihuela. «(Milán 4) By the advent of the 17th Century. including the guitar. Then. known in France as Francisque Corbette. With this newer instrument. The Spanish poet and author of the picaresque novel Vida del escudero Marcos de Obregón. By the end of the 16th Century. a musical instrument much more similar to our modern guitar. already having reached its peak in popularity. though tuned much differently. with the exception of its smaller size. In 1626. a quick. And even the Spanish guitar ended up in les boudoirs of higher powers. as it came to be known in England. Vicente Espinel (1551-1624) created..

1640-1710) published his Instrucción de Música sobre la guitara espaňola in Zaragoza in 1674. Corbetta had toured Europe with his guitar. ³the best of them all´. Robert de Visée: Cig it l¶Amphion de nos jours. which was quite something considering the pre Industrial Revolution times in which he lived. a templar rasgado la Guitarra de cinco órdenes. by Francesco Corbetta. To this archduke he dedicated another book of cifras that later appeared in Brussels. o cuerdas. without a teacher. Italy. pavans. Then another instruction book was published in 1752 by Minguet y Yrol that included Spanish dances to the style of Gaspar Sanz. This book first appeared in Madrid in 1764. In 1671. known today as The Courtier¶s Guitar. Finally. Sanz also became a strong influence on a great written work by Andrés de Soto: his Arte para aprender con facilidad. on the four-string bandola. His name and fame had traveled far and wide upon foreign soil. gigues. This book was replete with gavottes. he played quite regularly for King Louis the Fourteenth.Florence. Upon listening to him for the very first time. Bandurria. he performed for Leopold Williams. making its entrance into Spanish society through mention of it in Santiago de Murcia¶s Resumen de acompaňar la parte con la Guitarra. Archduke of Austria. Granata. y Vandola. Sanz¶s eighth edition of this book appeared in 1697. and pavanes to be danced to the accompaniment of the guitar throughout the courts of Europe. Corbetta¶s death in 1681 inspired a tribute or musical homage to him composed by the guitarist du chambre royal. Francisque cet homme si rare Qui fit parler a la guitare Le vrai langage des amours«(Wade 68) Meanwhile. Sanz states that he became inspired by such musicians as Pellegrini. the modern six-string guitar appeared. courants. in 1726. We do know that he played in the court of Mantúa for several years and later. gigues. t o the future Mary Queen of Scots. His music was always based on folkloric elements of Spain intertwined with strong influences from the music of the French courts. yet another maestro of the five-string guitarra espaňola called Gáspar Sanz (c. back in Spain. llamadas Guitarra Espaňola. perhaps. Belgium in 1648. on the Renaissance five-string guitar. Kapsberger. Very little is known today about any specific facts pertaining to Corbetta¶s life. and canarios (canary dances) with energetic rhythms and extremely forceful melodies. or on the six-string (modern) Spanish guitar! THE HISTORY OF THE GUITAR IN SPAIN 4 . minuets. who was only 18 years of age at the time. According to the Grammount Mémoirs. born in Pavia in 1615. henceforth published his first guitar method book in Bologna in 1639 and another one in Milán in 1643. Corbetta¶s name even became known in places as remote and distant as the courts of exotic Russia. Francesco Corbetta. This quite lengthy title refers to learning how to play with ease. galliards. y también la de cuatro. and above all. o seis órdenes. by the beginning of the 18th Century. Corbetta then returned to London in 1674 to teach the Spanish guitar to Queen Anne and. having played quite extensively for the royalty in their respective nations. Corbetta then published a collection of his own works for King Charles the Second entitled La Guitarre Royalle. Corbetta returned to Paris and there obtained permission to publish this same collection in English for the very first time. y sin maestro. caprichos (whimsical. In his book. y también el Tiple. rapidfire pieces). the duke immediately employed Corbetta into his court. Corbetta lived in Paris in 1655 and later played for Charles the Second of England in London. Sanz composed espaňoletas.

He became the first guitarist to have been invited to play with the London Philharmonic Society during its first 100 years of existence! On March 24. He came to be called ³the poet of the guitar´ and today is considered among guitarists to be the true ³father of the modern guitar of the 20th Century´. and integrated into. his tomb was never discovered until as late as 1934. 1778. Sor today is considered to be the first great master of the six-string guitar. The Ramírez family out of Andalucía. This marked quite a breakthrough in terms of the modern guitar being accepted as part of. but nobody had thought to put a name plate above his grave. Fernando Sor (1778-1839) was born in Barcelona on February 17. And with this work coming out at the close of the century. the Torres family of guitar makers began to construct high quality musical instruments that carry their family trademark name. This kind of intricately extensive and technically demanding music had never been composed for the modern guitar.´«(Turnball 82) At the turn of the incoming 19th Century. Sor is considered to be the best guitarist of the Romantic Era. he performed in London for the very first time where a listener in the audience had commented: ³The effect was at once magical and surprising. Matteo Carcassi from Italy. the stage was set for the upcoming five major masters of the modern six-string guitar: Dionisio Aguado from Spain. as much as Francesco Corbetta is considered to be the top virtuoso of all time on the Renaissance five-string guitar. Then on a cold. the great virtuoso. Sor composed three ballets and a prolonged funeral march for the death of Tzar Alexander the First in 1825. Sor lived in Paris where he gave guitar recitals.Another outstanding book that came out at the time was Arte de tocar la Guitarra Espaňola (a much shorter title. sometimes playing solo and at other times accompanying other musicians. His body was buried in a tomb at the house of a close friend. To this day. performing his very own Concertante of Spanish Guitar and Strings. both family trademarks signify guitars of very high quality and workmanship. This book explicated various techniques and improvisations available on the guitar of seis órdenes or six strings. he began singing in the local choir and composed his first opera Telemachus en la Isla de Calipso. Ferdinando Carulli. damp and dreary day of November 21st in 1852. and Fernando Sor. indeed) by Fernando Ferandière. also began constructing immaculate guitars of the highest sound quality and most advanced resonance. Sor became soloist. Sor traveled throughout Germany and Russia giving concerts. especially for a musical instrument that had only six strings. who had been studying the harp. 1817. At 18 years of age. along with their hefty price tags on their labels. Francisco Tárrega (18521909) was born in Villareal. The son of a Cataluňan merchant. Mauro Giulianni. While in his twenties. He received his formal musical education and training at the local monastery of Montserrat. then he hit the road giving public performances throughout France and Russia. Because of this. ³Sor both surprised and delighted his audiences in many countries with his music and left in his wake an enthusiastic following to champion the new six-stringed instrument. It is through Tárrega that our modern system of bar chords and moveable chord patterns came about.´ Sor was the first guitarist to produce an array of amazing musical effects that had never previously been heard on such a small musical instrument before. Spain. which was published in 1799. But tragedy did not escape the life of the peerless guitar master: Sor lost both his wife and their only daughter Julia. His audiences were amazed that he could perform with equal ease and facility in all twelve musical keys! While in Moscow. In appreciation. He died of cancer of the tongue on July 8. Spain. also of Spain. 1839. for he constructed them. Czarina Alexandra gave Fernando Sor some black pearls of extremely high value. According to a local newspaper article written just after Tárrega had given a guitar recital in Vall de Uxo on November 19. 1904: THE HISTORY OF THE GUITAR IN SPAIN 5 . a full orchestra. In 1815. All of these guitar masters introduced the ³expressionist school´ of the guitar. After the War of 1812.

Tárrega. He enchanted his critics. he met another student of the guitar who had helped him with certain arrangements for guitar and orchestra. Tárrega attended a guitar recital given by Julián Arcas. He then began to compose exercises of extreme technical difficulty for guitar. He also wrote systematic studies intended solely for the instrument.La guitarra cuando Tárrega la pulsa. Arcas. Nice. Monte Carlo. Francisco Tárrega studied piano with Eugenio Ruiz and also learned a little guitar from Manuel González. and Heitor Villa-Lobos. While there. of his own accord. it is a living being in sync with the feeling of the musician«It is a voice that speaks directly to us from out of Eternity and from Heaven itself. the guitar maker and luthier. With already having studied harmony on the piano. Tárrega immediately applied all of the musical complexity of counterpoint and the intricate harmonics he had learned on the piano keyboard to the six-string guitar's fretboard. Some years later. Between 1880 and 1885. es un ser vivo que vibra al compás del sentimiento del músico«es una voz que nos habla directo de la eternidad y del cielo mismo«(Wade 143) TRANSLATION: ³The guitar. thus allowing future guitarists the affordability to perform such world renowned masterpieces that originally had been unavailable to them. Naples. Tárrega finally met Torres. who was playing a Torres guitar. at least in his own mind. some being extremely advanced musical works. and many an opera by Wagner. a blind guitarist. and in Milán. and for the very first time. Both Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909) and Enrique Granados (1867-1916) were considered to be well accomplished composers for both guitar and piano at the turn of the century. and to all of the as yet unborn guitarists of the up and coming 20th Century. Paris. Above all. la escuela razonada de la guitarra (the ³well-thought-out school for the guitar´) thus clearly illustrating and paving the way for all that he had yet to learn and ultimately to teach to Andrés Segovia. Granada. for they were composed for other musical instruments.and right-hand techniques. he had used intervals on the guitar fretboard with interwoven musical phrasings and arpeggiated scales so advanced that he had actually opened up previously unexplored musical avenues on the instrument for the great composers of the upcoming century: Joaquín Rodrigo. it was his teaching and above all his radical reappraisal of both left-and right-hand technique that singles him out as the greatest innovator in the evolution of the modern guitar. although Tárrega¶s performances were vital in reëstablishing the guitar as a serious concert instrument. María. Tárrega was the first in completing such a task.´«(Palmer 49) In 1879. THE HISTORY OF THE GUITAR IN SPAIN 6 . After the recital. and they loved it too. the off-the-beaten-track back roads of les petits villages in France. in Alicante during another visit. es algo más que el instrumento. Francisco Tárrega visited the township of Alicante where he once again met up with Julián Arcas. and Cano. Cádiz. Tárrega also had met his future bride. Aguado. when Tárrega strums it. He transcribed from piano to guitar nocturnes by Frédéric Chopin. Francisco Tárrega became notorious for his unique ability to play the guitar with his left hand while smoking a cigar in his right. the blossoming master of the guitar and musical maestro hit the streets of the small pueblos of Spain. Viňas. ³But we mustn¶t lose sight of the fact that. and the cobble stoned streets of many an English town.´ As a child. but he always preferred performing in Spain. Cannes. Modest Mussorsky. Arcas was introduced to the young boy of 10 years of age and played something for him personally. Throughout his entire life. In 1862. he gave recitals in Perpignan. raised the guitar to higher levels in terms of both its repertoire and in left. Francisco Tárrega formed. Palma de Mallorca. is something more than the instrument itself. Rome. His guitar recitals most always included masterworks by Sor. the land true to his heart and his loving patria or homeland. sonatas by Ludwig von Beethoven. by his playing those perlas de notas flotantes or his ³pearls of floating notes´. Héctor Berlioz.

performed it. we never would have been able to savor and enjoy any of the masterworks of musical genius from Sor.´«(Parkening 79) Nevertheless. and yearning tones of the guitar heard all around him. Indeed. Mompou. Sanz. Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Corbetta. On February 18. seguidillas. rapid fire music with its haunting resonances goes on accompanied by a ballerin a. It is safe to say that no major guitarist now exists who has not been profoundly influenced by him. this type of quick. ³Considered beyond doubt the greatest guitarist who ever lived. are Àngel and Pepe Romero from Málaga. in honor of the spectacularly beautiful Moorish walled city and fortress in Granada. Andalucía. the fiery rhythms of the gitanos (gypsies) and el cante jondo with its flamenco resonances saturated the young Segovia. The rhythms of THE HISTORY OF THE GUITAR IN SPAIN 7 . Ever since he was a small child. the musical roots of this gypsy-like medium of expression are buried in the sleeping darkness of centuries forever long gone. To date. Segovia never composed the seemingly endless output of literature specifically for the guitar as did his predecessor Francisco Tárrega. the guitaristic idiom of the gypsies. bulerías. Tárrega¶s most famous composition is Recuerdos de la Alhambra. Narváez. eventually amounting to partial visual impairment as an adult. Roussel. By the end of the 19th Century. and malagueňas. he tried to transform his vision into reality. the first flamenco guitarist of notable importance was Quiqui Porrorro. if it hadn¶t been for Andrés Segovia. since his early childhood. Segovia passed away on June 2. (2) he not only discovered but also explored the music of his native Spain from centuries past. not to be written down in musical notation to be saved for future generations. favorite guitar has been entombed in a shrine for posterity. the exact same year that a young Andrés Segovia gave his first guitar recital in Granada. Tárrega had suffered from an eye infection. Flamenco music itself is divided into two basic types: (1) the cante chico (small or lighter in nature): alegrías. He dedicated an entire lifetime to the enrichment of the instrument. 1987. fandangos. he had always been enchanted with the deep. sorrowful. he did inspire a school of guitaristcomposers: Joaquín Rodrigo with his Concierto de Aránjuez. mysterious. Although Segovia ended up not caring much at all for the flamenco music of the roaming Andalucian gypsies and hence seldom. Tórroba. and (3) he transcribed the music of yesteryear from cifra written for the vihuela by such musician composers as Miguel de Fuenllana and Enríquez de Valderrábano to the modern classical Spanish guitar. if ever. Turina. Andrés Segovia (1893-1987) was born in Linares. of the Royal Family of the Spanish guitar. His most personal. all throughout his musical career. This male or female dancer can stomp the zapateo (from the Spanish word zapatos or shoes) or the tapateo. there exists a sore lack of historical facts or documentation on the origins of flamenco music. from some accident he had involving a toxic riverbed. But the major points to be highlighted about Andrés Segovia are these: (1) he possessed an instinctive awareness regarding the potential of the guitar and. martinetes. Of note. he has generally encouraged every promising student who has sought his help. with also having transcribed pieces for the lute by Elizabethan John Dowland. Spain. la música flamenco (quite remotely related in lingüistic terms to the peasants of Flanders) began to sprout. Villa-Lobos. nor especially of master guitar composer Francisco Tárrega. too. Spain. Segovia was 16 years of age at the time. Tansman. Manuel Ponce. 1893. and (2) the cante jondo (anxious or in anguish): soleares. In 1880. due mainly to its nature of oral transmission through cantes or songs sung aloud to accompany the dance. Unfortunately. He died in 1909. Generally. One can hear a distinct Moorish flavor or temperament in the flamenco music of the Spanish gypsies. yearning. in Southern Spain and especially in the province of Andalucía. Duarte. and sevillanas. and Miguel Llobet. Being such a fundamental aspect of daily life in the Andalusian province.Yet. while using castaňuelas in their hands in simultaneous step to the rhythm. The legacy and tradition of Andrés Segovia has been carried forward by his star student and current master of the classical guitar Christopher Parkening (1947). It is truly an odd quirk of fate that the juvenile Segovia and the elderly Tárrega had never met somewhere in Spain during the short time span when the two of them were contemporaries and both fellow countrymen.

then the spirit of the performer is said to evaporate from his or her own physical body. from the best of our historical evidence. the fact that Francesco Corbetta had toured and played for so many members of royal families. In terms of the Renaissance five-string guitar. we only have some turn -of-the-century scratchy parody of a recording of Francisco Tárrega performing in his living room for some close friends. no other guitar master had toured that much up until that time with his musical instrument. Such names that deserve mention in the flamenco canon of music are Carlos Montoya. the great composer of flamenco music Manuel de Falla (1876-1946).´ then it seems to me that during his THE HISTORY OF THE GUITAR IN SPAIN 8 . and use it as a percussion instrument. represent a Spanish nationalistic school grounded in the rhythmically vibrant and distinctly modal Iberian folk forms.´ (Kozinn 36). however. thanks in no small part to the magic of our 20th Century technology. Perhaps herein lay the secret to the guitar¶s unparalleled success: one can simultaneously play both melody and accompaniment. Tomás de San Julián. saved. the ³greatest guitarist who ever lived´ can be somewhat distorting considering that today we have a multitude of recorded material from Segovia out of different professional recording studios. and both have melted into one essence. Since the guitar is so much more portable than le grand piano. the human voice in a morose whining cries out in song. without ever having been taped. it seems that. but the unique touch or playing style on the individual musical instruments of either of these two bygone guitar masters has completely perished in time. such techniques as the tremolo or the rasgueado. whose hefty output of guitar music composed for players other than Segovia. Perhaps. and due in large part to the highly compatible interrelationship between the guitar and the traveling gypsies because this musical instrument is so compatible with the human voice. Among the nations on the continent during the 16th and 17th Centuries. hypnotic state of altered consciousness. for kings and queens during even remoter times industrially than the Europe witnessed by Sor or Tárrega. And when the cantante or singer has reached his highest level of attunement with both the guitar and the music. stored. modern music¶s 20th Century harmony and counterpoint had become available to him. as Christopher Parkening states. In guitar terms. exotic rhythms which permeate all of flamenco music: ³Turina and Tórroba. and eerie dissonances.accompaniment are often very complex. strong. who composed El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-cornered Hat) in 1922. do we? Classical guitarists of today can indeed interpret the musical literature and pieces of a Corbetta or of a Giulianni. expanded this musical idiom and style to the fullest. If that would qualify him as being ³the greatest guitarist who ever lived. as is amply displayed in the dark. much like the polyphony and multiple voicing from out of Europe¶s early Renaissance was available to Corbetta. or strong downward strums with full fingernails. We have no such recordings of Francesco Corbetta nor of Fernando Sor. Sabicas. too. Francesco Corbetta of Italy had been by far the greatest guitarist in demand during his lifetime. or heard live in our own lifetimes by any one of us. this gave the Italian master a similar opportunity to take advantage of the latest state of the art within the musicality of the times in which he lived. possibly in sync with the Russians Modèst Mussorgsky (1809-1847) and Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) and their departing excursions into avant garde rhythms. alternate realms. But above all. whether Andrés Segovia really was ³considered beyond doubt´. One need only listen to De Falla's The Miller's Dance to feel the deep soul of gypsy Spain ringing from the guitar's vibrant strings. as well as Joaquín Rodrigo. it also succeeded in doubling up as a solo instrument with a full symphony orchestra. To conclude. sing along. and Paco de Lucía. are required too. requiring spontaneous improvisation on the spot all throughout the dance. Other than Segovia. thus attaining duende: a deeply. Thanks to the time in which Tárrega had lived.

inventor of our modern electric guitar? With regards to guitarists still among the living on the popular front.times.html © 1996 All Rights Reserved THE HISTORY OF THE GUITAR IN SPAIN 9 . Dedicated to the Muehleisen family of Trenton.)? Yet.) to be a top Jim Croce's one-man band. much like the maestros must have done to their audiences in olden times. http://www.maurymuehleisen. mightn't it have been either the Canadian Lenny Breau (1941-1984) or the Americans Chet Atkins (1924-2001) or Les Paul (1915-2009). might one consider Eric Clapton (1946. in honor of their Maury Muehleisen (1949-1973). this highly contentious issue still remains quite debatable up to this present moment. who dazzled us with his magically lyrical guitar. As for just who holds this unique distinction nowadays on the modern six -string guitar (beyond the classical circuit). Corbetta was indeed the best guitarist on the planet at the time. New Jersey. or possibly Paul Simon (1941.

Tony Julian Bream: A Life on the Road New York: Franklin Watts. Inc. 1971 Poliotske. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. The Art and Times of the Guitar.BIBLIOGRAPHY Grunfeld. 1980 Milán. Music Englewood Cliffs. Allan The Guitar New York: Quill. Frederic V. 1 Chicago: Antigüa Casa Sherry-Brener. James The Early Guitar: A History and a Handbook London: Oxford University Press. 1974 Palmer. Harvey The Guitar from Renaissance to the Present Day New York: Charles Scribner¶s and Sons. Of Madrid. 1984 THE HISTORY OF THE GUITAR IN SPAIN 10 . 1969 Tyler. Daniel T. Ltd. New York: The MacMillan Company. 1988 Wade. Charles Jacobs. Graham Traditions of the Classical Guitar London: John Calder. 1983 Parkening. Christopher Guitar Method. 1972 Kozinn. Luis. Vol. El Maestro University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press. Ed. 1980 Turnbull.

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