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History of Guitar and It’s Significance to Music

            The Guitar, a plucked stringed musical
instrument originated in Spain early in the 16th century. It was derived
from the guitarra latina, a late-medieval
instrument with a waisted body and four strings. The guitar was first seen in
the 1800-1900 B.C. The early guitar was identical to the vihuela played in Spain in place of the lute. The guitar is a major building block in music.

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            The guitar consists of four to
eighteen strings. The sound of a guitar is projected through electrical or
acoustic amplification. It is played by plucking or strumming the strings using
the right hand while fretting the strings with the left hand.

            The beginnings of the European
guitar are unknown. It is impossible to establish the history of guitar before
the Renaissance, but similar plucked-string instruments existed such as the
long neck lute. The lute had a waisted sound box alike the guitar and survived
from third to sixth century. During renaissance and medieval periods, a wide
range of plucked stringed instruments can be found. The instruments include the
citole, cittern, vihuela, mandore, gittern, the lute and its variants. During
the Renaissance, the guitar’s closest contemporary was the vihuela. The vihuela
is larger than the guitar, with six or seven courses of strings and tuned like
a lute. It is sometimes pictured with a sharply cut waists, like on a violin, and
sometimes with rounded corners like a guitar. The guitar and vihuela existed
simultaneously until the seventeenth century, when the popularity of the guitar
superseded the vihuela. (Dobney)

            Guitar music from the 16th
to 18th century was written in tablature or chord symbols. The popularity
of the guitar grew during the 17th century as the lute and vihuela
declined. The lute and vihuela remained amateur’s instrument from the 17th
to early 19th century. A few virtuoso guitarists, however, became
known in Europe, among them Gaspar Sanz (flourished 1674), Robert de Visée (c.
1650–1725), Fernando Sor (1778–1839), and Joseph Kaspar Mertz (1806–56). Modern
classical-guitar technique owes much to the Spaniard Francisco Tárrega
(1852–1909), whose transcriptions of works by Bach, Mozart, and other composers
formed the basis of the concert repertory.

            In the 20th century, Andrés Segovia
gave the guitar further prominence as a concert instrument, and composers such
as Heitor Villa-Lobos and Manuel de Falla wrote serious works for it; others
(e.g., Pierre Boulez) scored for the guitar in chamber ensembles.

            The guitar is widely played in the
folk and popular music of many countries. In jazz ensembles it is part of the
rhythm section and is occasionally played as a solo instrument. In popular
music the guitar is usually amplified, and ensembles frequently include more
than one instrument, a “lead” guitar for solos, another for rhythm, and a
“bass” guitar to play bass lines.

            The history of the guitar is coined
from the form it takes today. Its beginning can be traced back 3300 years from
an old stone carving of a Hittite bard. The early guitar were played by carving
and had no means resemblance to today’s guitar.  Guitar had an image that was curved insides,
had a flat top and a long neck which was filled with frets. (The Editors)

            The guitar was described and seen as
an instrument with a long neck, a wooden flat back and ribs in the 12th
century. By the 14th century, there were two types of guitars that is Moorish
and Latin guitar. Moorish guitar had several sound holes, wide fingerboard and
rounded back as compared to Latin guitar which had a narrower neck and a single
sound hole. In the 15th and 16th century, the design of guitar was developed
more which is the guitar of today. The modern guitar features were influenced
by Spanish vihuela which are curved structure, hole in the base and the
strings. (The

            Guitar’s ancestry has many theories,
one of the generally known is kithara theory. The only evidence is the
resemblance of the Greek word kithara and the Spanish word quitarra. Even
though, both the instruments were different kithara seven-stringed harp and
quitarra four stringed guitar. The instruments had more in common than many
could think of. In the beginning, the kithara and quitarra were invented with
four strings and played in the same way. (Guy)

            Tanburs and bowl harps were the
early instruments known to archaeologists. In prehistoric times, people were
not fortunate enough to fabricate a proper guitar. People made guitars using
tortoise shells and calabashes as resonators, and the bent stick was meant for
the neck and silk for the strings. (Guy)

            World’s museums contain many such
harps like the bowl harp, from the ancient Sumerian, Babylonian, and Egyptian
civilizations. Around 2500 – 200 CE the more advanced harps, like the opulently
carve is the 11- Stringed instrument had a nice decoration. It was just like
the one found in Queen Shub-Ad’s tomb, in the Royal Cemetery in Ur. (Guy)

            The guitar takes opposites pieces
and plasters them together to create a harmony. The strings are E, A, D, G, B,
and E; from these 6 different notes over 10,000 different noisy combinations
can be made, yet they can be put together to make a pure sound. Playing the guitar
is an architectural form that takes nothing and makes something. In another
light, guitar is taking complete chaos and turning it to organization; much
like how different blocks are thrown on the floor, get picked up and placed into a location,
and a figure is created
from the mess. The guitar rightly takes chaos and noise and molds it into a
melody. (Guy)

            Reasons for playing guitar are many feel
serious pleasure, wave away stress, send pain packing, toughen your ticker,
sharpen your mind, seduce total strangers, build more brain power and record
yourself, reward yourself.  Plugging in
your guitar, playing it, and listening to the music you’re creating can make
you feel good—orgasmically so. According to a neuroscientific study from McGill
University, hearing music triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, the
same chemical that is released during sex. (10 Reasons) (The Editors)

            People could relieve stress and
anguish by playing the guitar. A dual study from the Mind-Body Wellness Center
and Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems found that
stress can be reduced on a genomic level by playing an instrument. Rocking out
reverses your body’s response system to pressure. (10 Reasons)

            Forget popping pills: If you live
with chronic pain, reach for a pick. According to a study from the University
of Utah’s Pain Research Center, listening to music—and in this case, your own
sweet licks—can take your mind off, and thereby reduce, pain. (10 Reasons)

            Rockers have killer chops—and
cardiovascular systems: Researchers from the Netherlands found that patients who
practiced music for more than 100 minutes a day showed a significant drop in
blood pressure and a lower heart rate than those who didn’t. Three of the test
subjects? Guitarists. (10 Reasons)

            Can’t wail yet? Don’t worry. Just
carrying a guitar case can seriously boost the odds of someone wanting you—even
if they’re total strangers, finds recent research in Psychology of Music. How
come? Studies show women associate musical ability with intelligence,
commitment, hard work, and physical prowess—and ladies associate all those
qualities with your ability to earn money, the researchers say. (10 Reasons)

            Stuck at work without your
six-string? You’re still giving your brain a workout: According to a Cambridge University
study, musicians continue being creative even when they’re not playing their
instruments. Researchers found that performers visualize music in terms of its
shape, and then process that as a form of practice. Most don’t see it as such,
but it’s a highly creative way of learning. Oftentimes, guitarists will record
their sessions or demo songs; that way, they can go back and practice them. But
bring your recordings to the gym and you might see a physical benefit. (10




















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