History of the Classical Guitar

History of the Classical Guitar

by Drew HolcombBefriend Your Local Music Store, Grow Your Studio

The classical guitar is a world-renowned instrument and has undergone many transformations to get where it is today. From the medieval, renaissance, and to the baroque era, the classical guitar has been revolutionized. The baroque classical guitar, in particular, was one of the more dominant instruments in music history, but it had to undergo many steps to get there. Through its improvements in construction, tone, and projection this guitar laid the foundation for guitars to come.

Since its birth in the medieval period, the classical guitar has completely transformed. The instrument began with a simple design, constructed with a solid piece of wood with three or four coarse strings, and produced a weak, thin sound. Due to the instruments poor sound quality and volume, the medieval guitar quickly died out. However, the Renaissance created a rebirth of the guitar. The Renaissance guitar or vihuela took many leaps in the overall construction and tone of the instrument. Innovations such as four and five coarsed strings, gut frets, and larger bodies created larger tone and sound projection. Along with that came new techniques for the guitar such as rasgeado which was a dominating style of playing that appealed to many throughout Europe, creating a spread and emergence of the guitar as a dominant instrument. Lastly, the Baroque guitar successfully revolutionized the guitar and became the basis for construction of guitars today. Through its open sound hole, deeper body, and new tuning methods the baroque guitar secured a spot in the Baroque era as a leading musical instrument with both royalty and the simple peasants. With the assistance of the medieval and renaissance periods, the baroque classical guitar created a solid foundation for classical guitars. Even today, the instrument has not varied too far from its baroque ancestor.


Catoctin School of Music

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