A brief history of
Bluegrass Music
& the Acoustic Guitar

The Influence of. . . . come on now! Who wants to take the credit?

• The guitar's roots are in Spain. Realistically, it cannot be traced back further than the 15th Century. It is thought to have been invented by the people of Malaga. This early instrument was a "four course" guitar, from which the ukulele is derived. The first guitars were very small, and were originally strung with four pair of strings. Each pair was call a course. During the Renaissance, the guitar never had the respect the lute enjoyed. It was not considered a serious instrument. The first publication for guitar is thought to have been Alonso Mudarra's "Tres Libros de Musica en Cifras para Vihuela." Eventually, the guitar began to attract players, more publications and music began to appear.

• A fifth course was added. Even more music became available. It's repertoire and the complexity of the music increased.

• many publications, composers and performers. The guitar was very popular and guitar concerts were common. At the end of the 19th century, the guitar had fallen out of favor, but was resurrected by Francisco Tarrega.

• Up until this point the instrument itself was small and narrow. Manual Torres worked with the design and construction of the guitar. He increased the size and experimented with anything that would improve the sound, and was especially interested in volume. He was the first maker to use "fan" bracing underneath the top. He once built a Guitar with a spruce top and paper mache back and sides to prove his theory that it was the top that produced most of the volume. He was the father of the modern guitar.

• 1265 - Juan Gil of Zamora mentions the early guitar in "Ars Musica.
• 1283 - 1350 Guitarra Latina & Guitar Moresca are mentioned multiple times in the poems of the Archpriest of Hita
• 1306 - A “gitarer” was played at the Feast of Westminster in England
• 1404 - "Der mynnen regein" by Eberhard Von Cersne makes reference to a "quinterne."
• 1487 - Johannes Tinctoris described the guitarra as being invented by the Catalans. This refers to the four course guitar. Each course represents one pair of double strings.
• 1546 - "Tres Libros de Musica en Cifras para Vihuela" by Alonso Mudarra is the first publication to include music for guitar.
• 1551-1555 - Nine books of tablature were published by Adrian Le Roy. These include the first pieces for 5 course guitar. The addition of the fifth course was attributed to Vicente Espinel
• 1600-1650 - Many publications of tablature for the guitar. It's popularity begins to rival the lute.
• 1674 - Publication of "Guitarre Royal" by F. Corbetta increased the guitar's popularity. It was dedicated to Louis XIV.
• 1770-1800 - A sixth string was added to the guitar and the courses were replaced by single strings.
• 1800-1850 - Guitar enjoyed a large popularity both in performances and publishing. Fernando Sor, Mauro Guiliani, Matteo Carcassi and Dioniso Aguado all performed, taught, wrote and had published their compositions.
•  1850-1892 - Guitar maker Manual Torres develops the larger more resonant instrument we know today.
• 1916 - Segovia performs at Ateneo, the most important concert hall in Madrid. Before this it was thought that the guitar did not have the volume for this type of venue.
• 1946 - Nylon replaces gut as a string material

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