Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Spanish guitar history

(Fr. guiterre, guiterne; It. chitarrino, chitarra da sette corde, chitarra Napolitana; Sp. guitarra de quatro ordines). 16th-century guitars were much smaller than the modern instrument, and the four-course instrument could be described as a treble guitar. Juan Bermudo (El libro llamado Declaración de instrumentos musicales(Osuna, 1555/R, chap. lxv) described the guitar as smaller (mas corto) than the vihuela and this is borne out both by contemporary iconography (fig.4) and by the technical requirements for the left hand in much of the surviving music. In the 16th century even five-course guitars (as opposed to the five-course vihuelas described by Bermudo) seem to have been small instruments. The length of a five-course guitar made by Belchior Dias in 1581 (Royal College of Music, London; fig.5a) is only 76·5...

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