Early Guitars and Vihuela

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Book "La Guitarra en Madrid (1750-1808)..." - 2015 Spanish Musicology Award


Book's Abstract (the book is in Spanish):

"The late 18th and early 19th-centuries witnessed a revitalization of the guitar in Madrid—and by extension across Spain. While folk traditions were the driving force for this resurgence, the concept of the guitar as the Spanish national instrument only makes sense if the guitar is considered in the context of its wider social and musical versatility. That is, we must recognize the guitar’s capacity to adapt and to be located easily in any stratum and musical scope of the society. The guitar occupied a prominent place in Madrid’s popular culture, documented in many references to the well-known barbers, blind and majo guitarists as well as the testimony of foreign travelers, popular iconography and the theater. At the same time, the instrument had a strong relationship with academic music-making through guitarists, composers and treatise writers who distanced themselves from the popular culture. The guitar’s role in the academic musical world determined the character of a period that included significant organological developments, especially the emergence of the six-course guitar and the six-string guitar. Lastly, the importance of the guitar in Spain’s 18th-century musical culture can only be fully appreciated by recognizing its role at court where distinguished aficionados such as queens, princes and aristocrats employed it. Through a consideration of the guitar’s place in these three social/cultural realms coupled with a detailed examination of surviving guitar music in Madrid’s libraries, this book demonstrates how the guitar became a cultural and musical symbol of 18th-century Spain."

Spanish Musicological Society  



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Dear Ricardo,

Thank you for bringing this very interesting book to our attention - it chimes much with the work I'm currently doing on the eighteenth century six course guitar.  I googled the title but couldn't any further details. Do you know whether an English translation will be available?

You mention a few areas the work covers, does it also include anything relating to the use of the guitar in the theatre which seems to me an area ripe for some detailed work?



Dear Martyn,

Thank you for your interest. I attached the book's Table of Contents and also the Indexes of the illustrations, graphics and tables, so you can have a general idea of the work. The section 1.1 is entirely dedicated to the guitar in the theater, but you can find other references about this issue in other parts of the book (as in the 1.2.).

Regarding the English translation, I contacted a couple of publishers without success. In spite of the international interest I think the the publication has, it will not be easy to publish an English version soon.




Thank you Ricardo - it lookd even more interesting!

Regarding an English translation publication, have you contacted The Consortium for guitar research they might consider it?  I would think it's up their street. Here's their site:

the https://guitarconsortium.wordpress.com/




Hello Martyn,

Thank you very much for your suggestion and for the link of the Consortium.



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