Early Guitars and Vihuela

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I know its common knowledge that strumming wasnt used in the 19th century. But I keep thinking- didnt anyone used strumming at all, someone must have done it. And what strumming patterns where used. Was it still the baroque guitar strumming that where used or was some new ways used.

What are the thoughts on this issue in this forum. Please let me know what You think

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Well, common knowledge would be wrong. Sor certainly mentions it, especially in regard to his duet Opus 54bis, where he states that it is impossible to notate rasgueado. Study the second guitar part for that.

Hello Rob,

what Sor explains in the op.54 is that the guitarrist must know how to play in the spanish way of playing that is called rasgueado to produce the desired effect.

Yes, Ricardo.

I'm aware of that in op 54. I've just recently purchased the book with seguidillas by Sor from tecla. Jeffrey has in this new version added an article by Sor regarding the rasgueado. By what about accopamy singing. Do You think strums/rasguedao what have been used or is it only "fingerstyle"

There is an example of rasgueado in one of the songs in the Segunda Collecion (Spain ca. 1825) published by Tecla. It is called 'El pan de jarabe, cancion y baile de Nueva America'. It has an indication 'Las Cuatro primeras notas se tocan punteadas, y les acondes acentuados '>' se deven rasguear'. So, that is rasgueado in a song accompaniment. But I would be very reluctant to use rasgueado where it is not written, let alone 'strumming' in the generic campfire sense of the word. I have a concert recording somewhere of 'El pan de jarabe', let me find it and you can hear how I play it, if that is of any use :-))

I used them in the seguidillas, but without any evidence that they were definitely used. And what about Aguado's Fandango - hard to imagine that without rasgueados. Things get tidied up when either being written out or presented in public. On a more everyday level, I can't imagine rasgueados were not used in Spanish music. Giuliani, however, is another story.

What do you think, Lars?

I havnt found anything in Giulianis music that indicates the use of rasgueado so perhaps its only a spanish thing. And please forgive me in my last reply in the last sentence. Reading it now I can see that it dosent makes any sense.

Jelma; I'll be glad to hear an example

My thoughts are...In reference to composers like Sor, Aguado and others from the Spanish/Portuguese tradition, I think we can look to the "folk" guitars styles that we find in late 19th/early 20th century and even today, to get a glimps of what might have been acceptable to some of the early 19th century players. Like Rob, I'm not convinced the same would apply to Giuliani, Carulli but...maybe after one too many Viennese beers or a glass too much French wine...who knows how they would have played?


Recently, I've been watching a lot of youtube videos highlighting the various "folk guitars" of portugal (Portuguese guitar, Viola Braguesa, Viola de Arame, Cavaquinho...) and Brazil (Viola Caipira). One thing that I have been struck by is the abundance of techniques used to play these instruments that are often associated with older instruments like the vihuela and baroque guitars. For example the Portuguese guitar (and some of the others) has a right hand technique that is very similar to the dedillo used by vihuela players like Luis Milan, the right hand strumming patterns with the fingers used by players of all the above instruments could very easily have evolved from baroque guitar technique and quite possibly 19th century strumming techniques.


As oral tradition (which is how many of the folk styles are passed on) changes and evolves rather slowly, I suspect Sor and Aguado would not be surprised to hear a modern Fado guitarist strumming in styles and with patterns that they would have been familar with.


However, I have no clear evidence that there is a relationship between these techniques and the Spanish classical guitar players, only a guttural feeling. But there may be something to be learned by looking in this direction.

I havnt seen that. It just enters my mind. Carcassi mentions also rasgueado in his complete method op. 59, check this link at the end of the treatise http://www.muslib.se/ebibliotek/boije/pdf/Boije%201129.pdf.

So now we know that rasgueado was a common thing at least in france and spain. But what about Vienna and nothern Europe.

But what I actually sought was some evidence wether or not strumming as we see it today was used. By this I mean playing a strumpattern on one chord for perhaps two bars and then changing the chord.

Thanks for the Carcassi link. I've managed to overlook that book, but it appears to be a very good tutor.

As for Viennese strumming, I'm not sure. They seem to have been more into boom-chick-chick - style accompaniments. Schrammel bands still don't strum (according to my limited awareness). But you could convince us otherwise, Lars :-)

As ever, we need historic sources, citations, otherwise everything is conjecture.

Dear friends,

if you look to the book "Cantos españoles" of Ocón (1874) you will find an instruction for strumming according to Spanish practices of the date. It is not a wonderfully detailed font, but it is worth looking at it. The boolk is downloadable from


The specific chapter to strummed guitars starts in page 80. Written in Spanish and German .

I hope this could help, but it deals mainly on Folk Spanish style of the first half of XIXth century, that works largely better with double strung guitars -like Pagés, of Benedid guitars-. Keep in mind that in Spain and Latin America, double strung guitars kept being built and used up to ca.1840.

Best regards


Sorry! the chapter starts in page 89.


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