The birth place of guitar?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
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Michael.N.
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Re: The birth place of guitar?

Post by Michael.N. » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:29 am

The chances of pinning this down to one person or era is. . . . . none. These things tend to develop incrementally, sometimes an off shoot from something else, often developing in separate locations but within the same time frame. We have trouble determining who invented the light bulb or the transistor and they were both relatively recent. Determining who got to the patent office first is pretty easy though.
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CliffK
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Re: The birth place of guitar?

Post by CliffK » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:31 pm

The academic paper by Prof. Julio Ribeiro Alves that I cited twice in this thread is rather thorough. It presents various theories on the early origins and reviews a number of points in the literature. There is consideration of the lute and the differences with the guitar. The paper then analyzes the question beginning with the vihuela and 4 course guitar. Finally, it considers the 5 and 6 course guitar. It is worth the time spent reading it, IMO.
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Martin
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Re: The birth place of guitar?

Post by Martin » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:52 pm

CliffK wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:31 pm
The academic paper by Prof. Julio Ribeiro Alves that I cited twice in this thread is rather thorough. It presents various theories on the early origins and reviews a number of points in the literature. There is consideration of the lute and the differences with the guitar. The paper then analyzes the question beginning with the vihuela and 4 course guitar. Finally, it considers the 5 and 6 course guitar. It is worth the time spent reading it, IMO.
Facts? We don't need no steenkin' facts!

We're guitarists, sir! Insularity and circular discussions are our forte. :D

Still, thanks for posting it - it is certainly a worthwhile read although I'm not entirely convinced by all of Alves' arguments.
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Alexander Kalil
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Re: The birth place of guitar?

Post by Alexander Kalil » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:12 pm

Among the ancient members of the lute family the so called Coptic Lute seems to be the earliest known plucked instrument with a waisted body and soundboard, like a guitar: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/12.182.44/

See also the following video, starting from 3:40: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0gwSXoQHJE

CliffK
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Re: The birth place of guitar?

Post by CliffK » Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:27 pm

AK, thx for interesting links.
Martin, yes indeed plenty to discuss.

The Egyptian instrument is noted in this time line:

http://www.guyguitars.com/eng/handbook/ ... story.html

References to Sumerian and to other cultures also noted and so we can see plucked string instruments as a heritage of many ancient cultures.
Michael Thames 2010 It Spruce/BR
Rockbridge SJ cedar/mahagony 2007, cutaway, inlay

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R.V.S.
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Re: The birth place of guitar?

Post by R.V.S. » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:38 am

The underlying question seems to be, "What culture gets credit for the creation of the guitar?"

Just as with border lines between countries, distinctions between cultures are artificial. Cultures interact like oil paint on a canvas: they blend together, sometimes forming new colors, other times interlacing and intertwining but retaining some degree of their own identity.

And how do we define a guitar? Different people are going to have different definitions, and each definition is going to have its own history (or, more accurately, set of histories). Even attempting to define "guitar" is problematic. Consider this: A classical guitar and an oud have much more in common than a classical guitar and an electric guitar.

There's also an implicit assumption that there must be a singular birthplace, but what we think of as "the guitar" isn't really a singular entity. It's actually a category word: the term "guitar" is a catch-all phrase that encompasses thousands of varying designs spanning thousands of incredible instrument makers.

So imagine every stringed instrument maker that ever existed in the history of humanity. Now narrow that down to the ones that had a new idea (even a small one) and executed that idea in one of their instruments. What were their birthplaces? If we could know that, we would have an answer to your question.

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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: The birth place of guitar?

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:02 pm

R.V.S. wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:38 am
The underlying question seems to be, "What culture gets credit for the creation of the guitar?"

Just as with border lines between countries, distinctions between cultures are artificial. Cultures interact like oil paint on a canvas: they blend together, sometimes forming new colors, other times interlacing and intertwining but retaining some degree of their own identity.

And how do we define a guitar? Different people are going to have different definitions, and each definition is going to have its own history (or, more accurately, set of histories). Even attempting to define "guitar" is problematic. Consider this: A classical guitar and an oud have much more in common than a classical guitar and an electric guitar.

There's also an implicit assumption that there must be a singular birthplace, but what we think of as "the guitar" isn't really a singular entity. It's actually a category word: the term "guitar" is a catch-all phrase that encompasses thousands of varying designs spanning thousands of incredible instrument makers.

So imagine every stringed instrument maker that ever existed in the history of humanity. Now narrow that down to the ones that had a new idea (even a small one) and executed that idea in one of their instruments. What were their birthplaces? If we could know that, we would have an answer to your question.
Good points! As you say, borders have changed numerous times since the guitar was born. It would be a better clue to have a closer look at the cultures maybe. But it is also true that the history of the guitar (Just like the history itself) has different versions. In this case, maybe there is not enough evidence to prove which one is the one but some versions are more valid than the others.
To send light into the darkness of men's heart, such is the duty of the artist. (Robert Schumann)

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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: The birth place of guitar?

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:22 pm

When looking at Persian instruments, similar names like Tar, Dotar and Setar are very similar to Guitar and their construction is not far from guitar. Also Lute that has been assumed as a guitar ancestor come from the Arabian word Al-ud.

When I consider some of the historical facts (at least in most versions) and look at it from a cultural aspect, it leads me to believe that the guitar has been a middle eastern instrument and has been gradually changed and to the shape and form we know it today.

Let's not forget the fact that classical guitar is still changing... unlike violins and cello for instance...
To send light into the darkness of men's heart, such is the duty of the artist. (Robert Schumann)

Melode
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Re: The birth place of guitar?

Post by Melode » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:50 pm

The deep roots of the guitar may have been the kithara of classical Greece. Note the similarity in the sound of names for the two instruments: kithara and guitar. That is just one theory.

The Classical Greeks used both their lyre and kithara to accompany choral music, singing and song. The players played in unison rather than in part harmony. The CGs had and/or used no harmony per se perhaps because they held a high value on the voice, training the voice, and the interval of the unison: the most perfect interval.

Melode

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