Guitar Essay, Research Paper
A Guitar is a musical instrument of the lute family, having a flat, waisted body with a round sound hole and a fretted neck along which run six strings. The strings are fastened at the top of the neck to tuning screws, and at the other end to a bridge glued to the instrument’s soundboard, or belly. The top three strings are usually made of gut or nylon; the others are metal. The strings are tuned E A d g b e1. The player’s left-hand fingers stop the strings at the appropriate frets to produce the correct pitches; the right-hand fingers pluck the strings. Some metal-strung guitars are plucked with a small flat plectrum, or pick.
Guitar-like instruments have existed since ancient times, but the first written mention of the guitar proper is from the 14th century. In its earliest form it had three double courses (pairs) of strings plus a single string (the highest). The guitar probably originated in Spain, where by the 16th century it was the counterpart among the middle and lower classes of the aristocracy’s vihuela, an instrument of similar shape and ancestry that had six double courses. The guitar became popular in other European countries in the 16th and 17th centuries, and by the late 17th century a fifth course of strings had been added below the other four. In the mid-18th century the guitar attained its modern form, when the double courses were made single and a sixth string was added above the lower five. Guitar makers in the 19th century broadened the body, increased the curve of the waist, thinned the belly, and changed the internal bracing. The old wooden tuning pegs were replaced by a modern machine head.
Guitars ranging from contrabass to treble and varying in their number of strings are played in Spain and Latin America. The twelve-string guitar has six double courses in standard tuning. The Hawaiian, or steel, guitar is laid across the knees of the player, who stops the metal strings by gliding a metal bar along the neck. The strings are usually tuned to the notes of a given chord. The electric guitar, developed for popular music in the United States in the 1930s, usually has a solid, nonresonant body. The sound of its strings is both amplified and manipulated electronically by the performer. American musician and inventor Les Paul developed prototypes for the solid-bodied electric guitar and popularized the instrument beginning in the 1940s. As an instrument of classical music, the guitar came to prominence largely through the efforts of the Spanish composer Francisco Tarrega and the Spanish guitar virtuoso Andr s Segovia.