Me and My Guitar

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An instrument is a tool of music. Just like all tools it allows us to assemble pieces, in the case of music it allows us to build song. Some instruments can be very subtle and soft and quite melodic such as a woodwind, where as there are also instruments that are very powerful, such as a trumpet and become the heart of a song or symphony. But I believe there is only one instrument that can be both subtle and also be powerful. Belonging the family of chordophones, the guitar, is my personal preference or favorite instrument. From the time it was first discovered that a vibrating string tied over a wooden box could produce a pleasant sound, plucked instruments of the guitar family have existed. The way a guitar produces sound reflects technology itself. When a player plucks a string, the string vibrates and most of the energy is transferred to the sound box via the bridge. Resonance in the sound box and the radiation of the soundboard then amplify the weak sound of the string and carries it through the surrounding air making it audible to the human ear. For centuries, guitar makers have worked on these principles to improve the quality of sound produced by the instrument. From this it has come to a worldwide understanding that guitars have a standard tuning: E, sixth string, and a minor thirteenth below middle C. Then the fifth string A, a minor tenth below middle C. The fourth string, D, a minor seventh below middle C. The third string, G, a perfect fourth below middle C. The second string B a minor second below middle C, and the first string E, a major third above middle. For many people, the guitar is a tremendous source of enjoyment and fulfillment in their lives. The study of the guitar is exciting because there is always something new to discover and achieve. There are three main forms of the guitar, the soft classical guitar, the rhythmic steel-string guitar, and of course the powerful electric guitar. Even though each one has its own distinct qualities in sound they have the unifying characteristics of, using the same tuning and harmonics.

The guitar has been around for centuries and was derived from stringed instruments of eastern music, most notably the lute, to become compatible with the standard octaves of western music. The oldest of the three types is the classical which was the successor to the baroque guitar of Spain. True classical guitars are difficult to find and are hand crafted using hand picked woods for unique sounds. These woods include the Brazilian Rosewood, Cocobolo, Maple, Bubinga (African Rosewood), and Ebony. The Brazilian Rosewood was the standard for years is no longer in use because it is now considered endangered. Classical guitars have a wide neck that remains the same throughout the whole fret board. This allows the player to have easy access to each string, thus allowing one to easily play one note at a time with the fingers, not a pick. With the strings being made of nylon, it allows the player to hold down the strings harder to ensure that each note is crisp and that the player's fingers do not hurt. Classical guitar is the most difficult kind to play. It is a series of finger picking rather than strumming. This method of playing is also part of the reason why classical guitar is not as popular as it once was. Although the classical guitar is used to play classical music, it is still maintains popularity among listeners with its soft sounds. It is more often used in Spanish music styles of flamenco, salsa, bachata and many more. The most popular and world renowned players of this guitar are Gaspar Sanz, Fernando Sor, Mauro Giuliani, Francisco Tárrega, Andrés Segovia, The Romeros, Julian Bream , and John Williams.

The Steel-String guitar came about in the first half of the twentieth century and still is the most popular and most played guitar of the three. Steel-string guitars are the easiest to find and have a distinct rhythmic sound. Most people begin playing on this guitar...
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