minstrel: guitar lute & others

Sandi sandilee at cableone.net
Mon Jul 14 15:02:18 PDT 2008

I have some questions about what you wrote, if I may.
> [i met a player who tuned his like a guitar-that would be nice,]
> Actually, that would be appalling.
I am also a classical guitarist and I have played a guitar-lute which 
was a transitional instrument between the older lute and the guitar. It 
is tuned like a guitar, although you can tune the third string down to 
F#, if preferred, and it has a rounded back. My family owns one.
>   There were originally (see
> illustrations in the Cantigas de Santa Maria) two types of guitar, one
> designed to be plucked and the other designed to be strummed.  The
> plucked guitar died out because it was functionally indistinguishable
> from a lute. 
My research has not uncovered any record of a true guitar prior to the 
time of Fernando Sor (1778-1839), who popularized the guitar in its 
present classical form, with six strings and a flat back. Prior to this 
time there were ancestors of the guitar, such as guitarrone or vihuela, 
which could be seen as transitional instruments with doubled strings, 
different amounts of strings, and different shapes and tunings. To 
consider these guitars might be like considering the recorder a true 
modern flute.

I would be very interested in seeing your documentation for the two 
"guitars" you mention, and for the statement that the plucked guitar 
died out.
>  If you take a lute, tune it like a guitar (a 12-string,
> presumably) and strum it, you'll have neither a period instrument nor a
> period sound.  A lute should be plucked, a guitar strummed.
Bach, Beethoven, Sor, deFalla, Guilliani, etc would all disagree with 
the statement that the guitar is designed to be strummed only.
> I'll send you some guitar documentation offlist.
I would love to receive this, too!

I must not be understanding what you are saying, and I would appreciate 
some clarification.
Sandi in Idaho (Lady Cecily of Arn Hold, Artemisia)

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