Oh, Golden Times! Guitar Development
Generally, golden times of guitar development is recognized began from around 1775.
During this period, new 6-string guitar appeared. More important, “fan-shaped” beam was applied in building of 6-string guitar.This structure made the instrument to have a thinner solid top to achieve better transmission of vibration.This structure deeply influenced building of guitar till now.
In beginning of 19th century, some main cities of Europe became center of guitar such as Paris,London and Vienna.Great composers also got high reputation during this period. Boccherini,Italian composer wrote wonderful pieces for 12-string guitar,Schubert said “Only a few knows guitar although it is a wonderful instrument.”. After performance of Giuliani,Beethoven said “guitar is a mini orchestra”.
But “golden times”, as it’s named, not only because of great players, but also great composers. Because of “can’t write any pieces unless you can play it”, there’s only a few guitar composers.Most of them were active in 19th century. This is one reason why this period is called golden times.
Besides composers, many great players were active in this period. The most famous master during this period is Sor and Aguado. The two masters are friends but stand for two different style playing. Sor was used to play soft sound with finger only. Aguado was used to play more active sound with nail only.
Those great players left us more. Sor wrote many great master pieces and practicing pieces, some of them we still play today. He is also called “Beethoven of Guitar”. Carulli,Carcassi,Jiuliani,and Aguado also wrote a lot of classical pieces for practicing which is still important in today’s guitar lessons.
When we talk about guitar of 19th century, we cannot ignore Paganini. Yes, the person is known as greatest violin master. He abandoned violin to play guitar for as long as 4 years, also left many master pieces.In late 19th century, famous musicians of guitar includes Mertz,Coste,Cano,Regondi,etc.Most of their pieces also became classical ones.
But as development of piano,orchestra and opera, guitar’s development met gloom period from late 19th. But this period did not last so long as appearance of Tarrega.