"Guitar - (App. Quitarra from the Greek. Kithara - lira) kind of stringed musical instrument with wooden body - cavity in the form of eights and a long-necked" - That is the information we can find, referring to the competent musicological publications and dictionaries. But, as is actually happening the birth and formation of this truly legendary instrument?
Many historians differently describe the history of the origin of the modern guitar and its varieties. It is not surprising, because the first string plucked instruments, which were the prototype of this guitar, there were in ancient times, 3-4 thousand years BC.
Stringed instruments fitted with a neck, appeared in ancient times. They make up the lute family in the broadest sense. The earliest surviving evidence - a Mesopotamian sculptures that relate to about 2 millennium BC. e. They sealed instruments with a small body, which was made from tortoiseshell or pumpkin (covered with, in all probability, the skin). Such tools exist to this day in some countries: in the Balkans - tamburitsa, Iran - sitar, Turkey - saz, Greece - bazooka. In Central Asia and northern India, there are also two-stringed dutar (used these days in Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan). He rounded down and truncated in the upper part of the body and a long neck, which are screwed pegs. The decisive moment in the history of the instrument - the emergence of a new resonator body, consisting now of three parts: deck, upper deck and two shells that connect them. This stage occurs in China in 3 or 4 century BC. e. With the advent of tools yuan (nowadays neupotreblinemogo) and Yukina, the upper deck is made of solid wood plate. Since that time, tools, similar to a guitar, widely distributed in the Middle East. A beautiful example of one such tool is embodied in the frieze Ertama Buddhist monastery near Termez (Uzbekistan), a fragment of which is kept in St. Petersburg Hermitage. However, there is still no precise dating of the frieze: it can be attributed to the period between the 1st century BC. e. And the 3rd century BC. e. In ancient China, it is widely used various kinds of lute with a long neck. Particularly attracted the attention of the so-called Nefer (which means "beauty"). This tool, with its almond-shaped elongated body, can be considered one of the forerunners of our guitars. Lack of reliable data and fragmentation hinders the scientific study of history of the guitar. Most of all, we tend to think that she was born in the Middle East, and from there spread throughout Asia and Europe. Important role in this process belongs to Egypt. According to K. Omo, "starting from the 9th century to the west of the country to the European lute called Kitaro"; In addition, the obvious affinity between Nefer and the first tool shown in the Spanish manuscripts. The invasion of the Arabs could serve - this applies to the lute - factor in the relationship between North Africa and Southern Europe; but we can not exclude a certain influence in Asia Minor - in the Greco-Roman world.
As in antiquity and in medieval Europe, the emergence of tools - immediate predecessors of the guitar and their further evolution in the first centuries of the Christian era, it is impossible to trace because of the lack of reliable data. According to some researchers, the earliest image of such an instrument is to the II century. This is a bas-relief, which is decorated with tombstones in Merida (Spain). One can discern only the upper part of the tool. The design is such that it is acceptable, and later dating. In fact, advanced design tools as we once again find only twelve centuries later.
Much more archaic sound presented in the Utrecht Psalter (c. 820-830) "sitar with the stamp," despite the obvious desire of the artist-miniaturist to the ornamental pomp of the image. The famous Stuttgart Psalter, made a few decades later, probably in France, in the scriptorium of the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (c. 830-860), it contains extremely interesting to our study miniatures. They can see ten beautiful tools that have specifically named guitars. This suggests that the structure of the guitar in those days takes its main features. Resonator body, neck and Pegs box are made as separate parts; string (three to six) are attached to the circular projection, which is placed at the lower edge of the housing. Artist leads them to oscillate with a long plectrum.
The Latin word cithara comes from the Greek word cittern and long before the Middle Ages used to refer to species guitar as kitaire, quitaire, quitarre, entered into use after 1250.
Unfortunately, this precious document is an isolated case. The closest to it in time images of instruments - guitar predecessors, we find only in X - XI centuries in Spain. The design looks like they are not as developed.
Spain. Especially noteworthy are a number of manuscripts that are a common source of origin. Based on the manuscript of the Asturian monk Beatus Liebana (VIII) «Commentaires de l'Apocalypse», containing a collection of different interpretations of the Apocalypse. The value of the manuscript has been so great that it came to light numerous copies of it, decorated with miniatures. By tradition, they depict musicians. In most cases, the artists are content with repeating the already known images, but some masters seek to capture tools, which play their contemporaries. With this fails to detect various types of building tools corresponding to different eras and regions.
Since the image of the X century stringed plucked instruments became common. We can reveal the formation and propagation of a particular type of instrument, concise and distribution of a particular type of instrument, laconic in its design, the overall appearance and the way the game resembles the Egyptian nefer. Its characteristics indicate the initial stage of development: string (three or four) are attached to a semi-circular base placed at the bottom of the deck and stretched by a bulky pins inserted in Kolkova box.
These iconographic monuments indicate that the instruments of the period still combines the traits that in the Renaissance "distributed" between the various types of plucked - such as the viola, vihuela and guitar.
Since the middle of the XIII century information about the evolution of the guitar on its properties, on the role of her musical life become more accurate.
Complement each other two sources: "The Book of Good Love" Juan Ruiz, Archpriest of Hita and "Cantiga St. Mary" (c. 1250) - a collection of hymns in honor of the Virgin Mary - decorated thumbnail manuscript, in which the artist depicted the court minstrels with guitars.
At that time there were already two types of guitars - Guitar Moorish and Latin guitar.
Moorish guitar - oval, and played it mostly plectrum (mediator), which gives the sharpness of her tone, to complain that his contemporaries. Moorish guitar pictured in the book "Cantiga" very beautiful in form and structure. This guitar is not widely spread among the village musicians and attracted royals and falls to the court of Alfonso X.
Latin guitar has a more complex form, and due to its soft sound it is becoming popular among the lovers of exquisite music. Apparently, the tool was highly appreciated by the royal court, as is found in only three miniatures, and only in the hands of minstrels. Design features and sound say that the Latin guitar was closer forerunner of the modern classical guitar.
When you play the Latin or Roman cithara used technique punteado, ie the game pinch. And when you play the Moorish or Arabic cittern - reception rasgeado, ie "saber" on the strings all the fingers of his right hand. Later the game pinch - punteado became the basis of the classical school. This added the nail and finger techniques of sound for the right hand, the game with the support - apoiando and without the support - tirando on the string when plucked.