Home Guitarist Pianist Sitarist Education e-mail me

The Dradom's Passion







A History Of The Guitar

Guitar-like instruments have existed since ancient times (see the Guitar Museum), 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 with 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.

From: Microsoft Encarta

The guitar used be called a tavern instrument; one that could not meet the demands of classical music. In the early nineteenth century, Fernando Sor set in motion the quest that continues today, to raise the guitar to the greatest musical level possible. Sor was one of the most prolific composers for, and promoters of, the guitar as a "concert" instrument, in the last two hundred years. He, and others like him paved the way for Andrés Segovia to emerge and bring the guitar to the immense popularity, and respect it enjoys today.

Guitars ranging from contrabass to treble, and with varying numbers 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.
From: "Guitar," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 96 Encyclopedia

In the early 1940s, a California inventor, Leo Fender, made some custom guitars and amplifiers in his radio shop and already was working on an amplifier (with no controls) and a matching lap steel guitar (with tone and volume controls). This was typical of the way the electric guitar was viewed at this time, as a total package, and not as an individual instrument.

With his knowledge of existing technologies, he knew he could improve on the amplified hollow-body instruments -- and he did. In 1948 he developed the legendary Telecaster® (originally named the Broadcaster). The Tele®, as it became affectionately called, was the first solid body electric Spanish-style guitar ever to go into commercial production.

 A History Of The Piano

At some time in the distant past, ancient man must have discovered that by stretching a thong between the horns of a dead animal, or on a branch that forked, a musical sound could be produced. The hunter would also have heard that the string of his bow would sound a definite pitch. Later it would have become clear that by stopping the string at different points and varying its length and thickness it could be made to sound other notes. Once two or more parallel strings were added to the bow, a rudimentary harp was created.

The first stringed instrument was the harp, on which the strings are plucked. The harmonic curve caused by the varied speaking lengths of strings dictated the shape of the frame of the piano and broadly
follows the shape of a harp.
The monochord is simply a sound box with a single string stretched over a movable bridge to the position required, which is determined by a scale marked by "0" on the surface. The bridge is moved to each marking
to give you a new note. It was plucked, and would now be referred to as a tone metre.

The psaltery was common in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It is a shallow closed box where strings are stretched and sounded by plucking with the fingers or plectra. There was also a bowed version.
psaltery can be considered a forerunner of the harpsichord, since the strings are plucked, just as the dulcimer can be considered a forerunner of the piano, since its strings are struck. The hammer dulcimer is an ancient instrument dating back to before Christ, and it originated in Iran. The dulcimer and the psaltery may look alike, but they are played differently. Small wooden hammers are used on the strings of
the dulcimer
to set the strings vibrating, much as the
hammers do on the piano's strings. The strings of the psaltery are plucked with the fingers or with a feather quill, as are the strings on the harpsichord.

 A History Of The Sitar

The sitar is an adaptation of the ancient Indian vina, with influences of the Persian sehtar of the Moghul courts. The body of the sitar is made of gourd and its neck and face of teakwood. The instrument has movable frets with seven main strings made of steel, copper and brass on the upper bridge. The thirteen sympathetic strings underneath are tuned to the scale of the raga. My (The Dradom) sitar was made by the late Hiren Roy of Calcutta, the premier sitar-maker of India

Indian music Consideration Indian music is divided into several categories according to the geometrical area of India. In this article, I will write about Hindustani music. In this page, I am writing the summary of each music style, although each style is actually much more complicated. Specially, Indian music is far from western music, so please be reminded that the description below is very superficial.
Firstly, Indian music scale is very different from western music scale. Indian music scale has seven notes and they are put in equal interval in an octave while western music scale has twelve notes and they are put in equal interval in octave. These seven notes are called "Sa", "Re", "Ga", "Ma", "Pa", "Dha", "Ni", "Sa." These notes correspond to "C", "D", "E", "F", "G", "A", "B", "C." Hindustani music is improvisation music. The tune is not prepared. Players make melodies for instance. However, there are some rules that vocal artists or instrument players must to follow. These rules are called "raga." Raga specifies music scale and its arrangement. For example, it says "use note C D Eb F G Ab B, and do not play Eb after F. Or, use Eb only when melody line is descending." (This rule is not included in actual raga.) Although music is played following these rules, music is always a new one.
Second, rhythm is called tala which means "parm" or "meter" originally. Tala is a continuous musical cycle. In tala, certain music patterns are repeated. The first beat of tala is called "Sam" and all rhythm pattern and melody variations are resulted at Sam. (Otherwise it can not be cyclic...) 
Lastly, about musical instruments and style of ensemble, typical ensemble consists of "Sitar" and "Tabla." One session of playing consists of "alap" and "gat." At alap, scale and characteristics of raga are introduced. Main player shows each note of raga and an atmosphere is created. Usually, it begins with a part which does not have tempo, and moves to a part which has a certain tempo, then alap ends. When the main player plays main theme with certain rhythmic cycle, it denotes the beginning of later part, gat. In this part, tabla player finds basic tala of the given theme and begins to play basic pattern of tala. In gat, variations of melody and theme are resoluted at certain point by main player, and moves to theme again. When main player goes back to the theme, tabla player begins to improvise on variations of rhythm. Both players repeat this kind of interaction and make tempo faster gradually. Typically, the music goes to another tala and music reaches a climax where both players come to their limit of technique. The players interactions, imitation of partners pattern, changing, and so on brings forth emotional changes on the audiences. 
The automated composing system uses sitar as musical instrument and tries to imitate the wonderful atmosphere of Indian music. The same low pitch is used and sound of sympathetic strings are added. 
Does it sound like Indian music?

Sample by Automated Composing System


|Home| |Guitarist| |Pianist| |Sitarist| |Education |

Copyright © 2007 Dradom Web site design by Dradom Last updated 22 July, 2007