Mike's Oud Forums
Not logged in [Login - Register]
Go To Bottom

Printable Version  
 Pages:  1  2
Author: Subject: Origin of the GUITAR?
Edward Powell
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 1211
Registered: 1-20-2008
Member Is Offline

Mood: g'oud

[*] posted on 2-17-2009 at 01:51 PM
Origin of the GUITAR?


A thought just occured to me....

The typical theory is that the guitar comes from the oud... that the oud travelled along with it's Islamic imperialists across North Africa, and up into Spain where it was implanted and left behind.

Then this oud evolved into l'oud, of "lute"... and the rest is history.

Now, this supposedly happened must have been around 800ad....???

What suddenly struck me is the thought that we are supposed to believe that before the coming of the oud to Spain THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO OTHER GUITAR/OUD TYPE STRINGED INSTRUMENT? ...it just occured to me that this is rediculous - - - there must have been something!

Does anyone know?




View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
nouphar
Oud Maniac
****




Posts: 96
Registered: 3-28-2007
Location: Spain
Member Is Offline

Mood: No mood

[*] posted on 2-17-2009 at 03:31 PM


Hey Edward,

Let me tell you what I know about this subject so far.

In Middle Ages, at the time of muslim/middle eastern culture presence in Iberian Peninsula, guitar was already differentiated from oud. Just have a look to the illuminations of Cantigas de Santa Maria. If you try to search information about guitar origins, you will read that the word 'guitarra' comes from ancient greek 'kithara', which also is how modern greeks call this instrument. But if you look carefully a drawing depicting an ancient kithara, you will notice that the instrument is similar to our modern guitar, except it has NO FINGERBOARD. Guitar might have been under the influence of oud, I don't know in which period. Middle Ages? I would like to know more about this subject.

Another interesting thing I like to comment. There are more instruments that look like being related to guitar - indian sitar and sarod, persian setar, azeri rud, central asian tar, afghani and pamiri rubabs. For me central asian tar is surprisingly similar in shape to guitar.

The word 'guitar' is similar to the words 'sitar', 'setar', 'tar' and 'dutar'...

Any corrections/criticisms to what I've written are welcome.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Edward Powell
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 1211
Registered: 1-20-2008
Member Is Offline

Mood: g'oud

[*] posted on 2-17-2009 at 04:25 PM


Seems correct to me... thanks so much for your input - - - yes it is a very confusing subject.

I had always thought that the oud turned into the lute - then the lute turned into the first baroque guitars, then they went on developing until Hendrix:cool:

But I am starting to have some doubts as to whether it was really as simple as that. How could there not already have been a plucked string instrument in Iberia before 700ad?




View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
Peyman
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 496
Registered: 7-22-2005
Member Is Offline

Mood: Mahoor

[*] posted on 2-17-2009 at 04:30 PM


This is a complicated question.
If you're asking about instruments in Europe, I am sure there were instruments prior to the arrival of ouds and guitars. The early guitar had nothing to do with the lute or the oud. The book "the early history of the viol," shows evidence that points to Vihuela as being a better fit for the origins of the modern guitar. There were differnt types of Vihuela (bowed, finger plucked and plectrum plucked). The plucked version slowly became something resembling a guitar. It's very likely, these instruments did not have braces in the begining. The history of the bowed version is more complicated.

Also, I have read about the theory that nouphar mentions. I was under the impression that the word sehtar and sitar are persian-indian words that meant 3 string (seh is 3 in Farsi). But these are variants of the same words in Greek and Latin such as quitar, kithar, citar and so on, all of which mean four (from the earlier Indoeuropean roots)! It makes sense since the persian Sehtar has 4 strings. And, at least the Persians wouldn't use the word "Tar" to refer to strings (tar is closer to web than strings); they used the word "rood" which literally means gut...

The waist on the guitar and robab also point to a similar function (at least I think) that these instruments were at some point both plucked and bowed. The waist clearance allows for bowing.

Anyway, it seems like I rambled on a little but this is an interesting topic. :airguitar:
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
Edward Powell
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 1211
Registered: 1-20-2008
Member Is Offline

Mood: g'oud

[*] posted on 2-18-2009 at 04:07 AM


Vihuela!? hmmmm.... I never hear of this. I've looked it up and find a lot of references to it from around the 16th century.... and it sounds like a lute.

Yes, it is clear that the guitar's history is not as simple as I thought, and perhaps not much connected with the oud either. . . . ?!?




View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
charlie oud
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 694
Registered: 11-19-2007
Location: Newcastle upon tyne. UK
Member Is Offline

Mood: chords prefer frets

[*] posted on 2-18-2009 at 04:35 AM


Yes, the vihuela is "one" of the guitars ancestors. The oud has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the guitar and never has had, they are completely seperate, coming from different families altogether. Many oud players say in their cd notes that the oud led to the birth of the guitar. This is complete tosh and makes them look a bit daft. We can forgive them though because they play so nice, and we dont buy cds for a history lesson, so what does it matter. Enjoy regardless. C :airguitar:
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Owain-Hawk
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 205
Registered: 6-17-2008
Location: Morecambe, UK
Member Is Offline

Mood: Happy!

[*] posted on 2-18-2009 at 05:05 AM


Charlie, perhaps the Oudists say that so that Guitar players on holiday in an Oud playing nation will be more likely to buy the CD to 'hear what the grandad of Guitar sounds like'?
View user's profile View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
MatthewW
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 1031
Registered: 11-5-2006
Location: right here
Member Is Offline

Mood: Al Salam

[*] posted on 2-18-2009 at 06:08 AM


the origins of guitar finally found :)-
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Owain-Hawk
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 205
Registered: 6-17-2008
Location: Morecambe, UK
Member Is Offline

Mood: Happy!

[*] posted on 2-18-2009 at 06:09 AM


:applause:
View user's profile View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
DaveH
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 523
Registered: 12-23-2005
Location: Birmingham, UK
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 2-18-2009 at 06:38 AM


So that's why they had those cute little hands.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
DaveH
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 523
Registered: 12-23-2005
Location: Birmingham, UK
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 2-18-2009 at 06:48 AM


Bert the Cro-Magnon was really disappointed when he discovered he'd been beaten to the invention of the earwax removal stick by Ernie the Neanderthal a couple of million years earlier. But they were both kicking themselves for not thinking up the name Q-tip when they found out Johnson and Johnson the Homo Sapiens had got to the patent office first.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
journeyman
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 490
Registered: 12-28-2003
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 2-18-2009 at 07:07 AM


I teach a course at York University called The Guitar, and in addition to placing the guitar in different cultural settings, we look at the origins of the instrument. The general opinion is that the guitar as we know it today, in its acoustic form, developed in Spain. Prior to the 14th century there were a number of instruments in Spain and continental Europe referred to a viols, depending on the language of the country. In Spain they were called violas and there were three types; [1] plucked with fingers [2] plucked with a plectrum (metal strings) [3] bowed. These instruments were around at the same time as the oud. There were three instruments that "evolved" into the modern guitar; the 4 course guitar (4 double strings) the 5 course guitar and the most important one, also with 5 courses of strings, the viheula.

While the rest of Europe and Britain developed the lute family (obviously from the oud) to accommodate the rise of polyphonic music, the Spanish developed the vihuela and subsequently the modern guitar. I have read opinions about why this occurred, and one theory is that after nearly a century of Moorish "occupation" the Spanish wanted little to do with the oud; an instrument associated with Arabic culture. While this theory is plausible, especially considering the connection the Catholic church had with music, I can find no documentation to back up this statement. Perhaps somewhere in Spain in a vault there is a letter from the king or a priest placing the guitar in a "nationalist" context, who knows. If anyone has come across any information that could support or refute this theory, please let me know as it would be very useful for me in this course.

All the best,
Roy Patterson
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
abc123xyz
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 109
Registered: 5-17-2007
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 2-18-2009 at 10:27 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Peyman

Also, I have read about the theory that nouphar mentions. I was under the impression that the word sehtar and sitar are persian-indian words that meant 3 string (seh is 3 in Farsi). But these are variants of the same words in Greek and Latin such as quitar, kithar, citar and so on, all of which mean four (from the earlier Indoeuropean roots)!

In fact they're not of Indo-European origin, and aren't known to have any connection to the meaning 'four'.

All of the European and Arabic terms here go back to the Greek words 'kithara' or 'kitharis' which themselves are loans from another language still, probably a Semitic one.

'Setar' is Persian, and so is indeed Indo-European, but its similiarity to the other words is purely coincidental.


Quote:
It makes sense since the persian Sehtar has 4 strings. And, at least the Persians wouldn't use the word "Tar" to refer to strings (tar is closer to web than strings); they used the word "rood" which literally means gut...

'Setar' does indeed mean 'three string', and is the short form of the designation of the 'tanbur-e se tar' or "three-stringed tanbur (long-necked lute)". The fourth string was added some time later, supposedly by a Moshtagh Ali Shah.

Coincidentally we were discussing this very subject recently on two different linguistic lists to which I belong, an Indo-European linguistics list, and an Indo-Iranian linguistics list.

For more information on the etymological aspect of the matter see, if you like, those threads, at http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/cybalist/message/62219 ,
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/cybalist/message/62268 , and
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/indo_iranian/messages/2092?threa... .


Quote:
The waist on the guitar and robab also point to a similar function (at least I think) that these instruments were at some point both plucked and bowed. The waist clearance allows for bowing.

I tend to agree, although, the ancient arched harps from which the earliest fiddles probably evolved also had leather soundtables and waisted soundboxes, even though they weren't played with bows. Thus it may have been a matter merely of the first fiddles retaining, rather than later independently developing, the useful waist which plucked lutes had no practical need to preserve.


Quote:
Anyway, it seems like I rambled on a little

I don't think so.


Quote:
but this is an interesting topic.

I do think so too... obviously. :)

David
View user's profile View All Posts By User
charlie oud
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 694
Registered: 11-19-2007
Location: Newcastle upon tyne. UK
Member Is Offline

Mood: chords prefer frets

[*] posted on 2-19-2009 at 01:06 AM


Journeyman Roy is spot on!. Well done Roy and I think the theory relating to the rise of Spanish nationalism after centuries of occupation is very plausible, it would'nt require documentation or Royal endorsement as culture which arises from oppressed peoples does not seek permission. It forms as a responsive means of expression, i.e. the blues form slavery.

Love the Dinosaur Matthew!, wont be long before an oud scholar claims that the oud came before the dinosaurs. Rock on, C
View user's profile View All Posts By User
DaveH
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 523
Registered: 12-23-2005
Location: Birmingham, UK
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 2-19-2009 at 02:46 AM


Nice Charile, though I think it might be debatable to what extent the people of Southern Spain would necessarily have felt any more liberated under Ferdinand and Isabella than they would have done under Boabdil!
View user's profile View All Posts By User
jdowning
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 3379
Registered: 8-2-2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 2-19-2009 at 06:32 AM


While there has been a vast amount of research into the history of early Western instruments much still remains to be explained.
The guitar has no connection with the oud and did not develop from that instrument although it is generally accepted that the guitar originated in the Northern Spanish speaking regions of the Iberian peninsula.
The 'guitar like' instruments - the vihuela da mano in Spain and the equivalent instrument the viola da mano in Italy - during the 16th C were used interchangeably with the lute by professional virtuoso players of the period. They were all fretted, most often played 'finger style' and tuned to the same intervals, a large repertoire of music for these instruments surviving in tablature form. The viola da mano was often regarded as the 'true lute'. The vihuela, viola and lute of the mid 16th C most commonly were fitted with 6 courses but 5 course and seven course instruments were also in use.
For some reason, the vihuela da mano fell into disuse in Spain - as did the viola da mano in Italy - by the end of the 16th C.

The guitar as we would recognise it today likely developed in Spain from the vihuela starting as a kind of 'cut down' version with four courses often tuned identically with the middle four courses of the six course vihuela. This instrument became generally very popular in Europe - particularly in France during the 16th C and later developed into the 5 course 'Baroque' guitar surviving well into the 18th C. There is a very large extant repertoire (in tablature or tablature variants) for both four and five course instruments.
The modern guitar developed from that point on.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Peyman
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 496
Registered: 7-22-2005
Member Is Offline

Mood: Mahoor

[*] posted on 2-19-2009 at 08:51 AM


Roy,
See if you can find a copy of the book I mentioned. The author goes through a painstaking process to find the roots of the vihuela (bowed and plucked). It would denfinitely help your class.

Quote:
Originally posted by abc123xyz
I don't think so.


I am glad you didn't think I was rambling. :D As I play sehtar, I know about the Moshtagh string. But I put out the theory to see what others could contribute.
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
jdowning
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 3379
Registered: 8-2-2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 2-19-2009 at 09:15 AM


A website that may be of interest is Blumberg's Music Theory Cipher for Guitar - primarily concerned with a method for teaching related fretted instruments but also details the author's perspective on the history and development of instruments such as the vihuela, guitar, citole etc etc and their relationships. I have not had time to read the detail - so cannot form an opinion at this point in time - but Blumberg includes a very comprehensive and interesting collection of early paintings and other iconography to illustrate his arguments making this a good reference source for that reason alone.

This is the section of the website site dealing with the vihuela/viola/guitar etc.

http://www.thecipher.com/viola_da_gamba_cipher.html
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Ararat66
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 1025
Registered: 11-14-2005
Location: Portsmouth, UK
Member Is Offline

Mood: mellow yellow

[*] posted on 2-19-2009 at 10:29 AM


Hey Matthew

T Rex?? is this where the claw-hammer picking technique came from!!

Leon
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
MatthewW
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 1031
Registered: 11-5-2006
Location: right here
Member Is Offline

Mood: Al Salam

[*] posted on 2-19-2009 at 03:15 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Ararat66
Hey Matthew

T Rex?? is this where the claw-hammer picking technique came from!!

Leon




yeah Leon, dude played with real attitude! :airguitar:
View user's profile View All Posts By User
journeyman
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 490
Registered: 12-28-2003
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 2-19-2009 at 10:07 PM


Lots of great suggestions here and I'll look for the book Peyman. I went through as many books on this subject as I could find in the library and can't remember them all, so I might discover that it is one I have already looked at. Coming back to the theory that the Spanish rejected the oud in reaction to the Moors, it is possible Charlie Oud, but nevertheless still an assumption. One reason that I am especially interested in finding anything that could support this idea is the concept of "guitar as reactionary icon" or "guitar as revolutionary icon." The guitar plays these rolls to some extent in rock music and some forms of protest folk music.
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
Peyman
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 496
Registered: 7-22-2005
Member Is Offline

Mood: Mahoor

[*] posted on 2-20-2009 at 08:28 AM


There is a good preview of the book on google.
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
jdowning
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 3379
Registered: 8-2-2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 2-20-2009 at 01:46 PM


I imagine that the "aversion to anything Moorish" theory is a modern attempt to explain why the viola da mano was described on the title pages of some Italian printed books of tablature for lute as the "true lute" rather than the 'oud like' European lute of the same period (for example, 1536, 'Intavolatura de viola overo lauto ......... and in 1559, 'Dialogo Quarto de musica .... per intavolare .... con viola da mano over liuto ...).Given the probable origin of the vihuela and viola (da mano) in the Mediaeval bowed instrument the 'vielle', it seems to me to be an unlikely speculation. As their names suggest the vihuela da mano and viola da mano were both plucked instruments - not bowed instruments like the viol.
I don't think that there is any evidence throughout history that might support a concept of the guitar being used for anything other than popular music making.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Edward Powell
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 1211
Registered: 1-20-2008
Member Is Offline

Mood: g'oud

[*] posted on 2-20-2009 at 02:18 PM


I came to a similar comclusion once when going thru a period of listening a lot to both Turkish and Balkan music. At first I couldn't figure out why the melodic element of the Balkan music didn't appeal to me as much as it's Turkish counterpart.... Then I realised that what was bothering me was the Balkan's equal-tempered versions of makams - all the microtones had disappeared...

After talking to an "expert" on that music I was lead to the idea that the Balkans had become really fed up with everything Turkish, by the end of the Ottoman empire, and therefore rejected the microtones in the makams - - and instead turned them into equal-fretted versions (piano versions) and called them scales.




View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
Peyman
Oud Junkie
*****




Posts: 496
Registered: 7-22-2005
Member Is Offline

Mood: Mahoor

[*] posted on 2-20-2009 at 04:43 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Edward Powell
After talking to an "expert" on that music I was lead to the idea that the Balkans had become really fed up with everything Turkish, by the end of the Ottoman empire, and therefore rejected the microtones in the makams - - and instead turned them into equal-fretted versions (piano versions) and called them scales.


So they dropped the microtones but kept the makams because of their anemosity towards the Turks and their culture?!
Are you sure this had nothing to do with the fact that they were aiming for polyphonic European music? As you said the "piano version?"
Why would they still be playing Makams? I am just curious.
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
 Pages:  1  2

  Go To Top

Powered by XMB
XMB Forum Software © 2001-2011 The XMB Group