Mudcat Café message #1015280 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62745   Message #1015280
Posted By: GUEST,Davetnova
09-Sep-03 - 05:16 AM
Thread Name: How old are steel strings?
Subject: RE: How old are steel strings?
From Standingstones.com -

The English guitar was known in France as the cistre or guittare allemande (indicating its German origin), and in Italy as the cetra. Italian musicians apparently introduced and started the fashion for the instrument in England. The earliest music for it in England is Pasqualinide Marzi's Six sonatas for the cetra or Kitara ... (c. 1740; copy in London, British Library). It soon, however, became known simply as the 'guittar'.


The standard tuning for the instrument was to a C major chord, beginning with C below middle C: c, e, gg, c'c', e'e', g'g'. The strings were of brass and steel and were played with the right-hand fingers. At first, tablature was used, but this soon gave way to staff notation, entirely in the treble clef. The music relied upon the use of many open strings, and the use of parallel thirds, which were easy to play with this tuning. Hence, the things to look for in order to distinguish English guitar music from Spanish guitar music are: the predominant useof the key of C; much use of parallel thirds; the lowest notes as middle C on the staff (the instrument sounds an octave lower than written); and the typical configurations of chords, ...