My favourite instrument, the guitar, belongs to the family of string instruments. I chose this instrument because I was a little bit familiar with it.

I remember that when I was between 6 and 9 years old, I used to take a gasoline can, nail a wooden bar to the can and attach nylon strings to it. This instrument is called Genbri, an instrument similar to that used in folk music bands. I used to make this instrument in the traditional way for other children in the neighbourhood so that we could assemble and play music. There are other personal reasons that made me choose this instrument. When my family members would watch an Andalusian film or a musical show on television, I would retire to my room to play the Genbri. Nobody can tell me what to do, though my father sometimes tells me that studying at night is better than playing the guitar. Whenever I saw somebody playing the guitar, I sat beside him so that I could touch the guitar or play with it to satisfy a deep desire. That was why my father bought me a small piano but the guitar remained my instrument of choice. I was fond of its fine tunes. My appetite for learning was so big that in 1997 I decided to enroll at Read More

My favourite instrument, the guitar, belongs to the family of string instruments. I chose this instrument because I was a little bit familiar with it.

I remember that when I was between 6 and 9 years old, I used to take a gasoline can, nail a wooden bar to the can and attach nylon strings to it. This instrument is called Genbri, an instrument similar to that used in folk music bands. I used to make this instrument in the traditional way for other children in the neighbourhood so that we could assemble and play music. There are other personal reasons that made me choose this instrument. When my family members would watch an Andalusian film or a musical show on television, I would retire to my room to play the Genbri. Nobody can tell me what to do, though my father sometimes tells me that studying at night is better than playing the guitar. Whenever I saw somebody playing the guitar, I sat beside him so that I could touch the guitar or play with it to satisfy a deep desire. That was why my father bought me a small piano but the guitar remained my instrument of choice. I was fond of its fine tunes. My appetite for learning was so big that in 1997 I decided to enroll at the Music Institute despite my age. It is the only music institute in Morocco that sets no age limit for admission. I borrowed some money to pay the tuition fees.

The fact that I dropped out of school in 1995 prevented me from keeping abreast with the development of the guitar. But my second hobby, i.e. drawing, which I learned when I was a kid, allowed me to draw this magnificent instrument. This musical instrument had an impact on my social life. According to tradition, I was not supposed to play the Genbri in the living room among my family since it bothered them.

Besides, the presence of patriarchal authority was strong. Under such circumstances, the respect for adults is required and silence is often recommended. Whenever, my parents go out, I play the Genbri. As for the cultural effect, the Genbri is an alternative to school monotony, particularly, after I come Back from school. It makes me feel comfortable. I also used to pass time by drawing to satisfy my artistic desire while I was saving some money. My teacher bought me, with that money, a valuable guitar from Spain. As for religious events, they presented no opportunity for me to practice my hobby at home.

To my knowledge, guitars are used in classical music, folk music, rap, rock, etc.. Due to social and economic factors, I could not leave my town to find out how many types of guitars there are in the world. However, thanks to visual means, I was able to learn about that subject. The Greeks and the Portugese have special guitars. Their shape is almost round and their tunes are fantastic. The Mexican guitar has a classical shape but its size is smaller than other guitars. But its tunes are harmonious and complementary. As for the geographic distribution, apart from the above-mentioned countries and Spain, I totally ignore the situation in other countries. As far as the cultural value is concerned, I understand that the guitar is an expensive instrument, affordable only to the middle and the financially and intellectually prosperous classes of our society.


© 1999, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Guitar

Guitar

Andalusian Study and Research Centre

Cedar, walnut, plane, mahogany and ebony
Overall length:1m, Length (soundboard): 50 cm
© Centre d'études et de recherches andalouses


Guitar2

Guitar

Andalusian Study and Research Centre


Cedar, walnut, plane, mahogany and ebony
Overall length:1m, Length (soundboard): 50 cm
© Andalusian Study and Research Centre


Although it belongs to the same chordophone family as the violin and the piano, the guitar with its characteristic shape is essentially a plucked string instrument, whereas the violin is played with a bow and the piano with keys. Guitarists can imitate the sounds of the violin or piano by using certain sound effects despite the fact that there are major differences between these instruments and the guitar. Nonetheless, guitars can evoke their sound and can also replicate percussion instruments like the tar and the darbuka.

The guitar’s country of origin, however, cannot be identified definitively since, according to archaeologists, it is still rather vague although its etymology presupposes it may have evolved from the Greek cithara, the Chaldean quitarra or the Persian sitar.

Ancient Egypt had a stringed instrument that looked much like our modern guitar. Although its precise origin cannot really be determined, Greek mythology tends to confuse it with the Egyptian lyre supposedly invented by Tehuti, the God of Wisdom whom the Greeks assimilated as Hermes or Pan and that the Hebrews identified with Judas. The oldest stringed instrument was discovered Read More

Although it belongs to the same chordophone family as the violin and the piano, the guitar with its characteristic shape is essentially a plucked string instrument, whereas the violin is played with a bow and the piano with keys. Guitarists can imitate the sounds of the violin or piano by using certain sound effects despite the fact that there are major differences between these instruments and the guitar. Nonetheless, guitars can evoke their sound and can also replicate percussion instruments like the tar and the darbuka.

The guitar’s country of origin, however, cannot be identified definitively since, according to archaeologists, it is still rather vague although its etymology presupposes it may have evolved from the Greek cithara, the Chaldean quitarra or the Persian sitar.

Ancient Egypt had a stringed instrument that looked much like our modern guitar. Although its precise origin cannot really be determined, Greek mythology tends to confuse it with the Egyptian lyre supposedly invented by Tehuti, the God of Wisdom whom the Greeks assimilated as Hermes or Pan and that the Hebrews identified with Judas. The oldest stringed instrument was discovered in a Babylonian palace but today there as many models of guitar as there are musicians who play it around the world.

Instruments identical to the guitar can also be found, for example, in the tomb of a Pharaoh dating Back to 9500 BC. We actually do not know much about the history of the guitar. According to the hypotheses of anthropologists, archeologists, historians and musicologists, primitive man built guitars after having first made them from animal or human skulls or from turtle shells. Legend has it that the first guitarist was none other than the grandson of Adam, the son of Cain and that King David played the nabla or Greek lyre extremely well.

Musicians play the guitar with their left foot raised on a low stool. The instrument rests at a slant on their left thigh.

The guitar is made of a number of different woods. The top is of German cedar, the Back of walnut, the sides of plane wood and the neck of mahogany. The neck has frets made of pieces of ebony and the fingerboard has six strings attached at the top and at the bridge. Guitar construction can vary from one guitar maker to another and a variety of precious woods can be used. Building a guitar requires serious knowledge of geometry and acoustics. Friedrich, Yamaha, Montoya are some of the best known guitar makers. The guitar can be found from South America to China and its shape is similar throughout the world. On the other hand, the guitar can be used to play a great variety of music, ranging from the classical guitar of flamenco, to jazz guitar, gypsy music and electric guitars.

The classical guitar may be heard in famous concert halls, churches, cathedrals and theatres and has a soft insinuating sound to everyone’s ears. It is to the world of music what the Venus de Milo is to the world of beauty. Hector Berlioz, who knew this noble and aristocratic instrument very well, said that it was a small orchestra all to itself. This solo instrument can also play along with an orchestra where it can be the lead instrument. The guitar can be used to play all kinds of music - classical, scholarly, popular, traditional, popular modern music and contemporary music.


© 1999, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Guitar: Audio

Guitar: Audio

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Centre des recherches et études andalouses, Centre des musiques arabes et méditerranéennes Ennejma Ezzahra, Musée de la musique, Laboratoire de recherche des musiques du monde, Musée acadien de l'Université de Moncton, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Musée d'art et d'archéologie de l'Université d'Antananarivo, Musée ethnographique Alexandre Sènou Adande, Musée national du Mali, St. Boniface Museum, Lycée de langues étrangères Alexandre Dumas, Museum of the Romanian Peasant

© 1999, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
•Understand that music is an expression in all cultures
•Understand that the relationship between personal feelings and music transcends borders and cultures
•Develop respect for music from a variety of cultural contexts
•Examine traditional music practices in selected Francophone countries
•Demonstrate geographical awareness by identifying Francophone countries
•Be aware of the musical contributions of various cultural groups in their own community
•Understand that all world music can be organized within a standard classification system

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