guitar's history in this century has been profoundly influenced, by prejudices,
now being overcome, regarding the scarcity and inadequacy of its musical
literature of the past 200 years.
However, recent musicological research has amply reconstructed the
panorama of musical life during the 18th and the 19th centuries, placing the
guitar at many levels of musical making, from that of a popular instrument
widely used by amateurs of every social class, to the artistry of the great
concert artists and composers. The guitar appeared in drawing rooms and salons
across Europe, along with the fortepiano, strings and wind instruments.
Thus it is today generally considered necessary to examine and reappraise
technical and musical interpretative elements which are indispensable in
revaluating the guitar's image during the period from 178O to 185O. For it is in
these years, shifting from classicism to romanticism, that the guitar
flourishes, acquiring its present name of "classic guitar", and
experiencing an outburst of creativity in its musical production, both as a solo
and in ensemble.
The most important virtuosi and composers of the guitar were present in
the principle European capitals: Madrid, Vienna, and especially Paris. Modern
musicological studies have thus been able to establish a close link between the
guitar's evolution and the transformation of society in cultural and artistic
In examining primary sources from the period, whether didactic methods or
concert works, one must keep a global view, indispensable in attempting to
synthesize the original musical practices.
A patient reconstruction of the musical taste of the era renders the
guitar's musical literature more comprehensible and sheds completely new light
on artistic values which today are unfortunately frequently misinterpreted.