The instrument I have chosen to research is the guitar. The history of the invention and manufacturing of this instrument can be traced as far back as 400 A. D, when Spain was occupied by the Romans. The guitar is seen as a direct descendent of the Roman tanbur or cithara; drawing influences from the Arabic ud and undergoing a number of modifications to finally become the acoustic or electric guitar that we see being used by some of today’s biggest artistes. The following two websites contain information about the history of the instrument and the manufacturing process: Guitar Salon International (www.
guitarsalon. com) Fender Guitars (www. fender. com) The influence of the guitar on music performance is perhaps most evident in the evolution of rock n roll and blues. The music movement that began with Bo Diddley and gradually separated into myriad styles like grunge, pop rock and punk that have dominated the last fifty years or so of popular western music is heavily dependent on the guitar. Although the list of famous performers is an exhaustive one, the two names that really stand out are Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy, for their innovativeness and their lasting impact on pop culture.
The creativity of the two artistes might be rooted in the fact that neither received any formal training. The following two websites contain all the relevant information from the artiste’s biography to the details of his releases and performances: www. jimihendrix. com www. buddyguy. net Music 2 Apart from the famous performers like Hendrix and Guy who revolutionized guitar playing, the instrument has also been utilized quite often by composers. Given the tonal range of the instrument, from the delicate acoustic sound to the raw, driven electric guitar sound, composers often write pieces intended to be performed on the guitar.
Once again, if we look at the realm of pop culture, where cross medium interaction is abundant, two guitar pieces jump to mind for their resonance with the other content; the Top Gun theme and the guitar piece from Tarantino’s classic, Pulp Fiction. Harold Faltermeyer, the composer of the former is best known for his work in Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop. The version of the Greek wedding song, Misirlou used in Pulp fiction was composed and performed by Dick Dale, the iconic guitar player who pioneered the Surf Rock movement. Detailed information on these two composers can be found on the following websites:
www. dickdale. com www. haroldfaltermeyer. net The sheer volume of guitar pieces that have been composed over the years makes it near impossible to list the five most famous ones, but based on popular demand, here are the five that have captured the minds of listeners. Stairway to Heaven- Jimmy Page Eruption- Van Halen Free Bird- Allen Collins and Gary Rossington Eric Johnson- Cliffs of Dover Stevie Ray Vaughn- Texas Flood Music 3 The following two websites contain detail lists of the greatest guitar pieces of all time: www. guitarworld. com www. mahalo. com
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