Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Emergence of the guitar

GUEST,Mat 19 Dec 10 - 06:11 PM
The Sandman 19 Dec 10 - 06:14 PM
The Sandman 19 Dec 10 - 06:16 PM
Tootler 19 Dec 10 - 06:46 PM
GUEST 19 Dec 10 - 06:49 PM
GUEST 19 Dec 10 - 06:55 PM
GUEST,Stuart 19 Dec 10 - 07:09 PM
Jack Campin 19 Dec 10 - 07:46 PM
MGM·Lion 20 Dec 10 - 03:17 AM
GUEST,M 20 Dec 10 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 20 Dec 10 - 09:54 AM
Les in Chorlton 20 Dec 10 - 10:25 AM
Les in Chorlton 20 Dec 10 - 10:28 AM
Jack Campin 20 Dec 10 - 11:58 AM
Les in Chorlton 20 Dec 10 - 12:40 PM
GUEST 20 Dec 10 - 12:51 PM
Les in Chorlton 20 Dec 10 - 12:58 PM
Don Firth 20 Dec 10 - 01:29 PM
s&r 20 Dec 10 - 01:57 PM
tritoneman 20 Dec 10 - 02:23 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Emergence of the guitar
From: GUEST,Mat
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 06:11 PM

Hi,
I'm currently writing an essay on the development of guitar accompaniment styles in British instrumental folk music over the past 100 years. I've found quite a lot of recordings and information on Irish traditional music featuring guitar from the early 20th century (at least from the 1920s) but haven't found anything coming from England or Scotland before 1950s. Just wondering if anyone knows of any early english or scottish recordings that feature guitars accompanying instrumental folk music prior to 1950s. Or, if not, what are the earliest recordings, performances, appearances etc of this that people can remember.
Thanks,
Mat


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 06:14 PM

check out Shetland guitarist Willie Johnson, he learned his style from listening to ed lang[american jazz guitarist] on short wave radio during the second world war.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 06:16 PM

english traditional singers, prior to 1950s were often unaccompanied


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 06:46 PM

There is an earlier thread on this topic here


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 06:49 PM

Ah yeh thanks, I forgot to mention Peerie Willie is the one guitarist i've found playing chords to tunes in Scotland prior to 1950s. Wonder if there was anyone else! Interesting that Johnson was playing in Shetland too as if his playing style didn't spread to the mainland that early on.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 06:55 PM

Yeh i've read that thread and found some useful info, but it mainly focuses on guitarists accompanying singers, which i guess was it's main use but is not what i'm interested in unfortunately! I wonder if there were any guitarists not accompanying singers before the folk revival and, if not, when the first prominent accompanists of instrumental folk music appeared.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: GUEST,Stuart
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 07:09 PM

Guitar was used by a number of dance band outfits in Scotland from the 1920s onwards. Dance bands in the first decades after WW1 but became more standardised afterwards due to a number of forces including the influence of the Royal Scotgish Country Dance Society and BBC policies on Scotland.

Accordionist Jimmy Shand recorded with a guitarist in the 1930s, for example and there were others.

You can contact me via raretunes.org for more details.

Stuart


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Dec 10 - 07:46 PM

The guitar was used in song accompaniment in England and Scotland in the 18th century. It was very much a bourgeois drawing-room instrument, a more portable alternative to the harp or fortepiano. You can find some samples of its use for Scottish music on my website:

http://www.campin.me.uk/Music/ScotsGuitar.abc

At that period, the guitar was often treated as an alternative to the flute - it played largely in parallel thirds and sixths to the vocal part, and a lot of parlour-song music sheets include a separate line indicated to be played on either guitar or German flute. The standard tuning was CEGceg.

You can find more at Rob McKillop's site, if you can find that site in the first place (he keeps moving it, taking things on- and off-line, books are in print and then they're not and then they are again...)

One of the few signs of the guitar's presence in Scottish music between 1800 and 1950 is a photo of Lady John Scott (Alicia Anne Spottiswoode) taken when she was an old lady (c.1890), and preserved in her papers in the National Library of Scotland. She's sitting in front of a fake classical landscape backdrop holding a modern-looking guitar as a prop, so the instrument must have been a recognizable symbol for a singer-songwriter even then. She was very shy about being pictured - it's a touching portrait.   (It is also completely unreproducible, all shades of very dark sepia).

The guitar in dancebands came along after the banjo. I can't imagine why anybody would prefer it - the banjo in those early recordings has far more punch. Maybe it was just because guitars were cheaper.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 03:17 AM

C18 indeed, Jack; as several times referred to, as I pointed out in that previous thread, in Oliver Goldsmith's The Vicar Of Wakefield (1766). The eponymous clergyman's daughter accompanies her own and her brother's singing in the guitar.

~Michael~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: GUEST,M
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 07:47 AM

Am i right in thinking that the guitar you refer to being played in 18th century was more akin to the Cittern than the modern day guitar? Interesting that it was used as an alternative to the flute. I'm actually wondering more about the modern guitar and, more specifically, the steel-strung acoustic guitar, which i don't think emerged until the late 19th century when luthiers such as Gibson, Martin and the Larson brothers began making them.

Jack, would you know if the guitar in the photo of Lady John Scott is a guitar like i have just described or is it a spanish guitar or english guitar etc.

Thanks a lot,
Mat


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 09:54 AM

English performers of comic songs in the 1930's used the guitar long before the skiffle boom notably Max Wall and Max Miller.

I suppose they must have got the idea from somewhere.

1930's dance Band crooner Al Bowlly was also a strummer.

I seem to remember Christopher Isherwood talking of guitars being played to accompany folksongs in pre-war Germany. I think the book was Down there on a Visit.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 10:25 AM

I seem to remember someone singing "The Owl and the Pussy Cat" to a rather tasty guitar accompaniement. Name escapes me but might return

It was really the skiffle boom, fired mostly from the US that kicked off the guitar craze, that moved into rock, pop and of course folk. No reason why English folk songs should be accompanied by the guitar, but they often are now

L in C#


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 10:28 AM

It was Elton Hays, Heyes?

A Mudcat discussion Here

L in C#


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 11:58 AM

Lady John Scott's guitar looked like an ordinary small-bodied Spanish guitar - certainly not an 18th-century-style English guitar.

How could I tell if it had gut or steel strings, in a 19th century sepia photo? There wasn't enough detail to see the maker's name.

Wasn't the famous version of The Owl and the Pussycat by Burl Ives?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 12:40 PM

Dunno jack, Burl Ives clearly snag it but Elton Hayes just about sticks in my memory from Children's Favourites or some other 1950's radio programme. It was the finger picked guitar that I also think I remember

L in C#


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 12:51 PM

I think the shape of the guitar would usually be a clue as to whether it's steel strung or nylon strung. I guess it's nylon strung if it's a small-bodied Spanish guitar. I've heard a recording of Elton Hayes playing the owl and the pussycat recorded in 1953, don't know about Burl Ives.

Does anyone have any recollection of guitarists playing in sessions or with fiddles, flutes etc as opposed to singers? I'm wondering whether the guitar existed in that role at all before the folk revival. Or even through the folk revival, as that seems to have been largely based around singers rather than tune players.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 12:58 PM

Nylon strung guitars generally have shorter necks - 12 frets to the body. Steel strung 14 frets to the body and a truss rod through the neck to stop it bending.

I guess the first big move into guitars were jazz musicians changing from banjos to guitars I am not sure where Django:

Django Reinhardt

fits in to the chronology

L in C#


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 01:29 PM

Richard Dyer-Bennet (b. 1913) went to school in Germany in the late 1920s, where he learned some songs, German folk songs and other ditties, from some of his school mates. He also and learned a few chords on the guitar to accompany the songs. A few years later, when in his twenties, he sang a few of the songs at a Christmas party in the San Francisco Bay area, where a voice teacher heard him, told him he had what she considered a "minstrel's voice," and suggested that he pursue singing as a career.

Up until that time, singing was just for fun and he aspired to become a professional soccer player. But the voice teacher, Gertrude Wheeler Beckman, told him of retired Swedish minstrel Swen Scholander, whom he met a few years later—and was so impressed that he decided to become a singer, a modern day minstrel like Scholander.

(Note:   Despite the fact that folk songs comprised much of his concert repertoire, Dyer-Bennet never called himself a "folk singer." Indeed, he always said he was not, likening himself more to the professional minstrels of eld.)

The point of all this is that in the 1920s, in Germany at least, the guitar was used fairly commonly as a convenient instrument for accompanying informal singing.

Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: s&r
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 01:57 PM

Ukulele chords are often printed above the vocal line in sheet music from the 1920/30.

My memory of guitar playing (UK) from the forties is that it was mainly part of the rhythm section with big bands, and usually an F hole jazz style guitar.

Many trad jazz bands used a guitar as part of the rhythm, but I've no memory of virtuoso work.

Skiffle led to thousands of teenage guitarists buying cheap guitars and forming skiffle bands. My belief is that this led directly to the standard pop/rock line-up

Stu


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Emergence of the guitar
From: tritoneman
Date: 20 Dec 10 - 02:23 PM

Interesting information about Richard Dyer-Bennet. Thanks Don. I grew up listening to a lot of his records - my dad was a big fan and had quite a few Dyer-Bennet albums.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 21 June 3:00 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.