The Guitar and Its Music: From the Renaissance to the Classical Era

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More than twenty years ago James Tyler wrote a modest introduction to the history, repertory, and playing techniques of the four- and five-course guitar. Entitled The Early Guitar: A History and Handbook (OUP 1980), this work proved valuable and enlightening not only to performers and scholarsof Renaissance and Baroque guitar and lute music but also to classical guitarists. This new book, written in collaboration with Paul Sparks (their previous book for OUP, The Early Mandolin, appeared in 1989), presents new ideas and research on the history and development of the guitar and its musicfrom the Renaissance to the dawn of the Classical era.Tyler's systematic study of the two main guitar types found between about 1550 and 1750 focuses principally on what the sources of the music (published and manuscript) and the writings of contemporary theorists reveal about the nature of the instruments and their roles in the music making of theperiod. The annotated lists of primary sources, previously published in The Early Guitar but now revised and expanded, constitute the most comprehensive bibliography of Baroque guitar music to date. His appendices of performance practice information should also prove indispensable to performers andscholars alike.Paul Sparks also breaks new ground, offering an extensive study of a period in the guitar's history--notably c.1759-c.1800--which the standard histories usually dismiss in a few short paragraphs. Far from being a dormant instrument at this time, the guitar is shown to have been central tomusic-making in France, Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, and South America. Sparks provides a wealth of information about players, composers, instruments, and surviving compositions from this neglected but important period, and he examines how the five-course guitar gradually gave way to the six-stringinstrument, a process that occurred in very different ways (and at different times) in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Britain.

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Appendices to Part II
Appendices to Part III

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About the author (2002)

James Tyler, lute player and musicologist, is Professor of Music and Director of the Early Music Performance Programme at the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music. He was a member of The Early Music Consort of London, the Julian Bream Consort, and Founding Director ofthe London Early Music Group, and has toured extensively throughout the world as a performer, also making several recordings. His books include The Early Guitar: A History and Handbook (OUP 1980), and (with Paul Sparks) The Early Mandolin (OUP 1989), and he contributed many articles to the revisededition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Macmillan 2000). Paul Sparks, a perfomer and musicologist specializing in plucked string instruments, was awarded a doctorate at City University, London, for his thesis on the 18th-century Neapolitan mandolin. As a mandolin player andguitarist he has worked with most leading British orchestras, and in his numerous recitals (including several for BBC Radio 3) he has endeavoured to rehabilitate forgotten items from the 18th-century repertoire. He is the co-author (with James Tyler) of The Early Mandolin (OUP 1989), author of TheClassical Mandolin (OUP 1995), and a contributor to The Classical Guitar: A Complete History (Balafon 1997) and to the revised edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Macmillan 2000).

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