The guitar is one of the oldest instruments known to man. It probably originated in the vicinity of China. There were guitars in ancient Egypt and Greece as well, but the written history of the guitar starts in Spain in the 13th century. By 1500 the guitar was popular in Italy, France, and Spain. A French document of that time concludes that many people were playing the guitar. Stradivarius, the undeniable king of violin makers, could not resist creating a variety of guitars. Also, there was no lack of music written for the instrument. Haydn, Schubert, and others wrote guitar music. When the great Beethoven was asked to compose music for the guitar, he went into a rage and refused, but eventually even Beethoven could not ignore the challenge. Legend tells us he finally called the guitar a miniature orchestra. Indeed the guitar does sound like a little orchestra! Perhaps that is why in rural areas around the world the guitar has been a source of music for millions to enjoy.
1. Where is the earliest written record of the guitar found?