Did your dad ever complain about you playing your guitar too loud in your bedroom? Or get upset about ‘that weird music the kids are playing nowadays’? Well, he wasn’t the first to think guitars are the beginning of the end of the world as we know it.
Read these comments by French musicologist Pierre Trichet (1586 – 1644):
“Even in France, one finds courtesans and ladies who turn themselves into Spanish monkeys. Still there are some in our nation who leave everything behind in order to take up and study the guitar… is it because it has a certain something which is feminine and pleasing to women, flattering their hearts and making them inclined to voluptuousness?”
Monsieur Trichet wasn’t the only 17th century musician to view the guitar as an abomination. Here are the thoughts of Sebastian Covarrubias Orosco, writing in 1611, on the matter:
“Since the invention of the guitar there are very few who study the vihuela… the guitar is nothing but a cow-bell, so easy to play, especially when strummed, that there is not a stable-boy who is not a musician of the guitar.”
In case you’re wondering, the vihuela was a string instrument from the 15th and 16th centuries, played in Spain, Portugal and Italy. Those ‘stable boys’ knew a good thing when they saw it. And how many people do you ever see playing ‘air vihuela’?
Guitars: driving people crazy for over 400 years!
Hmmm… the more things change, the more they stay the same! I saw these quotes in Nigel Cawthorne’s “Guitars: Amazing Facts & Trivia,” a book that will fascinate anyone who loves guitars, be they acoustic or electric. You can find the book here at Amazon.