Portal:Classical guitar

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The classical guitar (also known as the nylon-string guitar, or Spanish guitar) is a member of the guitar family used in classical music. It is an acoustic wooden guitar with strings made of gut or nylon, rather than the metal strings used in acoustic and electric guitars. For a right-handed player, the traditional classical guitar has twelve frets clear of the body and is properly held on the left leg, so that the hand that plucks or strums the strings does so near the back of the sound hole (this is called the classical position). The modern steel string guitar, on the other hand, usually has fourteen frets clear of the body (see Dreadnought) and is commonly played off the hip.

The phrase "classical guitar" may refer to either of two concepts other than the instrument itself:

  • the instrumental finger technique common to classical guitar—individual strings plucked with the fingernails or, rarely, fingertips.
  • the instrument's classical music repertoire

The term modern classical guitar is sometimes used to distinguish the classical guitar from older forms of guitar, which are in their broadest sense also called classical, or more specifically, early guitars. Examples of early guitars include the six-string early romantic guitar (c. 1790–1880), and the earlier baroque guitars with five courses.

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Guitarist John Williams in performance (Cordoba, 1986).jpg
John Williams (born 24 April 1941) is one of the world's best-known classical guitarists. Born in Melbourne, Australia, Williams was taught initially by his father Len Williams. At the age of twelve he went to Italy to study with Andrés Segovia. Later, he attended the Royal College of Music in London, studying piano because the school did not have a guitar department at the time. Upon graduation, he was offered the opportunity to create such a department. Being such a lover of the instrument, he seized the opportunity and ran it for the first two years. Williams has maintained links with the College (and with the Northern College in Manchester) ever since.

Williams's first professional performance was at the Wigmore Hall in London on 6 November 1958. Since then, he has been performing throughout the world and has made regular appearances on radio and TV. He has recorded almost the entire repertoire for the guitar and has extended it by commissioning guitar concertos from composers such as Stephen Dodgson, André Previn, Patrick Gowers, Richard Harvey and Steve Gray. He has recorded albums of duets with fellow guitarists, Julian Bream and Paco Peña.

John Williams was instrumental in bringing the works of Agustín Barrios back to popularity. Williams has often spoken highly of Barrios' work, even stating that he believes Barrios is the greatest composer of guitar music. He has also worked with contemporary composers from his native Australia, including Phillip Houghton, Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards and Nigel Westlake, to produce guitar works that capture the spirit of his homeland. However he has also the music by the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, Cuban composer Leo Brouwer and music from many African countries.

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A seven-string guitar with the open-strings annotated with the notes D-G-B-D-G-B-D

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Juan Gris - Harlequin with Guitar.jpg
Credit: Juan Gris

Photograph of Harlequin with Guitar, 1919, oil on canvas by Juan Gris

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-- John Williams on Practicing an instrument


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François Campion - Nicolas Desrosiers - Henri Grenerin - Louis Jourdan de La Salle - Andrea González Caballero - Isabel María Sánchez Millán - Rovshan Mamedkuliev

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Girolamo Arrigo - Alois Bröder - Jonathan Dawe - Colin Downs - Fernando Ferrandiere - Stephen Goss - Bryn Harrison - Kent Olofsson - Oliver Hunt - Juho Kangas - Francis Kleynjans - Ian Krouse - Karl-Wieland Kurz - Jyrki Linjama - Arne Löthman - Antonio Jiménez Manjón - Robert Martin - Frank M (Martinez) - Josep Maria Mestres-Quadreny - Alasdair Nicholson - Hannu Pohjannoro - Igor Rekhin - Lew Richmond - Carlos Rafael Rivera - Teresa de Rogatis - Poul Rovsing-Olsen - Ronald Roxbury - Robert Sierra - Gougousoudis Theodoros - John R. Williamson

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