The Romantic Era of the Guitar

The guitar had great popularity in the early 19th century, but lost its popularity with the ensuing developments of the 19th century. There were two primary reasons for this decline.

One of the main limitations of the guitar at that time was its lack of volume. Due to this factor, the instrument could not be heard very well by large audiences in the concert halls.

Another reason was the loudness of the increasingly popular piano and violin. The high level of technical developments achieved for those instruments, along with the complex harmonic expressions of the romantic era, contrasted with the compositions for the guitar at that time.

New goals were needed to restore the status of the guitar.

One of these goals was met in the latter part of the 19th century by the development of the modern guitar, which greatly increased its ability to be heard. This came about through the improvements achieved by the Spanish guitar maker Antonio de Torres. Known today as “the father of the modern guitar,” Torres transformed the discipline of guitar construction. He made the soundboard thinner and lighter, and fitted it into guitars which he made larger than were built at that time. The changes he made resulted in a more powerful instrument with very rich timbres.

The next goal was met in the Late Romantic to Modern Era.