Guitar in Latin American Culture
~Contributing Students Roles/ Responsibility Written section
Adrienne Hall Copy editor/ supplemental researcher, writer History of Guitar in Latin America
Jonathan Spears Multimedia Specialist, writer Classical Guitarist 1- Ciro Hurtado
Andrew Seifter Bibliographer, writer Introduction, Conclusion
Frances Schmidt Project manager, writer The Origin of the Guitar
Marlena Caporice Writer, Images Intro to Classical Guitar in Latin America
John Ganther Discographer, writer How Latin American Culture Influences Music
Jordan Goldman Discographer, writer Guitarist 2- Carlos Santana
Kelly McGonagil Webobgrapher, writer Classical Guitarist 1- Ciro Hurtado
Marissa Steiner Writer, Maps Guitarist 2- Carlos Santana

Guitar in Latin America




*This segment was written by Andrew Seifter (Bibliographer/Writer)

Throughout our musical journey, we have learned about many different cultures, artists, and their own personal musical styling’s. The guitar and its origins play a major role in music today due to its frequent use in many different cultures and genres of music. Latin American music is largely based around the use of the guitar. Made famous in Latin America by artists such as Ciro Hurtado and Carlos Santana we couldn’t imagine a better topic to focus on. From extreme technicality to emotionally moving tendencies, the guitar is renowned as the most popular instrument in the world today.

In our text book, World Music: Traditions and Transformations, we focused on one particular song entitled “Oye Como Va.” Oye Como Va quickly became a Latin dance music phenomenon. The popular song composed by Tito Puente saw two other transformations much like that of the guitar. Since its creation, the guitar has seen many different transformations making the many different variations we have today. Serving as the focal point of many different genres of music, Latin American music revolves around the classical guitar. From big bands to Latin dance music, the classical guitar serves not only as the leading instrument, but many times as a strong supporter. From its inception to modern day, this is its story.

The Origin of the Guitar

*This segment was written by Frances Schmidt (Project Manager/writer)

Stringed instruments are the predecessors of the modern guitar. We can trace the origin of these stringed instruments back 5,000 years. It makes sense that tight stringed objects were used for music because even a natural taught string or rope will produce sound with enough wind or motion. These instruments were very basic in the beginning but over time, as countries invaded other countries, the instrument known as a Sitar in ancient India and the Tar or Sehtar in ancient Persia, became the Kithara in Greek, the Cithara in Latin (King). Eventually the term guitar evolved but with different shapes and sounds. Two main shapes that evolved in the middle ages in Spain were oval shaped like the lute and curved shaped like the modern guitar today. One can go through each of the periods in history from medieval, through renaissance, Baroque, and classical to see major changes and developments in the guitar and its uses. One of the more well-known names as a maker of guitars is Antonio Stradivari. Many people both in and out of music are familiar with the Stradivarius, the fine violin worth millions of dollars. (King)
Most guitars were built with five strings and were used to accompany music with a strumming sound and use of chords. For a while in the classical period, guitars lost their popularity to the harpsichord, violin, and cello, which were louder playing stringed instruments (King). Interestingly, the guitar never lost its popularity in the Spanish culture. Eventually a sixth string was added to guitars. As technology improved in making guitars in the 18th century, one could find all sizes, shapes, configurations, as can be found today.

In the 19th century, Antonio Torres modified the guitar by increasing its size and implementing fan strutting. Fan strutting is bracing underneath the top of the guitar. The improvements made my Torres helped increase the volume and tone of the guitar (“History of the Spanish and Classical Guitar”). Antonio Torres is known as the “father of modern guitar construction” (“History of the Classical Guitar”). Another important person that helped establish the guitar as a well known instrument, is Andrew Segovia. Segovia popularized the guitar by playing and performing in large concert halls. By doing this he was able to make the guitar accessible to people all over the world. Segovia was an inspiration for composers to write music for the guitar. (“History of the Classical Guitar”) As Torres is known for the construction of the guitar and Segovia is known for increasing the popularity of the guitar, Francisco Tarrega is known for the playing style of the guitar. The “Tarrega method” is a method of holding the guitar on the players left knee and placing one’s hands correctly in order to pluck the strings properly (“History of the Spanish and Classical Guitar”).

Works Cited:

"History of the Classical Guitar." Guitar Teaching Books. Natural Light Publications, 2005. 18 Apr 2011. <>.
"History Of The Spanish and Classical Guitar." Classical Guitar World. WP Wed Publishing. 18 Apr 2011. <>.
King, Don. "The History of the Classical Guitar." Academy of the Guitar. 18 Apr 2011. <>. : full source reference

History of guitar in Latin America

*This segment was written by Adrienne Hall (Copy editor/ supplemental researcher, writer)

The roots of the guitar in Latin America run very deep as sources date its arrival to the Caribbean and Latin America circa 1600. When Spanish conquistadors arrived on the scene in the 16th century they brought with them many instruments, including the chordophone. The vihuela or guitarra— a type of paired six-stringed guitar, arrived with the Spaniards in the early 16th century and was quickly adopted by natives and people from Africa as well. The vihuela was much like a modern classical guitar and the only glaring differences were its six pairs of strings and its invariably different tuning. One of the strings, the third "g" string was tuned a half step lower. These strings were made out of animal innards but were closer to nylon. When the vihuela arrived there were a mesh of varying cultures present for the dawn of guitar in Latin America and for that reason a very unique sound and flavor was developed. The first documented use of the viheula in Latin America was in Hispaniola in 1519 by a gentleman named Ortiz; He is said to have traveled with Hernan Cortes on his conquests. Another musician named Alonso Moron was playing in Cuba, in Bayamo, after leaving Spain. He set-up shop there and played guitar in Cuba until Cortes left for freshly conquered Mexico. Upon arrival to Mexico he set-up a music school in Colima.

Cortes brought many types of instruments with him, brass, woodwinds, chordophones and the indigenous people picked them up and played them with their own variations. To that point they had been using drums and rattles for ceremonies but quickly adopted the new instruments and put their own twists on how to use them and then even rebuilt them to their own standards. Chordophones transitioned and were rebuilt in part by climate; the weather in present-day southwest Mexico did not allow for a glued up instrument like the ones being imported from Spain. The jarana was made out of one piece of wood and could withstand a more extreme climate. Slaves and African transplants adopted their own musical style using the janara in Latin America. As the influence of these first chordophones spread, the guitar took hold in Latin America and moved north and south which would change music in the western world.

The modern day jarana is used in music throughout Latin America. It is predominant in modern-day mariachi music.

Works Cited:

Orovio, Helio. Cuban Music from A to Z Tumi Ltd. Bath, UK. 2004
"The Descendents of the Baroque Guitar in Colonial Mexico: the Jarana and the Requinto or Guitarra de Son." Accessed 4/22/2011

Intro to Classical Guitar in Latin America

*This segment was written by Marlena Caporice (Writer, Images)

The classical guitar sometimes referred to as the “Spanish guitar” or the “nylon string guitar” has been embedded in the history of Latin America, or what may be known as “Iberian America,” and is still notorious today. This region has become a melting pot of diverse cultures that strengthen the anomalous character of its music. Classical music and the European folk roots were influenced by African and Native Indian rhythms which were later accompanied by Jazz. This medley created an extraordinary variety of musical forms and styles, and the classical guitar as an affordable harmonic and melodic instrument performed as the most natural expression of the youthful music. Latin America has adopted many new styles of music over the past few centuries, resulting in a refreshed and more animated musical environment.
With an array of music planted in such a vast area, it is probably most fluently discussed in relation to the various ethnic components which include, European (especially Iberian), Amerindian, African, and Mestizo. Iberian origins of multiple song and dance forms are evident is the use of guitars. The modern Andean Indians continue to make use of guitars that vary in size, and Mesoamerica Indians are now playing guitars based on the archaic Spanish models. At the start of the 19th century improved communication and transportation enabled performers to travel greater distances and more efficiently, and the classical guitar gained preeminent popularity during this period of romantic music in Latin America. In 1860 Barcelona achieved higher popularity in regards to guitar music with performers; Julian Arcas, Antonio Jimenez Manjon, Miguel Llobet, Jose Ferrery Esteve, and Francisco Tarrega. During the early 20th century, a time of modern guitar music, Buenos Aires took over Barcelona’s popularity ranking with the help of Antonio Manjon and Minguel Llobet’s much needed arrival. Spain became the centerpiece for guitar in the 1930s, but their fame was short lived when Barrios composed many excellent works and delivered the characteristics of Latin American music into the mainstream, as did the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. The next notable stylistic revolution occurred in the 1950s. Young, white, middle-class intellectuals merged a gentler, slower form of the Samba with Jazz music, the guitar was lead, and Bossanova was born. “Cancao do Amor Demais,” is the song that established Bossanova in Brazil. Far more original, is the synthesis by the black guitarist, Djalma “Bola Sete” DeAndrade, who blended Samba, Jazz, American folk music, and European classical music in the provisions of “The Solo Guitar” (1965).
Many other pieces were created during the 20th century, just to name a few, there was Mariachi which is one of the many regional types of Mexican music, and nonetheless, it is the most famous. Cuba’s main music was the “son,” the combination of Spanish popular music and African rhythm rumba, traditionally played with tres (guitar), contrabass, bongos, and claves. Jazz world of the U.S.A. welcomed Brazilian style on Jazz Samba (1962), a duet between guitarist Charlie Byrd and saxophonist Stan Getz.
As displayed on, A man named Giannini handcrafts classical guitars in Brazil, out of red cedar and mahogany. The three pictured here are Giannini’s work.

Video of classical guitar from Venezuela


Classical guitarist 1-Ciro Hurtado

*This Segment was written by Jonathan Spears (Multimedia Specialist/Writer)

Latin America is filled with an array of artists, new and old, that implement the guitar in creative ways in order to create classical, vibrant music. Ciro Hurtado is one of the legendary classical guitarists from South America who has implemented his cultural background with his passion for playing the guitar and traveling the world. Ciro began his career during high school, playing at festivals, weddings, and other events in his hometown of Lima, Peru. His musical style was highly influenced by the up and coming genre of “rock & roll” and infused with the traditional music of South America. Ciro traveled to the United States in 1975 in order to pursue a further education in music. He pursued his passion for playing the guitar at the Guitar Institute of Technology, meeting with private teachers that eventually prepared him for his musical career. Ciro then began working with musical duo “Strunz & Farah” which opened up the door for him to travel all over the world. He traveled with this group on tour to many international hot spots including Switzerland, Canada, Cuba, and all over Peru, eventually leaving the duo and forming his own group, which he is still currently a part of, called “Huayucaltia.” Ciro has toured with this group all over the United States and South America. He has worked on seven full length albums with Huayucaltia and is currently the musical director for the group. As an individual artist, Ciro Hurtado has produced and composed five full length albums. His albums consist of Jazz rhythms and his experimentation with both classical and contemporary lead guitar work. Along with his own personal music, Ciro has also produced music for films as well. His work varies from feature films to documentaries and shows the diversity of his talent.
As a guitarist, Ciro has developed a unique style, blending the sounds of traditional Latin American music and Latin influenced jazz. His style is very classical, and he has a variety of playing techniques including plucking, for fast paced solos and a rhythmic strumming pattern. Ciro balances his classical methods with a contemporary approach to some of his music by playing on the nylon string guitar. Along with his technical style, Ciro is dynamic and versatile in his ability to produce music of many different genres. Ciro has been an influence in Latin American musical genres of all types, including pop, dance, classical, blues, rock and fusion. Ciro ultimately draws from his experiences in order to drive his music, both lyrically & melodically. He creates his own original music and also creates his own personal remixes of traditional Peruvian folk songs. Ciro’s signature is his Latin American background that he carefully integrates into all of his ensembles. He has progressed to become one of the most renowned solo classical guitarists in the world, and continues to pioneer the genre of Latin American rock and jazz.

Works Cited:

Linked below is a video of Ciro Hurtado performing music from his album titled "Guitarrista." This video shows the intricacy of his playing styles, as he uses a dynamic plucking and strumming pattern on his guitar.

Linked below is an official music video that shows Ciro Hurtado's creativity through videography.

Ciro Hurtado


Classical guitarist 1- Ciro Hurtado

*This segment was written by Kelly McGonagil (Webobgrapher and writer)

Ciro Hurtado's musical message and use of instruments
Throughout the years, Ciro Hurtado has been able to become a versatile guitarist. His music ranges from folk music to dance music. He has produced many albums and has had many hits. His first studio album, “In My Mind,” incorporates his talented guitar playing as well as includes other instruments to help his album become more effective to his audience. Drums and other instruments are used to make certain sound effects. In the song, “Ayanuasca,” he uses the drums to give the song a beat and he also uses other instruments to make the song more personalized. He incorporates sound effects that help create images of his native land, Peru. Other songs on the album are not as peaceful and clam, some of them are more playful and cheerful. His music demonstrates the different techniques that several Latin musicians use when they are playing the guitar. This album introduced Hurtado to the music world as single Latin guitar player.
In 1993, Hurtado released his second full-length album by the title of, “Tales from Home.” His Peruvian influences and background are very distinct in this album. His guitar playing helps create imagery of his heritage once again. Unlike his previous works, he uses lyrics to help create of an impact to his audience. In some songs he has his wife sing to help make the song more personalized. A good example of Hurtado’s guitar playing is the first track off the album, “Bossa Ole.” His guitar playing is very distinctive to other Latin guitarists, yet it is still distinct in the way that he uses the guitar to express his history in a soothing way. Another song off this album is “Andes.” Unlike “Bossa Ole,” this song has more of a focus on other instruments being played that is not the guitar. While the guitar is present, the flute and drums are the main focus. With the addition of these instruments, the song has more effect on his mission to show his heritage through his songs. This song also demonstrates that Hurtado’s music is not just solely focused on his guitar, it is focused on the tone of the song and the message he is trying to convey.
His latest full-length album is called, “Guitarrista.” This album focuses mainly on his ability to play the Latin guitar. Most of songs are primarily instrumental with his peaceful playing of the guitar. On this particular album, his guitar playing could be classified as folk music. Even though it is purely instrumental, the music is peaceful and soothing once again. The songs on this album still have a message that seems to focus on his upbringing and his Peruvian heritage. Hurtado’s playing of the guitar in “Guitarrista” is very distinct. Not only is his Peruvian influence displayed in this album, but other influences from other cultures or styles of music is present as well. He incorporates other instruments once again to help his songs become more memorable. Rock as well as jazz is present throughout the album. In other songs, he goes back to his roots and uses his talent to demonstrate that. In some songs like ”Ayanuasca,” the background music behind the guitar playing almost sounds like nature. He uses these different blends of instruments and sounds to enhance the effect of this song. This song is something that is more peaceful compared to the other songs that had more of a westernized influence in it.
Ciro Hurtado is well known for his guitar playing skill and for using his Peruvian heritage to be the main focus of his music. He has done quite well in the Latin music scene as well as globally. He has been compare to other famous Latin guitarists like Carlos Santana and continues to produce music to this day. His talent has been respected for years and will be for years to come.

Works Cited
"Ciro Hurtado Music" Tuesday April 19, 2011.

"Ciro Hurtado" Tuesday. April 19, 2011.

Here are some more music videos by Hurtado that demonstrates how his music correlates with nature and his homeland of Peru.

* Guitarist 2-Carlos Santana

*This segment was written by Marissa Steiner (Maps/Writer)


Carlos Santana began playing the guitar as a young boy, around the age of eight. He was born in Mexico and listened to many different types of music as he grew up.When he was a teenager he began playing his music in different clubs around Tijuana. Artists such as B.B. King and John Coltrane were some of the musicians that Santana looked up to. Once he moved to San Francisco with his family his musical horizons opened up greatly. Once in San Francisco, Santana was known for his style of blues before he tied latin-rock into his music. Tito Puente was an artist that greatly influenced Santana because he wrote the song that Santana turned into one of his major hits. Still to this day “Oye Como Va” is one of Santana’s most popular songs. Santana made it so popular than most people have no idea that Tito Puente even wrote it.
While Carlos Santana was in San Francisco he put a band together called Santana. According to the book World Music: Traditions and Transformations, Santana provided a mix of “rock, blues, jazz, rhythm-and-blues, soul, Mexican, Chicano, Afro-Cuban, and contemporary Latin dance musics.” One of the events that really launched Santana’s career and brought him into fame was Woodstock. Later that year Santana came out with their first record with Colombia Records. Their first big hit off that album was called “Evil Ways.” In this song, Santana took the cha-cha-cha and created his own unique version of it. Santana is known for creating songs with a Latin background but infused with rock instruments such as electric guitar and drums. I think Santana is one of the first guitarists to create this unique style of music and start a new genre.

Another one of Santana’s biggest hits came from his second album called Abraxus. “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va” both came off Abraxus and helped leap Santana into even more fame. Today Santana is still known as one of the most talented guitarists in the country. He has recorded many hit songs with many different artists such as Rob Thomas, Michelle Branch, and Chad Kroeger, the lead singer of the band Nickelback. Carlos Santana is so well-respected as a guitarist that he was asked to play at the Crossroads Music Festival hosted by Eric Clapton. He even got to play with many of the artists he looked up to as a young musician, such as B.B. King.
Overall, Santana has done something that many musicians have not successfully been able to do. He has blended the music of the culture he grew up in, along with the music of the culture he has just newly learned. He went from bussing tables at a restaurant and playing in nightclubs to becoming one of the most profound guitarists in the world. Not many musicians become so successful that they now play with the musicians who inspired them. Carlos Santana will always remain as one of the most talented guitarists in the world.

Works Cited:
Bakan, Michael B. World Music: Traditions and Transformations. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Print. Pg. 235-240
Photograph. Google Images. Google. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <>
Photograph. Google Images. Google. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. <>

Carlos Santana

* Guitarist 2-Carlos Santana

*This segment was written by Jordan Goldman (Discographer/Writer)

It is virtually impossible to discuss the topic of the Guitar in Latin American Culture, without mentioning famous Mexican guitarist, Carlos Santana. His music has been heard around the world and countless modern musicians credit their success to his influence. Learning to play the guitar at age 8, Carlos’s passion for music began at a young age. Furthermore, his psychedelic, Latin Rock style of music was fueled when he and his family moved to San Francisco, California, in the 1960s.The ongoing hippie movement that was slowly becoming a phenomenon, had a major influence on young Carlos Santana. He formed a band with some of his fellow musically-inclined friends and the rest is history.
Many people find it surprising how fast Santana was able to get major recognition and fan-base. His growing audience followed him as he performed at local clubs, bars and other venues in the San Francisco area. However, it wasn’t until Santana performed at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969, that he really hit it big. Santana’s performance stunned the nearly 500,000 people in attendance at Woodstock. It was the perfect style of music to be played at that concert, and yet no one had heard anything else like it at the time. His blend of psychedelic rock, Latin rock, jazz, African rhythms, and blues music created a complex sound that people loved.
Below is a link to a video of Santana performing live at Woodstock:

From this video you are able to see the complexities in Carlos Santana’s guitar solo, the complex rhythms of a drum solo performed by Michael Shrieve, and the influences from various genres of music that the band incorporated. Also, notice the red Gibson SG Special guitar Santana is playing. His usage of the electric guitar provided the deep psychedelic sounds that enriched the crowd at Woodstock.
Following their groundbreaking performance at Woodstock, Santana was signed by Columbia Records and released their first album, “Santana,” (1969) which went triple platinum. Some of the songs from this album included, “Evil Ways” and “Jingo.” Other notable albums by Santana include, “Abraxas” (1970), “Santana III” (1971), “Caravanserai” (1972), “Amigos” (1976) and “Supernatural” (1999). Since the band’s original breakthrough, Santana has produced countless albums and has experienced global fame. He’s worked with many other famous musicians, including Dave Matthews, Eric Clapton, Buddy Miles, Wyclef Jean, John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock and others.

Santana’s style of music would not be what it is, without the usage of his guitar (or should I say guitar(s)). Since the 1960’s Carlos has played many different types of guitars, including: a Gibson L-6S, Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul, Yamaha SG-175B, Alvarez Yairi CY127CE Classical Guitar, and now Santana even has his own signature Paul Reed Smith model guitar. Although he has used an electric guitar for the majority of his career, Santana is no stranger to the softer sounding acoustic guitar. Santana’s skill, versatility and expertise with the guitar have allowed him to transform a simple instrument into a life-like extension of his emotions and feelings. He plays with such passion that it is no wonder his listeners are moved by his music. In the following video, you can see how Carlos Santana truly expresses his heart and soul through the art of playing his guitar:

Works Cited:

Bakan, Michael B. World Music: Traditions and Transformations. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Print.

Carlos Santana. Abraxas. Santana. Rec. May 1970. Fred Catero, 1970. Vinyl recording.

Carlos Santana. Amigos. Santana. Rec. Mar. 1976. David Rubinson, 1976. Vinyl recording.

"Carlos Santana Biography." Web. 21 Apr. 2011. <>.

Carlos Santana. Caravanserai. Santana. Rec. May 1972. Carlos Santana, Mike Shrieve, 1972. Vinyl recording.

"Carlos Santana Guitar Gear Rig and Equipment." - Guitar Rigs, Gear Reviews, Musician Interviews. Web. 21 Apr. 2011. <>.

Carlos Santana. Santana III. Santana. Rec. July 1971. Santana Musiciains, 1971. Vinyl recording.

Carlos Santana. Supernatural. Santana. Rec. June-July 1998. Clive Davis, 1999. CD.

Santana, Carlos. Santana. Carlos Santana. Carlos Santana, Brett Dangerfield, 1969. Vinyl recording.

"YouTube - Carlos Santana Solo at JazzFest2008." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 21 Apr. 2011. <>.
"YouTube - Santana Live at Woodstock 1969." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 21 Apr. 2011. <>.

How Latin American Culture influences music

*This segment was written by John Ganther (Discographer/ Writer)

When analyzing Latin American culture, one must look at its history and how it has shaped the way Latin American society is today. Ever since Christopher Columbus discovered Cuba in 1492, Latin America was under constant colonization for hundreds of years. Spanish settlers came over in large numbers to the Caribbean and Mexico. As a result of this mass movement, most of the indigenous peoples of the region perished due to disease and persecution. African slaves replaced the Taino people in Cuba, with the height of this slave trade occurring 1790-1860 (Bakan 220). The Spanish brought over Catholicism, government, agriculture, and music to the Latin American region. These aspects of society are still prevalent today, and have influenced musicians like Carlos Santana and Ciro Hurtado.
Carlos Santana was born into a musically rich family. His father was a superb violinist, which Santana learned how to play at an early age. Upon moving to Tijuana, a Mexican town close to the California border, he became familiar with American guitarists B.B. King and John Lee Hooker ( It was here in this small town where Mexican and some American culture mixed to make Santana what he is today. These cultural influences helped Carlos create a new genre of music titled “Latin rock” (Bakan 234).

Ciro Hurtado was inspired to play music due to the Peruvian music revival that occurred in his hometown of Lima. As was the case with Santana, Ciro also had American influences in his music ( This Latin American fusion has led Hurtado to great fame and success around the world, especially the United States and Peru.

Latin American music has gained much popularity and notoriety in the United States over the last fifty years. An important political event occurred when Fidel Castro took over Cuba in 1959; many immigrants fled to the United States as a result. It was also around this time that the Pan Latino movement began in the United States, which happened to coincide with the rise of Carlos Santana (Bakan 221). During this time period, Tito Puente and the aforementioned Santana and Hurtado were pioneers in the Latin American music world for generations to come. They helped make it popular among all cultural groups; people now openly listen to Latin American performers Enrique Iglesias and Shakira.

All in all, music is a huge part of Latin American culture. After the Spanish introduced the guitar to the Latin American region, the population certainly took a liking to the instrument. Latin Americans are known for their large Sweet Sixteen and Quinceanera celebrations. A live band and or DJ can always be heard playing distinct Spanish music. In addition, the large mariachi groups that are prevalent in Mexico feature several guitars in them. It seems as though music in Latin American is necessary for everything. Be it a birthday or simply someone sitting on a street corner, music is always being played, mainly the guitar. Who knew that several hundred years ago Spanish conquistadors would give rise to future generations of Latin American guitar superstars? It is just one of the ways in which the culture is so unique.

Works Cited:
Bakan, Michael. World Music: Traditions and Transformations.

A video of Santana’s hit single “Smooth” which drew wide praise in the United States and comes from his CD "Supernatural"

A short tidbit featuring the guitar in the movie “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” which shows its popularity

A map of Latin American colonization by European powers
A picture of a mariachi band

* Conclusion

*This segment was written by Andrew Seifter (Bibliographer/writer)

The origin of the guitar traces back over five thousand years. Originating from stringed instrument predecessors, the guitar has seen many transformations. The history of the classical guitar, sometimes known as the Spanish Guitar, in Latin America, dates back much further than the 19th century. The classical guitar in Latin America was used by artists such as Ciro Hurtado and Carlos Santana in order to convey many different messages. Ciro Hurtado’s second album entitled “Tales from home” was used as a gate way to connect his listeners to the story of his childhood growing up in Peru. Using the guitar, Hurtado is able to add lyrical music to help tell their stories. The classical guitar became a tool that connected Latin cultures to their people.
Santana was renowned for his speed and accuracy on the guitar. Unlike Hurtado, Santana focused his playing around complexities that brought the Spanish guitar to an entirely different level. Even so, Santana did not lack the ability to use this instrument as a lyrical tool. Together, Santana and his guitar are able to make beautiful and emotionally powerful music that comes second to none in reference to Latin American artists.

The guitar has been extremely relevant to Latin American cultures since it was introduced to Latin America by the Spanish. Widely accepted by the masses, the guitar has been incorporated into nearly all Latin music. Not only used as a solo instrument, the guitar has also been implemented as a major back round instrument to many Latin American pieces. Regarded by many as the most popular musical instrument in existence, the guitar is the focal point of almost all Latin American music.

(Andrew Seifter)

Bakan, Michael B. World Music: Traditions and Transformations. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Print.

Beezley, William H, and Judith Ewell. The Human Tradition in Latin America: The Twentieth Century. Wilmington, Del: Scholarly Resources, 1987. Print.

Bellow, Alexander. The Illustrated History of the Guitar. New York: Colombo Publications, 1970. Print.

Bennett, Andy, Barry Shank, and Jason Toynbee. The Popular Music Studies Reader. London: Routledge, 2006. Print.

Spence, Elizabeth I. The Spanish Guitar: A Tale, for the Use of Young Persons. Boston: Printed by Munroe, Francis & Parker, 1815. Print.

Wade, Graham. Traditions of the Classical Guitar. London: Calder, 1980. Print.

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