Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Andrés Segovia (February 21, 1893 – June 3, 1987) was a Spanish classical guitarist and is generally considered to be the father of the modern classical guitar movement by most modern scholars. Many feel that without his efforts, the classical guitar would still be considered a peasant instrument, suitable for bars but not concert halls.
Segovia's introduction to the guitar was at an early age of four years old. His uncle would frequently sing songs to him while pretending to strum an imaginary guitar. This prompted Segovia to set out on a quest to elevate the guitar to a prominent position in the music world. He wanted to elevate guitar studies to the status of the piano and the violin. In particular, he wanted to have it played and studied in every country and university in the world. He also wanted to pass on his love of the guitar to the generations after him.
His first appearance was in Spain at the age of sixteen, and a few years later he held his first professional concert in Madrid, playing transcriptions for guitar by Francisco Tárrega and some songs by Johann Sebastian Bach, which he had transcribed himself. Although he was discouraged by his family, he continued to pursue his studies of the guitar throughout his life.
Many prominent musicians believed that Segovia's guitar would not be accepted by the classical music community because in their mind, the guitar could not be used to play classical music. However, Segovia's excellent technique and unique touch astounded his audiences. Consequently, the guitar was no longer seen as a strictly popular instrument, but suitable for playing classical music as well.
As Segovia progressed in his career and as he performed for bigger audiences, Segovia found that existing guitars were not sufficient for playing large concert halls because they could not produce enough volume. This prompted Segovia to look into technological advances that would improve the guitar's natural amplification.
Working together with luthiers, he helped design what is now known as the classical guitar, which featured better wood and nylon strings. The shape of the guitar was also changed to improve the acoustics. This new guitar could produce louder notes than previous guitar designs being used in Spain and in other parts of the world.
After a tour in America in 1928, he soon became known as "the guitar player" and composers like Heitor Villa-Lobos started writing guitar pieces for him. He also transcribed many classical pieces himself and revived the pieces transcribed by men like Tárrega.
Segovia had many students throughout his career, including some famous guitarists such as Abel Carlevaro , Ben Bolt, Christopher Parkening, John Williams, and Oscar Ghiglia . These students, along with many others, carry on Segovia's tradition of expanding the guitar's presence, repertoire, and recognition.
He died in Madrid of a heart attack at the age of 94.
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