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DATE


September 18, 2021

- January 9, 2022

TIME

Guitars and other modern stringed instruments evolved from two ancient types of musical instruments. The origin of these instruments go back to at least 3000 BC, the beginning of recorded history. The first were harp-like instruments such as the lyre where many strings were tied over an open space like a gourd bowl or a tortoise shell, or strung from a bowl up to a crossbar. The second type was a stick to which a few strings were attached at the top and bottom. Small gourds were attached to the sticks to increase the volume and improve the sound.

The difference between the two is significant. Instruments with necks allowed musicians to create different notes by pressing the strings down at different points on the neck. But the width of the stick-like necks limited the number of strings; sometimes only a single string and rarely more than three or four. And their small gourds produced a thin sound. On the other hand, the lyre had four or more strings, allowing for a combination of notes that could be plucked or strummed as chords and their large bowls produced a vibrant sound. But because they were strung across open space, there was no place to press down on the strings and change their notes. Today’s stringed instruments are descended from one or both of these instruments. There was no point at which the two types were joined together, but over thousands of years instrument makers combined the best of both worlds to create instruments that were right for their time. Eventually, gourds gave way to carved wooden bowls, and sticks became wide wooden necks with many strings, and the instruments we know today began to take shape.

Medieval To Metal: The Art & Evolution Of The Guitar celebrates the artistic development of the guitar. Developed by The National GUITAR Museum (NGM), it features 40 objects, ranging from the intricately inlaid Moorish oud and six-foot long Renaissance theorbo on to the modern Italian design of the Eko and transparent acrylic body of California's BC Rich guitars. Spanning centuries of design and craftsmanship, the exhibition takes visitors through the history of an object that is one of the most recognizable items on the planet. 

The exhibition also includes life-size photorealistic illustrations of historically important guitar designs from noted artist Gerard Huerta, and 20 photographs of acclaimed musicians and their guitars from Neil Zlozower, one of the world's premier concert photographers.

Learn more about the evolution of the guitar September 18, 2021 – January 9, 2022.

Join us in celebrating the opening of Medieval to Metal at The Museum's annual fundriaser, Night at The Museum.

DATE


September 18, 2021

- January 9, 2022

TIME

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