This article is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (February 2010)
To a greater extent than most other instruments and ensembles, it is difficult to compose music for the guitar without either proficiency in the instrument or close collaboration with a guitarist. As a result, a large part of the guitar repertoire consists of works by guitarists who did not compose extensively for other instruments. Music prior to the classical era was often composed for performance on various combinations of instruments, and could be adapted by the performer to keyboard instruments, the lute, or the guitar. Since the beginning of the 20th century, however, a significant amount of music has been written for the guitar by non-guitarist composers.
During the Renaissance, the guitar was likely to have been used as it frequently is today, to provide strummed accompaniment for a singer or a small group. There also were several significant music collections published during the sixteenth century of contrapuntal compositions approaching the complexity, sophistication and breadth of lute music from the same time period.
Main compositions and composers:
Baroque music describes an era and a set of styles of European classical music which were in widespread use between approximately 1600 to 1750 (see Dates of classical music eras for a discussion of the problems inherent in defining the beginning and end points). This era is said to begin in music after the Renaissance and to be followed by the Classical music era. The original meaning of "baroque" is "irregularly shaped pearl", a strikingly fitting characterization of the architecture and design of this period; later, the name came to be applied also to its music. It is associated with composers such as J.S. Bach, George Friedrich Händel, Antonio Vivaldi, and Claudio Monteverdi. During the period, music theory, diatonic tonality, and imitative counterpoint developed. More elaborate musical ornamentation, as well as changes in musical notation and advances in the way instruments were played also appeared. Baroque music would see an expansion in the size, range and complexity of performance, as well as increasingly complex forms.
Main composers for the baroque guitar:
Main composers of the early romantic era:
The first 'Golden Age' of the classical guitar repertoire was the 19th century. Some notable guitar composers from this period are:
Some genres of modern music include atonal music, which rejects the tonal system of nearly all other musical styles, as well as aleatoric, which rejects the absolutism of the composer and allows the player to take an active role in how the piece is played. For example, in Leo Brouwer's Étude No. 20, he supplies a series of melodies that increase in length, and he invites the player to play each section of the melody as many times as he or she chooses. Regional styles are also prevalent in modern guitar music, such as the music of Latin America, where unique harmonies and fresh material can be found.
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In the 20th century, many non-guitarist composers wrote for the instrument, which previously only players of the instrument had done. For a larger list of composers who have written for the solo guitar, see the list of composers for the classical guitar. Some of the better-known are:
Main compositions and composers:
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January 2010)
Music for guitar in the 21st century.
Free music scores