Paul Fischer made me a vihuela in 1977 and we had to go to great lengths to find a suitable model, as there were not many extant from the period (the 1530s). We ended up using paintings and drawings of the time, and Paul produced an elegant instrument of sycamore, spruce and satinwood. It was much like the viola da mano, which was played by Francesco da Milano and that was actually my preferred repertoire at the time.
If this book had been available then, it would have been a useful guide to the accuracy of our guesses and also some of the personalities who were responsible for this forerunner of the modern guitar. Jose Romanillos, is of course, well known for his collaboration with Julian Bream, but is also a scholar of the history of guitar making and has written a book on Antonio Torres as well as this exhaustively researched volume.
In more than 1500 entries in this first Dictionary about Spanish guitar makers readers will find five centuries of musical instrument making in Spain. Several dynasties of instrument makers can be found as well as the places and streets where they lived and worked and the social conditions of the times. In the twenty-eight appendices (the original version in Spanish is also included) information is given about the Ordinances of the Guilds of instrument makers; details about the construction of vihuelas de mano and guitars; names of the masters and apprentices and their personal appearance; working conditions; indentures and certificates of examination; inventories of workshops listing the tools and implements of their craft, woods and prices of materials and instruments. An extensive bibliography and documented references are given for readers interested in further research. In the Prologue to this book José. Romanillos gives his insight into the development of the vihuela de mano and the Spanish guitar. This will be an indispensable reference book for instrument makers, historians, musicologists, museums, musical instrument collectors, auction houses, dealers and guitar enthusiasts alike.
Author: José Romanillos, Vega Marian Harris
Duration: 585 pages