Christopher Page (b.1952)

The Guitar in Tudor England

Sample score

A Social and Musical History
Musical Performance and Reception

for: Classical guitar

Book (Hardcover)

Item no.771002
Author/ComposerChristopher Page
Scope270 pages; 17 × 24.4 cm
Release year2015
Publisher/ProducerCambridge University Press
Producer No.9781107108363
93.20 €
Delivery time approx. 1–2 weeks.
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Few now remember that the guitar was popular in England during the age of Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare, and yet it was played everywhere from the royal court to the common tavern. This groundbreaking book, the first entirely devoted to the renaissance guitar in England, deploys new literary and archival material, together with depictions in contemporary art, to explore the social and musical world of the four-course guitar among courtiers, government servants and gentlemen. Christopher Page reconstructs the trade in imported guitars coming to the wharves of London, and pieces together the printed tutor for the instrument (probably of 1569) which ranks as the only method book for the guitar to survive from the sixteenth century. Two chapters discuss the remains of music for the instrument in tablature, both the instrumental repertoire and the traditions of accompanied song, which must often be assembled from scattered fragments of information.

  • The first-ever history of the most popular instrument in the world as it was in the England of Elizabeth I and Shakespeare
  • Written by a performing musician who has played the renaissance guitar for many years
  • Offers social as well as musical perspectives, and will appeal to non-specialists as well as to a wide range of scholars in music, literature and history


  • Introduction
  • 1 Imagery
  • 2 Who owned a gittern?
  • 3 The gittern trade
  • 4 'An instruction to the Gitterne'
  • 5 Sounding strings
  • 6 The gittern and Tudor song
  • 7 Thomas Whythorne: the autobiography of a Tudor guitarist
  • Conclusion
  • Appendices: Appendix A The terms 'gittern' and 'cittern'
  • Appendix B References to gitterns from 1542–1605
  • Appendix C The probate inventory of Dennys Bucke (1584)
  • Appendix D Octave strings on the fourth and third course
  • Appendix E The fiddle tunings of Jerome of Moravia, swept strings and the guitar
  • Appendix F The mandore and the wire-strung gittern
  • Appendix G The ethos of the guitar in sixteenth-century France
  • Appendix H Raphe Bowle