-- Museum of Musical Instruments
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   The guitar suffered a considerable lapse in popularity during the first half of the eighteenth century, as keyboard instruments like the harpsichord became more fashionable among the nobility and the growing middle class. After 1750, however, interest in guitars was revived, as certain composers created a repertoire of light music that was gratifyingly easy to play and pleasant to listen to. Like other French guitars of the late eighteenth century, this example by Antoine Aubry exhibits certain visual elements used on instruments a hundred years earlier, including roped edging, executed here in tortoiseshell and pearl, and moustache-like terminations to the bridge. But the outline of the body previews the shapelier figure the guitar would take on in the nineteenth century, with broader upper and lower bouts. Few guitars from this period were as decorated as the best work from the 1600s, but this is an especially elaborate piece, with choice veneers of Macassar ebony and applewood on the sides and back. Demand for ornate guitars gradually faded as the French Revolution in 1789 signaled and end to much of Europe's ruling class, which had provided a market for these luxurious instruments.

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