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La Guitarra The Guitar by Miguel Moya February 4, 1878

Miguel Moya Written by the journalist not the luthier.

by: Randy Osborne - Published 09/11/2023 10:26 AM and updated 09/15/2023 11:20 AM

A mysterious box, in which you keep in your magical bosom notes of the most exquisite sweetness; democratic instrument, that despite your greatness does not your disdain to visit the beggar's house or to console. Their feathers; perennial symbol of past glories; faithful translator of all passions and of all the feelings of man, I admire and revere you, and although my bad fortune made me unable to understand the key to your secrets, right? That's why you show yourself complaining, that your greatness. They seduce me and your admirable chords enthrall me. 


Do not regret that the inexperienced hand of a young man that he thought he found in you another means easy for the piano to be a musician, to disdain you the few days, convinced of his mistake, relegating you to the most humiliating oblivion in a  hidden perch or revolt and confused garrison. Don't cry if a ragman who bought you in public auction like useless furniture proclaims your miseries and misfortunes. Have serenity in sight of the Rastro, eternal cemetery where you find safety pantheon your egregious family. Don't cry, no, lose your courage, that a guitar maker who makes guitars new from the old ones that they sell you, like some tailors new pants for the children of the fathers, he will buy you, pitying your misfortunes; He will give you varnish at your discretion, convinced that in this world it matters little that things are eaten away or broken if they look or brighten; he will instruct his wife to use ribbons colors make for you a rainbow of silk, rather luxurious bow for a bull that adorns its own guitar, and he proudly displayed you at the door of his establishment, in vindication of injustice what your former owners did to you and in just desire to sell you for six pesetas to someone who bequeathed to have them after six weeks of saving, and that for the same reason that he wanted you to do for you the sacrifice of all his fortune, he will treat you with the greater love and respect. 


Convince yourself of your value, but don't deify yourself. Show yourself, as always, modesty and you will be sure the triumph of popularity over all others musical instruments, because none of them equals in that melantic sweetness, faithful expression of the highest feelings of the soul, nor can compete with you in our country, which is the country of the troubadours, of popular music and those songs of the people that are born in your shadow and enrich by joining them with a harmonious tone and sad that increases its beauty and heartfelt expression. 


We were going to talk about your illustrious progeny, we needed a work of heraldry to demonstrate that you come in a straight line from the ancient races Spanish. Two brave, impetuous peoples, brave, they fought for their religion and for their glory; the Arab people and the Castilian people; both also musicians. One sang his love at beautiful hours with black eyes under the poetic branches the Arabic gardens the melancholic sounds of the guzla; another love too and religion and glories of his homeland in the towers and battlements of the silent and gloomy castles, accompanying of the lute. The guzla and the lute are hated, because the two aspired to dominate the empire of music, but neither of them managed to perform their aspirations. From hate they went to love. They loved each other because they could not be destroyed, and from this consortium. The guitar was born full of charms and life, precious treasure that carries in its bones a sea of harmony and a world of memories. 

But is this idolatry that is felt for you unmotivated? Is it one of the many lies they live inside this biggest lie called the world? No, not at all, you have such bad titles for enjoy this universal consideration, and yes men, and especially the Spanish, they will not grant  it to you failing tradition and their antecedents, they will commit with you the blackest of ingratitude. 


You are the comfort of the sailor, who in those eternal nights of terrible loneliness there is in you a companion to whom to confide his sorrows. To the echo of your strings sound less funereal the hours of the clock for the convict who sings his prayers of repent, or guard their hopes With your help, and he loves you so much that he, that for his peers he had nothing at liberty other than hatred and revenge, cry when I feel your inspired accents, and he sees in you the promise of his redemption. You are the essential luggage for all students province that come to Madrid, and that perhaps so they entertain you, to the detriment of their studies, more time than is appropriate to Roman law hand, or the canonical, or the anatomy, or the therapeutic, envious of seeing themselves covered in dust, in so much so that you are the object of the most careful attention. 


You the beggar's saving board, his cloth tears, his fortune, his freedom, because without you he would gain nothing and would be drowned in the star arms of hunger. You, the queen of those rounds nights of the towns, which lend themselves so much to the poetry, and to whose chords love sways, proud to have you as a submissive assistant you when you do Andalusian and you frequent some temple where they surrender cult of Valdepeñas, the one who promotes that resounding clapping that attracts enthralled crowds of curious You who immortalized Perico el Ciégo, a hero at least as popular as Frascuelo or Lagartíjo. You who translate to the common people best pieces of the zarzuelas that are all the rage in our theaters. You...


But what else? The list would be endless, because there are no miracles that you do not perform nor difficulties that you do not win. A test. 

All barbers have, rightly, a reputation for be the first talkers in the world; well good, it is still an unsolved problem to know what you like. more like a barber, if talking or playing the guitar. The guitar has understood that the instrument musical, to be worthy of its mission, it needs practice the most absolute freedom and accommodate all genre of music.

From here one of his greatest merits.

The malagueñas on a harp do not compare, because they lose that classic flavor that gives them life and It covers them with a form of mysterious charm. The Aragonese jota on a piano struggles to escape scared, slipping down the stairs, and if we listen to her pay attention, it seems like it's going to take a moment to the chorus "I don't want to be French," to say "Let them take me to the guitar." In change with the guitar none of this happens, because in it they have a faithful and finished expression, the same as the popular song than the greatest opera, the serenade sweeter Mozart than the most spiritual German fantasy.


But know, guitar, I don't admire you for that; I applaud you because you are a symbol of the music of our country, that if it cannot compete with others in brilliance, it is the first in the world in feeling. In Andalusia you worship the beach, the hustle and bustle, to the rondeñas, heartfelt songs that remind us all the poetic melancholy of the people Arabs and absorb man in inexplicable ecstasy, confusing mixture of spiritual sanctifications and in worldly moments, because each note is a passionate kiss, a sigh, a tear, the death, in short.


In Aragón, happy and frank like the character of here town, you laugh with excessive liveliness and you give to your bellicose accents the courage that inspired to Zaragoza his famous exploits. There you put all that you can under the protection of the Virgin of Pilar. 


In the Castillas you give life to the spicy you get, which so much that incite dancing, producing in the body an irresistible tingling.


In Madrid... In Madrid you are cosmopolitan in genres musical, and loved with delirium. There is no barbershop of which you are not the most indispensable ornament and that the knife, nor dance that you encourage with your presence, nor tavern in which you do not get drunk with your notes even more than the liquid black, nor streets that you do not walk into the hands of the blind, nor wedding for which you are the first guest, nor Verben in which, crazy with the party, you do not conclude for making nonsense in someone's head neighbor with whom whose owner wants to practice second of the precepts in which the Decalogue is encloses.

Anyway, you already know it; you are everything in this brave town; and you can rest assured that if the statue of Apollo was made by a Spaniard, without remorse of conscience I would take away the traditional lyre out of his hands and I would put the guitar in them. In the summer, late at night, hears from time to time a confused noise in the streets of sweet preludes that reach our ears like a sublime chorus of majestic voices that they get lost singing in space. Torrents of harmony that awaken us in the depths of our dream, making us believe that we inhabit ideal regions of absolute beauty. melodious notes that are now heard clear and distant through the deep silence that reigns, and later turns off the rolling of a car, as it extinguishes the nightingale's song the noise of thunder. Happy and beautiful trovas, or sad and heartfelt, that fill our hearts of happiness or they plunge him into a sea of doubts and painful memories: it is the voice of a guitar who some nightcrawler snatches the secret from him! ..... cry...... the consolation..., the hope..... the blessed secrets of humanity.

Miguel Moya. 

From: the daily "La Epoca" on February 4, 1878

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