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Chord table developed by Juan Carlos Amat, Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum
The polychordal lute, vihuela, and guitar, as in the historical development of the piano, were used in playing not only compositions especially prepared for them, but transcriptions of all types of music. For the student, this expansive musical period would be meaningless without a knowledge of the interpretations for the lute and vihuela, such as have been put into modem notation byjuan Vasquez, Morales, and Guerrero.

With the culmination of the vihuela in the 16th century, a great generation of vihuela players appeared during the reigns of Carlos V, and his son, Felipe II. This was a unique generation of extraordinary musicians who succeeded each other without interruption between 1535 and 1578. Emiio Pujol states: "They were famous not only for transmitting to us works of the celebrated polyphonists from the Franco-Belgian and Venetian schools, but also their own personal, primitive works, which were filled with noble lyricism, dominating technique, and the intense emotional inventiveness that was the base of all Spanish spiritual manifestation, reflecting in its aesthetics the Neoclassic enslavement of the Renaissance."

In 1535, Luis Milan from Valencia, wrote a treatise entitled "El Maestro." It was the first music book ever written for the vihuela. In its fantasies and pavans, we find phrases and modulations that comprise a notable advancement in relation to the music of the period. Two years later, Luis de Narvaez, another excellent composer and teacher of the vihuela, published his "Los Seis Libros del Delphin", which constitute a model of musical invention and justify his fame. Following these men came Alonso de Mudarra of Seville in 1546 with "Three Books of Music in Cifra for the Vihuela," Enriquez de Valderrabano with "Silvade Sirenas" (Valladolid, 1547), Diego Pisador with "Book of Music for the Vihuela" (Salamanca, 1552), Miguel de Fuenilana with "Orphenica Lyra" (1554), Fray Juan Bermudo with "Statement of Musical Instruments" (1555), Luis Venegas with "Book of New Cifra" (1557), Fray Tomas de Santa Maria with "Art of Playing Fantasy" (1565), Esteban Daza with "El Parnaso" (1576), and Antonio Cabezon with "Musical Works for Tecla, Harp, and Vihuela" (1578). Such a profusion of eminent musicians and excellent treatises suited a large musical cult, and pervaded every class of society.

By the last third of the sixteenth century, as has already been stated, the vihuela began to lose ground to the surging advancement of the guitar, and from this time on, the new musical treatises and compositions were dedicated to it. The first of these compositions were by Juan Carlos Amat, who was followed with works by Luis Briceno (1626) and Nicolas Doizi (1640). It was thirty four years, however, before another treatise on guitar appeared. This was entitled "Musical Instruction for the Spanish Guitar and Elementary Exercises Toward Playing It Skillfully" by Gaspar Sanz, from the town of Calonda.

Of the guitar, for which Sanz composed or transcribed gallardas, villanas, jacaras, pasacalles, pavanas, espanoletas, folias, fugues, fantasias, chaconas, zarabandas, etc., he states, "it is neither perfect nor imperfect, but rather, it depends on what you do with it. Therefore, the perfection or imperfection of the guitar is in the person who plays it." Regino Sainz de la Maza says of this treatise that "it is the most far-reaching of the 17th century. Its documental, historical, and artistic value is great because of the suggestions it presents in learning how to play arpeggios, because it shows how to perform on the treble strings for maximum effect, and because of the beauty and interesting quality of the musical selections found in it." The book contains a novel use of illustrations showing finger positions for the strings and frets to graphically assist the student in learning to play.