Why Spain needs text books

Its teachers are raging butterflies, says a 16th century music publishing entrepreneur.

Juan Carlos Amat in his introduction to Guitarra española y vandola, published in 1596 in Barcelona (there’s a mention in this wonderful study of the Colombian tiple by David Puerta Zuluaga) and here in the Gerona version printed by Joseph Bró 40 years later:

The wrath of Spanish [Spanish irascibility might be closer, but Khan is next up on this machine] has been the main reason (discreet reader) for bringing out this little work, because I see that no one is sufficiently phlegmatic to teach the art of playing the guitar, and thus those who would be instructed in this art should not be surprised, if after three days their teachers were very tired of teaching them, because this choleric humour so oppresses all the Spanish, that any thing that we undertake, however short it may be, seems to us very long. Considering the lack felt throughout this land for having no author to treat of this, (at least to my knowledge) I wanted to write in this style, how to tune, and play the guitar of five courses, called the Spanish, being more accepted in this country than in others, and how to make on it any tone, that it may serve as a teacher, and that its disciples may not be subject to such misery as that produced in us by this humour.

La colera de EÅ¿paña ha Å¿ido la cauÅ¿a mas principal (diÅ¿creto Lector) que aya Å¿acado à luz eÅ¿ta obrecilla, porque veo que ninguno es tan flematico como es meneÅ¿ter para enÅ¿eñar el arte de tañer la guitarra, y aÅ¿Å¿i no Å¿e maravillen los que deÅ¿eavan Å¿er inÅ¿truydos en eÅ¿ta arte, Å¿i al cabo de tres dias Å¿us maeÅ¿tros eÅ¿tavan muy canÅ¿ados de enÅ¿eñarles, porque nos tiene tan oprimidos à todos los EÅ¿pañoles eÅ¿te humor colerico, que qualquier coÅ¿a que emprendamos, por corta que Å¿ea nos parece muy larga. ConÅ¿iderando pues yo la falta que avia en toda eÅ¿ta tierra por no haver algun Autor tratado deÅ¿to, (alomenos que yo Å¿epa) he querido eÅ¿crivir con eÅ¿te eÅ¿tilo, el modo de templar, y tocar raÅ¿gado eÅ¿ta guitarra de cinco, llamada EÅ¿pañola, por Å¿er mas recibida en eÅ¿ta tierra que en las otras, y el modo de poner en ella qualquier tono, para que Å¿irva de maeÅ¿tro, y tambien paraque los dicipulos della no eÅ¿tèn Å¿ujetos à tanta miÅ¿eria como es la que nos dà eÅ¿te humor.

Unfortunately the teachers fought back and now write books that haunt infants long after the prison gates have opened.

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