Domingo Prat: Diccionario de Guitarristas

A reprint edition (published 1986). In Spanish with an Introduction by Matanya Ophee.

(For a Index to this book, click here.)

488 pp. $300.-, Presser Order number 497-00309 (RTFT-4)

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The Diccionario de Guitarristas by Domingo Prat was published in July of 1934 in a limited edition of 1605 copies, all of which were personally signed by the author.

It followed in the footsteps of several earlier lexicons and histories of the guitar such as Philip J. Bone's The Guitar and Mandolin of 1914, Josef Zuth's Handbuch der Gitane und Laute, Maria Rita Brondi's Il Liuto e la Chitarra, Fritz Buek's Die Gitarre und Ihre Meister, all three published in 1926, and Ricardo Muñoz' Historia de la Guitarra of 1930. Prat was acutely aware of the contributions of his predecessors. He was also of the opinion that occasionally, they have not been successful in their respective missions. This was an easy observation to make and he expressed it often. Hence, he took it upon himself to improve their work and enlarge its scope. He borrowed from them extensively and in many instances was diligent in giving them credit. Because he saw his task in ameliorating the work of his predecessors, he attempted to provide a systematic account of his sources. Thus, his entries are replete with dates, page numbers, newspaper clippings, copies of birth and death certificates, and his own personal scribbling of relevant and irrelevant data. In addition, he was careful to record in his notes the time and place they were made. Prat's peculiar method of compilation is, perhaps, outdated by present bibliographical standards. However, it is the method itself which constitutes a valuable element of knowledge.

Prat had a voracious appetite for guitar related data. He noted down every bit of information which he came across, however incomplete it happened to have existed at the time. He covered the ground from the earliest times, through the Renaissance and Baroque to the classical era up to and including the present. He spoke eloquently about anything and anybody with which he could find even a remote association with the guitar: the recognized masters of the past and present, his colleagues in Buenos Aires and abroad, obscure amateurs, celebrities, students in whom he saw a promise, mythological figures, and even fictional personalities from general literature. He gave ample space to his friends, neighbors and relatives and also spoke about himself and his family:

PRAT MARSAL, Domingo. Author of this "Diccionario". Born in Barcelona, Spain, in March 17 1886. Did the study of solfeggio, harmony and composition with the professors Nieves Margarit, in the Escuela Municipal de Música, Barcelona, (S.M.) which he particularly continued with Manuel Burgés and Joaquin Casado. This education began in 1895 and in 1898 he undertook the study of the guitar with Miguel Llobet which continued until 1904. Reasons which are very elementary to understand, prevents us from expounding further.

Domingo Prat left Barcelona in 1907 and settled in Buenos Aires where he became a noted teacher of the guitar. It is not quite clear what were the reasons for his emigration. One suspects though that his political leanings, combined with events connected with the Moroccan war, must have been a contributing factor to his decision to move away. He was 21 years old then. He appears to have espoused Marxist ideologies and dogmas at an early age, perhaps under the influence of his father, and must have maintained them until the time this book was written.

Copyright © 1986 by Editions Orphée, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



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