This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this book, which is about the role in the guitar in the music scene in America from the Victorian era to the Jazz Age. The book examines the early descriptions of the guitar in the British colonies through its use in the middle-class parlors of nineteenth-century America, its eclipse in the shadow of the minstrel banjo and mass-produced piano, and its revival at the end of the nineteenth century. It also considers the guitar in the 1920s and early 1930s, and examines how the fracturing community of players and fans reflected the growing chasms within America’s wider musical community.
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