To play Classical Guitar no study is complete without the great Spanish Masters, Fernando Sor, Ferdinando Carrulli, Matteo Carcassi, Mauro Giuliani, Isaac Albeniz, Dionisio Aguado, etc. These player composers were the founding fathers of the modern era of Classical Guitar music. These great artistes all lived in the late 1700's and early 1800's and between them laid down most of the currently played and recognized Classical Guitar repertoire.
If you learn to play Classical Guitar you are sure to come across these composers very quickly.
Such was their mastery and skill that some of the recognized Great Classical Composers notably Beethoven and Bach wrote works specifically for the Guitar! Beethoven once commented "The Guitar is a veritable orchestra unto itself". Fur Elise was written as a classical guitar piece for his niece who was learning to play.
In The Classical Guitar (Ariel Publications, New York, 1976). Frederick Noad wrote
"Many of the celebrated Vienna composers were familiar with the guitar and played it as an accompaniment to songs. Both Schubert and Von Weber were players and both published a number of songs with guitar accompaniment. In The Guitar and Mandolin (Schott, London. Revised edition 1954), P.J. Bone wrote, "The majority of Schubert's accompaniments were conceived on the guitar, and only afterwards did he set them for the piano, and many of his early songs were originally published with guitar. Many of his accompaniments show clearly and indisputably the influence and character of this instrument; they are in truth guitar accompaniments.""
The size and portability of the guitar made it a very popular instrument and early versions were played and were popular as far back as the Elizabethan era and earlier in the UK. It is hardly surprising therefore that when electricity made the amplified electric guitar a possibility the instrument began a second career as the instrument of choice for Rock Bands, Country Musicians and bands in general.
The instrument is plucked with the finger nails of the right hand and the notes are selected with the fingers of the left hand on the fret board which is usually made of a hard wood such as Rosewood or Mahogany, the body is made of softer woods to allow for the shaping, The Face Board should be solid many cheaper instruments will be plywood faced, which can degenerate with time. The strings will be nylon with the base three (typically) being wound with metal. Some brands of string wind the G and B strings with finer nylon (Saverez for one), this is to give the string a consistent width and purer sound for each note, nylon tending to stretch with age and distorting notes due to the variations in string width.
The Classical Guitar is a great choice for your or your child's first instrument since the wider neck makes it easier to avoid left hand fingers touching the wrong strings, the nylon strings are also easier on the left hand finger tips than steel strings would be, and finally the classical guitar is played ergonomically. The position is seated on a square backed chair with the left leg supported on a foot stool, so that the guitar rests on the left thigh, the inside of the right thigh and the top back of the body rests on the lower part of the chest. The fret board making an approximately 45 degree angle to the ground, this leaves the left hand totally free to move up and down the fretboard, the left hand should play no part in supporting the instrument.
In order for children to learn to play before their fingers are fully developed Classical Guitars are made in 1/2 (4-8) and 3/4 sixes (9-12) as well as full size. There are copious amounts of guitar sheet music available on line, and even teaching and lesson systems. The biggest plus of all is if you learn to play classical guitar you can play any style of guitar music! So why not give it a try?