The guitar, from the plucked strings family, looks like an acoustic guitar, but it has smaller resonance box and more strings: ten strings in all, of witch five are doubled. With a wide variety of formats, we can distinguish the viola beiroa, similar to the number 8 format, the wire guitar or viola caipira, very popular in Brazil.
The wire guitar or viola caipira has five string orders of metal double strings and its tuning is similar to the Baroque guitar.
The guitar is an extremely popular instrument in Portugal and was brought to Brazil in the colonial period.
In the late eighteenth century, Carlos Juliao, a Portuguese army officer, came to Rio de Janeiro and described, in drawings, some scenes from the city daily life. In the picture The Procession of the Black Queen, on the Celebrations of Kings of East Day, some people play various musical instruments, among them the guitar.
Procession of the Black Queen on the feast of Kings - Carlos Julião (eighteenth century)
Nowadays, the wire guitar is still played by specialized groups dedicated to ancient musical genres, as the modinha (popular song) and folk music.
Watch the video below to learn more about the guitar.