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The Trio Romantico and the Requinto

The Trio Romántico and the Requinto

by Fred Casey

previously published in American Lutherie #89, 2007

Picture it: You’re sitting in an open-air courtyard, perhaps in Guadalajara, perhaps in San Juan, perhaps in Buenos Aires. Your surroundings are lit only by the candles on the tables and the stars above. The air is like a caress on your skin. Across from you sits someone you care about very much.

Nearby, in the semi-darkness, a small group wanders from table to table. You hear voices in close harmony, singing in Spanish, singing of love. Two guitars throb in the rhythm of a bolero or a tango. And above, between, and around the words, a third guitar pours out cascades and arabesques of clear, shimmering notes.

As the song ends and the group moves on, you gaze through the candle light, deep into the eyes of your companion, and say:

“I’d love to get a closer look at that lead guitar; it’s got a really unique sound. Maybe I could get my inspection mirror inside it and get a look at the bracing.”

We can’t help it: we’re luthiers.

You were listening to the sound of a trio romántico, and the lead instrument was a requinto, a smaller version of the regular nylon-string guitar, tuned a perfect fourth higher (ADGCEA).

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