The installation of a Portuguese Guitar Workshop is a central project of Axis IV - Educational Program defined in the Safeguard Plan included in the application of fado to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (UNESCO).
A) HISTORICAL FRAMEWORK | THE LUTHIERS
In the history of the construction of the Portuguese guitar, entirely handmade, there are two families of luthiers who have perfected and transmitted their art over successive generations. The first begins with Álvaro da Silveira and is continued by Manuel Cardoso and his son Óscar Cardoso. The second begins with João Pedro Grácio and remains with João Pedro Grácio Júnior, who stands out from six brothers, and his son Gilberto Grácio. The permanent dialogue between this workshop and the performers who preferred it, such as Armando Freire, Artur Paredes, Carlos Paredes or José Nunes, was fundamental to the technical and acoustic evolution of the instrument.
Under the management of the Fado Museum, the workshop will integrate two distinct construction spaces, corresponding to the two traditional schools in the art of Portuguese guitar construction: the schools of Óscar Cardoso and Gilberto Grácio.
The new space will bring together the workshop area – storage, preparation, drying of materials and construction - with one of exhibition and sale of instruments. The workshop can be visited by the national and foreign people, within the defined opening hours to the public.
B) FUNCTIONAL PROGRAM
As part of the strategic program of the application approved by UNESCO, the Portuguese guitar construction workshop, in Largo das Alcaçarias, will take on the role of revitalizing and safeguarding this heritage, promoting the art of guitarists, the transmission of their knowledge to new generations, their interpretation, study and enjoyment by the public, in general, and by the circle of researchers, in particular.
The Workshop will focus on the two traditional schools in the art of Portuguese guitar construction, by Gilberto Grácio and Óscar Cardoso.
A space for the exhibition and sale of instruments and accessories for Portuguese guitar (strings, nail picks, pliers), along with a specialized Portuguese guitar library, film projection, consultation area about guitarists and luthiers are part of the Workshop offer that can be visited by the national and foreign people within opening hours to the public, so it does not interfere with the regular functioning of the works.
From May to September the program of the Workshop will be structured in workshops and diversified masterclasses (2 hours per week each) around the construction of the instrument.
The guitar construction course will start in the academic year 2019/2020. It will be attended by the trainees which will be selected by the teachers, from April to September.
C) EDUCATIONAL OFFER:
With an educational offer entirely centered on the instrument, the Workshop will promote diversified workshops and masterclasses around the different stages of construction of a Portuguese guitar, from the selection of woods, tools and technical equipment, the modeling of the sides, the experimentation of the side in the mould, placing them on the neck, gluing and fixing the cap, gluing the soundboard, polishing, carving the frieze and embedded decoration, testing the fitting of the neck on the guitar’s body, application by gluing the mother of pearl, thinning the neck of the guitar, polishing, application of scale and frets, carving of the head, fan application, stringing and tuning, construction of nails and picks, etc.
The Workshop’s educational offer will also favor learning around the History of the Instrument, as well as specialized training around elements that are part of the Portuguese guitar, with workshops for building Portuguese guitar fans, carving of the head, conservation and restoration, among many other topics. The faculty will be made up of luthiers, guitarists, carvers, conservation and restoration technicians, musicians and researchers.