Today I bring you a guest post that traces the origins of the air guitar all the way back to Viking times. Who knew?!
Be honest, we’ve all done it, either after a few drinks or when we thought no one was watching. The air guitar has to be one of the most versatile instruments ever created. It moulds itself to our body shape, our mood, our playing style, and is completely weightless. There are those, however, who are masters of their chosen field. The air guitar is a calling, and these powers must never be abused. An air guitarist’s life is like no other.
For the serious air guitarist, the pinnacle of achievement would be to compete and win in the most illustrious of contests in the world. Keep your World Cup, forget the US Open and the Olympics! Ha! They pale in comparison to the spectacle of these battles of rock giants! Air guitar contests have delighted and bemused the world since the early 80s, but their true origins date back much, much further.
The ancient history of the air guitar
The first recorded champion of the air instrument was Thunderbird he Brutal, who would wield his air rebec on the eve of battle with his mighty Viking comrades. The rebec was an ancient medieval stringed instrument that would offer a delicate lilting tone. However, the air rebec was far more aggressive in sound, as Thunderbird would punch out the hardest of tunes and solos to warriors and maids.
It is believed that this great Viking warrior stole the instrument from Pow-ar K’hord, an Arab prince. On one of the long voyages undertaken with his brave crew, Thunderbird came upon a rich principality in the desert. The prince ruled his kingdom thanks to his deft skills at manipulating this invisible instrument. Thunderbird was envious of this power, and made plans to infiltrate the well guarded city.
A daring escape!
He managed to do so, and despite being discovered as an enemy of the town, Thunderbird fought his way to Prince Pow-ar K’hord’s quarters. He found the Prince playing his rebec, playing this early guitar pillows strewn all around, of colourful silks and satins. Each elegant note calming the Viking. However, his Nordic will was too strong, and he was able to overpower the Prince and still the instrument.
Thunderbird did not escape freely; The Prince cursed the warrior as he left the city walls:
“Even after death, you will never rest.” said the Prince. “Your eternal soul will be called upon to play the Music of the Air. Probably in a few hundred years time, to various aggressive music acts from around the time.”
And lo, the Prince’s words came true. Even today, the spirit of Thunderbird the Brutal infiltrates the souls of those Warriors of the Air Guitar, never resting, forever waiting…
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