Guest Expressed: “The Ancient Origins Of The Air Guitar”

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…

Citations:

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13 thoughts on “Guest Expressed: “The Ancient Origins Of The Air Guitar”

  1. raeme67 says:

    This is my first official day as an annoying guest blogger. I did not bother to read this article, but am agonna comment on it anyway.  People who air guitar are annoying and they bother me and since I am all that really matters, there aughta be a law against it. Waving your arms around in such a wild motion could injury someone who gets to near too you. If there is any pelvic thrusting going on it could cause you to loose your lunch; not a pretty picture. If you must air guitar for goodness sakes do it in private. This will protect you from embarrassing  yourselves  as well of us bothered by excessive air guitar freaks who can not keep it together. Rock on-but in private.

    Like

    • First, I am happy you’ve been taking my advice and acting upon it – this is truly flattering! Second, you’ve unfortunately only reached the pre-stage of “annoying commenter”. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great start, but hardly at the level of “annoying guest blogger”. Third, air guitar may indeed injure people and result in other carnage, which is what makes it a dangerous and rewarding activity – for those who like living on the edge 😉

      Like

      •  @Daniel Nest As a professional musician I’ve dropped in to set the record straight annoying or not. This theory if we can call it that of people getting injured playing air guitar is completely and utterly false!!!!
         
        Since my groups inception in 1964 on the heels of the Beatles all the way through Woodstock we had practice air guitar openly, and with much success. Count them that’s 48 years worth of air strumming for me alone (if it wasn’t for me an air guitar the ozone layer would have been gone long ago).
         
        Now I still practice and have it on scientific evidence from a Physical Science instructor at Pitt Community College Monty Little a former Minor League baseball pitcher that threw out his rotator cuff pitching (notice I said pitching not playing air guitar) that indeed air guitar is a very good aerobic sport form of exercise. It gets the heart rate going and muscle’s stretched.
         
        My closing statement is, we’ve never heard of Peter Townsend or any imitators of him windmilling the guitar being taken to the emergency room like an injured baseball player.
         
        I rest my case!!!! ;^)

        Like

      • @Daniel Nest
         As a professional musician I’ve dropped in to set the record straight annoying or not. This theory if we can call it that of people getting injured playing air guitar is completely and utterly false!!!!
         
        Since my groups inception in 1964 on the heels of the Beatles all the way through Woodstock we had practiced air guitar openly, and with much success. Count them that’s 48 years worth of air strumming for me alone (if it wasn’t for me an air guitar the ozone layer would have been gone long ago).
         
        Now I still practice and have it on scientific evidence from a Physical Science instructor at Pitt Community College Monty Little a former Minor League baseball pitcher that threw out his rotator cuff pitching (notice I said pitching not playing air guitar) that indeed air guitar is a very good aerobic sport form of exercise. It gets the heart rate going and muscle’s stretched.
         
        My closing statement is, we’ve never heard of Peter Townsend or any imitators of him windmilling the guitar being taken to the emergency room like an injured baseball player.
         
        I rest my case!!!! ;^)
         

        Like

      • @Daniel Nest
         As a professional musician I’ve dropped in to set the record straight annoying or not. This theory if we can call it that of people getting injured playing air guitar is completely and utterly false!!!!
         
        Since my groups inception in 1964 on the heels of the Beatles all the way through Woodstock we had practiced air guitar openly, and with much success. Count them that’s 48 years worth of air strumming for me alone (if it wasn’t for me and the air guitar the ozone layer would have been gone long ago).
         
        Now I still practice and have it on scientific evidence from a Physical Science instructor at Pitt Community College Monty Little a former Minor League baseball pitcher that threw out his rotator cuff pitching (notice I said pitching not playing air guitar) that indeed air guitar is a very good aerobic sport form of exercise. It gets the heart rate going and muscle’s stretched.
         
        My closing statement is, we’ve never heard of Peter Townsend or any imitators of him windmilling the guitar being taken to the emergency room like an injured baseball player.
         
        I rest my case!!!! ;^)
         

        Like

      •  @SkyCarl Thanks man. I appreciate your professional input on the matter. I am shocked to find out that my belief in the air-guitar being the leading cause of death was apparently misguided. Who knew?! 😉

        Like

      •  @Daniel Nest No no no Dan your on the right track. There is a specific Illness associated with Air Guitar. I had it 3X, it’s A.G.O.O. (Air Guitar Over Oxygenation).
         
        This occurs is 90% of the cases as is not cause by the act of playing, but rather by becoming overexcited by the music one is air guitaring to. This cause the heart rate to elevate rapidly in time to the music, so if you playing heavy metal runs at 280 beats per minute, your heart rate races to keep homeostasis along with your breathing and pulse rate to 280 heart beats per minute resulting in Over Oxygenation which if left untreated will exploded your lungs, then brain.
         
        So it’s not the act of playing but of being over oxygenated is my theory.

        Like

      • @Daniel Nest
        No no no Dan your on the right track. There is a specific Illness associated with Air Guitar. I had it 3X, it’s A.G.O.O. (Air Guitar Over Oxygenation).
         
        This occurs is 90% of the cases and is not caused by the act of playing, but rather by becoming overexcited by the music one is air guitaring to. This causes the heart rate to elevate rapidly in time to the music, so if you playing heavy metal runs at 280 beats per minute, your heart rate races to keep homeostasis along with your breathing and pulse rate to 280 heart beats per minute resulting in Over Oxygenation which if left untreated and unchecked will exploded your lungs, then brain!
         
        So it’s not the act of playing but of being over oxygenated is my theory.
         

        Like

      • @Daniel Nest
        No no no Dan your on the right track. There is a specific Illness associated with Air Guitar. I had it 3X, it’s A.G.O.O. (Air Guitar Over Oxygenation).
         
        This occurs is 90% of the cases and is not caused by the act of playing, but rather by becoming overexcited by the music one is air guitaring to. This causes the heart rate to elevate rapidly in time to the music, so if you playing heavy metal runs at 280 beats per minute, your heart rate races to keep homeostasis along with your breathing and pulse rate to 280 heart beats per minute resulting in Over Oxygenation which if left untreated and unchecked will exploded your lungs, then brain!
         
        So it’s not the act of playing but of being over oxygenated is my theory.
         

        Like

      •  @SkyCarl Hehehee that’s an insightful theory into a very serious and little known side effect of air-guitarring. We have to spread the word and alert the authorities!

        Like

      • raeme67 says:

         @SkyCarl My only goal in all this was to aspire to the rank of annoying guest blogger, I was not concerned if the information  was  factual, well informed, or even a reasonable argument. Since I have ticked off a professional as yourself, I think my goal has been reasonably attained.  I still believe, despite the evidence, that  public pelvic thrusting can cause one to loose their cookies and should only be attempted in the privacy of one’s own home.

        Like

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