Compact, portable, of modest appearance or richly ornamented, it needed only a few chords to cross all borders and spread, in a dreamlike promenade, a succession of atmospheres from everywhere, each with its own accent.
In a single evening it could transport you., as the musician wishes, to such varied places as the Orient, Europe, to the Islands, and across the Americas. Despite all, alas, it was snubbed by the more musically oriented musicians and it received the cold shoulder from unconditional fans of Great Music.
Yet, thanks to the musicians who have chosen it as their favorite means of expression, it has several times transmogrified. It is now an instrument for all musical styles.
Since the mid-20th Century, it even exists in a concert version, able to play without embarrassment in the most select halls. Its harmonies emerge from CD players and turntables, and there is a rich treasury of works written specially for it by remarkable contemporary composers.