Pierre Jean Porro

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Portrait of Pierre-Jean Porro after Robert Lefèvre

Pierre-Jean Porro (1750–1831) was an influential French guitarist, composer and music publisher.[1] His influence helped popularize the guitar as a salon instrument. Also a guitar teacher, he published a guitar method and was an editor and publisher of several musical journals. His life coincided with the evolution of the guitar from the five-course baroque guitar to its modern six string classical form.[2] He published works for both types of guitar and also composed works for the lyre-guitar which was popular in France in the late 18th century.[3]


Porro was born in Béziers, France in 1750[4] with the French surname Porre later italianising his name according to the fashion of the time.[5] He received his early musical training in his hometown before moving to Paris in 1783. There he taught guitar and worked as a music publisher. By 1786, responding to the increased demand for printed music, Porro expanded his publishing house and diversified into musical instrument sales. He was also an editor and publisher of various journals such as the weekly Le Journal de Guitare (1787–1803) in which he published his own compositions as well as French editions of the works of Italian composers such as Francesco Durante, Jommelli, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi in addition to those of the composers of his time such as Mozart and Haydn.

In all, he published 37 works for the 5- and 6-string guitars and the lyre-guitar (popular in the French salons in the late 18th century). Porro wrote a guitar method Methode de guitare à six cordes (op. 31) which included material for the lyre-guitar. Porro lived and worked in Paris at a time (late 18th and early 19th century) when the guitar reached a peak of popularity and the city attracted many other notable guitarists such as Filippo Gragnani, Fernando Sor, Mauro Giuliani, Dionisio Aguado and Ferdinando Carulli. Eventually the popularity of the guitar waned when fashions changed and the pianoforte became the darling of Parisian salons.

Porro died on the 31st May 1831 in Montmorency, Val-d'Oise near Paris.


  1. ^ Slonimsky, Nicolas (1958). Baker's Biographical Dictionary Of Musicians (Fifth edition ed.). G. Schirmer, Inc. p. 1268. 
  2. ^ The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 1980. ISBN 0-333-23111-2. 
  3. ^ Hannu Annala & Heiki Matlik (10/11/2007). Handbook of Guitar and Lute Composers. Mel Bay Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-7866-5844-4.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ Some sources say circa 1759. See for example The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
  5. ^ Torres, George. Notes to "Grand Trio for Violin, Guitar and Cello by W.A.Mozart" arr. P. Porro. Clear Note Publications. 

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