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Napolon Coste was born in Amondans (Doubs), near Besanon, France. He was first taught the guitar by
his mother, an accomplished player. As a teenager he became a teacher of the instrument and appeared in
many concerts in the Franche-Comt. In 1829, at the age of 24, he moved to Paris where he studied under
Fernando Sor and quickly established himself as the leading French virtuoso guitarist. However, the
demand for guitarists was in decline and, though his brilliance provided financial stability, he failed to find a
publisher for his music. As such, he had to fund his publications himself.

Coste broke his arm in 1863 as a result of an accident, which brought his performing career to a premature
end. He hired an assistant and continued to teach guitar and composition. After Sor's death, Coste edited
and republished Sor's original method for guitar as Mthode complte pour la Guitare par Ferdinand Sor,
rdige et augmente [refingered and expanded] de nombreux exemples et leons par N. Coste.

Coste was a member of the masonic lodge Les Frres Unis Insparables.[1]

He had a special fondness for playing on a seven-string guitar. He is known as one of the first composers to
transcribe guitar music of the 17th century into modern musical notation. He died at age 77, leaving a
significant catalogue of original compositions.