Mandolins
Mandolins

 

From the sixteenth century instruments began to appear that, according to the areas of origin, were known as mandolas, mandoras, panduras, etc. The name mandora appears in the sixteenth century and indicates an instrument of a smaller size than the lute, with four courses either singles or double, popular mainly in France, Germany and England. The Italian variant of this instrument was called mandola perhaps because of its "almond" shape and generally had five or six course tuned in fourths around a third, and here its descent from lute becomes apparent. The term mandola is used for the first time in 1589 in Florence, on the music sheet of the famous instrumental intermezzo in the comedy "The Pilgrim", by G. Bargagli, composed on the occasion of the marriage of Ferdinand I de 'Medici and Christina of Lorraine. The name mandolin clearly comes from mandola, perhaps because of the smaller size, but mandolin and mandola could probably indicate the same instrument. Along with this instrument, in the 1700s another type of mandolin was also in use, calledthe Brescian mandolin. It retained the main features of the previous design but featured four courses of single gut strings, tuned in fifths like violin, with a carved, undecorated sound hole.

Only since the mid-eighteenth century an instrument called Neapolitan mandolinappear on the music scene, with different characteristics from the oldest mandola/mandolin: the bowl is deeper, the sound hole is oval and without a rosette, the soundboard is generally fitted with a wooden or tortoise scratch plate, the neck is narrower with fixed metal frets, the peghead replaces the sickle shaped pegbox present on Baroque mandolins. Metal strings, with their higher tension, require a "break" on the soundboard, at the height of bridge, to compensate for the increased pressure on the soundboard. For all types of mandolin there is a significant and interesting repertoire of original material by authors known and unknown, in chamber music, symphonic and operatic music. Among the most important composersare Handel, Vivaldi, Scarlatti, Mozart, Salieri, Hummel, Beethoven, Paisiello, Bizet, Paganini, Verdi, Mahler, Prokofiev, Henze, Chailly and numerous others.

 

 

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Raffaele Calace, late 19th cen.

21 ribs

Inspired by classic Calace models made as of the end of the 800, this shell model has 21 rosewood ribs, but other woods can be used on request. The details and finishes are customizable and include synthetic tortoise scratchplate with gold leaf, mother of pearl decorations around the sound hole, rounded fingerboard, carved cap, etc. The sound is immediate, ringing and intense in keeping with the tradition of this great family of mandolin makers.

String length: 33-36 cm

 

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Francesco Presbler, 1759

11 ribs

Milan, Bagatti-Valsecchi Museum

Copy of an original instrument preserved in Milan, this mandolin is a fine example of six double strung mandolin, typical of the second half of the seventeenth century. Its compact size and shape make it extremely bright in tone and ready in response. On request customized sickles or mother of pearl decorations can be included. The rosette can be carved into the soundboard or be made of parchment.

String lenght: 33-36 cm

 

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Giuseppe e Carlo Fixer, 1759

13 ribs

Milan, Museum of Musical Instruments (212)

Copy of an original instrument preserved in the Castello Sforzesco collection, this model has more generous profile and vibrating surfaces than Presbler model which provides greater volume and powerful dynamics. Decorations and details can be agreed upon, the rosette can be carved in the soundboard or be made of parchment.

String length: 30-33 cm

 

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