View Full Version : bandurrias and mandolins

Apr-10-2005, 3:32am
I have got interested in bandurrias after listening to Trio Assai┤s (http://www.trioassai.com/home.html) excellent classical recordings (available from Belmando, (http://www.belmando.com/ebiz/belmando.nsf?opendatabase) for example). The music and playing is truly excellent - there are a lot of sound clips at Trio Assai┤s site.

I know bandurrias and their larger cousins laudes are played in Spain, in Philippines and in some areas of Latin America. By the number of web sites, (http://www.trioassai.com/links.html) the classical scene seems to be quite active? Unfortunately I don┤t read Spanish...

To me, the sound of bandurrias and mandolins is pretty similar, at least in classical music. In some ways, the instruments are rather different, though: six courses vs four, tuning in fourths, very short vibrating string length (about 28cm, vs mandolin┤s 33-34cm), short necks but quite large and deep soundboxes.

If some of you have played bandurrias or laudes, or have heard them played in live situations, I would be interested to hear how you feel about the similarities and differences between these intsruments? Are there any clear differences in playing techniques? In classical music both bandurrias and laudes are used as melody instruments, but how in folk music - as rhythm instruments, too?

As I said, unfortunately I don┤t read Spanish... Any experiences would be welcome.

PS: Does any of you know a source for obtaining Pedro Chamorro┤s CDs?


Apr-30-2005, 2:07am
Arto: I edited a text I had written earlier on the subject for another forum...
I hope it is useful. Even though I play both instruments I think the main difference is structural plus tuning, and now I explain why....

I have played a few times a valencian style Ribot la˙d made around 1900 and it doesn't have any lift or depression on the top even considering it has been played by a university folk tuna (not the most careful fellows) for most of the past century. Therefore, I believe that there is a greater
stability and tone you get with the classical spanish design (fixed bridge and tailpiece) in these axes.
This tailpiece plus through bridge design of the Spanish laud is exceptional in allowing a high overall tension with no lift or depression on the top that would show easier with a floating bridge. It applies a limited rotational force and slight ownward pressure but it's amazingly stable and can work with simple cross braces. The acoustic box shape for these hispanic instruments as you mentioned already are deeper than the equivalent mandolin family instruments. Also scale length and string caliber could make a world of difference making these instruments also brighter.

Perhaps there is more than a little difference in the designing styles for laudes and bandurrias in Philippines and elsewhere. First, filipino style use floating bridge as mandolins and the tuning is one tone lower than spanish style instruments, also there is a triple "tiple" stringing
combined in order to make the sound equivalent to the stress of the classical spanish style. Second, from my experience with my short scale hispanic citterns
(http://mx.geocities.com/nimloth_celtica/citternnimloth.html)in my ceilid band (more shots of the body of my spanish la˙d at www.nimloth.tk).... I think bridge is what matter for the la˙d and bandurria, and I consider this combination the best of both worlds. I feel the fixed bridge with
parallel bracing make the tone a bit brighter than the equivalent with a floating bridge, ergo..... the need to increase the "tiple" stringing to get the tone.... Nonetheless, I guess there are some excellent filipino makers that make outstanding instruments that surely some day I would like to try for the estudiantinas I work with. BTW, the filipino tuning is the same of the puertorican cuatro....

Finally, the bandurria is primarily used as melodic instrument in tunas and estudiantinas, whereas la˙d is a complementary second voice with counterpoint plus some cording. The playing styles are many but plenty of tremolo in most cases especially with bandurria that is preferred over mandolin in tunas because of the higher bright "tiple" tones. If anybody want to check how a bandurria family quartet sounds check the soundfiles from Paco Aguilar ensemble in the links at ASSAI trio website.

May-01-2005, 8:20am
The mandolin type family instruments have some real interesting names. Or in a formal case the instruments that are in the mandolin category.