View Full Version : Italian folk music on mando

Brian KC
Dec-26-2005, 3:34pm
Who is the the guy from san Francisco who made an album a #few years back of Italian folk music? #I believe the word "fountain " was in the title. #It was just him and a #guitar, very nicely done. #I'm looking for sources for mando music from Italy that are authentic and straight forward, not a giant orchestra with dozens of mandos blazing away.

As I recall there was a #website associted with him or his album that would allow you to download some tunes.

Thanks in advance for your help.


Matt Vuksinich
Dec-26-2005, 5:08pm
That "Italian guy" you're referring to is Matteo Casserino, who recorded "Silent Fountain" with guitarist Gino DiMichele. Unfortunately, both are deceased, and I believe the album is long since out of print. The site you are referring to is from a pianist who often played with him at Caffe Trieste in San Francisco's North Beach . . . .I think the site is www.brucezweig.com, but I'm not positive. This site has (free) mp3 recordings of quite a few of Matteo's tunes, as well as transcriptions for the mandolin part.

For more detailed info, or if the site above is wrong, I'd suggest emailing Sheri Mignano (sfmignano@yahoo.com)--she's a superb accordianist who played with Matteo, and published an amazing book this year containing transcriptions,for mandolin and guitar, of over 100 traditional "ballo liscio" tunes (the genre to which you refer).

Similar style recordings, also from the San Francisco Bay Area, are by Tony Flores (? out of print) and The Hot Frittatas (still alive and thriving--this group has a more modern approach to a lot of these tunes, not as "pure," but still wonderful).

Matt Vuksinich
(I play mandolin in Sheri's bands "Mattinata di Matteo," which continues the tradition at Matteo's old haunt in North Beach, and Zighi Baci (www.zighibaci.com)

Paul Hostetter
Dec-26-2005, 9:28pm
Matt answered the question right on, but Sheri's second book just came out, and had its release at City Lights Books last week. The Tony Flores CD is not exactly OP, but the original pressing plant we used (I produced it and play guitar on it) seems to be down for the count, and we're just about out of product. So we're looking for an alternative now. Most of Tony's good Italian tunes are in Sheri's book, and she is Ground Zero for mandolin charts, though I have tons of charts as well.

Brian KC
Dec-27-2005, 2:12am
Thanks to all, this is the material I was looking for.
I play Irish Trad but was exposed to this type of music growinn up. I 've been told that this type of Italian music is really very local to Naples and some other nearby towns, and that you would not hear it much outside of that region. Does anyone have an opinion on this? If this is true, what do you call the music from the east coast and the north of Italy and where can one find quality examples ofmusic from thes and other regions of Italy?

Thanks again in advance for the comments.


Paul Hostetter
Dec-27-2005, 2:47am
Naples is a real hotbed alright, arguably Ground Zero for the Italian mandolin, historically, musically and organologically, but other places in Italy have strong mandolin traditions, notably Rome, Florence, Genova and Ticino, which is in Switzerland.

The Neapolitan song tradition is huge in the south, and deeply admired everywhere, which is why everyone plays it to some extent. Likewise the tarantella, the dance from Taranto, which is close by Naples, has a special prominence in the south. In its purest form, it's an ecstatic dance accompanied only by tambourine and various percussion.

I played guitar for many years for a Ticinese mandolinist named Riccardo Tunzi. His repertoire was quite different than what the southerners played - more polkas and straight dance tunes and less song, which has tempo changes and so on. The tarantella's northern cousin, the monfrina, does get played across the north of the Italian realm, but barely happened in his repertoire.

Tony Flores, my other main guy, was from Sicily, which is not so far from Naples. He was an opera nut too, and a typical southern player. The era of commercial recording really spread the southern music all over Italy, not to mention throughout the Italian diaspora around Europe and North America. Sheri Mignano's new book, Mandolins, like Salami, really explains this stuff well.

Dec-27-2005, 5:03am
mattrat - thanks heaps for the bruce zweig site - wonderful stuff. the tuscans refer to this music as "musica populare" - "musica folkloristica" is something else, something my anglo-saxon ears haven't been able to distinguish as yet. there was a group here in town this past week playing "musica populare" from tuscany. "regionalismo" is rampant here in italy and you wouldn't want to be caught playing a tarantella, for example, from the dreaded south - no-no-no ...

nb - the italians have an ambivalent attitude to this beautiful music. a cafe.contributor named plamen noticed the same thing, playing for vacationing italians in romania. i don't know why but it takes a long time for their toes to start moving and after that, some of them will break into song but it's not popular music in the way that folk music in the us or the uk is, for example.

most of it dates from the 19th cent. i suppose it's "folk" music in the way that stephen foster, for example, is "folk" in the states. categories mean nothing.

thanks again for the site.

Martin Jonas
Dec-27-2005, 5:59am
The Bruce Zweig site (http://www.brucezweig.com/music/matteo/) does in fact have the entire Silent Fountain album as free mp3 download, and I very highly recommend it.

Sheri Mignano's Ballo Liscio book is wonderful, too, but I believe that she has sold out the first printing (I got the last copy a few months ago). She said that a second edition, with some extra tunes, was on the way, so maybe that's available now. I love playing the charts for the Matteo recordings!

Personally, I find that the tone of a good bowlback is better suited to this material than the Gibson A used by Matteo, but that's personal preference and it works just fine on flat mandolins.

Another good source for Italian folk dances is here (http://members.yline.com/~zeiler1/abc_eng.html), where you'll find 72 dances, such as "Monferrina, Sbrando, Courenta, Valzer, Polca, Mazurca, Saltarello, Saltarella, Tarantella etc", all in abc format.


Dec-27-2005, 6:30am
grazie martino ... it really is christmas! - but in the manner of the flummoxed father with "ez" instructions, expectant bambini and rising blood-pressure ... what does all this mean:

X: 1
T:Bourrée tournante des grandes poteries
e/f/|:geg|g/e/ce/f/|geg|g2 d/e/|\
fdd|d2c/d/|ecc|1 c2e/f/:|2 cBA||
dcd|cBA|1 GAG|e2c:|2 Ged|c3||

assuming it's abc format, do you know of a site that explains it?

auguri - bill

Martin Jonas
Dec-27-2005, 6:52am
Bill -- abc notation is a very powerful way of encoding music in a standard text format. There is lots of info on the notation at the ABC Homepage (http://staffweb.cms.gre.ac.uk/~c.walshaw/abc/). However, you don't need to understand all of that in order to convert the tunes I've linked to standard notation. The easiest way is to get the free program ABC Navigator (http://abcnavigator.free.fr/abcnvgt.php?lang=eng) and open the .abc text file in that program. It will covert them all to standard notation and play them.


PS: An alternative ABC program, with a visually more appealing standard notation output, is ABCedit (http://www.abcedit.tk/).

Plamen Ivanov
Dec-27-2005, 11:42am

I can hardly add something more to what Paul and Bill said, but yes - while foreigners like the traditional popular Italian music, the Italians don`t seem to be very excited by listening to it. As a member of a mandolin orchestra I have travelled with an Italian music program around Europe and we were delighted with the standing ovations of Germans, Dutch, British, Spain, etc. people. And although Italians are not very fond of listening to that kind of music, they are proud of it and look at it as an important part of their culture influence. I remember once we played at the representation of the Italian company "Mondo"`s products (as far as I remember they produce some kind of sport equipment). The Italian ambassador was also there, sitting in the front row. After we played three Neapolitan pieces, he came to us, shaked our hands, took my mandolin and said very excited to the audience: "That`s a symbol of Italy". Another case, that I remember is connected with an Italian who often visited the restaurant that we played in few years ago. It was his contention that Romano Prodi (President of the European Commission then) has to grant us free access to the Commission, so we can play Italian music there. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Of course, it`s the same with the Bulgarian (and other traditional) folklore music. While the foreigners find it attractive, it`s not what the local people listen to everyday. But it`s really exciting to see Japanese people dancing Bulgarian dances and singing in a language quite different than their.

Just sharing some observations and thoughts...

Back to the topic. I`m bored with Italian music, especially with the Neapolitan songs. I still like Nord Italian music, especially the compositions by G. Sartori.

Does anybody know the Italian Acoustic Duo Alessandro Boni - mandolin (don`t mix him up with Alessandro Bono, who is guitar player and performs with Ugo Orlandi) and Silvano Brun - guitar? I think, they deserve greater popularity - very good players, showing interest in every kind of traditional and classical music suitable for mandolin.

In the region of San Francisco you can find the duo Al (Anselmo) Fabrizio and Hugo Wainzinger, who also perform traditional Italian music. I`m not going to refer to their CD as to a "must have" or something. While I like the guitar playing, the mandolin playing on contrary is not very good. May be someone can find the arrangements interesting. I personally don`t like them very much.

Good luck!

Bob A
Dec-29-2005, 1:12am
I understand that the Neapolitan mandolin tradition was pretty much laid to rest by Mussolini and the Fascists in the 30s. Along with getting the trains to run on time, visions of folks just hanging out and playing music in the streets for tourist change were giving the Wrong Image of Italy, and it was harshly suppressed. Then too, it was not a music that was heavily supported by the upper crust; tarred with the brush of peasantry and Idle Riffraff, it was soon viewed as a potentially dangerous embarassment.

Just another service for you all by the Politically Active Culture Police.

Meanwhile, as Paul Sparks notes in his book The Classical Mandolin, Respighi was writing traditional folk melodies into his orchestral works, to great acclaim by the Powers That Be (or should I say "Were"?). I for one am tired of the vicious ironies that Life Its Ownself insists on tossing at us. Sometimes I think that Someone Up There has a twisted sense of humor.

I am given hope by Paul H's post above, and I'd be thrilled to find that there's still remnants, or more, of the old ways still extant. Most of my info is from Sparks and such, along with some input from others aware of the traditions of the region; I suspect that, like the Greek Rembetiko, the original sources were pretty well suppressed, and modern revivals might lack a certain something. I'd love to be proved wrong.

Plami's point is also significant. Folk music is not terribly challenging; it's meant to provide entertainment as dance music and in a repertoire of popular songs and such. As the conditions in which people live and assemble for the purpose of relaxation and entertainment change, some aspects become "old-fashioned", and some become impossible. With access to mass media music, few folks sit down and roll their own any more. Fortunately, much of the old traditions have been kept alive, if barely, by folklorists and musicologists, but with the gradual eroding of the way of life that gave them breath, the spark can easily flicker out. So all of you out there who believe in pixies, clap your hands . . . .

Jan-06-2006, 5:15pm
i found this website:


Jan-07-2006, 11:32pm
Mary-Is this the type of music you play? The neopolitan style was/is played by my father (who also wrote many of his own) and I learned from him at a very young age. I still enjoy it the most at 43 and am searching for a local guitar player who enjoys the same to play this music with. I play guitar also, but it's really hard to do at the same time...I also have a collection from Tony Flores on cd made for me as well as a collection of 78's with several of the greats.

Jan-08-2006, 3:17pm
rick, i wish i could say i was familiar with half those tunes as naples is where most of my family was from (we still have family there). it is something that i would like to delve into, but have been working on more of the italian aria/song stuff of late.

send me a pm. i play the guitar also. and yes, it is very hard to play both at the same time. i've tried to force my son into being my duo partner, but he is more interested in italian cars than music.

Jan-08-2006, 7:23pm
I'm not sure this is where to post this, but since it was mentioned here, I will. Could someone explain how to get the ABC tunes into the ABC Navigator? I downloaded the free Navigator, went to the site mentioned previously in this thread, but couldn't figure out how to get the tune into the Navigator to be changed into standard notation. I would be grateful for any help.

Martin Jonas
Jan-08-2006, 7:40pm
Daniel: The site I linked (here (http://members.yline.com/~zeiler1/abc_eng.html)) hosts a number of links to files with the suffix ".abc". These are just text files, each of which contains a considerable number of tunes. Right-click on these links to save the ".abc" file to your hard disk (the direct link to the Italian file is here (http://members.yline.com/~zeiler1/abc/czital.abc)).

Now launch ABC Navigator. Within the program, open the ".abc" file on your hard disk using either the "File|Open" menu or the "Open abc file" icon on the tool bar on the top of the screen, or press "CTRL-O". Once you'veopened the file, you will see a list of 72 names of tunes in the main window. Single-click on any tune and you will see the standard notation at the bottom of the screen, double-click on a tune and the program will also play it. If you experiment a bit with the menu options, you'll find that you can customise quite a bit in this program. Looking on the web, you'll find many hundreds of tune collections in abc format, so this is a very useful little program.

Good luck -- let me know if you have problems.


Jan-08-2006, 8:36pm
Martin, Thank you so much for your help. That did the trick. Thanks, again.

Jim Garber
Jan-08-2006, 11:05pm
Easy site to deal with existing abc tunes is concertina.net. They have a feature called tune-o-tron. You paste the abc code into it and it generates standard notation in gif ro pdf as well as a midi of the tune as well. Very handy.


Jim Garber
Jan-08-2006, 11:18pm
Strictly speaking, this ballo liscio music is not really folk music, i.e., it has known composers. I would say it is closer to French Cafe music AKA musette. Mazurkas, waltzes, tangos, tarantellas, etc.

Some of the old players can be heard on some 78 collections that I highly recommend: Rounder 1095 entitled Italian String Virtuosi (http://www.rounder.com/index.php?id=album.php&musicalGroupId=6936&catalog_id=5584). This mainly features Italian American players of mandolin, guitar and banjo and includes some greats ones: Giovanni Vicari; Giovanni Giovale, Bernard De Pace, Frank Fazio and others.

As a companion to that Rounder issue are two CDs on the Global Village (http://hometown.aol.com/toglobalvillage/myhomepage/) label: CD 602 L'APPUNTAMENTO - ITALIAN MANDOLIN 1 and CD 603 SPERANZE PERDUTE - ITALIAN MANDOLIN 2.

In addition, I have sheet music scans of some of these Italian as well as other period tunes on my 19th Century Tunes (http://www.paperclipdesign.com/19ctunes/) page.


Jan-12-2006, 12:46pm
don't know if this constitutes "folk" music or not but i picked up an inexpensive cd on italian ebay recently entitiled " 'a serenata 'e pulecencella ... sotto il cielo d'amalfi." it's a straight forward, mandolin/guitar duo from naples (francesco d'amato, mandolin and sergio vettore, guitar) playing the sort of songs you might expect. yes, it's a little corny and yes, it's great! recording quality is ok, the sort of thing you might/might not pick up in a supermarket bin. but as this is a DIY operation - d'amato put the disc up for auction himself - and i was curious, i plonked my money down. he wrote and thanked me even ...

just checked - there are none left on ebay now but i hope he offers them again.

torna a surriento ... 'o sole mio ... maria mari ... ahhhh ....

Plamen Ivanov
Jan-12-2006, 4:56pm
I gave up acquiring CDs like this. I have more than 20 CDs with Italian music and they are more or less the same: "Mandolins from Italy", "Mandolino Italiano", "La bella Italia", "Mandolins, Pizza and tarantella", "Oili Oila Italian Mandolin", "Srenata Italiana", etc. etc.

It`s time for us to record one of those #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Bill, enjoy your new CD! No kidding. I like the Italian music very much, but I`m so bored... O, Sole Mio, Torna Sorriento, Santa Lucia, Non ti scordar di me ... arrgghhh... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mad.gif

Good luck! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jan-12-2006, 5:50pm
more than 20! ... that says much for your dedication and your commitment - i'd have stopped at two, i think.

funny thing about a song that get played to death, so many times you simply can't bear to hear again ... after a while it suddenly sounds wonderful again. in the mp3 section on the cafe there's a great rendition of "oh suzanna" by warren malone, for example.

by definition, isn't art created by making a cliché seem new?

Jan-14-2006, 11:01pm
So true. I was teaching last summer outside of Florence and the guy, Nino, who was the cook in the villa-and "cook" hardly even gets near it-was an amateur singer. "Amateur" in the best of senses-for the love of it-. He sang "Santa Lucia" one night with piano accompaniment. Knocked me out. It was as if I never heard it before. Amazing.

I played "Vesti La Giubba" on the mando sitting on his kitchen table. He sang. I was weeping.

This trove of songs from Matt via Bruce Zweig's site is amazing. What a treasure! I'm headed to SF next break and check this out in person.

Jan-15-2006, 12:09am
Just stepped through the whole ABC set up process. Vielen danke(n?) to Martin for the links. There is even a version for Mac I'm happy to say: http://celticmusic.ca/skink.dmg.gz

The 72 dances ought to keep me busy for awhile.

It is like Christmas.

Jan-15-2006, 1:40pm
I agree with brunello97 - the Bruce Zweig site was a MAJOR find. So far I have spent a LOT of time manually transcribing songs from CDs to tab format. The Silent Fountain songs doubled my reperatoire of Italian songs in one swoop. Thanks Matt!

Jim Garber
Jan-15-2006, 9:15pm
I have the original LP of Silent Fountain and it was always a favorite, nicely done simple arrangements. I was pleased when I came across Bruce's site so I can now listen in the car.

I also recommend the two CDs by the Hot Frittatas (http://www.hotfrittatas.com/) (mentioned above) who also were involved in that same. Gus Garelick is the mandolinist/violinist and spent a fair amount of time playing with Matteo.


Jan-17-2006, 7:12pm
A bit surprise nobody knows "Un ballo liscio" by Riccardo Tesi, with Patrick Vaillant playing the mandolin, and a large band.
You can find in on amazon, with various tracks to listen.
Try for example "Mazzolin Fatale".

Such a shame the Tesi-Vaillant (accordion-mandolin) duet records are almost all sold out, as they are quite interesting on contemporary franco-italian folk music.


Paul Hostetter
Jan-17-2006, 9:00pm
I have about every recording those guys ever made, individually or separately, starting many years ago. There's a token appearance by Vaillant on the most recent Banditaliana CD, but it's a really minor contribution. I don't really know, but it seems the "new" piece may be one they had on the original pressing of Veranda many years ago. The story then was that they recorded a piece which sounded so much like Norwegian Wood that the Michael Jackson Organization (which owned the Beatles' repertoire, believe it or not) sued their record company for infringement, so the record was released with that track missing. This new one sounds quite reminiscent of Norwegian Wood, though only in the form of a musical quote I believe.

Jan-18-2006, 8:46am
The original pressing of Veranda was not because of infringement of Norwegian Wood, but because Patrick was singing "Nina", translation in occitan of "Girl"... And it is strictly forbiddent to translate any of the Beatles' songs... Such a shame, because Sauvaigo's work on this title was great, and the song is good (I've heard it live...).
I will ask Riccardo next time about 'Norwegian Wood', as, as far as I know, Patrick 's contribution is really minor, yes !
But the duet restarted playing in concert, and there may be something new in 2006 (apart from Vaillant's solo album and Tesi's new work...).


Paul Hostetter
Jan-18-2006, 2:11pm
Celine, you're right, I remember that now. It's been a long time. I'd be interested to know if there was any intentional thematic connection between that little debacle and the recent Beatle theme. Good to know Tesi and Vaillant are working together again. If you know of any bootlegs of Nina, I'd love to hear it!

Jan-18-2006, 6:18pm

I have it somewhere, on a video... I have to try and find some time to encode it etc. and I always lack time, but if I manage, I'll tell you.

I'll ask Riccardo next time, don't know when, but I'll ask !

Jan-23-2006, 8:23pm
I followed Jim Garber's advice to the Rounder Records "Italian String Virtuosi" It is quite full of interesting performances.

Of note of first listening is a great duet by Manello e Tripoli of a song "Aida" played as a mazurka.

I don't know my Verdi as I suppose I should (it is definitely not Elton John...) Can anyone help out here? Is this from the opera done up mazurka style?

Scores for the opera itself are available. Any ideas about the score for this piece from those having heard it?

thanks for any help.


Jim Garber
Jan-23-2006, 10:02pm
I don't think that this piece has much to do with the Verdi opera. I have the sheet music for it for 2 mandolins and guitars, and it is credited to V. Cesarino.

If you want, PM me and I can send it to you. If enough folks are interested, I can post it on my tune page (http://www.paperclipdesign.com/19ctunes/). In fact, I have transcribed the other Manello and Tripoli tune, a polka called Calbrisella Mia, on that page.


Jan-23-2006, 11:01pm

Thanks for this offer. I sent a PM (my first) and got sort of a cryptic post-sending page from the board, referencing someone elses mail. I don't know if mine actually went through to you. If not, please let me know.

But yes, thank you for the offer, I'd greatly appreciate it. As might others. Your tune page is a serious bit of work and a great resource. I appreciate your generosity.


Jan-24-2006, 8:47am
Jim--I add my thanks to Mick's for the resources on your tunes page.

Please count me as an interested party (for the Aida trio.)


Jim Garber
Jan-27-2006, 11:54pm
Here (http://www.sonic.net/~lincolns/folios/) is another page with some Italian (and other) sheet music.


Jan-29-2006, 9:18pm
Thanks, Jim! Working up Cavallerizzi now.

"Jolly" is a term which might not translate DIRECTLY from the Italian....LOL

Feb-08-2006, 2:33pm
Gee Guys, thanks for the compliments! I do have about six cassettes left--given to me by Gino di Michele--guitarist on Fontana Muta with Matteo. I'm trying to get the master so that it can be brought back in a better quality. I'm hesitant about selling them now because when they're gone, they're gone. Bruce copied some tunes on CDs for the "Mattinata di Matteo" band a while ago..but I don't know that they're avail. Plus as Paul said Tony Flores' CDs are avail. too. Lisa (his youngest daughter) has given me permission to publicize her father's 2 CDs; you can order them directly from her laflores99@yahoo.com #That should satisfy a few of you out there. #BTW, I will have the 2nd edition avail. & it contains all the tunes on Fontana Muta & on Tony's CDs as well. #Sheri

Feb-11-2006, 1:42am

I'm Bruce Zweig, the guy with the tribute site for 'Silent Fountain' (at http://www.brucezweig.com/music/matteo/). I'm glad that you folks were able to find the site and enjoy the music.

Some history: the original album and casette had 13 songs that were recorded in a studio with Matteo Casserino on mandolin and Gino diMichelle on guitar, as well as some really great players on other mandolin family instruments (I think mandola and mandocello) which made the sound wonderful. Matteo gave me a tape with some other tracks from the session and some other recordings as well as well, and I digitized them all (and fixed the pitch and got rid of some noise) and made a CD with 23 tracks total. Matteo was able to sell the CD when we played together at the Trieste (my girlfriend at the time was taking a digital arts class, and made a great jewel case liner for the CD). They're all available in mp3 format on the site, and I think the 256 kbps versions are pretty much as good as a CD would be (though I'd be glad to burn a CD for anyone who desires it).

The site has scans of transcriptions prepared by Marc Wiman (who was playing piano at the Trieste at the time) as well. I'll be copying them into Sielius over the next couple of weeks, and the new charts should be available around March 1.

If anyone is interested in getting together to play some of these, let me know.


Martin Jonas
Feb-11-2006, 9:48am

Good to hear from you, and welcome to the Cafe! I've loved your web site ever since I found it a year ago (thanks again, Paul Hostetter!), and I've been playing Marc Wiman's transcriptions ever since. They're great fun to play, especially on old Italian bowlbacks for that shimmering bright tone. I gave a copy of the transcriptions and the CD to my mother, too, and she's been playing them pretty much incessantly for months on her bowlback. I recently got a copy of Sheri's book (welcome to the Cafe, too, Sheri!), and that adds a vast number of tunes to that sort of repertoire, but your site was the start for me.

Thanks again, and keep up the good work!


Feb-15-2006, 7:28pm
The second edition of Mandolin Melodies is available now. My Webpage (http://www.zighibaci.com) #I have 140 dances now (20 more than the first edition). #About 40 are arranged for 2 mandolins. #The new edition sells for $34.95 but mandolincafe members get it for $25. (same with the Salami book). #It's just my way of thanking Scott Techinor for all his hard work! #Sheri

Feb-15-2006, 10:15pm
I just received Sheri's "Mandolin Melodies" (forgot to ask for my MC discount. LOL) I recommend it highly. It is a great resource for sure and a nice piece of scholarship and dedication. I'm looking for an interested guitarist and I'm saving up for the Salami book. Yes, I keep a mandolin in the kitchen now....

Feb-28-2006, 7:07pm
I agree with brunello97 - the Bruce Zweig site was a MAJOR find. #So far I have spent a LOT of time manually transcribing songs from CDs to tab format. #The Silent Fountain songs doubled my reperatoire of Italian songs in one swoop. #Thanks Matt!
hey, got 8 strings.?...nearly all of the tunes on Bruce's website are in my 2nd edition of Mandolin Melodies. Not tablature...I don't have time to do that but it may save you a lot of time since I learned them from all the mando masters in SF, including Matteo so please visit me at www.zighibaci.com The Mando Melodies (2nd ed) is $34.95 40 of the 140 dances are arranged for 2 mandos. and please check out my new history book, Mandolins, Like Salami. It's about Italian-American mandolinists--the last of the great first generation mandolinists just passed away last Friday, Gino Pellegrini. He's in the final chapter...and the book, BTW, is dedicated to him and his wife, Josephine.

Feb-28-2006, 7:11pm

I'm Bruce Zweig, the guy with the tribute site for 'Silent Fountain' (at http://www.brucezweig.com/music/matteo/). #I'm glad that you folks were able to find the site and enjoy the music. #

Some history: #the original album and casette had 13 songs that were recorded in a studio with Matteo Casserino on mandolin and Gino diMichelle on guitar, as well as some really great players on other mandolin family instruments (I think mandola and mandocello) which made the sound wonderful. #Matteo gave me a tape with some other tracks #from the session and some other recordings as well as well, and I digitized them all (and fixed the pitch and got rid of some noise) and made a CD with 23 tracks total. #Matteo was able to sell the CD when we played together at the Trieste (my girlfriend at the time was taking a digital arts class, and made a great jewel case liner for the CD). #They're all available in mp3 format on the site, and I think the 256 kbps versions are pretty much as good as a CD would be (though I'd be glad to burn a CD for anyone who desires it).

The site has scans of transcriptions prepared by Marc Wiman (who was playing piano at the Trieste at the time) as well. #I'll be copying them into Sielius over the next couple of weeks, and the new charts should be available around March 1.

If anyone is interested in getting together to play some of these, let me know.

Hey Bruce,
Wyman's were all transcribed (and corrected) in my mando melodies book--just to save you some time...do you want permission to publish my transcribed arrangements on your website? Sheri

Feb-28-2006, 10:16pm

Your book is on my list of must-have items for this year - you will be hearing from me for sure! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Mar-26-2006, 10:36pm
I'd like to thank Sheri again for the great resource that Mandolin Melodies has been. It has gotten me through another cold winter. Forgive me, as I know this may not be the right forum to raise this, but I am thinking about getting an accordion to learn some of these songs as well.

Any mandolinists who double on accordion or vice versa?

So many italian accordions pass by on ebay. Any recommendations on makers? Please PM with any help. It would be appreciated...

And another request:

Can anyone steer me towards the sheet music for "Quando caliente al sol" from Fontana Muta?



Mar-27-2006, 2:03am
Try the english title "Love Me with All Of Your Heart". It's a quite popular song.

Mar-27-2006, 9:02am
Thanks, Charlie. An interesting title "translation". Who woulda thought.....


Jim Garber
Mar-27-2006, 9:53am
So many italian accordions pass by on ebay.
Not to get into too much detail on this. I would just say: you know how almost every eBay mandolin purchase I have made has also entailed at least moderate luthier expense to make the mandolin playable? Accordions -- esp old ones -- are Pandora boxes. Who knows what lurks in the insides of these? It is also very expensive to tune one to pitch.


Mar-27-2006, 10:13am
A warning well taken. I've had a lucky one or two ebay mandolins play right outthebox but, yes, most require some if not a lot of repair/set up. A couple have been real disasters. Maybe a trip to Castiglione would be more sensible. Anyhow, I am getting the bug again...

Plamen Ivanov
Mar-27-2006, 10:33am
Hello Mick,

I have an accordion. It`s not Italian. It`s a German "Weltmeister", 40 basses. I inherited it from my grandparents and I brought it to a luthier (i`m not sure that luthier is the right word, when it`s about accordions) who tuned it for my girlfriend, who were about to play it for children in a kindergarden, where she was teaching music, but there was a piano, so she didn`t play it in fact. So, the accordion is in an excellent condition (with case). I was never thinking of selling it, but it just gathers dust at home. It`s better if someone can use it. If you are interested, I can send some pictures.


Apr-13-2006, 12:17pm
Well, Uncle Sam and the IRS have implied that I may not be buying an accordion in the near future....

So back to my ongoing obsession:

I am looking for the sheet music for 'Idillio Primaverile' by Giovanni Giovale (seems appropriate this week) as recorded on the "Italian String Virtuosi" and the "Traversata" disks.

It isn't in Sheri's great compendium and I wonder if someone at the Cafe has the music and would be willing to share.

Jim came through awhile back with "Aida" from the ISV disk for which I am greatful again each time I play it. I am a sucker for those Minor to Major to Minor key shifts.

Thanks in advance for any help!


Paul Hostetter
Apr-13-2006, 12:30pm
Everyone I know who plays that just learned it by ear from the 78. But Terence Pender is planning on releasing a new book with the charts for that and some other juicy tunes: http://www.music.columbia.edu/~mando/HTML/PenderWeb-6.html Scroll down a bit.

Apr-13-2006, 2:21pm
Thanks, Paul. I know I need to buck up and improve my learn-by-ear process. That has always been a tough thing for me. I gave up TAB to force myself to learn to read music and now that I have, I am realizing that is another (albeit more enabling) crutch.

I have Terrence Pender's earlier collection of Italian tunes. Maybe if I find a 78 rpm copy before the Spring is over and play it at 33 rpm it will be slow enough for me to learn by ear (transposing keys of course!)


Jim Garber
Apr-13-2006, 4:00pm
Giovale published a slim folio of some tunes, one of which was Costumi Siciliani. 'Idillio Primaverile' was not among those tunes and I have not seen the sheet music for it.


Jul-11-2007, 8:16am
I couldn't find the earlier discussion viz Tony Flores' Ricordo di San Vito so I'll relaunch it here. I recently received a copy from Lisa Flores and it has been daily knocking me out. Thanks to those who passed along the recommendation.

Now that I've outgrown my 'heroic architect' period, Caruso has replaced the "Emperor's Concerto" in advance of my daily engagement with the NYSubway or Houston traffic. In such context (or others less challenging) Tony's version of 'Mattinata' is sublime.

A great companion piece is his version of 'Tra Veglia e Sonno' here confusingly (or purposefully!) mis-translated as 'between work and dreaming'--which is just the way that I spend the first hour or so of the day. So the soundtrack is well sync-ed.

Lots of other rare and familiar melodies. Great great stuff.


Jim Garber
Jul-11-2007, 7:31pm
I have another home-produced CD by Tony dated 1985 called "The Happy Mandolin". It is subtitled "Canciónes Latinas" and has all Mexican tunes with Billy Packard on guitar and bass. I can't recall where I bought it but I am sure that Lisa or Paul would know where to get it, if still available.


Jul-12-2007, 10:30am
I picked up a CD by Voyager, "Italian Mandolins" last weekend in a little store in Door County WI.
There are no liner notes on the tunes or who played them
but it sounded good to me. Orchestra arrangements of
1. O Sole Mio
2. Carnival of Venice
3. Quando Quando
4. Parlani D'Amore, Mariu
5. The Woodpecker Song
6. Violetta
7. Il Bacio
8. Cavalleria Rusticana
9. Dicenticello Vuie
10. Una Sera Napoli
11. Neapolitan Dance
12.Forget Domani
13. Tarantella
14. Capriccio Italienne
15. La Mattinata

Paul Hostetter
Jul-12-2007, 5:59pm
'Tra Veglia e Sonno' here confusingly (or purposefully!) mis-translated as 'between work and dreaming'

It's not mistranslated at all. It's Sicilian dialect. In modern Italian, it would be "Fra lavoro e sonno' but the southern dialects are closer to Portuguese, which would read "Entre o trabalho e o sono."

'Tra is an abbreviated version of entre, meaning between.

Veglia is another abbreviation, from the root word for work, morphed a bit into travail in English. From middle Latin for really hard work (beyond labor).

Sonno is from the Latin somnus - sleep - and shares the cognate with our somnabulant: sleepy. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif

Glad you like the CD. There are only a few left (I have maybe 5) and we're working on sorting out copyright issues before we press more.

Jul-12-2007, 7:03pm
Kind of a Bill Murray moment I guess. Veglia is related to the verb vegliare (which roughly means to be attentive or keep an eye over) close but not to be confused with vigilare (which roughly means to keep an eye out for.) Veglia simply means wake or awake. Kind of a simple meaning like Ockham's Razor suggests: The liminal state between awake and asleep. Pretty poetic. No reason to confound the profundity of a common expression. Sono 'tra veglia e sono. Seems like a case where a literal translation actually confuses (or at least dilutes) the meaning. "Between work and sleep"??....sounds pretty bland. (Though I feel that way again now at the end of the work day.) #But of course ringing in my ears are my italian teachers telling me that only idiots translate idioms...and here I go.

Good to hear the disc may resume production-it's well recorded with v nice arrangements, clean clean playing. It is a must-have.


Jul-13-2007, 11:04pm
It's been a while...I seemed to have misplaced my brain! ha. but wnated to say that I have Gioviale's "Album di 8 Ballabili Scelti" with the "Serate Primaverile" (it's a waltz) I don't know if it's the same as "Idillo Primaverile." #I've made some transcriptions from the album. If this is the one, let me know. I can also scan it if someone needs it but the solfeggio chords may confuse if you don't know the Italian.
Also, to join in about Tra Veglia--Someone mistyped it on Tony's CD and changed it from "Waking" to "Working". The first time Tony heard it was as a child--watching his parents dance to it when he was about 8, c. 1920. #Sheri

Jim Garber
Jul-13-2007, 11:29pm
Hi Sheri:
I have that same folio. Sorry "Idilio" is a completely different tune. Carlo plays is on Traversata (http://www.acousticdisc.com/acd_html/acd47.html) and he learned it (probably) from the original or from the reissue on Rounder Italian String Virtuosi (http://www.rounder.com/index.php?id=album.php&musicalGroupId=6933&catalog_id=5584) which is where I first heard it.


Jul-14-2007, 9:44am
Sheri-Thanks to Tony (and Paul's) cd, and your transcription of Mattinata, I'm waking up (sto mi svegliando) to play out my Caruso moment this morning. Funny, I was just listening to by pal Glover Gil's soundtrack to Waking Life (set in HT Austin, dove la vita sono sempre 'tra veglia e sonno.) I enjoy the 'between work and sleep' malaprop though alot. Che cos'e 'tra lavoro e sonno? Pranzo, of course!

I do have a couple transcriptions of Idilio if you'd like one to compare with Serate. I'm sure you have much better resources than I, but give a shout if you are at all interested.


Jim Garber
Jul-15-2007, 4:06pm
I just checked my files and Idilio Primaverile (http://www.federmandolino.it/gioviale.htm) is on the FMI site for 3 mandolins + guitar (along with a few others and some mp3s as well. Thanks, Mike!!


Paul Hostetter
Jul-18-2007, 12:03am
"Between work and sleep"??....sounds pretty bland. (Though I feel that way again now at the end of the work day.) But of course ringing in my ears are my italian teachers telling me that only idiots translate idioms...and here I go.

I wasn't making my translation up with a dictionary in hand, I was set straight by a number of people from Sicily and from Naples. I believe them, and can't buy your translation. Sorry. The point of that title is it's the only time in the day to play music and dance.

Jim Garber
Jul-18-2007, 8:00am
Perhaps it is some sort of idiom or else, Paul you misheard thru the accent (multiple times?).

Definition of Veglia (http://www.wordreference.com/iten/veglia)


Jul-18-2007, 8:31am
"Between work and sleep"??....sounds pretty bland. (Though I feel that way again now at the end of the work day.) #But of course ringing in my ears are my italian teachers telling me that only idiots translate idioms...and here I go.

I wasn't making my translation up with a dictionary in hand, I was set straight by a number of people from Sicily and from Naples. I believe them, and can't buy your translation. Sorry. The point of that title is it's the only time in the day to play music and dance.
I enjoy the "only time to play and dance" idea but your previous etymology was pretty tortured, however interesting.

svegliarsi is a reflective verb meaning to wake oneself up. It is quite an unnecessary stretch to turn this into "work" or such. Vegliare shares the same root, as does veglia. # Pretty straightforward meaning. If you are familiar with Italian, there are tons of idiomatic expressions around this concept-- awaken(ing).

(The Latin root you were looking for to tie travail to this actually relates to another word and concept altogether-the old Italian travaglio-and in Spanish trabajo-rather than to vegliare-which has it own separate sourcing. The word travaglio is actually related to an early idea of torture-hence my initial pun-and while waking up is often torturous for me, the word veglia remains completely unrelated.

....Except when one thinks of an oral tradition (the old version of CD liner notes, maybe?.)#It is fascinating to consider 'tra veglia morphing back and forth from travaglio.

One doesn't need a dictionary to work through this, (mi sveglio ogni giorni) just a knowledge of Italian and perhaps experience living and working (and listening and talking) there.

FWIW, I'm with Sheri on this one -as well as my buddy Gus Garelick, whose violin take on Tra Veglia is flat out dangerous to listen to while driving.

No apologies necessary, hombre. I'm not trying to convince you of anything. You can believe what you want to believe from whatever source you like, Sicilian or otherwise. (However, we do have a 90 y.o. Sicilian neighbor across from our house in Liguria and he does have his own way with words....) It is a great tune no matter how the translation 'evolves.' Besides, it's your recording, and notes, I suppose. #There, you can call all the shots you want.


Paul Hostetter
Jul-20-2007, 12:22am
You guys insist on wanting to rely on Italian as the source of the title, but the title is not in Italian. It's in dialect. No one mistyped anything in those notes. The title came directly off the original sheet music:


And the translation came from Tony and a committee. I went around the block about the translation for years too. The torture was listening to Tony and his wife Lori and a woman from Naples hash out what it really meant. Lori (who's also from Sicily) dug in for the 'waking,' but the woman from Naples corroborated Tony's take on the 'working' translation. I was rooting for Lori, I thought it was less poetic, but hey, they're from there.


Jul-20-2007, 7:27am
The reason many folks want to rely on Italian for understanding this title is because it is a very common expression in Italy. It is not solely used in Sicilia, Napoli or anywhere else. True, regional dialects exist all throughout the country but over there meaning is not confused about this expression. No committees needed. And while dictionaries hold no water here, it is probably in any size Langensheidt you pick up.

This whole conversation was getting kind of weird for me (and in my line of work there are a LOT of weird conversations.) I contacted a friend of mine, Grazia Badino, in Firenze who I've taught with a number of times at the Uni there. She directed me to a colleague of hers (in the Psychology dept.) who does work in hypnosis. Here is a link to a course syllabus of his:

http://www.psico.unifi.it/upload....106.pdf (http://www.psico.unifi.it/upload/sub/Programmi0706/SpSperimentale/Ipnologia_106.pdf)

What is very interesting is that his studies differentiate between 'tra veglia e sonno and 'tra sonno e veglia. Both are pretty magical times. (As is any time before or after work-which is something I would do well to daily keep in mind.) He may be confusing the meaning, too, but, like Quasimodo, I've got a hunch.

Thanks for the additional dots for the song. The 'tra veglia/travaglio thing has had me whistling all week. I've been listening to this 16 part (hours!) podcast on the history of English. This kind of word morphing-meaning morphing is really interesting to me. Tony Flores must have been an amazing guy. Easily understandable to want to go with what he wanted.

Doug (Sahm) and Augie used to do a take on Bob Wills: "Roads of Sand and Stone." Not as deep as this one, but I'm still cleaning my ears over it.

Ugh. The time between sonno e lavoro is just about up.....


Jim Garber
Jul-20-2007, 8:42am
Another vote from Roma (my friend and fellow mandolinist Gino di Rosa):

The "Tra veglia e sonno" (or "Dormiveglia") means in english "In a doze" (or "Half asleep", "Drowsiness").


Jul-20-2007, 10:59am
"The title came directly off the original sheet music:"

Is there a 2nd mandolin part for this?

Jim Garber
Jul-20-2007, 11:06am
I most likely have that part also, if Paul doesn't. I just have to look thru my piles of sheet music.


Jul-20-2007, 11:10am
That would be great, if posted.
I am assuming just 1st and 2nd and guitar exist. ??

Jim Garber
Jul-20-2007, 7:50pm
Is there a 2nd mandolin part for this?
I posted a pdf with all three parts to this tune at my Old Tunes site (http://www.paperclipdesign.com/19ctunes/). Scroll down to the bottom of the page for that one. There are a few other interesting Italian tunes as well as other stuff from the same period.


Jul-20-2007, 8:10pm
Thanks, Jim, for posting this. I'm excited about learning the second mandolin part. Con sentimento for sure.


Jul-21-2007, 7:24am
thanks Jim!

Aug-01-2007, 10:55pm
Paul's got a point. I enjoyed reading about the debate w/ tony's wife. it may not be a typo (working-waking) but I don't know about the title as derived from Sicilian dialect. Canoro (Canora) composed it and gave it its title; he was northern Italian. I doubt that di Bella would have renamed Canora's title to fit his own Sicialian dialect. Matteo believed it meant 'between waking and dreaming' Sogno =dream...so if sonno is as Paul suggested, a cognate of somnumbulist, then what we have here is a sleep-walking mandolinist. LOL Actually, "tra la veglia e la sonno" is an idiomatic phrase for "half awake" So this title is abbreviated from that phrase I believe. I think it's time to put this topic to rest..rather to sleep.