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Thread: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

  1. #1
    Shayan Givehchian
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    Default Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Hey guys
    Does anybody else feel like the Italian side and heritage of the mandolin is being forgotten and overshadowed by say bluegrass and Irish music ??
    I consider it to be a huge part of the mandolin music and has much larger share that the attention it's getting.
    I never see top tier non Italian players go into those territories and it kind of bothers me.
    I mean wouldn't you like to see Chris Thile doing a killer arrangement of one of those tarantellas?
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Carlo Aonzo, one example:

    Jim

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    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Have one Italian mandolin album that is smooth, mellow, and no overkill of tremolo. Does that count?
    Tremolo is nice if not overdone, and those that play EVERYTHING in tremolo discourages purchasing. Did get one album by some famous Danish-Australian mandolin player named Kurt Jensen. He sort of over does the whole Tremolo thing but he also does not drown out the rest of the ensemble doing that so I added his album to my growing collection.

    Could be a region specific thing where perhaps there is more romance involved in courtship and there are gondolas for such endeavors, or in big cities with parks big enough for such a thing.
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    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Carlo Aonzo, one example:
    https://youtu.be/HiNEyI1PF6w
    LOL - That mandolin player sure was having a ball
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    Shayan Givehchian
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Listen to this mandolin orchestra arrangement of the Godfather Medley.
    I get chills everytime
    https://youtu.be/-UOPEGR3U50
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Depends what perspective you're coming from I guess.

    I see and hear a lot of Italian mandolin music.

    Tremolo is an important part of Italian mandolin playing, and possibly the reason a mandolin has double-course strings.

    Carlo Aonzo is a modern legend and has dozens of YouTube videos to explore in many styles (including bluegrass).

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  12. #7
    Shayan Givehchian
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Actually the in my background (I'm Iranian) every one here is somewhat familiar with the Italian sound of the mandolin. Like no one knows what a mandolin is but when you play them like torna a surriento they all go like oh so that's the instrument that makes that sound. But listening to mandolin players from the states most of them don't approach it or maybe even try to incorporate it in new styles.
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Bren View Post

    Tremolo is an important part of Italian mandolin playing, and possibly the reason a mandolin has double-course strings.

    .
    I think the reason for the double course stings is volume. Historically there have been many double course instruments that were not played with a tremolo.

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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Ge23ev View Post
    Hey guys
    Does anybody else feel like the Italian side and heritage of the mandolin is being forgotten and overshadowed by say bluegrass and Irish music ??
    I have felt that way for decades.

    Bluegrass is wonderful.

    But the mandolin is capable of so much more music than that!

    Being Sicilian-American, I have often wondered this very thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by James Miller View Post
    Have one Italian mandolin album that is smooth, mellow, and no overkill of tremolo. Does that count?
    Tremolo is nice if not overdone, and those that play EVERYTHING in tremolo discourages purchasing..
    There is no way to overuse tremolo when playing Italian music....well ALMOST no way!

    "one Italian mandolin album that is smooth, mellow, and no overkill of tremolo."

    Are you sure it's recorded by an Italian?

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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    I read somewhere,that when you add a second course,it increases the volume by something like 3 or 4 db..

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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Italian music is not forgotten here in Asheville, Mike Guggino and Barrett Smith play here and in Brevard once a month as their Steep Canyon Rangers tour schedule allows. Fantastic stuff !!!

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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Quote Originally Posted by T.D.Nydn View Post
    I read somewhere,that when you add a second course,it increases the volume by something like 3 or 4 db..
    Technically, 3 db IS a doubling of volume, or at least a doubling of the power imparted to/by the moving air. In actual usage, it takes about 10 decibels for us inaccurate mortals to perceive a "doubling" of volume. Which sort of explains why you have to play ten times harder to be heard as "'twice" as loud.
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    I think there is room for the mandolin in many styles but Italian is possibly best. To use these very high priced mandolins in bluegrass as mostly percussive always seems a bit of a waste although without the percussive rhythm, you're in trouble. Occassionally you get no mandolin break which makes it worse.
    I tend to think the faster tunes are served better by fiddle, accordion and tenor banjo in Irish. Now a bluegrass waltz can find the mandolin really coming into it's own. Butch Baldassari's version of Frank Wakefield's 'Waltz in the bluegrass' is great.

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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    There is no way to overuse tremolo when playing Italian music....well ALMOST no way!
    "one Italian mandolin album that is smooth, mellow, and no overkill of tremolo."
    Are you sure it's recorded by an Italian?
    Unsure to be honest. Was a group called Tuscan Trio: Guitar, Mandolin, and Concertina. They sound great together.
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    OP writing from Iran , Cool ! planning a trip to Italy ??
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Bluegrass and Irish both have significant modern traditions of amateur gatherings, which in turn probably popularize those styles just enough for some elite players to make a living at it. It also keeps a 'canon' going of tunes and songs that everybody learns to get started.

    Italian mandolin music doesn't have that culture here, at least not to my knowledge. Maybe in Italy?

  26. #17
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Quote Originally Posted by SincereCorgi View Post
    Bluegrass and Irish both have significant modern traditions of amateur gatherings, which in turn probably popularize those styles just enough for some elite players to make a living at it. It also keeps a 'canon' going of tunes and songs that everybody learns to get started.
    Right, the amateur communal gatherings vs. solo performance might be part of it. Also, Irish/Scottish music benefit from the USA immigrant diaspora that moved out of the cities (which Italians didn't, as much) and into areas like the Appalachian mountains, where you get crossover from old English/Irish/Scottish tunes and songs evolving through OldTime and Bluegrass.

    You can hear some version of Jolly Beggar Man/Red Haired Boy in an Irish session, an OldTime jam, or a Bluegrass jam. Italian tunes and songs reamained more city-bound; associated in the public mind with Opera or Italian Restaurant music. A specialized "ethnic" style like Greek music or Spanish Flamenco. Not something you'd play on the front porch with a guitar, fiddle, and banjo.

    Irish trad also got a lift in the 60's folk revival with groups like Planxty and the Bothy Band, where songs in English were combined with trad instrumentals. That probably helped establish the large worldwide session scene we have today. Italian music never got that kind of exposure, for whatever reason.

    On the other hand, the Italians did much better than the Irish in spreading their food culture, so that's something.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    There was a point decades ago when in urban areas like San Francisco and New York there were concentrations of Italians who would get together to play the ballo liscio music. I don’t know too many in New York City — many have moved away to the suburbs or to warmer climes to retire— but there is still an active Italian music scene in San Francisco centered at Caffe Trieste. Sheri Mignano, Matt Vuksinich and other Mandolin Cafe denizens. There are quite a few other players on the Cafe who also dabble in this music like David Brown, Mick Kennedy, Martin Jonas, Michael Reichenbach and myself. Many years ago a good friend of mine found a sizeable group of Italian retirees in Albuquerque, NM who played together regularly. Sometimes you just have to look a bit harder to find them.

    Come to think of it: I would ask the OP how prevalent Italian music is in Iran as well as how many Iranian musicians play Persian music on the Mandolin?
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  29. #19
    Shayan Givehchian
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Not really right now. I did a trip to Sicily a few years ago but that was before i started to play the mandolin. So I missed out on a chance to play some cool bowlbacks there. Might go again soon though.
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    Shayan Givehchian
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    To be fairly honest the mandolin isn't very popular here in Iran and most people haven't heard of it. They have heard what it sound like on tracks like the Godfather or famous Italian movie scores.
    There's only one Iranian artist I know of who plays the mandolin who is originally a guitar/violin player and he mostly does like pop music and uses it as kind of a exotic sound. If I were to count the people who I know that play the mandolin it wouldn't reach more than five. And they are like all fiddle players and they don't really play that well. I've been playing about 2 years and I can play better than most. You can use the mandolin for Iranian music but like all other instrument you're better off with a purpose made instrument. You need really loose strings for intense trills and quarter step notes for Iranian music. It's doable but not ideal. Check out some tracks from maestro Hossein Alizadeh playing the Tar if you want some great persian music
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    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Ge23ev View Post
    Hey guys
    Does anybody else feel like the Italian side and heritage of the mandolin is being forgotten and overshadowed by say bluegrass and Irish music ??
    I consider it to be a huge part of the mandolin music and has much larger share that the attention it's getting.
    I never see top tier non Italian players go into those territories and it kind of bothers me.
    I mean wouldn't you like to see Chris Thile doing a killer arrangement of one of those tarantellas?
    Not if I can help it! It's always the main mandolin music in my head...

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    To put it in perspective: Mandolin is a minority instrument compared to, say, guitar or piano. Bluegrass, at least in the US, of the genres played on the mandolin might be the most identifiable to the instrument since that was Bill Monroe’s main one. But in many of the other genres — Old Time, Celtic/ITM classical, blues, ragtime, etc. mandolin really is a minority instrument. Fiddle is much more seen in OT, classical and ITM. Even in the old days I think accordion was more popular in the Italian-American communities than mandolin.
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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    I mean wouldn't you like to see Chris Thile doing a killer arrangement of one of those tarantellas?
    Chris Thile doing a tarantella would be quite interesting.
    But as long as he doesn't play one, I enjoy tarantellas played by other mandolin players:
    ( and there's a lot of them...)

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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Ge23ev View Post
    Hey guys
    Does anybody else feel like the Italian side and heritage of the mandolin is being forgotten and overshadowed by say bluegrass and Irish music ??
    I consider it to be a huge part of the mandolin music and has much larger share that the attention it's getting.
    And then there's also Iranian mandolin by Onik:



    I have a record of his that's even better, but cannot find a way to post it right now.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...php?47350-Onik

    a mention in another thread

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Italian Mandolin music being forgotten ???

    Italian mandolin lovers are in luck! Brian Oberlin, my teacher and consummate virtuoso, has worked up maybe 15+ Italian pieces. You can buy the album here: https://www.mandoberlin.com/music-projects-cds.php

    I really lucked out, though, in that I was at a house concert where he played them ALL. They were so beautiful, nobody even breathed -- the audience was so silent you could have heard a proverbial pin drop. Beautiful, beautiful!

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