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Thread: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

  1. #26
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by jaycat View Post
    This is the source of my confusement. I don't know about that other stuff.
    My guess - and this is only a guess - is that the OP asked a member other than the guitarist/mandolinist about that person's decision-making process. (Of course, if he had asked the musician in question that question directly, instead of chatting with the young lady, he may have received a more illuminating response.) Or it could be that the g/m is a cross-dresser or gender-bender. Or that it was a typo.

    Perhaps like "confusement." I like your new word. It gives me some amusement. (Not to say "amusion.")
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    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post

    Perhaps like "confusement." I like your new word. It gives me some amusement. (Not to say "amusion.")
    Some years ago, when D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was being questioned by the press about one of his 'adventures,' he replied: "This is where the confusement has set in." I've been repeating that "declension" for so long it's become second nature.

    I realize this is somewhat off-topic, though.

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    I dunno. Sometimes around here, confusement IS the topic, or becomes it. Sure can be fun - however.

    Just to take my meander regarding atypical cello usage a bit further ... I looked up the aforementioned Ms Lanman, wondering what had become of her. I found an interview from 2005, upon the occasion of doing a couple reunion shows. Seems she had been forced to retire from touring due to an unspecified problem with her hand and shoulder (doesn't even say which ones). She now lives in Seoul and is either a dietitian or yoga teacher. There are two vid clips from the reunion, one soft and folky ("Doubled Up"), the other hard and rocky ("Walk This World"). As everyone knows, the latter is one of Ms Nova's big hits, was her breakthrough, actually, and Ms Lanman takes a nice little ride on it at 2:10.



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  5. #29
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    You might have to wear some "native costume" from somewhere nobody can pronounce, and play in front of several young girls dancing in over bright decorated dresses next to a flag. You might have to wear some bells.)
    You forgot to mention scrolls.
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  6. #30

    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    My guess - and this is only a guess - is that the OP asked a member other than the guitarist/mandolinist about that person's decision-making process.
    I think I made it clear that that is exactly what I did. I do not know the guitarist/mandolinist. I have only ever seen him on stage. The group member I asked is the one who I know personally.
    In the second movement, not too heavy on the banjos. Eric Morecambe

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    I thought you did, too. I was being a bit sarcastic and tweaking jaycat goodnaturedly. Sorry if you caught a ricochet; not my intention. I generally prefer to assume a writer has meant what he said, and that was how I read it. These little words - pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions - do have intrinsic meaning and affect meaning by their definitions, usage, and context. I proposed two other interpretations for frivolity's sake only. We do kid each other a fair amount here, as I hope you understand.
    Last edited by journeybear; Dec-17-2014 at 9:09am.
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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Of course, I totally agree that any type of music can be played and played well on the mandolin ( see Jeff Bird ), but I wonder if this common assertion (mandolin = folk or traditional music) has some basis in music theory.

    When one thinks about it, pretty much all rock & country songs have been written on an instrument tuned in fourths with an interval of a third (the guitar), while many (most?) folk, traditional, and roots stringed instrument songs can be traced back to an instrument tuned in fifths (fiddle).

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    I don't agree, but then I am on record on that score, as believing what you stated in the first half pf your opening sentence. A lot of folk songs got their start on something much older than either guitar or mandolin - lute and lyre - played by minstrels, who spread their popularity the old-fashioned way, bringing them from town to town as they traveled. They thus became known throughout regions, and were passed down by the oral tradition, and have become embedded in folk traditions over the ages.

    Recent history also refutes your premise. The folk scare of the late 1950s-early 1960s was driven by acoustic guitar. Almost all those songs which now form the basis of modern folk music were written and played on guitars. I can't speak to the theory aspect of your premise, but I believe it is a much less important factor than the sociological ones.

    And also, for the rock side of this, a great many songs that formed the basis of rock were written on piano, by professional songwriters working in the Brill Building and elsewhere, then given to producers to produce and singers to sing. That is, until Buddy Holly and then The Beatles came along and ruined it all.
    Last edited by journeybear; Dec-17-2014 at 9:09am.
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  12. #34
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post
    I totally agree that any type of music can be played and played well on the mandolin
    Well, maybe not any. You should have tried to impress this man by walking up to him, mandolin in hand, and trying to play Wagner. I'd really have enjoyed the fireworks
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post

    When one thinks about it, pretty much all rock & country songs have been written on an instrument tuned in fourths with an interval of a third (the guitar), while many (most?) folk, traditional, and roots stringed instrument songs can be traced back to an instrument tuned in fifths (fiddle).
    Fascinating.

    But I think it won't hold up to the evidence. Most obviously all of the folk music that appeared first on guitar. But in addition, much of the traditional music either pre-existed the violin or is evolved from music that pre-existed the violin.

    But it is a fascinating idea. Is there something about how an instrument is layed out that predetermines the genres in which it will predominate.

    I more likely - mandolin, fiddle, things in fifths, are so easily understood, the note locations being very rational and the internal symmetries making exploration so straight forward - probably makes these kinds of instruments great for tunes and melodies. Guitars, with their great range, less intuitive uneven string intervals, are perhaps more likely to be learned, at least at first, as a great big pile of memorized chords, which leads to accompaniment to singing and melody.

    I think this idea probably fails too, upon close examination, and likely its all culturally generated.
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by Upnorth View Post

    I think I made it clear that that is exactly what I did. I do not know the guitarist/mandolinist. I have only ever seen him on stage. The group member I asked is the one who I know personally.
    Pronouns and antecedents can be tricky. But, yeah, I would've asked the girl too. Even if I didn't care what the answer was.

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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    . . . more likely - mandolin, fiddle, things in fifths, are so easily understood, the note locations being very rational and the internal symmetries making exploration so straight forward - probably makes these kinds of instruments great for tunes and melodies. . . .
    Nothing is more logically laid out than a piano keyboard, so maybe you're onto something.

    I think I would argue that there probably would be no rock and roll without the electric guitar. Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard notwithstanding.
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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by jaycat View Post
    Nothing is more logically laid out than a piano keyboard
    I don't know. What's so special about C major that it gets all the white keys, without even a capo to transpose? The simple logic of shiftable ffcp chords cannot be done on a piano keyboard, for instance.
    No - nothing is more logically laid out than the instrument you're used to, I'll say.
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    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    I think there's a separate thread about piano capos.

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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    I don't know. What's so special about C major that it gets all the white keys, without even a capo to transpose? The simple logic of shiftable ffcp chords cannot be done on a piano keyboard, for instance.
    No - nothing is more logically laid out than the instrument you're used to, I'll say.
    They have oddball alternative piano keyboards that. like the European Chromatic accordions, allow for you to use the same fingering in any key.

    The reason the keyboard as we know it has the white keys is not based on pitch strictly, but on the way Western music developed from the modal system of antiquity. It has to do with the way early organ keyboards were made and the needs of Gregorian and other church chants.

    The major scale was the basis, and the written scale of C was first, then the F scale, then G, so the first added chromatics were Bb and G#. These both allowed for ut-re-mi-fa-sol-la, the basic hexachord of the Guidonian hand, to be played in C, F and G, and now we have the ability to also make leading tones for A minor, the natural minor key related to C.

    As time went on the rest of the black keys were added.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=02...0added&f=false

    http://music.stackexchange.com/quest...out-of-a-piano

    http://www.get-piano-lessons.com/piano-note-chart.html

    Nor was C a fixed pitch necessarily, either, it was just a way of writing music.

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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Thanks David, I knew most of that. Historical growth, like in programming and in spoken languages, is hard to overcome by logic later...
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by Upnorth View Post
    I recently saw an English folk quartet in concert. One member of the group played guitar and mandolin. I asked another group member how he decided which instrument to play on each song. She replied that he tended to play guitar on rock and on country and western songs, and mandolin on folk songs.

    I'm proud to say that I play rock music on my mandolin.
    I do too--but I just started--so it's a little rough at this point.
    Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?

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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by zedmando View Post
    I do too--but I just started--so it's a little rough at this point.
    IS the instrument in your avatar your electric firebird mandolin?

    That's a rock and roll mandolin!

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    The MandoBird, to be precise.

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    As time went on the rest of the black keys were added.
    So you got this:



    Which led to this:

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    Registered User zedmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    IS the instrument in your avatar your electric firebird mandolin?

    That's a rock and roll mandolin!
    That is my mandolin--as of the weekend.
    And as Journeybear pints out--it is a Mandobird.
    And it is kind of a rock and roll mandolin, isn't it.

    I feel like I should learn some Johnny Winter on it as well.
    Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    May I suggest "Bad Luck And Trouble" from "The Progressive Blues Experiment?" Or “Too Much Seconal” from "Still Alive And Well?"





    Last edited by journeybear; Jan-29-2015 at 1:35am.
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    May I suggest "Bad Luck And Trouble" from "The Progressive Blues Experiment?" Or “Too Much Seconal” from "Still Alive And Well?"
    I was kind of thinking of Still Alive & Well--but thanks for the suggestions.
    Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?

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    Must. Keep. Practicing. Ben Cooper's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by zedmando View Post
    I was kind of thinking of Still Alive & Well--but thanks for the suggestions.
    Used to sing that song with a band many years ago. Great tune! Would love to hear it on mandolin!
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    I used to know the chords to that--it's been a while--I have to check it out.
    Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: The mandolin is more than just a folk instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by zedmando View Post
    I was kind of thinking of Still Alive & Well--but thanks for the suggestions.
    I suggested those because Johnny played mandolin on them. He played other instruments, too, as you can hear, but there is that. Of course, you can play anything you want on your mandolin.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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