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Thread: New to classical....where to start?

  1. #1

    Default New to classical....where to start?

    Hi guys, looking fo a steer in the right direction and was hoping I could get some help on here...

    I've been playing mandolin for s few years now and have a decent-ish skill level. I've mainly been playing Irish fiddle tunes, a little bluegrass, and working up original material with my band. However, I've just been bitten by the classical music bug after hearing Bach and Beethoven (I'm a complete novice to classical music so hearing some of this stuff has hit me like s thunderbolt!)

    I'd love to explore some classical pieces on the mandolin. Can you please recommend any good books or DVDs for someone who can play the mandolin but is looking to develop some repertoire? I don't read music (might well start learning though), so a book would have to include tab.

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance,

    Baz.

  2. #2
    Runnin' Free Theo W.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    Daniel Sellman's books (Cello suites and Partitas/Sonatas) are a fantastic door into the world of Bach and classical mandolin. He has tab and sheet included. They are fairly cheap on Amazon too. NFI here, I just love the books. His finger positions helped me master some of the partitas.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    I don't read music (might well start learning though), so a book would have to include tab.
    I guess, if you're serious about classical mandolin, learning to read standard notation would be a good idea.
    There are some books with classics in tablature http://www.melbay.com/Products/95353...tablature.aspx but I think, the general consensus is, that Marilyn Mair's Complete Mandolinist is one of the best classical mandolin methods.
    It's in standard notation only.http://www.melbay.com/Products/21156...ndolinist.aspx
    So if you just want to catch a glimpse of classical playing, you may end up with one of those Classics in tablature books, but if you're serious about it, nothing beats learning standard notation. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities. You'll have access to music, that wasn't composed for mandolin. I, for example, like to play stuff that was written for the flute on my bowlback. Or renaissance vocal songs for that matter.

  4. #4
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    Quote Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
    So if you just want to catch a glimpse of classical playing, you may end up with one of those Classics in tablature books, but if you're serious about it, nothing beats learning standard notation..
    I agree. Most of most of the classical music in the world was not written for the mandolin or with a mandolin in mind. A tab book will give you the classical music someone thought it would be fun to play on mandolin. When you learn to read notation, you can decide for yourself, out of all the music out there, what you might find fun to play.

    Many folks have recommended this: http://www.stringthingm.com/Standard...Tab_Mando.html

    Good luck and have fun. There is a fire hose of music coming at you, it may be hard to just grab a glass full.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    Quote Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
    I guess, if you're serious about classical mandolin, learning to read standard notation would be a good idea.
    ..... but if you're serious about it, nothing beats learning standard notation.
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I agree. Most of most of the classical music in the world was not written for the mandolin or with a mandolin in mind.

    If you have any serious interest in learning classical mandolin - or even a semi-serious interest - you NEED to bite the bullet and learn to read standard staff notation.

    Period.

    Tab will not do more than teach you a few pieces, selected and edited by another player, and if indeed all one wants is to have a toe in the water and add a couple cool pieces to their folk repertoires, great!

    However only learning to read the language of written music will allow you to access the hundreds of years of tradition that is only available in staff notation.

    Good luck!

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  7. #6
    composer, lyricist Bill Stokes's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    I've just been bitten by the classical music bug after hearing Bach and Beethoven (I'm a complete novice to classical music so hearing some of this stuff has hit me like s thunderbolt!)
    WELCOME! I got bit by that classical bug somewhere in high school, and it has been nothing but good. Other styles and genres are great, but Baroque and Classical are so rich and vast. Tons of tasty stuff. You're digging Bach and Beethoven because they totally rock.

    I also want to thank you for an idea. I'm a music teacher and I would have said exactly what others did about notation, until this past year. Without bogging down in details, I think there are some alternatives on the way. I think this could be an opportunity for me to be of service and maybe make a few pesos as an on-demand transcriber.

    For a glimpse of what's available out there in standard notation, for free, here is a web page: http://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Bach,_Johann_Sebastian

    That's just J.S. Bach, 1st page of alphabetical list. I have quite literally spent days browsing Bach scores on that site, and discovered new scores that were added while I was looking!

    See you around the Classical campus. Keep us posted...

    Bill

  8. #7

    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    Thanks for all your responses, much appreciated!

    Looks like the message is coming through loud and clear....I'm going to have to learn notation! So today, I have ordered two books..."Standard Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinist" (to help with music reading), and the Daniel Sellman Cello book (so I have some tab to have fun with in the meantime).

    Looks like a long road ahead, but I'm really looking forward to it!

    Thanks,
    Baz.

  9. #8
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    Be patient with yourself and soon you'll be reading music well. Peace.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    The fun you are going to have...
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

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    ♪☮♫ Roll away the dew ♪☮♫ Dan Krhla's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    I'm not 100% yet, but it's entirely worth it to take the time to learn the notation. Good Luck, and enjoy.
    do good things

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    The fastest way of really learning standard notation is to play with others from printed music. It's scary the first few times and very quickly becomes second nature. If the others are good readers, it doesn't matter if you can't keep up: read along with the music and play whatever notes you do manage to locate in time, until eventually you get them all. This forces you to do your reading at the tempo of the music, rather than slowing down when searching for a tricky note and speeding up again afterwards (as is too easy to do when playing on your own). If you have no others, use a metronome while reading and playing.

    Martin

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    Registered User enoloG's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    I couldn't agree more with Martin. When I started playing mandolin I was on my own and using notation to work out where some of the notes were and playing by ear (most of the cheesy old Italian songs I was learning I could only find in notation) and everything was committed to memory.

    When I was first invited to sit in with our orchestra rehearsal it was very intimidating as a complete beginner sitting in with all the experts, but they were very friendly and welcoming and just said to play what notes I could. For a while I was just struggling to find where they were in the music and follow along, but that changed pretty quickly and so much faster than if I'd tried to do it on my own. Not being able to stop at the tricky bits and being taken along with the rhythm I think is really important so the metronome or finding recordings to play along with is always a good idea.

    I would also recommend Marilynn Mair's book if you really want to get stuck in.

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    composer, lyricist Bill Stokes's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    I've noticed the same thing in my own learning. If I have to scramble, it comes faster.

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    Registered User Nick Royal's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    If this book hasn't been recommended yet, I suggest "Teh Complete Mandolinist," by Marilynn Mair; and check out
    her website. Also, check out the Classical Mandolin Society of America (CMSA) for resources, and an annual
    convention.

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  20. #15

    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    Thanks guys, the Marilynn Mair book has been added to the my wish-list! I'm in the UK and so my order of "Music Notation for the Tab Addicted Mandolinist" may take a wee while to arrive, so last night I started just working through some notation for traditional Irish and American fiddle tunes, all first position stuff, so I could start to get a read on where the first position notes are.

    I would work through a few fiddle tunes from memory, but play them slowly, naming the notes out loud and visualizing them on the staff. Then I'd go through some different fiddle tunes reading from the staff directly, then back to the first exercise, then back to the second, and so on. Seemed like I made some progress, but of course it is early days yet!

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    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    Definitely try to get together with other people to play, well before you think you're ready to. I think we're all prone to overestimating how far beyond us others are, while underestimating our ability to cope (and bluff). Ensemble playing really does keep you moving forward when otherwise you might have let things slide.
    If you're in the UK let us know where an people can chip in suggestions as to where you can hook up with other players.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

  22. #17
    composer, lyricist Bill Stokes's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    I just uploaded an exercise to MuseScore.com
    It's a play-along, for sight reading.

    I have more of this stuff, if it's helpful. I used a ready-made excersise for violin. I'll change to mandolin next time. They're all just midi sounds, but the pitch is accurate.
    Last edited by Bill Stokes; Jun-02-2015 at 10:12am.

  23. #18
    composer, lyricist Bill Stokes's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    Here is another one; key of Gwith a fake mandolin sound this time.

  24. #19
    composer, lyricist Bill Stokes's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    I just found out that a new version of MuseScore was released. Better sounds. (They use a classical guitar sample for mandolin. Oh well.)

    One more link: key of D
    Changed a couple of things. Grateful for any feedback. If this helps anybody, I'll do more of 'em and post the links to a new thread in theory/technique.

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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    Astute Music has some free sight reading studies for mandolin not sure if you have buy something else though. I also bought six episodes by Alison Stephens that I am working through -4.50 as a download, introduces some interesting techniques and positions and would give you a basic repertoire. Makes a change from Ranieri.

    I can also recommend Marilynn Mair. As Beanzy said, let us know where you are.

  26. #21
    This Kid Needs Practice Bill Clements's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to classical....where to start?

    Welcome to classical mandolin, Baz. Good advice from previous posters.
    Look at The Bickford Method for mandolin. This method was written in the '20's, but is a more measured and methodical study. There are four volumes in this series.
    Via Skype there are a number of fine teachers available that would be of tremendous help, such as Keith Harris.
    "Music is the only noise for which one is obliged to pay." ~ Alexander Dumas

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