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Thread: Mandolin vs. Mandola?

  1. #51

    Default Re: Mandolin vs. Mandola?

    The mandore, Mandola in Italian, became the modern mandolin. The alto version, which is today’s “Mandola” came well after the mandore evolved into the mandolin. So what became today’s mandolin was originally called the mandore/Mandola, not to be confused with today’s alto/tenor member of the mandolin family, which is also called Mandola. Hope this makes sense, it’s very easily to become confused when the reusing of names occur, not once, not twice but 3 times!

    “The mandore was played widely across Europe, just as the earlier gittern had been. The Italians called it the mandola and even as the instrument became obsolete elsewhere, by the mid 17th century they had developed it into "an instrument with its own distinct tuning, technique and music."[8] In Milan, Italy as the mandore or Lombardo, it remained in use into the late 19th century. That variant is known today as the Milanese or Lombardic mandolin, and retains the mandore's tuning. The Italians also called it the mandora or mandola. The latter name is still used in the mandolin family for an alto or tenor range instrument. From the mandola, the baroque mandolino was created, which in turn became the modern mandolin.“[9][6][10]


  2. #52
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin vs. Mandola?

    I had both for a while. I found that even though I brought both to the jam the mandola did not see as much play. I mostly played it at home.

    Later when I only had a mandola, I kept looking for ways to do GDAE on it, either play in third position, which I was terrible at, or capo two and down a string to play an octave below fiddle.

    Fast forward, problem solved.

    This little devil allows me to be the mandolin no question, and also to be a mandola when I want.

    Right now it is mostly a mandolin with a C course on the bottom. But i am learning/exploring alto clef, in which case it is a mandola with an E course on top.

    I would say that if you are specifically looking for mandola because of a particularly mandola specific application, the mandola is great.

    If you are primarily a mandolinner, but want the option now and again of digging into the growlers, and some really dark harmonies on that C string, and/or you want to explore the world of CGDA at times, on your own or ensemble, I think the five course has a lot of advantages over a four course mandola.

    My thoughts, FWIW.
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  4. #53

    Default Re: Mandolin vs. Mandola?

    I found when I was learning that Mandolin was just that much easier because I didn't have to stretch my fingers so far, nor press the strings down so hard. When I later started learning Mandola it was like going through that pain barrier all over again. It was also much quieter for practising.
    I play:
    * Saltarelle Bourroche chromatic button accordion
    * Ozark 2240 Mandolin
    In my spare time I run selling folk music and celtic themed t-shirts, hoodies etc.

  5. #54
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    Sep 2007

    Default Re: Mandolin vs. Mandola?

    I tried a Kimble mandola and an older Gibson mandola at TME back in August. I went in expecting to leave with one of them—low end tone but shorter stretches—but, compared to cello and OM, there just wasn’t enough bottom end to make it worth it for me. It wasn’t the fault of the instruments, and the Kimble was especially fine. What I settled on, however, was a 20inch scale length OM. Nice thump/growl with a manageable scale length. And, if I ever decide I need to delve back into CGDA, I’ll capo at 5 until the obsession passes. I still miss the low C, but the Cello’s scale length kicked my booty...

  6. #55

    Default Re: Mandolin vs. Mandola?

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    7 months now and still happy...

    I found the stretching exercises at the beginning were not painful, just a lot of hard work.
    There is a sort of twisting motion around the vertical axis as you move from 1st to 4th string that has to be learned too, but it’s well worth it -or maybe I’m doing it wrong?!

    The double stops are a song in themselves, you can take your time.

    I occasionally use a capo up to the 5th fret for the wonderful warm and resonant tone, the 7th fret is mando scale length but I found that the fingering does change quite quickly from fifth to seventh though I can play faster and cleaner up there.

    One thing though that doesn’t change with the capo is the neck width. Even at the fifth fret it can be quite challenging. Having said that, there are many instruments that only use 3 courses of paired strings, though again they have narrower necks...
    It’s a case of having to learn to move your whole hand to new positions quite quickly. I like this too because it’s another skill or technique that has to be learned but is transferable, in many ways.

    I really do need to get a mandolin though, the old one I used was borrowed, but I cant get one unless it is good enough to match, or better the Octave. It may be a while.
    Last edited by Simon DS; Dec-03-2019 at 8:53am.

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