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Thread: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

  1. #1
    Shayan Givehchian
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    Default Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    Good day folks.

    I was just wondering what would be your top classical choices that everyone should learn to play on the mandolin.
    Mine would be :
    -Bach prelude 1st cello suit
    -Any piece from the BachG minor sonata or B & A minor partita
    -Vivaldi C major concerto for mandolin
    -The theme & waltz from the Godfather by Nino Rota (not sure if this counts)


    What are your top choices ?
    In love with the mandolin since Feb 2016
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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    Not a bad question. I would ask "if you were learning classical pieces on your mandolin, what you would learn first?" The only way I'd say 'should know' would be if the group(s) I play with played them

    But.. I would like to learn a couple myself one day.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    I would start here: https://www.mandolincafe.com/cgi-bin...rch?name=clssl A lot of what you suggest is included, I think it is essentially a classical Greatest Hits of sorts.

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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    Rawhide concerto in C major.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    Quote Originally Posted by Seter View Post
    I would start here: https://www.mandolincafe.com/cgi-bin...rch?name=clssl A lot of what you suggest is included, I think it is essentially a classical Greatest Hits of sorts.
    Is there a standard notation list?

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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    What an appropriate time for this question, I was just at that page the other day looking to broaden the scope of my practice. Chopin waltz in C#m op64#2 is a cool one. I hear the left hand of piano in my head the whole time though, I might need my guitar buddy to join in.
    Bach prelude to partita 3 is super technical sounding but itís a classic. Paganiniís Moto Perpetuo, I double dog dare you.

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    Registered User Kevin Stueve's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Is there a standard notation list?
    Sherry I have standard notation for several of these. Some from tabledit files on this site, some from tabledit files on mandozine.com and some from imslp

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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    If you are looking for a few classical pieces to round out your repertoire and toss out to folks I would chose some popular Bach pieces. I might recommend The Bach Fake Book. Stuff that is fun to play while warming up, while others are listening.

    If your goal is an introduction to classical music to hook you into pursuing it more seriously, I would strongly recommend August Watters's book Exploring Classical Mandolin, and then Carlo Aonzo's book Classical Mandolin Solos.

    I don't know that there is a real list, in the way that there might be for say Traditional Irish, or Old Time. Someone will correct me if I am way off.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    I assume that you are talking about classical repertoire that a non-classical player may want to know. It would be good to know if the player did want to play a few classical pieces for fun in his or her living room or did she/he actually want to perform these in public.

    To some of those mentioned above I would add the Beethoven pieces which were composed for mandolin. All but the variations are very approachable.

    I think JeffD's suggestions are good starting points. You could then branch off from there to pieces by Calace, Munier, Ranieri as well as some of the violin repertoire that would be appropriate.

    BTW that Tab list linked above is a mixup of all genres, not just classical.
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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    Jim Garber are you referring to the beethoven work for mandolin and piano? or is there some solo works too?
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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    There is another book I forgot to mention, that is really useful for this kind of thing. The Classical Music: Fake Book, a Wise publication. It has over 150 Classical themes "presented in easy-to-play Busker's arrangements", which means it is fun to just poke around in and find stuff you like.

    Yea its corny I know. To me its not playing classical music so much as playing what the average non specialist friend or family member might like to hear you play on the mandolin.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Stueve View Post
    Jim Garber are you referring to the beethoven work for mandolin and piano? or is there some solo works too?
    Yes, the four pieces described in Marilynn Mair's article.
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    Shayan Givehchian
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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    Quote Originally Posted by gregoriousd View Post
    What an appropriate time for this question, I was just at that page the other day looking to broaden the scope of my practice. Chopin waltz in C#m op64#2 is a cool one. I hear the left hand of piano in my head the whole time though, I might need my guitar buddy to join in.
    Bach prelude to partita 3 is super technical sounding but itís a classic. Paganiniís Moto Perpetuo, I double dog dare you.
    Excellent choices my friend. I really want to get into the Albinoni's adagio in g minor. Beautiful orchestral piece. In my mind it should work beautifully with some duo style for solo mandolin
    In love with the mandolin since Feb 2016
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    Shayan Givehchian
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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    Great recommendations thanks alot

  21. #15
    Shayan Givehchian
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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    Yes more or less what you mean. I've been playing for 2 years now and I'm still looking for a main subcategory to get into as my main thing. So for people like me who are trying to figure out their place in the mandolin world

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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    A few years back I had this kind of thought, and began learning a piece. In the end it did so little for my heart that I returned to fiddle tunes. Even Thile playing Bach is of limited interest to me, I'm afraid it doesn't move me enough to demand the time. I used to wonder if this was some deficiency in my musical taste, but have since accepted that, like Shakespeare, it's just not for me (and I have taught many of his plays in school).
    As I move through my sixth decade I am content to accept that what is termed "classical" is, to my ears, little more than mathematics in musical notation and doesn't speak to me.

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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    The Can-Can by Offenbach, William Tell Overture by Rossini, Sabre Dance by Katchachurian, See the Conqering Hero and Scipio's March by Handel, Lilliebolero by Purcell, Berceuse by Faure and Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring by Bach are my top offerings.

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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    Michael Turners Waltz, aka Mozart K586. It's even played as a fiddle tune Darren.

    Brian Oberlin has a nice arrangement of a Bach Minuet : https://www.mandoberlin.com/lessons.php?category=3
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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    I would love to learn some of these pieces and I see that tablature is available. However, in my 50+ years of playing, I have never learned to read tablature. And the funny thing that I find is that I could not turn up any links here on how to read tablature. I mean, I think I might be able to figure it out, but it might be nice to know some basic rules. Any help in this matter?
    ManjoMan

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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    ManjoMan: Watch a little of a Banjo Ben mandolin lesson video on You Tube. He displays the Tab and slow walks thru playing it. It should be easy to connect the dots watching. Most of the tune books I have with tab show you how to read it in the front of book

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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Wilson View Post
    ManjoMan: Watch a little of a Banjo Ben mandolin lesson video on You Tube. He displays the Tab and slow walks thru playing it. It should be easy to connect the dots watching. Most of the tune books I have with tab show you how to read it in the front of book
    Thank you Mark. I have never bought a book so I did not know that. As a bluegrass picker, I never, ever would have thought that I would be interested in learning to read tab or learning/listening to classical pieces. Over the last few years, I have become more open minded to other genres and it has helped me to come up with more and/or new licks that work in bluegrass. I will search out this "Banjo Ben" guy and see if I can learn anything from it. If not, you may have to come to Michigan to help a fellow picker out!
    ManjoMan

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    Manjoman, if you are wanting to play classical or even other music you are much better off learning standard notation. There is a whole world of sheet music out there plus you are not limited to mandolin tab only. You can play music for other instruments in mandolin range.

    Also, a caveat: the tabs linked above are created by players and the quality of the versions could be uneven or have mistakes. In addition, tab will give you one fingering vs notation which you can apply your own approach.
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  31. #23
    Shayan Givehchian
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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    That's understandable. Everyone is different. But me I can't really contain my joy every time I hear the Thile play the tempo di bouree vii movement from the b minor partita. It's just too beautiful.

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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    Quote Originally Posted by Ge23ev View Post
    Excellent choices my friend. I really want to get into the Albinoni's adagio in g minor. Beautiful orchestral piece. In my mind it should work beautifully with some duo style for solo mandolin
    That is a really sweet piece, you really like that “Godfather” tremolo sound don’t you . Which reminds me I have greatly neglected my bowlback.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top classical pieces every mandolin player should know

    One suggestion I would make for those who can read standard notation and live near a group like this is to join a mandolin orchestra. I played for a number of years with the New York Mandolin Orchestra and really honed my playing and reading. Barring finding an orchestra see if you can gather a few like minded folks and get together to read/rehearse, whatever you want to call it. Pick a few pieces and work on them.

    It is difficult to get into any music playing alone. It will also be a lot more fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ge23ev View Post
    Excellent choices my friend. I really want to get into the Albinoni's adagio in g minor. Beautiful orchestral piece. In my mind it should work beautifully with some duo style for solo mandolin
    We used to play that piece in the NYMO. We also played Samuel Barber's Adagio and Gluck's Dance of the Blessed Spirits which are similar in feel, slow and beautiful. Also, the Bach piece known popularly as Air on a G String is in that realm too. The Gluck is especially sweet melody.

    It is an orchestral piece with solo flute but here is Segovia on guitar.



    And here is our own Martin Jonas playing it on mandolins:

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