Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

  1. #1
    Registered User Carl23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    New Hampshire USA
    Posts
    170
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

    Outside of Mandolin quartets and orchestras, now are the lower ranged mandolins used?

    I'm thinking particularly about fiddle tunes and old time.

    Do you play mostly rhythm / chords? what do other people in the style expect? and so on...

    I saw a video of a mandocello recently that really made me think about this.

    Also looking for personal opinions / applications.

    Thanks,
    C

  2. #2
    Registered User maudlin mandolin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Buckinghamshire
    Posts
    146
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

    Chords on a mandocello would be a bit overpowering; it generally just plays a bass line of single notes.

  3. #3
    Pittsburgh Bill
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    582
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

    I can't speak for fiddle or old time, but I like a mandola for solo play on tunes generally heard in a lower range ( Dylan, Kristoferson, etc) where a soprano instrument does not seem to me to work. My wife, who sometimes likes to sing along, finds the lower range of a mandola more suitable to her vocal range.
    Does not replace a mandolin but instead an alternative to a mandolin in solo play on select tunes. When playing with others I always use a mandolin for its distinct voice in a jam where a dola can get lost amongst the guitars. Just my humble opinion.
    Keith Edward Coleman A style, oval hole Mandola
    Stiver A style (eagerly awaiting spring 2020 arrival)
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Kentucky KM-950
    Harley Benton A style (Spare canoe paddle)
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool)

  4. The following members say thank you to Pittsburgh Bill for this post:

    Bob A 

  5. #4

    Default Re: Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

    I'm going to say it's based on what the individual prefers and what their situation looks like.

    Me, for example, I play solo or with my husband. I cover mandola and octave mandolin; he has vocals and guitar. I don't care much for playing chords; meanwhile, he enjoys finger-picking and arpeggiating chords. We had developed our styles and preferences independently, then brought them together as they complimented one another. So, depending on the song, I'll play lead, melody, or harmony on the mandola or octave; he'll lead vocally and cover chord progressions with the guitar. And, yep, our repertoire does include traditional fiddle tunes.

  6. #5
    Registered User Carl23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    New Hampshire USA
    Posts
    170
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Bill View Post
    I can't speak for fiddle or old time, but I like a mandola for solo play on tunes generally heard in a lower range ( Dylan, Kristoferson, etc) where a soprano instrument does not seem to me to work. My wife, who sometimes likes to sing along, finds the lower range of a mandola more suitable to her vocal range.
    Does not replace a mandolin but instead an alternative to a mandolin in solo play on select tunes. When playing with others I always use a mandolin for its distinct voice in a jam where a dola can get lost amongst the guitars. Just my humble opinion.
    Very interesting point about the vocal range... one of the reasons I like a plain old Cello (which my wife plays)

    C

  7. #6
    Registered User Carl23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    New Hampshire USA
    Posts
    170
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

    Quote Originally Posted by Viola View Post
    I'm going to say it's based on what the individual prefers and what their situation looks like.

    Me, for example, I play solo or with my husband. I cover mandola and octave mandolin; he has vocals and guitar. I don't care much for playing chords; meanwhile, he enjoys finger-picking and arpeggiating chords. We had developed our styles and preferences independently, then brought them together as they complimented one another. So, depending on the song, I'll play lead, melody, or harmony on the mandola or octave; he'll lead vocally and cover chord progressions with the guitar. And, yep, our repertoire does include traditional fiddle tunes.
    I was wondering about the guitar combo. I could see switching rolls (chords / single line).

    I also like layering chords by register, my first instinct would be to have the guitar in the lower register then up the neck on the mando - thing for the upper register. Might be a bit busy, but I've never tried it.

  8. #7
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,949

    Default Re: Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

    For me personally, and in the mostly Irish and Scottish trad music I play, here's how I use an OM:

    I sometimes use it instead of guitar for accompaniment, mainly when I want a different timbre underneath my S.O.'s fiddle playing. I don't strum chords like I do on guitar because on the OM that sounds a little too muddy to my ears. I use more of a arpeggiated, counterpoint accompaniment style. For recorded examples of this style, check out what Ale Möller does on his latmandola (kind of an OM with a lower strings) on his two albums with Aly Bain: "Fully Rigged" and "Beyond the Stacks." I'm nowhere near that level but it's what I aim for, in OM accompaniment. Although I have to say that I prefer the Drop-D guitar most of the time for accompaniment. I miss that big fat D on the bottom, when playing the OM.

    The OM's main role in my world is an alternative melody instrument instead of mandolin for slower tunes like marches, metered airs, and "slow reels." The greatly increased sustain of the OM can really shine on these slower tunes. As a longer-scale instrument it's tough to play jigs and reels up to full session tempos, so I prefer those tunes on mandolin. But for the slow stuff, the OM is great.

    This is just one niche area of non-Classical music. The OM has had a surge of popularity in Country and "Alt-Acoustic" music in recent years, and that's a whole 'nother style of playing.

    One final note: The OM doesn't mix well with acoustic guitar, in my experience. The pitch is too close, and the timbre isn't different enough. I tried to make it work in a former duo with a guitar player, where I played mandolin. We just couldn't make the OM work without creating elaborate arrangements that allowed room for each instrument. It was too much trouble (for us) compared to the way a mandolin sits "on top" of the guitar in a natural-sounding way. Maybe you can make it work better.

  9. The following members say thank you to foldedpath for this post:

    Carl23 

  10. #8

    Default Re: Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

    I have found the mandocello to be a great "secret weapon" for recording. It can add a wonderful counter melody or extra voice to a recording.

  11. #9

    Default Re: Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

    [ "The OM doesn't mix well with acoustic guitar, in my experience. The pitch is too close, and the timbre isn't different enough."

    This is my experience, exactly. Listening to a recent recording by my group, I literally could not distinguish my OM backup chords from the guitar's...the sounds completely mushed together. Melody on the OM, in my context mostly Celtic stuff, works fine.

  12. #10

    Default Re: Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

    One thing it is good for is any time you wish a 12 string guitar was easier to play melodically. Greek bouzouki is also good for that though.

  13. The following members say thank you to Seter for this post:

    Carl23 

  14. #11
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    788

    Default Re: Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

    One thing I like about playing melody on an OM with fiddlers is it seems to add a bit of depth to the tone. Will switch over to playing chords, but like others have mentioned, it can get lost in the tone with guitars. Especially at jams with 2 or 3 guitar players.

    In a small group, the OM can sound nice just playing chords behind a fiddle and/or nyckelharpa. But it not only depends on the player, but also the instrument. My Eastman isn't great in that role, IMO. A flat top OM often sounds better in that situation. Again IMO.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 1941 Strad-O-Lin, 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 1950's Californian
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

  15. #12
    Celtic Bard michaelpthompson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Arvada CO
    Posts
    630
    Blog Entries
    10

    Default Re: Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

    I play chords on an octave mandolin as accompaniment to Irish TRAD music, much like guitar, except it's quieter.

  16. #13

    Default Re: Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

    I play celtic and early music and the OM has become my instrument of choice for it. I play primarily melody and find that it adds an audible voice in mixed jams in a way that mandolin doesn't. I feel like it doesn't have to "cut through" like a mandolin. It occupies a melodic range an octave below a lot melody instruments and that makes it quite audible. It also provides a nice melodic blend with guitar chords, but like others have said it gets muddy when chording with guitars. In that situation I generally simplify and focus on adding punch to the chord changes and let the guitar fill in the rest.

  17. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Hickory, NC
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: Role of Octave/mandola/MCello in non classical music

    The mandocello police will probably be after me for this - but iunderstand there's even fewer of them than mandocello players so I may be safe. I think this depends entirely on the song. Double stops can be a nice accompaniment. On some songs, full chords can sound amazing, especially on whole notes with a sweeping attack rather than a guitar -like strum. There are a few songs where I'll even use it as percussion. Mute the strings with the left hand and strum hard and those strings just rattle. AGain, only on a handful of songs that my team plays - it would sound awful on most others.

    The joy for me is that usually there isn't a mandocelo part, so my job is to listen to the song and play what fits in the context. A General rule of thumb for me is to think about how fast I might play on guitar and cut that at least in half.

    Edited to add that I play primarily in a church worship setting that mixes contemporary stuff with some traditional hymns.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •