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Thread: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

  1. #1
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Is anyone making instruments for Fouchetti or Denis-period instruments, with a gut first first string, harpsichord wire for the rest, with the 4th course in octaves, overall shape as outlined in drawings in Denis' methods? I'm assuming such stringing would not work so well on 19th- to 21st-century high-tension mandolins.

    And has any performer recorded with such an instrument?

    I'm also tempted by the Bortolazzi 4-single-gut-string Cremonese/Brescian instrument, and have emailed Lorenzo Lippi. Does anyone else make historical copies/interpretations?

    Rob

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    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    I take it that you are talking about early Neapolitan style mandolins as made by the Vinaccias, Fabricatore and others from 1760-1800 or so which used that stringing. If so, I would talk to Alfred Woll in Germany who would know as much about how those instruments are made as anyone.

    Jo Dusepo, just north of London, has made at least one four string Cremonese style mandolin.

    Cheers

  3. #3
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Thanks, Graham. Alfred will naturally charge a premium price, and have a long waiting list, but I'll give him some thought. I noticed Jo Dusepo's website - he has a lot of interesting instruments there.
    Cheers,
    Rob

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Hi Rob, if you are contacting Jo Dusepo bear in mind that Jo is a girl, and a very fine builder of mediaeval instruments. She often posts updates of her instruments on the MS site here.
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

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    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Oops. Thanks for that!

  6. #6
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    It might be worthwhile asking around the lute building community, but I can't think of anyone else who offers 18th century Neapolitan mandolins. I suspect the market is a micro-niche for such things and there are quite a few original mandolins of that period in playing condition. Bugger of thing to keep in tune I would think.

    Cheers

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    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Lute builder Daniel Larson has built some 18th century Vinaccia model mandolins, and is a gut strings supplier. I'm not sure if he's still at it, but he'd be worth contacting.

  8. #8
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Being a lute player myself, I know Dan Larson's work, and think highly of it, but the extra cost of importation into the UK counts against any US purchase. But I do know some luthiers in Europe who might take on such a commission. Cheers.

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    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Not heard anything much from them in a while but this is the kind of thing that Stephen Barber & Sandi Harris do well.
    You could give them a shout to see if they're up for it. https://www.lutesandguitars.co.uk/

    These are some of their baroque mandolin projects & old prices
    https://www.lutesandguitars.co.uk/htm/cat09.htm

    or you could see if there are any you like the look of on the Lute Society list of makers
    https://www.lutesociety.org/pages/makers
    Eoin



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  10. #10
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Thanks, they are well known for making pretty instruments.

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    Registered User Acquavella's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Hello Rob,

    Here is a list of makers of 18th Century Neapolitan mandolin (Vinaccia) and Baroque Mandolino:

    1. Labraid Instruments (Brian N. Dean), Nova Scotia - http://www.labraid.ca
    2. Alfred Woll, Germany - http://www.woll-mandolinen.de/E_vers...tartseite.html
    3. Markus Dietrich, Germany - http://www.gitarre-laute.de/mandoline_18.html
    4. Lorenzo Lippi, Italy - http://lippi.net/strumenti/mandolini...ciano/?lang=en
    5. Yaron Naor, Egypt - https://www.facebook.com/yaron.naor2...0%3A1589116724

    Both my 18th Century Neapolitan mandolin (Vinaccia model) and my Baroque Mandolino are built by Brian Dean of Labraid Instruments. You can hear two of his Vinaccia models on my last album: Duo Acquavella with Bach Collegium San Diego. Good luck in your instrument search.

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  13. #12
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Thanks, Chris. I've been enjoying your video performances of late, and will get one of your CDs.
    Rob

  14. #13
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    I see Brian Dean has a five-year waiting list...

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    Registered User Brian560's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?


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    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Cheers, Brian.

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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Federico Gabrielli is another maker worthy of consideration: http://www.mandolino.it/. His reproduction instruments are featured on many recordings, several listed below.

    Yes there are a pretty large number of recordings of such instruments. Unfortunately, specific discussions of stringing is pretty uncommon to liner notes, but those recordings to explicitly use historic stringing/tuning (especially with the octave g'-g) do seem quite rare. Here are a few recordings of such instruments:

    Artemandoline has a mess of albums using mostly 6-course mandolino and early Neapolitan, sometimes even in duo with each other, but most of their recordings are hard to track down in hard copy in the US. Most of their albums in my collection (and I have most of them) are purchased mp3 files. Still, google up some Artemandoline for your entertainment.

    Duo Acquavella. 2016. Gimo-Samling: 18th Century Sonatas and Trio Sonatas for Mandolin. Centaur CRC 3466.
    (This one uses idealized Neapolitan mandolins in the early style by Brian Dean. I really enjoyed this one, enough that my pleasure actually surprised me.)

    Ensemble Baschenis. 1998. The Early Mandolin. Ducale, CDL 025.
    Ensemble Baschenis. 2004. The Early Mandolin, Vol. 2. Ducale, CDL 036.
    Ensemble Baschenis. 2007. The Violin & the Mandolin: Accomplices and Rivals. Concerto, CD 2036.
    Ensemble Baschenis. 2009. The Early Mandolin, Vol. 3. Ducale, CDL 044.
    Ensemble Baschenis. 2010. The Violin & the Mandolin: Accomplices and Rivals, Vol.2. Concerto, CD 2059.
    (These are some of my favorite now-venerable early-mandolin recordings. They feature a laundry list of early mandolin types, including early Neapolitan and—more rarely—Cremonese/Brescian. Those in "The Early Mandolin series do mostly use 6-course, gut-strung, fourth-tuned mandolino.)

    Ensemble Gabriele Leone. 2000. Cinq Siècles de Mandolines 1300–1800. Association Gabriele Leone, AGL CD 2.
    (Another laundry-list of-mandolin-type recording with some medieval gittern and late-renaissance mandore [a suite of pieces by de Chancy] for good measure.)

    Frati, Dorina. 1997. Giuseppe Gaetano Boni (ca. 1650-1732): Opera II-Divertimenti per Camera. Tactus, TC 650201.
    (Frati plays the Boni sonatas with verve, mostly using a 6-course, gut-strung, fourth-tuned mandolino, but using a 4-string mandolino Cremonese on some [she uses more modern terms for these instruments in the liner notes].)

    Frati, Dorina. 2003. Mandolin in the Capitals of Europe. Dynamic, CDS 375.
    (Three of the Scarlatti bits here again, but the really interesting stuff is to be found in Gervasio, Venier, Capponi, and Valentini...and in Frati's lively, yummy playing on an original 18th-c. Fabricatore. [The liner-note assertion that the Scarlatti was intended for the Neapolitan mandolin is, I believe, a speculative stretch.])

    Galfetti, Duilio. 2000. Mandolino & Fortepiano. Arts Music, 47610-2.
    (Beethoven on early Napoletano, Hummel on Cremonese, and Hoffman on 6-course mandolino. Definitely worth a listen. Hoffman is one of those mandolin specialist composers of whom only mandolinists have heard: too bad.)

    Lichtenberg, Caterina. 1997. Musikinstrumente des Ferdinandeums 4. Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum Innsbruck.
    (Here, Caterina plays on an original 1775 Napoletano type by German luthier Psenner. She strung it wholly in gut for this disc.)

    Orlandi, Ugo. 1998. Sonate per Piano-Forte e Mandolino. Fonè, 93 F 04 CD.
    (A pleasant mix of classical-era sonatas using both early Neapolitan and Brescian mandolins.)

    Sariel, Alon et al. 2015. Paisiello in Vienna. Brilliant Classics, 95301.
    (A hodgepodge of Paisiello-era music including mandolin pieces/works by Hummel, Beethoven, and Wanhal, all played on ca. 1850 Brescian type.)

    Schneider, Christian. 2000. Mandoline Galante. Calliope, CAL 9274.
    (A groovy recording of some fine sonatas for early Neapolitan played on an original 1766 Vinaccia with harpsichord accompaniment. One of my old favorites.)

    Taylor, Frances. 2005. Italian Mandolin Sonatas. Claudio Records Ltd., CR5581-2
    (I was a little reluctant to share this one because it has some weird tuning issues with its early Neapolitan, but it also has a few sonatas by Guerra and Giuliano that I don't have on any other recordings.)

    Tesoro Harmonico. 2013. Cauciello: Trii e Duetti per Flauti, Mandolini e Basso Continuo. Tactus, TC 740304.
    (As the title says, very nicely delivered and featuring early Neapolitan.)

    Walz, Richard. 1998. Mandolin and Fortepiano. Globe, GLO 5187.
    (The only recording of which I'm aware to string a historic Neapolitan mandolin [this one a modern reproduction by Wolfgang Fruh] as prescribed by some of the early methods with the g-g' in octaves. One of my favorite period-instrument recordings of the Beethoven and Hummel and the premier recording of an excellent sonata by Neuling.)

    Weyhofen, Gertrud. 2011. Musique pour les Fêtes Galantes. Timezone Records, LC Nr.00961.
    (Excellent performances of late 18th-c. mandolin music on early Neapolitan.)

    Zigiotti, Sergio. 2007. Musica per mandolino e chitarra del primo Ottocento. Tactus, TC 781603.
    (Performances on early Neapolitan, Brescian, and Genoese mandolins. The "Brescian" is of the late 19th-c. type that I'd be more likely to call Tuscan/Toscano.)
    Last edited by Eugene; May-11-2020 at 5:02pm.

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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    PS: the low g is usually in silver-wound silk, octave g' in brass.

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  22. #18
    Registered User Brian560's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?



    Rob: When I researched your post, I noticed that Martin Jonas did a lot of recordings of Fouchetti. Martin is quite active on Mandolin Cafe.

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  24. #19
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Brian, thanks for that. Martin is here using a ukulele in 5ths tuning, which is what I've been doing for a while to get me used to the tuning and repertoire.

  25. #20
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Eugene, what can I say?! Thank you! - I've said that to you many times in the past, and always appreciate your comments. I'll follow up your recommendations.

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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Hello Rob,
    The fourth G string in the octave is an interesting tuning. Is the octave somehow used in "Denis' methods"? Can I think of Campanella style? Or is it used to make the chord "full"?
    Ondrej
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  28. #22
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Hi ondrej. I haven't seen any evidence for it being used campanella style. Octave basses were absolutely normal in lutes for centuries, where the thick gut bass strings did not have enough definition. The upper octave of the pair would provide the upper partials. With wound brass, in my limited experience, the thicker the winding, the less the definition. So I would think that the upper octave of the pair would be acting like the gut octave, in providing definition to the note.

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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    Rob, thanks for the reply. I understand.
    I use octave strings for bouzouki. Accompanied by songs very wonderful. With a solo melody, sometimes I don't like the jump from octave strings to unison strings. In that case, I only play the bass string. I wondered how they had dealt with a similar system before.
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  30. #24
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    I know what you mean. I don't think they bothered about it. The baroque guitar was the worst for that, but you just have to accept it is part of the unique charm of the instrument. :-)

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  32. #25

    Default Re: Luthier for Fouchetti-period mandoline? Or Bortolazzi style?

    In part, I believe the octave g was used because the bass in silver-wound silk was rather "thumpy" compared to the aural sparkle of brass. Adding the higher octave in brass made the timbre at least a little more consistent in the bass range.

    I'm not aware of reentrant-type campanella being explicit in dedicated fifth-tuned mandolin repertoire. The octaves, however, do seem to really complement some of the virtuoso solos: consider, e.g., several of Leone's sets of variations (the third variation in La Chasse de l'isle Adam is one that I think is particularly well complemented by an octave g).

    Also, perhaps unexpectedly, while split-string technique was/is common in virtuoso repertoire (fretting/sounding two different pitches simultaneously on the different strings of a single course), notated split string seems uncommon to nonexistent on the g course in 18th-c. solos. That might be because the octave was too far out for the effect. I do think the spacing typical of the unison brass courses on early Neapolitan mandolins seems to facilitate split-string effects.

    My own single early Neapolitan-type piece is rather late, an early to mid-19th-c. French instrument, but I still string as discussed here.

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