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Thread: Classical Mandola

  1. #1
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Classical Mandola

    I'm tempted by the Hopf MaFa41 Seifert-style mandola for a number of reasons. I could use it with the local mandolin and guitar orchestra, but mainly because my ears often complain that the (sacrilege alert!) mandolin is too high in pitch, and because I have big hands, long fingers, and would appreciate the extra room.

    A negative would have to be learning to read the alto clef. It's possible to write things out in Musescore, make a couple of clicks to change it into the treble clef, as if it is tuned GDAE, but still come out at the right pitch, but it would be much better to learn to read, for example, the viola part of Mozart's violin and viola duets straight off the score.

    As for solo classical repertoire, I imagine much of the available repertoire would still be accessible, albeit sounding a 5th lower, with perhaps a few changes of fingering in stretchy spots.

    I'd also like to play with a classical-guitarist friend. Aquila have a set of guitar strings tuned down a 5th, ADGCEA, so we could both read mandolin and guitar duets as if in standard tuning. Yes, it would come out lower in pitch, but I don't think the world would stop revolving.

    But I'd like to know how much real, dedicated classical solo mandola repertoire is out there, of any era, historical or contemporary.

    Any suggestions or thoughts?

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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    I play classical mandola tuned GDAE, and the old mandolin orchestra music I have is written that way, not in alto clef which I think is more common in the US. My bowlback mandola is 42.5 cm scale length.

    I haven't seen, or looked for, any mandola specific repertoire, a lot of the orchestra pieces have a spot where the mandola takes the lead or even has a solo for a few bars or a section, but you really need at least four people to make them work. Arguably a lot of them are an acquired taste too.

    I also play with a guitarist, and a tenor guitarist (GDAE) and depending on the piece and what they want to do I'll use either the mandolin or mandola. With the tenor we'll play things arranged for two mandolins or violins and this works quite well if I use the mandola. The guitarist likes chords more so I tend to to use the mandolin as the mandola can get lost.
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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    The situation has been this way for many years.
    A lot of people are playing the Bach cello suites transposed up an octave for mandola. CGDA
    There is a ton of stuff out there for duets and more solo mandola parts are written as we speak. Perhaps others can make specific recommendations.

    BTW I have a violin with special strings making it CGDA and now I have a viola where the situation remains the same; learn viola clef. But there is a lot of material transposed into treble clef.

    The lower pitched instrument is well worth the investment.
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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    A negative would have to be learning to read the alto clef.
    Any suggestions or thoughts?

    This might help.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Instead of Every Good Boy Deserves Fun, use Fat Alley Cats Eat Garbage to help remember the lines in the staff.

  7. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    I played alto mandola (CGDA) in a mandolin orchestra for a few years and learned the C clef. However, we played a lot of string orchestra repertoire so I would play the viola part. On the more challenging parts the scores often switch to treble/G clef for the upper registers. If you think that is difficult then check out cello music which sometimes uses three clefs.

    In any case, if you cam learn the clef—and I am sure you can—it is worth it since you can play those Mozart duets which are lovely and a bit more challenging than the standard viola orchestra parts.

    As far as actual alto mandola music, I just checked the Calace library and the classical quartet that he scored for uses mandola in sol GDAE and uses the G-clef. I have a feeling that most of the European music uses that kind of mandola.
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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    I am trying the Bach Cello Suite No. 3 Prelude in C Major on Mandola, it is in Bass Clef which I am horrible at reading but forcing my self.
    I'm not really sure if there will be any gotcha's for fingering or other shapes, but there is considerably more "well known" music for cello than viola.
    I am interested in Hindemith's Kammermusic # 5 which features viola (at moderate difficulty ?), but need to find the score.
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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    Quote Originally Posted by tmsweeney View Post
    I am trying the Bach Cello Suite No. 3 Prelude in C Major on Mandola, it is in Bass Clef which I am horrible at reading but forcing my self.
    I'm not really sure if there will be any gotcha's for fingering or other shapes, but there is considerably more "well known" music for cello than viola.
    I am interested in Hindemith's Kammermusic # 5 which features viola (at moderate difficulty ?), but need to find the score.
    The cello suites are available in alto clef--I learned from the International edition (ed. Milton Katims).

    Learning to read is a lot easier than learning to play the instrument, or more accurately, learning to read easily is not the challenge learning to play well is. You only need to learn reading once, but learning to play goes on for the rest of your life.

    Alto parts could be presented in treble clef. The Brazilian 7-string guitar players write in treble clef, and notes go down several ledger lines. One gets used to that, and mandola can do the job of guitar in choro (most players tune the guitar 7th string to C), so get familiar with those C course notes.
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  13. #8

    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    Rob, I guess my first suggestion would be, if you're just looking to get your feet wet before committing a large amount of money, to instead get something a little less expensive just to see if the mandola suits in general.

    I do play tenor mandola, and at this point can read alto (viola/viol) and bass (cello) clef. I started on treble clef, learning from the two Mel Bay books for tenor banjo (Complete Tenor Banjo Method, Tenor Banjo Melody Chord System), and then used free classical music downloads for cello and viol/viola from https://imslp.org to learn the other clefs. I particularly look for pieces for solo instruments in the mandola/viola/cello range, and also for downloads for exercises, which I use for sightreading practice.

    Transposing in software is always an option, but I'm glad I have the freedom to read standard notation on mandolin/octave mandolin and on mandola.

    Sorry that I don't know of any all-encompassing mandola-specific resources. I ran into the lack when I bought my new Flatiron mandola, and have run across discussions wherein viola players also lament their own lack....

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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    Try Telemann's Viola Concerto in G or Handel's Viola concerto in Bm

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  17. #10
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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    Hi Rob,

    “But I'd like to know how much real, dedicated classical solo mandola repertoire is out there, of any era, historical or contemporary.”

    Below I use the terms “mandola in G” to refer to the GDAE instrument tuned one octave below the standard Neapolitan mandolin (or what in the US is called “octave mandolin”) and “mandola in C” to refer to the instrument tuned CGDA, same as viola and a fifth lower than the mandolin (a.k.a. “alto mandola” or “mandoliola”).

    The particular Hopf instrument you refer to is a mandola in G, i.e. intended for GDAE tuning one octave below the mandolin. I’ve played them – they are perfectly adequate instruments, priced appropriately for a new instrument, but a clear notch below a Knorr, Woll, or similar. Scale length is 460cm, which is pretty typical. It is the type of mandola that is standard in Australian, European, and Japanese groups. Music for it will be written in 8va treble clef; alto clef is not used.

    There are two types of mandola in G in common use in mandolin orchestras -- a round back, like the Hopf; or a domed back (not quite flat). If I wanted a high quality hand made instrument and did not want to wait for a Knorr or Woll, I would order from Henning Doderer – high level professional instruments, pretty short waiting list (less than a year, I think, though I have not checked recently) and not much more money than the Hopf. Note that, since you are in the UK, you have access to many contemporary builders of Irish-style instruments, with scale lengths in the 480cm-ish range. These are intended for CGDA tuning, but can easily be retuned in GDAE. They will function perfectly well in a mandolin orchestra (provided the scale length is not too long, in which case, they will sound too much like guitars). I have an article about all of this entitled “Mandola v. Mandola” in a past issue of the BMG newsletter.

    Here is another possibility for you to consider – you may know Barbara Pommerenke Steel who conducts the Da Capo Alba group which is based, I think, in Glasgow (or nearby). Barbara’s husband, Ian, has excellent contacts in the German classical mandolin world, and occasionally has 1970s-ish East German instruments for sale. These will be as good or better than the Hopf. I’ve bought two such instruments from Ian, a mandolin and a mandola; the latter is used (by me) on the New American Mandolin Ensemble’s recent recording. This will be a shorter scale, 425/430cm or so. I use Fisoma flatwound mandola strings on this instrument, but Dogal or Optima are also fine.

    --FYI, I have three instruments that I use professionally (with the New American Mandolin Ensemble and the Hampton Trio), all mandola in G. One is the East German bowl back, mentioned above; the second is a Weber mandola in C, 17 inch scale, restrung as a mandolin in G; the third is by Walt Kuhlman, 490cm. I've probably used the Weber most frequently in performance, the Kuhlman the least (haven't owned it very long, but it is a very nice instrument).

    Regarding your question about repertoire:

    --there is a vast ensemble repertoire for the mandola in G, both historical and contemporary. As Jim noted, Calace wrote for the mandola in G. Anyone who plays modern Australian, German, Italian, or Japanese ensemble music for plucked strings will want to use the mandola in G, simple as that.

    --there is a modest contemporary literature for solo mandola in G, as well as concerti for mandola in G and plucked string ensemble. Some of this is literally just for mandola in G, some is intended either for mandolin or mandola (since the market for the latter is very small). For example, I’ve performed “Diferencias” and the “Suite for Ali”, both by Victor Kioulphades, on mandola in G many times (more times on mandola than on mandolin). Daniel Huschert, a prominent (and excellent) contemporary German composer for plucked strings, has a solo sonata for mandola. PM me if you want a list of contemporary works. There are also a few contemporary works for mandola in C, generally written in whatever clef the performer (or publisher) desires.

    --there is a vast early twentieth century ensemble literature for mandola in C from the United States. Essentially all of this is written in 8vb treble clef or transposed (“transposed” means written to be played as if the instrument were a mandolin, i.e., as you indicate in your posting).

    --there is a small historical literature for solo mandola in C, again from the US in the early twentieth century (examples are works by James Johnstone and William Place Jr). This dates from post-1910 and all examples that I have seen are written in 8vb treble. It was also extremely common for players of the mandola in C to play directly from sheet music for solo mandolin, imagining that they were playing a slightly larger mandolin (so, again as you imply in your posting, the music would sound a fifth lower). All the well known mandola players of the era did this routinely (modern players do as well). Mandolists also played solos for tenor banjo, as these would be written in 8vb treble.

    --there are a small number of works from Italy in the early 20th century for which there are parts for mandola in C written in alto clef; usually these would be alternatives to a part for mandola in G. A well-known example would be the Salvatore Falbo, “Quartet” (there are several performances of this work by modern Japanese quartets on YouTube).

    --the mandola in G was a highly uncommon, although not unheard of, instrument in the early twentieth century “Golden Age” in the US. Most players, however, used in the mandola in C, Gibson or variants thereof. As mentioned, music for this instrument was written in 8vb treble or transposed. However, there were always players who wished to play “classical” music, e.g. string quartets, reading on the mandola in C from the original string parts (in Providence RI there were several such plucked string quartets between 1910 and WWI playing, for example, Haydn string quartets and the like). There were also larger ensembles, many in the NYC area, who specialized in this repertoire; the modern New York Mandolin Orchestra descends from one of these. All of these used music written in alto clef.

    IF I were going to play in a conventional “classical” quartet (M1, M2, mandola in C, mandocello) AND ONLY play string quartet music OR play in a group whose repertoire borrowed heavily from the string orchestra literature, it would make sense to learn to read alto clef and play everything on the mandola in C. As several people point out, it is not hard to learn to read alto clef. IF the group did this rarely OR a one-off, I wouldn’t bother. As it happens, I read alto clef perfectly well (on the mandola in C or the mandola in G, I also read bass clef on the mandola in G) but I’d rather not sight read it or use it in performance. A few years ago the Providence Mandolin Orchestra (I play in the mandola section, mandola in G exclusively) did a gig where the promoter asked us to play some Bach, so we did Brandenburg No. 3. The viola #1 part, which I played, can be played on mandola in G but the probability of screwing up in performance is very high. So, instead, I played the mandola in C for the concert. Rather than read from the alto clef, I prepared a transposed part. No mistakes at performance tempo, always my goal.

    Again, feel free to PM me if you want further information.
    Robert A. Margo

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  19. #11
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    Wow, thank you everyone.

    The revelation for me is that the mandola in Europe, where I live, is largely in octave violin tuning, while in the US it is largely in viola tuning. I was not aware of this.

    I prepared for returning to the mandolin (I only dabbled with it for a while a few years ago) by tuning a ukulele to CGDA. I then started reading Bach's first three cello suites, which I know well, and also read through a good deal of 18th-century mandolin music, pretending I was tuned to GDAE. So I already have some of the habits alluded to above.

    I will certainly be in touch with Robert Margo regarding a contemporary repertoire. Thanks for the invitation to PM you, Robert.

    Alto clef reading: I read bass and treble quite fluently, and various forms of tablature, but have not got very far in any attempts at reading alto. I know, however, it is just a case of sticking at it. But I've learned that a sixty-year-old brain does not run so fluently as a thirty-year-old brain. I don't think there is the possibility in Edinburgh of a group reading string quartets straight from the score, but one never knows for sure.

    There remains a question over having octave violin tuning on a short string length of 460mm. It can't possibly as sonorous as on the longer string length of an octave mandolin, surely. Viola tuning seems best-suited for 460mm. One solution would be to have an octave mandolin with the option of capo-ing the fifth fret...not quite historically accurate!

    Hmm, much more to think about. Financially, I will never be in the market for a Woll or Knor, and two grand seems to be my upper limit. I'll certainly seek out Barbara and Iain for advice.

    Thanks again.

    Rob

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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    "There remains a question over having octave violin tuning on a short string length of 460mm. It can't possibly as sonorous as on the longer string length of an octave mandolin, surely. Viola tuning seems best-suited for 460mm. One solution would be to have an octave mandolin with the option of capo-ing the fifth fret...not quite historically accurate!"

    Whether it is as sonorous or not depends on one's expectations. If this is conditioned by, say, Irish-style or carved-back American instruments, guitar-style especially, the sound of a European mandola will certainly seem less sonorous (sort of like hearing gut bass strings on a lute for the first time). If one's reference point is modern German classical mandolin (or Japanese) it is fine. I've played Knorr, Woll, Dederer at around 460-ish cm, and they sound (and play) fantastic, all strung with Thomastik.

    If one were playing solo gigs -- which I do from time to time -- and that was all, and I liked a lower-pitched, slightly longer scale instrument, a mandola in C in the 16-17 inch scale range will make an excellent choice. As I mentioned, many well known early twentieth century players in the US favored this. You can play much if not literally all of the solo mandolin repertoire on such instrument, some of it will sound better on the mandola in C, and what you can't play may only need slight modification (for example, I might play Calace's Prelude Nr. 2 on the mandola, all but a few measures are fine and the few that aren't just need minor rewriting). In recent years when I play solo I most often perform on my Weber instrument, 17 inch scale, strung as a mandola in G, even when I playing a piece originally written for the mandolin. I keep it in G because I am constantly using it as an ensemble instrument, possibly in the same concert, so restringing it as a mandola in C is not an option.

    If I wanted to play in a group, I'd find out what repertoire the group plays, and which flavor of mandola fits the repertoire best, and proceed from there.
    Robert A. Margo

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  22. #13

    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    Looks like Jeremy and Robert beat me to it, but in better style and more thoroughly than I could have anyhow. Mandola as an alto instrument is an upstart compared to the original mandola, which English speakers now tend to refer to as "octave mandolin."

    I still have something slight to add. In addition, there is the instrument known as liuto moderno or liuto cantabile, essentially a mandoloncello and mandola/octave mandolin hybridized: C, G, d, a, e'. Raffaele Calace claims to have invented the thing, but that might have been a bit of unjustified self flattery because there were several makers around that same time. Calace did however create a pretty substantial body of virtuoso repertoire for the concept, including a concerto for liuto and piano (that I've never had the privilege of hearing). Unfortunately, it might take a bit of aggressive shopping to find a quality instrument in your stated price range. Still . . .

    Note the famous 1901 photo of Calace:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Note these performance bits of dedicated repertoire:





    Last edited by Eugene; May-14-2020 at 9:31pm.

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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    A duette for good measure (Duo Opus 1's—Elena Olenchyk and Valerij Kisseljow—studio recording of this repertoire is excellent):


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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    And, perhaps obviously, that 5-course C-to-e' instrument could serve a typical orchestral ensemble either as mando-cello from the bass clef or mandola in G from the octave treble clef.

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    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    Thanks, Eugene. The liuto cantabile had crossed my mind, but all that tremolo!

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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    Here are some Contemporary Classical Mandola (GDAE)works which may be of interest.

    Dr Eric GROSS, Cadenza VIII Op.239 Solo Mandola 530
    (written for Adrian Hooper in 1999).

    Dr Eric GROSS, Three Mandola Duets Op.282M Duo Mandola 7'
    (written for Adrian Hooper and Michael Hooper in 2009).

    Dr Nicholas VINES, Headlands for 
Tenor or High Baritone and Mandola 20'
    (written for Michael Hooper [mandola] in 1998).

    Dr Jane STANLEY, Spindrift/Interiors for Mandolin (Doubling Mandola), Flute
 (Doubling Alto Flute) and Piano 8
    (written for Michael Hooper [Mandolin doubling mandola] Ian Shanahan [recorders] Zubin Kanga [piano]
    in 2003).

    Robert ALLWORTH, Concert-Fantasia for 2 Mandolins,
 Mandola, Strings, Alto Flute and Cor Anglais 13'
    (written for Adrian Hooper [mandola], Paul Hooper and Michael Hooper [mandolins] in 2003).

    Dr Eric GROSS, Concert-Fantasia Op.269 A Concerto for 2 Mandolins, Mandola, Strings Orchestra 12'
    (written for Adrian Hooper [mandola], Paul Hooper and Michael Hooper [mandolins] in 2003).

    Dr Eric GROSS, Michael's Meanderings Op.202 for Mandola and Cello 4
    (written for Adrian Hooper [mandola] and Michael Hooper [violoncello] in 1995).

    Dr Eric GROSS, Michael Meanders Again Op.202A for Mandolin and Mandola 345
    (written for Adrian Hooper [mandola] and Michael Hooper [mandolin] in 1999).

    Dr Eric GROSS, A Children's Hymn Op.194 for Mandolin, Mandola, Piano and Treble Voices 430
    (written for Adrian Hooper [mandolin] Joyce Bootsma [mandola] in 1994).

    Andrew ROBBIE, Fields of Golden Hay for 3 Mandolas (one to double on Mandolin), Electric Guitar,
    and Bass Guitar 1244
    (written for Adrian Hooper [mandola doubling mandolin], Barbara Hooper and Joyce Bootsma [mandolas]
    Michael Hooper [bass guitar] Paul Hooper [electric guitar] in 2001).

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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    Quote Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
    I still have something slight to add. In addition, there is the instrument known as liuto moderno or liuto cantabile, essentially a mandoloncello and mandola/octave mandolin hybridized: C, G, d, a, e'. Raffaele Calace claims to have invented the thing, but that might have been a bit of unjustified self flattery because there were several makers around that same time. Calace did however create a pretty substantial body of virtuoso repertoire for the concept, including a concerto for liuto and piano (that I've never had the privilege of hearing). Unfortunately, it might take a bit of aggressive shopping to find a quality instrument in your stated price range. Still . . .
    This isn't necessarily true. Though intended for a different repertoire and playing style (and usually different tunings), five course large-bodied instruments with a scale length around 600mm are fairly common in the UK/Irish/Celtic folk scene, sold as "citterns" (no relation to historical cittern styles of the 18th century and earlier of which Rob is a master). They're commonly tuned DGDAD or variations thereof, but will take CGDAE just fine, especially those with larger body styles. Decent(-ish) instruments start from about 600 Pounds for the Ashbury Style E cittern (designed by Phil Davidson, made in Vietnam) and just about every British luthier should have experience with them and be willing to build them to your specifications if you want to go higher. Quite a different playing experience of course from the 460mm or so bowlback mandolas in G discussed earlier in this thread.

    Martin
    Last edited by Martin Jonas; May-15-2020 at 7:28am.

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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    "In addition, there is the instrument known as liuto moderno or liuto cantabile, essentially a mandoloncello and mandola/octave mandolin hybridized: C, G, d, a, e'. Raffaele Calace claims to have invented the thing, but that might have been a bit of unjustified self flattery because there were several makers around that same time. Calace did however create a pretty substantial body of virtuoso repertoire for the concept ... And, perhaps obviously, that 5-course C-to-e' instrument could serve a typical orchestral ensemble either as mando-cello from the bass clef or mandola in G from the octave treble clef."

    Eugene is certainly correct that one could use a liuto moderno to play ensemble parts for the mandola in G. I did exactly that in many concerts with the New American Mandolin Ensemble and the Providence Mandolin Orchestra, using a liuto moderno made for me by the late Walt Kuhlman. Here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPKOS3e0LQ8) is a link to a 2014 NAME performance in the Netherlands of Owen Hartford's "Urban Sketches" in which I am using the Kuhlman liuto. It is a powerful instrument. The scale length is 61 cm (same as a Calace), about an inch shorter than a modern classical guitar, physically demanding to play and very heavy to lug around. In deference to the aging process I recently have gone back to using a dedicated mandola in G, with a much shorter scale length. Yes, one can do it, as Eugene says, but there are easier ways to accomplish the mission, and easier is better, all else equal.

    The liuto moderno was "invented" sometime in the 1880s as a substitute for the guitar in so-called "romantic quartets", not as an alternative to the mandola in G. The earliest music for it was written entirely in 8vb treble clef but it quickly became apparent it could be used to play "classical" parts written for cello. When the American Samuel Adelstein visited Florence in the 1890s he heard Carlo Munier's quartet -- M1, M2, mandola in G, liuto -- play one of the Beethoven string quartets, and was, reportedly, amazed at this; see his little book, "Mandolin Memories" which also points out that the liuto could be used to play cello parts, and advocates writing for it in bass clef. All of Munier's three original quartets have optional liuto parts in place of the guitar parts; the first of these is notated in 8vb treble, but the second and third are notated in bass clef, which by then was the norm. In Italian scores from roughly 1900 on, one often sees "liuto" and "mandoloncello" used interchangeably (a vague usage that continues to this day) even after Maldura and Embergher introduced the so-called "classical quartet" in the late 1890s with the actual alto mandola and mandocello in place of the mandola in G and the liuto. As Maldura and Embergher realized, the mandola in G is not really well suited to playing the viola parts in string quartets; there is a trade off on the liuto, one plays less up the neck because of the E string on the liuto, but otherwise the 4-course instrument is less demanding on the left hand -- so, as in my earlier posting, if one wants to play string quartets on plectrum instruments, better to use the actual mandola in C and the actual mandocello. Calace, as Eugene points out, was a great master of the liuto, "perfected it" (so he claimed), advocated for it, and wrote much solo music for it; for this he used a hybrid notation that mixed 8vb treble and bass clefs. This gives the impression that Calace's notation system was in common use, except that there is hardly any solo music for liuto other than Calace's.
    Robert A. Margo

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  35. #20
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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    "Here are some Contemporary Classical Mandola (GDAE)works which may be of interest."

    As per usual Barbaram provides us with examples of the substantial body of contemporary works for plectrum instruments written by Australian composers, most not well known (or known at all) outside of Down Under, and definitely worth checking out, in my personal experience. The easiest way to begin exploring this repertoire is to visit the website of the Australian Music Center (https://www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/) and search, obviously, on "mandola".
    Robert A. Margo

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  37. #21
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    Many thanks, Barbaram, and to the other posters. Much appreciated. It's good to know there is a contemporary repertoire for the instrument.

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  39. #22

    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Jonas View Post
    This isn't necessarily true. Though intended for a different repertoire and playing style (and usually different tunings), five course large-bodied instruments with a scale length around 600mm are fairly common in the UK/Irish/Celtic folk scene, sold as "citterns" (no relation to historical cittern styles of the 18th century and earlier of which Rob is a master). They're commonly tuned DGDAD or variations thereof, but will take CGDAE just fine, especially those with larger body styles. Decent(-ish) instruments start from about 600 Pounds for the Ashbury Style E cittern (designed by Phil Davidson, made in Vietnam) and just about every British luthier should have experience with them and be willing to build them to your specifications if you want to go higher. Quite a different playing experience of course from the 460mm or so bowlback mandolas in G discussed earlier in this thread.
    Good point, of course. Cheers, Martin!

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  41. #23
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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    "This isn't necessarily true. Though intended for a different repertoire and playing style (and usually different tunings), five course large-bodied instruments with a scale length around 600mm are fairly common in the UK/Irish/Celtic folk scene, sold as "citterns" (no relation to historical cittern styles of the 18th century and earlier of which Rob is a master). They're commonly tuned DGDAD or variations thereof, but will take CGDAE just fine, especially those with larger body styles."

    I agree with Martin, and made a similar point in my original posting. Some examples of the "tenor mandola" made by UK/Irish makers have scale lengths in the 17-20 inch range and can, in my experience, be restrung GDAE. "Citterns" in the 60cm-ish scale range, as he says, can work in CGDAE.
    Robert A. Margo

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  43. #24
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    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    Bob, the performance of Urban Sketches is really professional. I'm impressed. Good piece too.

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  45. #25

    Default Re: Classical Mandola

    Quote Originally Posted by margora View Post
    In deference to the aging process I recently have gone back to using a dedicated mandola in G, with a much shorter scale length. Yes, one can do it, as Eugene says, but there are easier ways to accomplish the mission, and easier is better, all else equal.
    Also a good point. Cello parts are certainly more directly suited to cello-sized instruments. In part, I was assuming that the mandola parts one typically encounters in orchestral scores aren't likely to be too demanding. Cheers, Robert!

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