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Thread: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

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    Default Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    Hi everyone, I was just hired to play a solo mandolin gig for a private Italian dinner party. Does anyone have any suggestions, sheet music, or tabs they could please share with me? So far, I have sheet music for O Sole Mio, Speak Softly Love, Tarantella, and Funiculi, Funicula. I can scan and post what I have too if anyone is interested. Let me know!

    Thank you!
    Gary

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    Sounds like a nice gig. I hope you are getting fed as part of your fee! I might recommend a few other classics:

    Tra Veglia e Sonno (one of my favorites)
    Quando Tramondo Il Sole
    Speranze Perdute
    O Mio Babbino Caro
    Napoli Tutta Luce
    Tenebre Infinita
    Autonno Senza Te

    Others will have their favorites for certain. You can check out Bruce Zweig's site for recordings of a number of these made by Matteo Casserino on mandolin. Searching around on his site and you can find some charts for these and other great songs.

    http://www.brucezweig.com/music/matteo/

    If you have more time to prepare you should pick up Sheri Mignano's "Mandolin Melodies" which has many of Matteo's favorites as well as many many other Italian mandolin classics. Here is her web site:

    http://www.zighibaci.com/

    Many more materials and sources are available but that should give you a start.

    Buon divertimento!

    Mick
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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    Hi Mick, thank you very much for your input! The gig is coming up pretty quick, but it was a deal (I gotta say it) that I couldn't refuse... I try to dig up those tunes!

    Gary

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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    Gary, you bring up a topic that takes me back to some wonderful times. For 5 years in the early 80s I had a gig playing strolling mandolin with a guitarist at a family-owned (not that Family!) Italian restaurant in Louisville, KY: Trattoria Mattei. Every Saturday we strolled from room to room playing easy listening tunes and requests.

    I remember the afternoon before the first gig I taught my guitarist friend five tunes, on the assumption that we could just repeat them over and over in different rooms as people came and went. I think the five were O Sole Mio, Speak Softly Love, Never On Sunday, Those Were the Days and Summertime (it was summer at the time).

    Those five got us through the night and got us the gig. We quickly added tunes like O Marie, Come Back to Sorrento, Arrivederci Roma, the common wedding tarantella, Spanish Eyes, Autumn Leaves, etc.

    As you can see we focused on popular songs that most people would recognize because 1) we didn't know anything else and 2) the diners were not serious Italian music aficionados.

    I hasten to add that I second all of Mick's advice. I especially like Sheri Mignano's book. I was lucky to participate in a wonderful session that she led late one night at the CMSA convention in Montreal a few years ago.

    Good luck on your gig,

    John G.

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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    Last winter I had a gig playing in an Italian restaurant on Friday nights. I answered an ad on craigslist (imagine someone actually advertising for a mandolinist!) and had to beef up my repertoire from the handful of tunes I knew. Same as you, I asked around, I asked here - the most interesting tip I got was a pdf file at the Southern Italian Mandolin thread (post #25) of dozens of tunes from Abruzzo - charming, actual Italian melodies (a lot of them accordion) transcribed for mandolin, mostly in G. (Martin Jonas kindly put up vid clips of a bunch of these there later.) I learned a bunch of them, and also followed a lot of suggestions from friends, and found enough sheet music and youtube videos of the well-known popular tunes that I was able to come up with two hours worth of material. That may have meant playing tunes three times through instead of the standard twice, but this was for background music, not a concert. My basic approach was to alternate the two reference sources, familiar and unfamiliar, so as to keep people interested but also give them something new. I also included a Greek number, a couple of Russian numbers, a medley of Verdi opera melodies, even "Blue Bayou" (for the bartender) - you would be surprised how well you can fit in tunes if they are played just so.

    Here is my set list, and also "Torn' A Sorrento," in my version of Nashville notation (I did it in Am/A). Most of this was in G, except that, "Tarantella" (Am), "That's Amore" (D), "Godfather" (Em) - I think thats it. Tunes you don't recognize are probably from that pdf file. They are typically comprised of 2-4 themes, each of which gets repeated before going on to the next, which is repeated, and so on, and then the whole thing gets repeated. As I said, I stretched some of these even further. Some of them are two pieces I combined, short ones related thematically. They are the ones connected by hyphens without spaces; the other titles with hyphens are pieces named for the dances for which they are intended, differentiated by the composer's name. If this is a one-time gig you may not want to put too much work into this, but you might find some music much to your liking.

    Buona fortuna!

    SANTA LUCIA
    QUADRIGLIA - VERONI
    VERDI MEDLEY
    FURLANA-LANTERNA MAGICA
    TORN' A SORRENTO
    TARANTELLA - DOUR
    THAT'S AMORE
    QUADRIGLIA - DOUR
    QUE SERA, SERA
    BLUE BAYOU
    O SOLE MIO

    TARANTELLA
    QUADRIGLIA - TAVANI
    VOLARE
    ALESSANDRINA-COURENTA DEL BUTEI
    LARA'S THEME
    BRANDO - OMI
    QUADRIGLIA - D'AMICO-DEROSA
    GODFATHER LOVE THEME
    FUNICULI FUNICULA
    PRINCIPESSA
    SBRANDO DEL ROERO
    NEVER ON SUNDAY



    TORN' A SORRENTO

    1 2 3b 4 5 3b | 5 5 | 4 5 6b 5 6b 4 | 8

    8 9 10b 9 8 9 | 5 5 | 4 5 4 3b 2 3b | 1

    8 7 5 6 7 5 | 6 6 | 7 6 5 6 7 5 | 6 6

    3 4 5 3 2 1 | 4 4 | 5 6 7 6 5 7 | 3

    8 7 5 6 7 5 | 6 6 | 9 8 7 8 9 7 | 8 8

    8 9 10b 9 8 9 | 5 5 | 4 5 4 3b 2 3b | 1

    8 9 7 6 | 8 8 | 6 7 8 9 7 6 | 5 5

    4 5# 8 | 10b 9 8 | 8 9 7 8 | 8
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    A few more thoughts ...

    Take some time poking around the web. Adjust your search items until you start seeing what you want. I found some useful material at free-scores.com and 8notes.com, like this for instance: http://www.8notes.com/scores/9898.asp Some stuff is free, some isn't, but a free poor gif is all you need if you don't want to buy a high quality pdf file. Scores are often transcribed for various instruments and thus in common keys for those instruments; of course you will want violin, if available. Sometimes I had to download opera score, which contain parts for several instruments and are thus several pages long for something that lasts only a minute or so, so I am not going to upload them here. Search, pick and choose.

    My Verdi medley was "La donna e mobile" from "Rigoletto," a quick "Anvil Chorus" to shift gears, then "The Drinking Song" ("Libiamo") from "La Traviata." I had to tweak these to put them in the same key, ending up in C.

    Here are a couple of files. The familiar part of "Torn' A Sorrento" is on page 1, from the "Canto" notation to the bottom. (This is an enormous file, nearly 2 MB.) It is in Em/E but I did it in Am/A. The familiar part of "Funuculi Funicula" starts one note before B. This is in F, I do it in G.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Godfather_Love_Theme_Music_Sheet.pdf   Torna a Surriento.pdf   [Free-scores.com]_funiculi-funicula-20016.pdf  

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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    For starters play what you already know and then tunes you may have heard but never played:
    Carnival of Venice
    Bella Notte
    Fascination
    Return to Me
    An Evening in Roma

    Then move on to Sartori and real Neapolitan tunes!

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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    What actually is a 'love theme'? I often see this noted on movie soundtracks, eg "Love Theme from A Nightmare on Elm Street" or whatever.

    What about "Volare"? There is a crowd pleaser.....

    Mick
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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    I did a gig solo a number of years ago for a company that catered to travel agents (when there was such an occupation). I was the background music for the Italy section. It ended up being a great practice session for me. I just read from the sheet music and had a great time playing the standards and whatever else I wanted.

    BTW In have sheet music for a few Italian tunes (among others) here.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    WOW! Thank you journeybear and wundo! Great information, and I really do appreciate it!

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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    And Jim too! Thank you!!
    Cheers,
    Gary

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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    What actually is a 'love theme'? I often see this noted on movie soundtracks, eg "Love Theme from A Nightmare on Elm Street" or whatever.

    What about "Volare"? There is a crowd pleaser.....
    It's kind of a show biz term, perhaps most commonly used in Hollywood, to designate the music being played in the movie while there is some kind of, um, wooing going on. For one reason or another, the producers think the audience remembers the visual aspects of the scene more than the audio or musical aspects, so for marketing or simply nomenclature, that's what they use. Sometimes this is the actual title and the commonly-used title appears on sheet music in parentheses, sometimess it's the other way around. But if there are no lyrics, as is the case with "The Godfather," that is the title. Capisce?

    Your question made me think of "The Love Theme From Psycho," usually known as "Ree! Ree! Ree!"

    BTW, "Volare" was a monster hit, worldwide, and according to Billboard the only time a foreign language song was the #1 song for the year in America. I do it in A for some reason, and my arrangement involves doing it four times, each time increasing the amount of third notes in the C section until it is all third notes. No idea whether people noticed this, but it was something I would do for my own fun.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    This takes me back too. I used to do tons of the Italian gigs, both sitting w/ Music & strolling. Good suggestions so far. I agree well known tunes of any genre do fit in if placed within a couple of Italian, i.e. a Beatles ballad,Sinatra tunes etc.
    Also any Opera tune. "La Donna Mobile" is probably a melody you know. "Spanish Eyes" is also a good pop tune with the right flavor. You could slip in Monroe's "Moonlight Waltz" and it would fit in.

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    Default ***UPDATE*** Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?) ***UPDAT

    Hi everyone, once again thank you for all of your suggestions. I played the gig tonight and I thought I would update, in case anyone was curious

    I played for ~20 mins (I was originally asked to play 15 minutes)

    I played (in order):
    1. O solo mio
    2. Funiculi, Fuicula
    3. Come Live Your Life With Me (Godfather Waltz)
    4. Oh Mio Babbino Caro
    5. Speak Softly Love (The Godfather Theme)
    6. Tarantella
    7. O solo mio (again)

    My performance was better than any of my practices (I love it when that happens). There was part of one phrase in Tarantella that got away from me, but no one noticed. It was a private Italian dinner party for 6 people. I got paid $100 and they gave me a bottle of Barefoot Chardonnay California Wine. In case you are curious, it goes for about $10, and is described as, "golden and smooth, with a sweet vanilla aroma, our medium-weight Chardonnay is full of honeyed peach and Fuji apple flavors. This wine makes every moment a little more fun, whether you're watching the sunset from your back porch or reality TV from your couch." (From their website). It is very pleasant I must admit

    So, the gig was a success thanks to Mandolin Cafe and the members who helped me out. Now if I can figure out how to play for 8 hours a day making that same wage!

    Cheers!
    Gary

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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    What more can one ask for Italian food and mandolin music, sounds like a great evening.
    steven shelton

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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    It sure was. The atmosphere was already great, and the mando music just put it over the top :-)

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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    bravo! - your fortune is made!!

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    Default Re: Italian Dinner Gig (Ideas, Music, or Tabs?)

    I probably have several hundred PDFs of just about any Italian song or dance there is. As long as the request isn't too unreasonable, I'm more than glad to email some PDFs to make sure you have enough for the gig. While I can also provide TAB--that involves a little more time but is certainly doable. My Mandolin Melodies (now in its 3rd edition)--with all PDFS on a CD --and you print off what you like is available at www.zighibaci.com or just email me and I'll shoot you a copy if that's what you need for now. Thanks everyone, Sheri

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