Raffaele Calace Method for Mandolin in English

By Mandolin Cafe
February 2, 2011 - 1:15 pm

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Raffaele Calace Method for Mandolin, Vol I & II Presented by Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg

Raffaele Calace Method for Mandolin, Vol I & II Presented by Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg

Oakland, Calif.Raffaele Calace Method for Mandolin, the essential treatise from the master of Neopolitan mandolin technique, is now made accessible to the English-speaking student.

Italian mandolin virtuoso Raffaele Calace (1864-1934, Naples) was, without doubt, one of the finest mandolin players of all time. Over the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, he elevated this art form well beyond what anyone had previously imagined. In 1910, Calace created a remarkable six-part Method for Mandolin, considered the most important from that period.

German mandolin professor Caterina Lichtenberg and American mandolinist Mike Marshall celebrate the 100th year anniversary of Calace's publication with this first English Edition, presented in two volumes.

Extremely detailed, lucid, truly comprehensive, well-organized, and beautifully presented, this 6-part guide leads the student by explanation, example, and well-tailored, musically intriguing exercises towards real mastery of the instrument. Includes a glossary of all terms.

Volume I: Parts 1, 2, and 3 (Opp. 37-39). Covers basics of playing, and presents a thorough approach to mastery of the all-important tremolo; demonstrates a variety of pick strokes; contains an in-depth exploration of twenty-two dynamic, rhythmic, and other musical notations, both general and including techniques specific to the Neopolitan classical style; and provides a meticulous study of the first five fretboard playing positions, including chromatic and scale studies in all keys. 105 pp. Coil bound. Notation only.

Volume II: Parts 4, 5, and 6 (Opp. 40-42). Covers all major ornamentation patterns used in classical mandolin; continues the study of fretboard playing positions from Volume I through seventh position; presents double stops in thirds, sixths, and octaves, with extensive combination exercises; includes a thorough presentation of all aspects of self-accompaniment (duo style or tremolo staccato); and contains a detailed section on harmonic production. Amply illustrated by exercises geared towards continuous integration of all concepts presented throughout the Method, including excerpts from works by R. Calace. 82 pp. Coil bound. Notation only.

"This is the most comprehensive set of instructions that I have ever seen provided for a mandolinist who wants to develop these extended techniques," said Mike Marshall.

"Thanks to the translation skills of Amy Burcham and the detailed insights provided by Caterina Lichtenberg, the English-speaking world can for the first time finally read ALL of Calace's words provided alongside the original notation in a clean, readable presentation. This will hopefully help all of us begin to unravel what is necessary to elevate our technique to this level.

"These books provide a window into the genius of Calace. They reveal his dedication to the fine art of mandolin playing, his passion for music, and a keen understanding of how to overcome the challenges faced by most mandolinists.

"Few mandolinists today have delved deeply into Calace's demanding pieces and really mastered all of the techniques needed to perform them. But after reading what Raffaele himself has to say and playing through his exercises, we have a glimpse of what it will take to play these works.

"Not until I studied Calace's music with Caterina, and began to unravel the mystery of what was written on the page, did I finally begin to appreciate the wealth of great music that was always there. Only then did I finally grasp the importance of this man's legacy to the mandolin world."

Available exclusively from Elderly Instruments:
Volume I
Volume II
Two book set


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Reader Comments

Jim Garber
February 02, 2011 02:03 PM
Excellent news!! Long time coming.
February 02, 2011 02:36 PM
I second Jim's comment.
February 03, 2011 02:40 AM
I must get a copy of this!

Mike Black
February 03, 2011 09:03 AM
By looking at the picture on the cover of Raffaele Calace holding a Mandolin. He must have been a very small guy. smile
Jim Garber
February 03, 2011 09:11 AM
Those liuto cantabiles are monsters. The Munier Orchestra in Philadelphia have a Calace liuto. The neck is more than a baseball bat -- more like a bridge cable.
February 03, 2011 09:49 AM
Quote from Mike Black: By looking at the picture on the cover of Raffaele Calace holding a Mandolin. He must have been a very small guy. smile End Quote

I thought the same thing when I saw the photo..... Somewhere on the MC is a picture of Alex T playing a liuto cantabile (not certain of the maker). It is huge.

Jim Garber
February 03, 2011 09:52 AM
I was going to post a picture of RC and his liuto but you can't post pictures on these newsfetcher threads.
February 03, 2011 09:58 AM


is the instrument in question (i.e. the one played by Alex, of course, not Calace himself).

QUITE impressive!


February 03, 2011 10:11 AM
Wonderful, Victor, both the composition and the playing. The accompanying text from Alex is very informative as well. I did not know this was a Puglisi instrument...... The Sicilian makers are usually overshadowed by those from the peninsula. Of course they made instruments across a wide range of quality levels. I have owned a few and am a big fan of their very eclectic design sensibilities. Big props to the family from Catania. I hope this helps raise them further up into the radar screen.

Jim Garber
February 03, 2011 10:14 AM
Pictures of the Calace liuto from (I think) 1920s can be found here:

February 03, 2011 12:02 PM
Quote from brunello97: Wonderful, Victor, both the composition and the playing. End Quote

Thank you, my friend! Indeed, the playing is nothing short of ASTOUNDING, especially considering that I wrote this piece for dear Ali, to be played on her "Beast", ~merely~ a lil' old octave-mandolin ;-)

And, speaking of the radar screen, I would absolutely LOVE to write something expressly for this magnificent instrument, but of course that takes pragmatically a lower priority to those pieces for... *ahem*... somewhat more abundant instruments.

An absolutely GLORIOUS plucky thing, all the same... What would I/we not give to have heard Raffaele the Great actually play that liuto! Perhaps his works for it can be revived, and more frequently heard.