World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000264188
Reproduction Date:

Title: Mandola  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Andy Irvine (musician), Mandore (instrument), Greek musical instruments, Dougie MacLean, D'Arcy Broderick
Collection: Mandolin Family Instruments, Necked Bowl Lutes
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Other names Tenor mandola, Alto mandola, Alto mandolin, Mandoliola, Liola

String instruments

Related instruments

The mandola (US and Canada) or tenor mandola (Ireland, and UK) is a fretted, stringed musical instrument. It is to the mandolin what the viola is to the violin: the four double courses of strings tuned in fifths to the same pitches as the viola (C-G-D-A low-to-high), a fifth lower than a mandolin.[1] The mandola, although now rarer, is the ancestor of the mandolin, the name of which means simply "little mandola".

The name mandola may originate with the ancient pandura, and was also rendered as mandora,[2] the change perhaps having been due to approximation to the Italian word for "almond". The instrument developed from the lute at an early date, being more compact and cheaper to build, but the sequence of development and nomenclature in different regions is now hard to discover. Historically related instruments include the mandore, mandole, vandola (Joan Carles Amat, 1596), bandola, bandora, bandurina, pandurina, and—in 16th-century Germany—the quinterne or chiterna. However, significantly different instruments have at times and places taken on the same or similar names, and the "true" mandola has been strung in several different ways.[3]

A Genoese mandola, c. 1700s.

The mandola has four double courses of metal strings, tuned in unison rather than in octaves. The scale length is typically around 42 cm (16.5 inches).[4] The mandola is typically played with a plectrum. The double strings accommodate a sustaining technique called tremolando, a rapid alternation of the plectrum on a single course of strings.

The Mandola is commonly used in folk music—particularly Italian folk music. It is sometimes played in Irish traditional music, but the instruments octave mandola, Irish bouzouki, and modern cittern are more commonly used. It is tuned like a viola CGDA. Some Irish traditional musicians, following the example of Andy Irvine, restring the tenor mandola with lighter, mandolin strings and tune it F-C-G-C (2 semi-tones lower than G-D-A-D, since the mandola's fretboard is about 2 inches longer than the mandolin's), while others (Brian McDonagh of Dervish being the best known) use alternate tunings such as D-A-E-A. Like the guitar, the mandola can be acoustic or electric. Attila the Stockbroker, punk poet and frontman of Barnstormer, uses an electric mandola as his main instrument. Alex Lifeson, guitarist of Rush, has also featured the mandola in his work.

Mandolas are often played in mandolin orchestras, along with other members of the mandolin family: mandolin, mandocello, and mandobass.[5][6] Sometimes the octave mandolin (also referred to as an octave mandola) is included as well.[7]

See also

L-R - Banjo-mandolin, standard mandolin, 3-course mandolin, Tenor mandola.


  1. ^ Gibson Co. 1930 - 1931 Catalogue
  2. ^ "Mandola", Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  3. ^ F. Jahnel and N. Clarke, The Manual of Guitar Technology, p29, The Bold Strummer Ltd.[2]
  4. ^ "The Mandolin Family", The Acoustic Music Company
  5. ^ About the Oregon Mandolin Orchestra
  6. ^ The Mandolin Family of Instruments, The Mandolin Orchestra of Niagara
  7. ^ About Us, The Mandolin Society of Peterborough

Further reading

  • Troughton, John (2005). Mandolin Manual: The Art, Craft and Science of the Mandolin and Mandola. United States: Crowood Press, Limited, The. — A comprehensive chord dictionary.  
  • Richards, Tobe A. (2005). The Tenor Mandola Chord Bible: CGDA Standard Tuning 1,728 Chords. United Kingdom: Cabot Books. — A comprehensive chord dictionary.  
  • Loesberg, John (1989). Chords for Mandolin, Irish Bango, Bouzouki, Mandola, Mamdocello. Rep. of Ireland: Random House. — A chord book featuring 20 pages of popular chords.  

External links

  • The Mandolin Page (Mandolins and Mandolas)
  • theMandolinTuner, a mandolin site focusing on mandolin tuning, chords and tabs
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.