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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 73 | June 15 , 2008|


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Rhythm & Sound

The Mandolin
Nazia Ahmed

DESCENDING from the mandore, a soprano member of the lute family Mandolin is the kind of instrument that is found in the folk side of most culture. It has a body with a teardrop-shaped soundboard.

In the first half of the 20th century, mandolins enjoyed a period of great popularity in Europe and the Americas as an easier approach to playing string music. Many professional and amateur mandolin groups and orchestras were formed to play light classical string repertory. Just as this practice was falling into disuse, the mandolin found a new niche in American country, old-time music, bluegrass, and folk music. More recently, the Baroque and Classical mandolin repertory and styles have benefited from the raised awareness of and interest in early music. Tremolo and finger picking methods are used while playing a mandolin.

Today you can see mandolins as part of the traditional and folk culture of Portuguese singing groups. The Portuguese influence brought the mandolin to Brazil.

The mandolin has been used extensively in the traditional music of England and Scotland for generations, but the instrument has also found its way into British rock music. Mandolin music was used in the Indian Movies as far back as the 1940's by the Raj Kapoor Studios in movies such as Barsaat, Awara etc. Adoption of the mandolin in Carnatic music is recent and, being essentially a very small electric guitar, the instrument itself bears rather small resemblance to European and American mandolins. Instruments of the mandolin family are very popular in Japan. The mandolin's popularity in the United States was spurred by the success of a group of touring young European musicians known as the Estudiantina Figaro, or in the United States, simply the "Spanish Students."

The Mandolin family:

The Mandola

The Piccolo or Sopranino mandolin is a rare member of the family,

The Mandocello

The Octave mandolin

The Greek Laouto

The Mando-bass,

The Irish bouzouki

The modern Cittern is also an extension of the mandolin family

Did you know?

Having good "Mic Technique" means two things: understanding that a microphone's diaphragm reacts with varying sensitivity to your vocal performance; and knowing how to adjust your body according to the dynamics of the delivery.

If you're going to deliver a quiet, intimate vocal from start to finish, you can afford to position your mouth just a few inches (or even less) from the microphone. If the vocal is to be sung full volume throughout the song, you may stand a couple feet away. Quite often, though, a song is dynamic enough to require different amounts of air to be pushed at different times. Singers with good mic technique will move their body closer to or further away from the mic as the song unfolds. Ideally, your mouth is as close to the mic as possible before overloading it with level (which will cause it to distort or, with super-sensitive mic's, to temporarily shut down -- this will always be blamed on the engineer, even if it's the prima-donna singer's fault. )

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