From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The mandola (US and Canada) or tenor mandola (Europe, Ireland, and UK) is a fretted stringed musical instrument. The mandola has four double courses for a total of eight strings. The instrument is tuned in fifths, to the pitches of the viola (C-G-D-A low-to-high), a fifth lower than a mandolin; the courses are tuned in unison rather than in octaves. The scale length of the mandola is typically around 16.5 inches (420mm). The mandola is typically played with a plectrum (pick).
Like the guitar, the mandola is a poorly sustaining instrument — a note cannot be sustained for an arbitrary time as with the viola, although the technique known as tremolo (tremolando), a rapid alternation of the plectrum on a single pair of strings, allows the approximation of a long-sustained note. Also like the guitar, the mandola can be acoustic and/or electric.
Similar instruments are the smaller mandolin (tuned as the violin to G-D-A-E), the octave mandola (in Europe, Ireland, and the UK — the same instrument is called the octave mandolin in the US and Canada, mandola tenore in Japan) tuned an octave below the mandolin and having a shorter scale length than the equivalently tuned (G-D-A-D or G-D-A-E) Irish bouzouki, and the mandocello, which is classically tuned an octave below the mandola (like a cello), although in practice the instrument is often restrung and tuned as the Irish bouzouki. Much rarer is the upright mando-bass or mandobass, tuned the same as the double bass viol. Few have been produced since the early 1900s. Mando-basses have 4 strings, analogous to a double bass viol.
Mandolas are not uncommon in folk music and sometimes used in Irish traditional music, although far less often, in the latter case, than the octave mandola, Irish bouzouki, and modern cittern. Some Irish traditional musicians, such as Andy Irvine restring the tenor mandola so it may be tuned as a mandolin, whilst others (Brian McDonagh of Dervish being the best known) use altered tunings such as DAEA.
- The Mandolin Page (Mandolins and Mandolas)
- Troughton, John (2005). Mandolin Manual: The Art, Craft and Science of the Mandolin and Mandola. United States: Crowood Press, Limited, The. ISBN 1-86126-496-8. — A comprehensive chord dictionary.
- Richards, Tobe A. (2005). The Tenor Mandola Chord Bible: CGDA Standard Tuning 1,728 Chords. United Kingdom: Cabot Books. ISBN 0-9553944-2-2. — A comprehensive chord dictionary.
- Loesberg, John (1989). Chords for Mandolin, Irish Bango, Bouzouki, Mandola, Mamdocello. Rep. of Ireland: Random House. ISBN 0-946005-47-8. — A chord book featuring 20 pages of popular chords.