Thursday, June 12, 2014

Practicing the mandola

I've been playing mandola a lot this week. It is the alto member of the mandolin family, its standard tuning being CGDA. For years I have played the tuning equivalent to Andy Irvine's mandolin tuning of GDAD, on the mandola, CGDG. It allows me to enrich the melody with drones in the keys of G and D, and with the capo at the second fret I can play in A. I resurrected a medley of Irish tunes I played a lot in the 1990s and a medley of two hornpipes the Bog Carrot played, also in the 1990s. The mandola is just low enough and strong enough to serve well as an accompaniment instrument, more on arpeggios than strumming, and it's very good for harmonies.

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