Italian Mandolin
by Nicola Swinburne

A chance for mandolin players to learn techniques to play Italian folk melodies. The class will review simple picking techniques for playing single-line music and how to develop an effective tremolo that can convey the emotion of the music. We'll review how to get the greatest dynamic contrasts out of the mandolin including piano vs. forte, staccato and legato, and how to use glissando. We'll be using these techniques to play one or two Italian love songs in harmony. Some knowledge of reading staff notation is useful as well as basic knowledge of mandolin.

- Part 1
What are the essential elements in Italian mandolin music and why does it sound so different from bluegrass? We will listen to some recordings and analyze what makes that typical Italian sound then see how it can be produced on the mandolin. Recognize crescendos, glissandos and cadenzas. In Part 1 of this class, we will review how to hold the mandolin, pick single notes in the classical style and develop a tremolo.
Part 1 would suit all mandolin players from beginners to advanced. Reading music is not required.

- Part 2
Learn how to develop the typical Italian tremolo and when to use it to mimic the sound of the human voice. The class includes several exercises for building a good tremolo that sounds pure, controlled and smooth. Using this technique, will play some Italian songs in two or three part harmony.
Attending Part 1 is useful.

Nicola Swinburne is a teacher of Italian and classical mandolin in San Francisco at the Community Music Center in the Mission District and at her home studio in Noe Valley. She teaches both individual lessons and an ensemble class. She performs regularly in a variety of small ensembles with harp, guitar, piano and other mandolins. She recorded a CD of arranged classical, operatic and folk pieces with harpist Mitch Landy called Serenata.

SFFFF 2004: