The Instruments

Mandolins evolved from the lute family in Italy during the 17th and 18th centuries, and the deep bowled mandolin, produced particularly in Naples, became common in the 19th century. This is the form usually preferred by classical ensembles.

Flatback mandolins are often played by bluegrass or country and western and banjo mandolins can be found in ‘trad’ jazz bands.

The mandolin has the same tuning as the violin (although with four pairs of strings), and is played with a plectrum, rather than a violin bow. Like any skill, it will take time and effort to become proficient. Players of the violin can pick up the skills to play a mandolin quite quickly. Because of the same tuning, their left hand can find the notes and because the mandolin has frets (unlike a violin), there are fewer problems with intonation.

The mandola has the same tuning as a viola. It is tuned one octave below the mandolin or violin. Music is written in the treble clef.

The mandocello is another octave lower than the mandola (two octaves lower than the Mandolin). Most music written for mandocello is in bass clef and not all arrangements for mandolin ensembles include mandocello parts.

The acoustic guitar rose to international prominence, alongside other plucked instruments, during the early twentieth century. Guitars come in a range of designs, sounds, repertoires and playing styles.

Those played in ensembles such as Concordia are classical six-string guitars.

The double bass instruments played in Concordia are no different to those found in a symphony orchestra. There music is written in the bass clef. Depending on musical arrangements, they can be bowed or plucked.