Tag Archives: mandolin

Tuesday Trivia

With a body similar to a lute, a fretted fingerboard like the guitar, and strings tuned like a violin, this instrument in the family of strings is very much a hybrid. Can you recognise it from this description?

17 mandolin trivia

It’s a mandolin. The mandolin dates back to the 15th century, and possibly prior to that, and was popular in Italy. The strings of the mandolin are plucked with a plectrum. There are three main styles of the instrument and each style is associated with different types of music. Vivaldi composed mandolin concertos while Beethoven composed two sonatas for mandolin and piano.


Seth Weeks

After our bit of trivia earlier today we thought we’d pay tribute to a rather remarkable musician – Seth Weeks.

Silas Seth Weeks was born this day in 1868 in Vermont, Illinois, and was an American mandolin, violin, banjo, and guitar player who also composed.

08 - seth weeksAlthough he was multi-instrumental, he concentrated professionally on the mandolin. He is considered to be the first African American to play mandolin during its golden period and was considered instrumental (no pun intended) in bringing the mandolin to the prominence that it had in the early 1900s.  Additionally, he was the first American known to have written a mandolin concerto (in 1900) and led a mandolin and guitar orchestra in Tacoma, Washington.

One of his musical goals was to make the mandolin independent of other instruments.  To this end, his playing style emphasised the duo style, a particular way of playing such that the mandolin takes the melody, counter melody and harmonic parts simulataneously.   When done properly the duo style produces a sound that appears to be of two or more instruments rather than just the one.  It seems he succeeded, since a review stated that he had “included harmony with the melody in most of his arrangements”.

In today’s modern world, Weeks would have needed a pickup and what better than one of our Schatten Design Acoustic Pickups.  Click here for details.