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A history of the Neapolitan mandoline from its origins until the early nineteenth century, with a thematic index of published and manuscript music for the instrument

Sparks, P.R. (1989). A history of the Neapolitan mandoline from its origins until the early nineteenth century, with a thematic index of published and manuscript music for the instrument. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


The 4-course mandoline was developed in Naples in the 1740's, principally by the' ° 'Vinaccia family. It " is,, differentiated from the earlier 4,5, or 6-course mandolino by its deeper body, moveable bridge, violin tuning, higher" string tension with partial use of metal stringing, and the universal application of quill'technique. - This thesis traces the great popularity which the mandoline enjoyed throughout Europe, especially 'in France, -between 1760 and 1785. Italian virtuosos, such as Leone, Cifolelli, and Nonnini, performed at the -Concert Spirituel in Paris, and won enthusiastic reviews from musical journals. Many published tuition books there, as well as approximately 85 volumes of music for their instrument. The mandoline was also popular in' Lyon, where Fouchetti and Verdone were leading players, teachers, and composers. This thesis also examines the history of-the instrument in Britain, Germany, Russia, North America, and the Habsburg Empire, where there was-a resurgence of interest in all types of mandolin in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth 'centuries, especially in Prague and-Vienna. Much new music was produced, including repertoire items by Mozart, Beethoven, and Hummel. - - The evolution of mandoline construction, stringing, playing technique, and style is- discussed, with reference to surviving treatises of the period. Instruments closely related to the mandoline are also described.

This catalogues all known eighteenth and early nineteenth century published and manuscript music-for mandoline, listed alphabetically by composer. It was compiled after a systematic search of lists of published'music in eighteenth century music journals, and after extensive research in major music' libraries worldwide, using a name list of several hundred known composers for mandoline and mandolino. Each entry consists of composer's name, dates, full title, location of any surviving copy or copies, date of publication (where applicable), number of pages, and thematic incipit of each movement. In some cases, only partial information has been obtainable. -For completeness, music for other types of mandolin composed prior to 1820 is included, though without thematic incipit.

The final volume consists of a selection of some of the finest pieces from the mandoline repertoire; each with a short introductory note. They range from solo variations to concertos and chamber

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
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