The mandolin has been around since the end of the 16th Century, although it didn't look much like the instrument we know today. It evolved in the 18th century and was built in several varieties in different Italian towns, the Neapolitan mandolin becoming the representative type. It was played widely throughout Western Europe from around 1700 to 1810. In the late 1800s a stronger bowl back instrument was developed in Naples, Italy by the Vinaccia family. Known today as the Neapolitan mandolin, this instrument has a bent soundboard, moveable bridge, metal strings and is plucked with a pick. At the end of the 1800s, the Neapolitan mandolin was popular both in Italy and throughout Western Europe. It spread to the U.S. with Italian immigration. The instrument conceived by the Gibson Company in the early 1900s today dominates the Mandolin in the U.S. Built more like a violin with carved single pieces of wood for the front and back, most modern American flat backs are based on Gibson designs. All three of these instruments: Baroque mandolin, round back or Neapolitan mandolin and flat back mandolin, are still played and the musical traditions from the different periods survive on all continents. Mandolins evolved from the Lute family in Italy during the 17th -18th centuries, and the deep bowled mandolin produced particularly in Naples became a common type in the19th century. The original instrument was the mandola (mandorla is almond in Italian and describes the instrument body shape) and evolved in the 15th century from the lute. Later, smaller mandola was developed and became known as a mandolina.
Mandolins can be used for a variety of occasions. The Italian mandolin is used for birthdays, or births of a baby. Anniversaries, and especially weddings, I know my parents had a mandolin at there wedding. Mandolins have a soft and gentle sound perfect for these occasions.
The mandolin is played kind of like a guitar, but has obvious...
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