Tag: free sheet music


Herbert Forrest Odell – Method for the Mandolin –…

I have just prepared a scan of the first book of the Odell Method for the Mandolin by Herbert Forrest Odell (1872 – 1926) and added it to my homepage mandoisland.de for free download.

Herbert Forrest Odell is mainly known as the publisher of the famous magazine The Crescendo which was published in Boston between 1908 and 1933.  Odell had studied the mandolin in Paris with Pietrapertosa in 1895.

The only video that I have found is an arrangement of a Jota by the Spanish composer Enrique Granados, arranged for mandolin ensemble by Herbert Forrest Odell.

Jota – Enrique Granados

The Louisville Mandolin Orchestra, under the direction of Bob Elkins, performs Jota, Danza #6, from Twelve Dances for Piano by Enrique Granados and arranged for mandolin ensemble by H.F. Odell. Broadcasted and recorded by public radio station WUOL in 2006 for the “Lunchtime Classics” program.

Additional Information

Free Download of my scan of the Odell Method for the Mandolin is also possible from www.imslp.org:

youtube channel Louisville Mandolin Orchestra:

Interesting page about the history of the guitar with some pictures of  The Crescendo:

More mandolin methods from my collection:

Timeline of mandolin methods:

aaa to be reviewed

Seljancica Kolo – A Folk Dance from Yogoslavia –…

The Pittsburgh Mandolin Society provides a set of free sheet music for folk dances from former Yugoslavia. It is possible to play those pieces with one or two mandolins and guitar accompaniment.

Yugoslav Songs and Dances:


One of the dances is  Seljancica Kolo, a well known dance from Croatia, which can be found several times at youtube.

Let’s start with a danced version of this Seljancica Kolo:

Seljancica kolo (Kolo) voormalig-Joegoslavie

Second I have found a version played by the Tam Trio of Hialeah which uses Croatian instruments like brac, bugarija, guitar and double bass.

Tam Trio of Hialeah, FL…”SELJANCICA KOLO”

In the USA the tamburitza instruments from Croatia are played until today by immigrants from Croatia and Yugoslavia. In this video the melody is played by the brac, a guitar shaped instruments tha sounds like a mandoln or mandola.

You can find a description of the Croatian instruments in the Atlas of Plucked Instruments:

bisernica On the Balkan (in Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia) so called tamburitza orchestre are very popular. Even emigrants in USA (or Austria) from that area still play this type of music. Basically the tamburitza is an all stringed band. The different instruments are from the smallest to the biggest : bisernica, brac, bugarija, celo and berde. Bodyshape can be roundish (mainly only for the smallest instruments) or guitar-like for the bigger ones. Shapes and decoration can be quite different between different makers. The orchestras can be small (one of each instrument), or with several of each (in different sizes).


Pittsburg Mandolin Society

The Pittsburgh Mandolin Society was the largest mandolin orchestra in the USA in 2009. On the homepage of the Pittsburgh Mandolin Society you can find a lot of information about the history of the mandolin in the USA. You can also find the information that Valentine Abt, a famous mandolinist and composer was native from Pittsburgh, he founded the first classical mandolin quartet in the USA – with two mandolins, tenor mandolin and mandocello.

Additional Information

Old Homepage of the Pittsburg Mandolin Society – no more available: http://www.pittsburghmandolinsociety.org/

The free downloads of sheet music are not available any more!

New website: https://sites.google.com/a/pittsburghmandolinsociety.org/home/news-events

youtube channel of the Tam Trio of Hialeah: http://www.youtube.com/user/stringmancurt

another post about the tamburitza in my blog: Tamburitza Orchestra Dobrec – Slovenia

favorite tunes

Three Easy Fiddle Tunes – Over the Waterfall *…

I am currently reworking some fiddle tunes which I want to play with my duo partner with two mandolins. So I decided that I should present those tunes, togehter with sheet music links and additional information here in my blog.

Fiddle Tune Medley

Over the Waterfall

Michelle Shocked has used the two melodies Over the Waterfall and St. Anne’s Reel on her CD Arkansas Traveller – that’s one of my all time favorite CDs:

Over the Waterfall – Glenn Allan + Kim Mackenzie

Glenn Allan + Kim Mackenzie, live at Riley’s Tavern, 3/21/10. Music and Lyrics by Michelle Shocked, from her 1992 Arkansas Traveller.

St. Annes Reel

St. Annes Reel is the next tune, it sounds very similar to Over the Waterfall: Read more “Three Easy Fiddle Tunes – Over the Waterfall * St. Anne’s Reel * Fisher’s Hornpipe”

mandolin methods

Ferdinando de Cristofaro – The Famous Mandolin Method and…

Cristofaro – Methode de Mandoline (1884)

I have recently added the first part of the mandolin method by Ferdinando de Cristofaro as a free download to my homepage mandoisland. You can find information about Cristofaro in the famous book “The Guitar and Mandolin” by Ph. J. Bone entnommen, you can view or download this complete book from archive.org:


Here is the beginning of the text about Cristofaro:

Cristofaro, Ferdinando, de, born in Naples, the home of the
mandolin, in 1846, died in Paris, April 18, 1890. The son of
respectable parents in Naples, Cristofaro rose to be one of the
most celebrated mandolin virtuosi of modern times. He received
his musical education in the Conservatory of his native city,
devoting himself to the study of the piano, and had his life been
spared, his fame as a virtuoso on that instrument would have
extended far beyond his achievements as a mandolinist. Cristofaro
was entirely self-taught on the mandolin, and he soon distinguished
himself by his performances on this instrument in Italy. To the
Neapolitans, he introduced a new and completely advanced method
of playing — accustomed as they were to hearing the instrument in
the hands of strolling players, used more for accompanying popular
songs than anything else — the classical compositions, executed by
Cristofaro, caused unbounded enthusiasm, astonishment, and
admiration. His fame spread rapidly throughout his native land,
and after appearing with success in all the important cities, he was
induced to visit Paris. It was in 1882 that he arrived in this city,
where he was immediately recognised as the premier mandolinist
of the day ; he won a widespread and enviable reputation, and as a
teacher, his services were in constant demand by French aristocracy.
During his residence in Paris, he appeared in public with the most
prominent musicians of the time — M. Gounod, upon several
occasions playing the pianoforte accompaniments to his solos. In
1888, Cristofaro visited London, and here he met with his usual
success, and was sought in this city also as a teacher, and was
appointed conductor of the " Ladies' Guitar and Mandolin Band."
and later:
Cristofaro was the author of a most com-
prehensive and artistic method for the mandolin. It consists of
two volumes, each being published in five languages: English,
French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, and treats of the
instrument fully, and is illustrated by numerous diagrams. It
commences with the elements of the theory of music, and all the
exercises are melodious and arranged with a definite object : they
are well -graded and admirably suited for pupil and teacher,, as
the majority are written as duets for two mandolins. Several of
these studies deserve special notice for their beauty of melody and
form, among such, we mention particularly, the Andante maestoso,
Larghetto, Andante religioso, in double stopping, and Allegro
giusto, style fugue, all in the second volume. The method was
published in November, 1884, by Lemoine, Paris, and it had
reached the twelfth edition previous to the death of of its author in
1890. Cristofaro had previously written a method for the mandolin
when he was living in Naples, before he was thirty years of age,
this being published in 1873, by Cottrau of that city.

The complete mandolin method (part 1) by Cristofaro is available for download on my homepage: http://www.mandoisland.de on page “Free Sheet Music” or also on “Mandolin Methods”

An original Mandolin Pick from the 19th Century!

After I had prepared the method for download I tried to find once again informations about Cristofaro with searching the internet – and I found one very interesting article. A collector of vintage guitar picks has bought some old picks from a seller in France.One of thepicks is stamed with “Cristofaro – Paris” which made him curious. He found the information about Ferdinado de Cristofaro (i guess that he got it from Bone’s book) which brought him to the conclusion that this pick  must have been produce at the time when Cristofaro’s mandolin method was published, abd probably befor Cristofaro’s death – somtime between 1884 and 1990. This pick has been made from celluloid – so it may be the oldest pick made from celloloid.

You can find the complete post about the original Cristofaro mandolin pick here:

Cristofaro: The Oldest Pick?


Some time ago I have made a video of a Mandolin Serenade composed by Desormes and arranged for the mandolin by Cristofaro:

Mandolin Serenade – Sérénade de Mandolines – Classical Mandolin