Tag: free sheet music

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


Carol of the Bells

I have heard Carol of the Bells first on the Christmas CD “Blue Grass & White Snow” by Patty Loveless. According to the the reviews it was played by members of the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble – with mandolins, mandocellos, guitars, flute and tubular bells – a very beautiful (and I think still my favorite) version of this song. You can find a review of this CD at: http://countrymusic.about.com/od/cdreviewsal/fr/BlugrassWhtSnow.htm

Unfortunately this version is not available at youtube.

But there are many, many videos at youtube, and I have selected my favorite versions with plucked instruments for this post.

Carol of the Bells: John King ukulele

Classical guitarist Phillip Lester demonstrates his solo fingerstyle guitar arrangement of Carol of the Bells.

Carol of the Bells – Tom & Krystin perform this traditional carol from their Christmas Guitars CD.

“Carol of the Bells” by Eric Loy (Harp Guitar)

A very special instrument – the harp guitar – is used in the following video:

And finally a beautiful version with a mandolin and two guitars:

Many more versions with Tubas, Cellos, Percussion ensemble, One Man/Woman Choirs, Jazz Choirs, School Choirs, Church Choirs, Pop-Stars like Destinys Child or the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, instructions for guitar can be found in my playlist Carol of the Bells.

Sheet Music

I have found several sources for free sheet music of Carol of the Bells

The first is a version of for a recorder ensemble with finger cymbals and triangle – this might also be played with mandolins and guitars – just try it:

Amy L. Heavilin: Carol of the Bells (recorder)

A version for four cellos ca be fond in the Folk Cello Blog: Carol of the Bells (Cello)

TABs for the ukulele version by John King can be found at: http://www.nalu-music.com/ukulele-tablature/carol-of-the-bells-ukulele/

Two versions for piano can be found at: http://www.music-for-music-teachers.com/ukrainian-bell-carol.html

On the following page you can also find a version of Carol of the Bells (Ukrainian Bells) wuth a playlog file to practice and some other christmas carols: http://www.musicstudents.com/archive/christmas.html

More free sheet music sites for christmas carols from Germany and other countries can be found on my homepage, direct link to the page (only German – I will translate this and add it as a post in this blog): http://www.mandoisland.de/noten2009/weihnachten.html

Additional information

Many information about Carol of the Bells, including a list of notable performances of this piece can be found at wikipedia: Carol of the Bells

Nashville Mandolin Ensemble at myspace: http://www.myspace.com/nashvillemandolinensemble

Homepage Patty Loveless: http://www.pattyloveless.com/

Harp guitars: http://www.harpguitars.net/

Playlist: Carol of the Bells

Link collection – free sheetmusic for christmas: http://pinboard.in/u:mandoisland/t:weihnachten/t:noten

Mandozine Tabs for Christmas: http://www.mandozine.com/music/

Related article: ★ The Best Music for Christmas 2016

Recommendation for guitar players (Amazon partnerlink)

Fingerpicking Christmas: 20 Carols Arranged for Solo Guitar in Notes & Tablature