What is Klezmer Music, and What's The Roma Connection?

Originally, the word "klezmer," from the Yiddish language, meant "vessel of song" and later, simply "musician." However, it has come to characterize the style of secular music played by Ashkenazi Jews for joyful celebrations such as weddings.

Alicia Svigals - Klezmer violinist

Klezmer can trace its origins back to the 9th century in the Rhine valley, where the Yiddish language also developed. As Jews moved to Eastern Europe their celebratory music wedding/festival music found influence in that of the local cultures, specifically in present day Romania (including a definite cross-pollination with Roma music) and Moldova (once Bessarabia, where klezmer musicians started using Turkish scales already familiar from synagogue observances), Belarus, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine and Poland, where 19th century, Polish-Russian klezmorim (esteemed klezmer musicians) who had been in Czarist military bands brought brass and woodwind instruments into what had primarily been string-based ensembles. Judaism’s ultra-orthodox Chasidic movement of the 18th and 19th centuries emphasized passionate singing and dancing while in the act of worship and bound klezmer music inextricably to Jewish festivals and joyous observances.  Klezmer music draws on centuries-old Jewish traditions and incorporates various sounds of music from European and international traditions, including Roma (gypsy) music, Eastern European folk music (particularly Russian music), French Cafe music and early jazz. In different regions of Eastern and Central Europe, klezmer developed slightly differently, leading to an exciting range of subgenres.

Like the Jews, the Roma are an ancient ethnicity that did not originate in Europe; who are believed to have migrated to Persia from northern India from around 420 BC when 10,000 Luri (a caste of musicians and dancers) were brought at the request of the King. On the move with the Turkish army who used them as professional musicians, the Roma dispersed throughout Europe from the 15th century, living on the fringes of society as tinkers, craftsmen and horsetraders, as well as entertainers. Whether dancing with trained bears or playing for a village wedding, Gypsies in the Austro-Hungarian empire made themselves indispensable as performers to villages of various ethnicities (Saxons, Vlachs, Magyar and Moldavians, etc., to name just the groups of Transylvania).

Taraf d Hadouks - Gypsy/Roma/Klezmer


Also like the Jews, the Roma  were a separate minority group generally living on the margins of the societies of the countries in which they lived.  Both groups maintained distinct cultural identities despite being widely scattered, possessed no country or homeland of their own, and were frequent targets of expulsions, discrimination, and persecution. Like klezmer, Roma music is likely traditional religious songs combined with the music of host countries, and influenced by Roma status as a wandering and often marginalized minority. Despite of all this, the music of both groups is often joyful and exemplifies the energy and fire of life and of living.

Klezmer music is intended to replicate the human voice including sounds of crying, wailing and laughing. Generally, the violin is responsible for the imitation which is mean to sound like the cantor in a synagogue. Often, a klezmer band will include a fiddle, a bass or cello, a clarinet and a drum. Secondary instruments include hammered dulcimers and an accordion.
Klezmer music is made for dancing. Most dances which are intended to go along with klezmer music are set dances (much like the Anglo square or contra dances). Klezmer music also has many traditional waltzes and polkas, and in later years, musicians picked up some tangos and polkas which remain in the repertoire.

These klezmer pieces are meant for dancing, including fast and slow tempos:

  • Freylekhs are the most popular klezmer dances and they are done in a circle while the piano, accordion or bass plays an "oom-pah" beat. "Freylekh" is the Yiddish word for "festive."
  • Skotshne, meaning hopping, is like a more complex freylekh.
  • Tango is a famous dance that came out of Argentina; Jews originally composed quite a few Eastern European tangos.
  • Sher: This is a set dance, one of the most common, done in 2/4 tempo. The name is derived from the straight-legged, quick movements of the legs, reminiscent of the shears used by tailors.
  • Halaka is a traditional Israeli dance the originated in Safed in Galilee; its tune has been handed down through generations.
  • Khosidl, or khusidl, is named after the Hasidic Jews who performed the dance which can be done in a circle or in a line.
  • Sirba is comprised of hopping and short bursts of running.
  • Hora or zhok is a Romanian-style dance; the Israeli hora is derived from the Romanian hora. "Zhok" in Yiddish comes from the Romanian word "joc" which means dance.
  • Csárdás is popular among Jews from Hungary, Slovakia and the Carpathians. It begins slowly
  • Padespan is a kind of Russian/Spanish waltz.and then the speed quickens.
  • Kolomeike is a quick and catchy dance which comes from Ukraine where it is the most common folk music.
  • Mazurka and polka are from Poland and Czechoslovakia. Both Jew and non-Jews engaged in the dance.
  • Terkish is like the habanera.

Di Grine Kuzine with Theodore Bikel

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Introducing: Klezmer For Beginners Online Group Class

The Klezmer For Beginners Online Group Class will be broadcast from Adam's YouTube channel (here) beginning May 1, 2019 and going for the whole summer.  If there is interest in the class beyond that, we will continue.

The class meets Wednesday mornings from 9am-11am EST.

The cost is $5 per person per class, or $75 for the summer (a $15 savings).  Register and pay through PayPal (here), include your instrument (if any), name, email address and cell phone # in the comments box.

You do not need to play an instrument to participate in the class!  There will be lots of discussion, presentation of materials including links to download sheet music and other information, watching/listening to music and of course playing and sharing music together.  Singers and dancers are encouraged to participate.

You may pre-register for the class beginning this week (ending 4/19/19).

$35/30 Minute Mandolin Lesson Program

The $35/30 Minute Mandolin Lesson Program is available again this spring.  Class times available are Tuesdays - Fridays 8am-8:30am, 8:30am-9am, 9am-9:30am, 9:30am-10am, 10-10:30am, 10:30am-11am.

All ages welcome!  Lessons are available in person here at the studio in Granby, MA or online using Skype or Hangouts.  I accept PayPal for remote lessons, and cash for in-person lessons. Sorry, no checks!

Beginning students will learn the basics: music theory and how to read music, how to count, meter and rhythm, keys and chords; how to hold the instrument and pick (or bow for violin players); how to practice scales, arpeggios and exercises; how to play basic melodies.  At some point, usually within a few weeks, beginning students may be ready for more advanced material which will be assigned at that time.

Beginning students may be eligible for either the Music for Beginners' Group Class (Wednesdays at 7pm), or Fiddle is Fun, a group for people that want to learn how to play the fiddle together.

Advanced students that can already read and understand the basics of their instrument will study more advanced theory including the modes, advanced timing and rhythm, advanced chords, harmonization, improvisation, and will be introduced to a wide variety of music depending on the genre and style they have chosen to study.  For example, Classical musicians will be exposed to a variety of composers from the Renaissance Era up to the Romantic Era and everything in between.  Folk musicians will be exposed to a wide variety of western European traditional dance music styles including Celtic, Quebecois and Cape Breton music as well as American styles such as Bluegrass, Country, Western Swing, Jazz, Blues, and more.

Advanced students may be eligible for either the Classical Group Class (Tuesdays at 7pm), the Celtic Group (Thursdays 7-9pm) or the Bluegrass Group (Fridays 7-9pm).  Some advanced players may want to play in all three.  There is a $5 discount per class for students that wish to join more than one as long as they attend on a weekly basis.  The discount does not apply for one-offs or trial periods.

Emily's Violins

Emily's Violins was an import/export company that specialized in luthier supplies, including horse tail hair for bows; ebony, rosewood and boxwood for fittings; tonewood for violin and cello makers; tools and hide glue. 

While we still inventory some of the items and have maintained contacts among suppliers, the internet generally and Alibaba.com specifically have veritably destroyed our online business.

Emily appreciates your patronage and thanks you for over a decade of business.

Taking Lessons At Sweet Music Studio

ASL & Sweet Music
There are several ways you can take private lessons: 
  1. In person at my studio in Granby: Private lessons in Granby are sixty (60) minutes per week for adults, and 30 minutes per week for children under 9.  For children over 9 I offer a 40-45 minute lesson (depending on their readiness).
  2. online using Google Hangouts: Online lessons are held through Google Hangouts (you will need a laptop with a webcam, or a separate webcam with a good microphone on your desktop computer).
  3. or for an extra fee, in the comfort of your home or office.
NOTE: I wrote a blog recently about what private lessons are like.  Read it here  Read and understand my Policies before coming for your first class.
    Mandolin New England / Classical Group Class
    Beginning students will learn the basics: music theory and how to read music, how to count, meter and rhythm, keys and chords; how to hold the instrument and pick (or bow for violin players); how to practice scales, arpeggios and exercises; how to play basic melodies.  At some point, usually within a few weeks, beginning students may be ready for more advanced material which will be assigned at that time.

    Beginning students may be eligible for either the Music for Beginners' Group Class (Wednesdays at 7pm), or Fiddle is Fun, a group for people that want to learn how to play the fiddle together.

    Advanced students that can already read and understand the basics of their instrument will study more advanced theory including the modes, advanced timing and rhythm, advanced chords, harmonization, improvisation, and will be introduced to a wide variety of music depending on the genre and style they have chosen to study.  For example, Classical musicians will be exposed to a variety of composers from the Renaissance Era up to the Romantic Era and everything in between.  Folk musicians will be exposed to a wide variety of western European traditional dance music styles including Celtic, Quebecois and Cape Breton music as well as American styles such as Bluegrass, Country, Western Swing, Jazz, Blues, and more.

    Advanced students may be eligible for either the Classical Group Class (Tuesdays at 7pm), the Celtic Group (Thursdays 7-9pm) or the Bluegrass Group (Fridays 7-9pm).  Some advanced players may want to play in all three.  There is a $5 discount per class for students that wish to join more than one as long as they attend on a weekly basis.  The discount does not apply for one-offs or trial periods.

    What is Slack, and Why We Use It

    Slack Logo
    You’ve probably heard a lot about Slack - the messaging app that almost every workplace seems to be using. 

    If you're a member of the Sweet Music Studio, you should have received an invitation to join the studio Slack.  If you have not, click here and request an invitation.

    What is Slack?
    Slack is essentially a chat room for your whole team, designed to replace email as your primary method of communication and sharing.  Its workspaces allow you to organize communications by channels for group discussions and allows for private messages to share information, files, and more all in one place.  Plus, Slack integrates with a host of other apps so you can manage your entire workflow through one platform.

    Here are a few of Slack’s key features:

    Teams & Workspaces
    Slack allows businesses, communities, and other organizations to create a private, dedicated workspace complete with a custom URL.  After a simple signup process, you’ll be able to invite your team to join and start getting work done.  For small to medium-sized teams, you’ll likely need just one workspace organized by public and private channels to meet all your needs, but Slack also has features to help enterprises manage multiple workspaces if that makes more sense (more on that below).

    Team-Wide and Private Messaging
    Slack messaging is grouped into channels and direct messages to organize conversations and replace communications that might otherwise be scattered across emails, text messages, or in person meetings.  Public channels are open to all members of a workspace and can cover everything from different marketing and sales operations to random discussions and streams of memes (if you’re company likes to have as much fun as we do).  You can also create Private channels in Slack to help break down large teams into their relevant working groups or restrict sensitive conversations or work materials to relevant team members.  And Slack allows private messages, sent directly to other team members, so you can have one-off communications or keep things organized between you and specific members of your team.

    Integrations
    Integration with third-party services is one of Slack’s most powerful features.

    These let you use some of your favorite apps right within Slack - so you don’t have to keep switching tabs, remember where that shared link went to, or open up another application just to quickly double check something.

    Some of Slack’s major integrations include:

    • Google Drive
    • Dropbox
    • Heroku
    • Github
    • Zendesk
    • Zapier

    The History of Celticado - My traditional Celtic duo

    About 14 years ago, I was living in Hadley in a rental apartment on route 9 not far from whole foods.

    I was playing at the time with a string quartet that played traditional Irish and Celtic music called Woodkerne. The first name was cracker Jack. We had to change the name because one of our members discovered that there was a punk rock group in the Saratoga Springs area with the same name and didn't want to conflict with the group. So we saw out a name change, everybody came up with their own ideas, and we voted and the one we liked the most was Woodkerne. Now most people don't know what that word means, and I'll just say that in the history of Ireland when the English were driving the Irish landowners out of their homes and castles murdering them and taking their women and children it was a tumultuous time and groups of young men would flee to the woods where they would set up camps and try to make a living as subsistence and as rangers and and what not. This might just well-be where some of the most famous stories about rogues and Robin Hood certainly and some of the other stories like the wonderful Clancy Brothers tune Brennan on the moor originated.


    The name Woodkerne means woods obviously, and Kern is the English word for Cannon fodder. Back in the middle ages, unskilled farmers and young men and boys were often recruited by advancing armies to go in front and basically be hacked down, slowing the advancing enemy army. They were called Kerne, and so the name Woodkerne essentially refers to people who live in the woods who come out and try to take their land back. So if you go to Wikipedia and you look up the word Woodkerne you should be able to find a much better definition than the one I've just given you.

    Our band consisted of banjo, fiddle, guitar, and bodhran. We played a mixture of Celtic fiddle tunes that were tunes that I had picked up over the years playing in bluegrass bands and contradance bands. The members also contributed their own songs that they wanted to play and we sang a few songs as well. We played a variety of jigs and horn pipes and polkas and waltzes and because of my classical music background and it specifically my chamber music background I really spent a lot of time making up interesting arrangements for the different musical instruments. Now I got kind of in trouble for that, because one of our players in the group specifically said on many occasion that traditional Irish music was not harmonized there was no improvisation and nobody took turns playing at that everybody played the same melody all together at the same time without any cordial backup or at least very minimal. So I thought that that was pretty hokey and not something I wanted to do. Which is why I started calling the band style music Celtic, rather than traditional Irish. I had done some reading about what traditional Irish really meant, and I had learned that there is a lot of confusion about what traditional Irish meant and the history of Irish music is so convoluted that it would take further study. Now this was the 1990s, 1998 as a matter of fact, and I had not done the deep research on the topic yet, but I knew enough about the music that I really felt it wouldn't be fair to call it traditional Irish. So we billed ourselves as a Celtic band. Thankfully, it didn't seem to hurt us in the slightest.

    We played for a lot of weddings and concerts and private events and public events. We played at a golf course. We played on the side of a of a mountain in a stone chapel, in an abandoned camp, in hotels, and all over New England. Two of us went to Egypt and played in front of the great pyramids in a world music festival. We were hired to play in a real swanky wedding in California and the bride and groom paid for our tickets and put us up in a very nice hotel and Anaheim. We played a lot of really interesting places and had a really good time doing it.

    In 2001, our guitar player, Paul Burton, had to move away. And that meant that we had to find another
    Irish Bouzouki
    guitar player. Now the banjo player and I were the really oldest members of the group. He and I had been playing together since the early '90s with another band called Maple Ridge. His name was John Rough. John and I used to go to an Irish session that we helped set up in North Amherst at a public house called The Harp. The session was on Friday nights and we would go over there and sit and have a couple of Guinness and play some tunes. At one of the sessions, we met a man from Connecticut named James Bunting. He was playing an instrument that looked like a very large mandolin and later when I got to talk to him he told me it was called an Irish bouzouki. But I never heard of a bouzouki before so of course I had to go online and learn everything I could about it. As it turns out a member of the Bothy Band which is a very famous Irish band, took his family on vacation degrees in 1966 and there he picked up a Greek bouzouki which he played a little bit while he was there and brought it back with him to Ireland when he returned and started playing around with it in the Bothy Band and soon after several other bands including the De Dannen which is another famous Irish super group and all tan started incorporating the bouzouki into their music and now it's highly unusual to find an Irish band that doesn't have a bouzouki player. but I didn't know any of that at the time, so it was a great conversation starter. I went up to gym and said "hey my name is Adam I really enjoying your playing, what is that instrument?" We chatted for a while about that turned out he also played guitar one thing let to another and I invited him to come to a Thursday night rehearsal at my house and Hadley which she did the following Thursday. So it seemed like we had our guitar player.


    Over the next eight years would current played 100th of concerts weddings parties and other events together. We lost our bodhran player who developed a severe rheumatoid arthritis and couldn't use the tapper anymore. So we had to look around for another bodhran player and I found one whose name was Andy Weiner. Andy was just learning how to play but he could play sufficiently so that he could provide a solid beat behind the group the group smelly and that's all we really needed. Andy was a real good guy very friendly very upbeat always wanting to help out with a contradict background so we kind of lucked out with that.

    We recorded our second album at Avocet recording studios in Colrain I forgot to mention, that our first album was also recorded there and if you go to my band camp page which is AdamSweet.bandcamp.com you can download the music from those albums directly from that page if you want a CD of either the first or the second album let me know and I will do my best to burn one for you from my desktop.
    Woodkerne 2009

    So after losing Dan and acquiring Andy, we were able to get back into the gigs and get back to work but all good things must come to an end, and in 2009 we played our last gig together which was at a Irish night in New Haven Connecticut and unfortunately I mean it was a great show but the organizers refused to pay us because they said that they hadn't drawn enough people and we were only going to be paid a percentage of the door so we ended up not making much money that night. And when I went to tell the guys, they were not happy at all. After that we played one or two more gigs together but the magic had gone.

    Celticado, was a duo that James Bunting and I formed way back in 2005 at the beginning of all this to play strip down easy cheap weddings and other events for clients that didn't want to pay for the full quartet. So when the band broke up in 2009, James and I continued to play together. we've had several people join us over the years and work on several projects, for example in 2010 Marc Vocca joined us for a special concert at the Windsor Art Center in Connecticut:



    We've also played with other great musicians and had some wonderful experiences as a duo and then as a trio with Claudine Langille. Now I would like to talk about Claudine, but I believe it deserves a separate podcast or blog post so I will get to it at another time suffice to say that Claudine is one of the world's greatest traditional Irish mandolin players alive today. And it is always a treat to be able to play a gig with Claudine.


    Celticado's Website: Celticado.com

    Well thank you very much for reading this post and/or hearing it on my podcast website if you have any questions or comments look forward to receiving them through my website at SweetMusicStudio.net have a great day.

    Five String Violins

    I bought my first Five String Violin from a seller on eBay back in 1998.  I wanted something I could play on stage with my country band, Wild Heart, and bring with me to Egypt for a concert I was gearing up for in front of the Great Pyramids in Cairo.  I did some online research and learned about a company called Straus that was based in Korea.  They made a lot of other models including the one I liked (which was shaped like a treble clef).  The factory also built mandolins for some top American brands including Fender (electric violins), Michael Kelly and Rigel (mandolins) and Saga (banjos, guitars, bouzoukis).

    Here's a picture of me playing my Straus electric violin with my friend Brian Bender on the trombone.  You can see the Great Pyramid of Giza in the back.  We were literally dozens of feet in front of the Sphinx.

    Brian Bender / Adam Sweet - Cairo, Egypt 1999

    After a while, I decided I wanted something acoustic that I could play with my celtic band Woodkerne.  Back to the internet, I learned about a maker in Chicago named Martin Brunkalla.  I contacted him and worked out an arrangement to distribute his 5 String Violins for a fee.  I sold probably six or seven of them before finding a supplier in China that was willing to make them for me directly.  So in 2004, I started importing Five string violins under my own TwoTree brand for sale in the US and Europe.  Below are some pictures of those instruments:

    TwoTree Base-model Five String $899 with HSC
    TwoTree Dragon Head Five String $999 with HSC

    While I still play a five string fiddle in my Celtic group, Celticado, I don't import them any more.  They are capricious and difficult to keep in tune.  The C (low) strings tend not to sound very good, even on the higher quality instruments, due to the short length of the neck.  I can still get the TwoTree violins by special order for customers that are interested.  I have a video here of me playing one.  I apologize for the sound.  It was recorded in my basement ten or eleven years ago.

    Mandolin / Guitar Picks

    Tusq White
    TUSQ PICK - BRIGHT (WHITE)
    $6.00
    The type of pick you use affects how you play and the tone you create. That's why we created TUSQ picks, the world's first and only pick with 3 distinct levels of harmonics. By formulating our proprietary material, we created a whole new class of picks, with highly resonant characteristics that produce three distinctive tones: Bright, Warm and Deep. TUSQ picks have a feel and articulation like no other picks on the market, very reminiscent of vintage tortoise shell, crisp tone, and thin, yet stiff. White is Bright, when you want your tone clean, clear, precise and rich in harmonic content.

    Tusq Warm
    TUSQ PICK - WARM (BRONZE)
    $6.00
    The type of pick you use affects how you play and the tone you create. That's why we created TUSQ picks, the world's first and only pick with 3 distinct levels of harmonics. By formulating our proprietary material, we created a whole new class of picks, with highly resonant characteristics that produce three distinctive tones: Bright, Warm and Deep. TUSQ picks have a feel and articulation like no other picks on the market, very reminiscent of vintage tortoise shell, crisp tone, and thin, yet stiff. Bronze is Warm. Our vintage colored pick will Warm it up a bit


    Tusq Deep
    TUSQ PICK - DEEP (CHARCOAL)
    $6.00
    The type of pick you use affects how you play and the tone you create. That's why we created TUSQ picks, the world's first and only pick with 3 distinct levels of harmonics. By formulating our proprietary material, we created a whole new class of picks, with highly resonant characteristics that produce three distinctive tones: Bright, Warm and Deep. TUSQ picks have a feel and articulation like no other picks on the market, very reminiscent of vintage tortoise shell, crisp tone, and thin, yet stiff. TUSQ charcoal colored picks go Deep to give you a smooth, very warm feel and tone. 

    Optima Mandolin Strings

    Optima - Hand Polished - Made in Germany
    OPTIMA MANDOLIN STRINGS - CHROME
    SKU: OC2105
    $25.00
    World famous and popular due to their amazing sound characteristics with extremely long durability. Countless orchestras play our STRINGS CHROME and express its excellent quality every day. Years of development, the right selection of the best materials, and especially the exclusive handwork during the production of the string are its secret. Finely polished, they offer an inimitable feel combined with the best sound. These strings are available with ball as Ball-End version with a 10% surcharge.

    OPTIMA MANDOLIN STRINGS - CHROME SPECIAL
    SKU: OS4105
    $38.00
    The CHROME SPECIAL STRINGS are a further development of our CHROME STRINGS. The use of slightly modified alloys and the special polishing which was developed only for this set, create a set of strings that emphasizes the mandolin sound even much better. A top quality product „Made in Germany“. These strings are available with ball as Ball End version with a 10% surcharge.

    OPTIMA MANDOLIN STRINGS - SILVER
    SKU: OMS2145
    $41.00
    The OPTIMA SILVER STRINGS for mandolin convince mainly with the sound of the silver plated D and G strings and have a traditional posy (Sträußchen) at the string end. This string is suitable for beginners, but also for advanced students and professionals. These strings are available with ball as Ball End version with a 10% surcharge.

    OPTIMA MANDOLIN STRINGS - GOLDIN
    SKU: OMSG2125
    $48.00
    GOLDIN STRINGS are characterized by a selection of the finest materials. The D and G strings are wound with Tombak and finely polished. Years of development, the right selection of the best materials and especially the exclusive handwork during the production of this string are here the secret, too. These strings are available with ball as Ball-End version with a 10% surcharge.



    What is a Mandolin, introduction to my online lesson series

    Bulldog F5 Mandolin
    A mandolin (Italian: mandolino pronounced [mandoˈliːno]; literally "small mandola") is a stringed musical instrument in the lute family and is usually plucked with a plectrum or "pick". It commonly has four courses of doubled metal strings tuned in unison (8 strings), although five (10 strings) and six (12 strings) course versions also exist. The courses are normally tuned in a succession of perfect fifths. It is the soprano member of a family that includes the mandola, octave mandolin, mandocello and mandobass.

    There are many styles of mandolin, but three are common, the Neapolitan or round-backed mandolin, the carved-top mandolin and the flat-backed mandolin. The round-back has a deep bottom, constructed of strips of wood, glued together into a bowl. The carved-top or arch-top mandolin has a much shallower, arched back, and an arched top—both carved out of wood. The flat-backed mandolin uses thin sheets of wood for the body, braced on the inside for strength in a similar manner to a guitar. Each style of instrument has its own sound quality and is associated with particular forms of music. Neapolitan mandolins feature prominently in European classical music and traditional music. Carved-top instruments are common in American folk music and bluegrass music. Flat-backed instruments are commonly used in Irish, British and Brazilian folk music. Some modern Brazilian instruments feature an extra fifth course tuned a fifth lower than the standard fourth course.

    Other mandolin varieties differ primarily in the number of strings and include four-string models (tuned in fifths) such as the Brescian and Cremonese, six-string types (tuned in fourths) such as the Milanese, Lombard and the Sicilian and 6 course instruments of 12 strings (two strings per course) such as the Genoese.There has also been a twelve-string (three strings per course) type and an instrument with sixteen-strings (four strings per course).

    I have several mandolins for sale, listed here

    Much of mandolin development revolved around the soundboard (the top). Pre-mandolin instruments were quiet instruments, strung with as many as six courses of gut strings, and were plucked with the fingers or with a quill. However, modern instruments are louder—using four courses of metal strings, which exert more pressure than the gut strings. The modern soundboard is designed to withstand the pressure of metal strings that would break earlier instruments. The soundboard comes in many shapes—but generally round or teardrop-shaped, sometimes with scrolls or other projections. There is usually one or more sound holes in the soundboard, either round, oval, or shaped like a calligraphic f (f-hole). A round or oval sound hole may be covered or bordered with decorative rosettes or purfling.

    I have started an online mandolin lesson series offered for free on my Youtube channel.  If you like what you have learned and want to support me, you can send me a donation through my PayPal channel, or my Patreon.  Lesson I can be found here, Lesson 2 here. Thank you!

    What is Klezmer Music, and What's The Roma Connection?

    Originally, the word " klezmer ," from the Yiddish language, meant "vessel of song" and later, simply "musician.&q...