mandolin


mandolin
/man"dl in, man'dl in"/, n.
a musical instrument with a pear-shaped wooden body and a fretted neck.
[1700-10; < It mandolino, dim. of mandola, var. of mandora, alter. of pandora BANDORE]

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Small stringed instrument related to the lute. It evolved in the 17th century in Italy, but its present form was strongly influenced by the 19th-century maker Pasquale Vinaccia (1806–82) of Naples.

It has a pear-shaped body with a deeply vaulted back, a short fretted fingerboard, and four pairs of steel strings. (The American folk mandolin is a shallow, flat-backed version.) It is played with a plectrum; each pair of strings is strummed rapidly back and forth to produce a characteristic tremolo.

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also spelled  mandoline  
 small stringed musical instrument in the lute family. It evolved in the 18th century in Italy and Germany from the 16th-century mandora.

      The instrument's modern form and proportions were strongly influenced by the maker Pasquale Vinaccia of Naples (1806–82). The mandolin has four pairs of steel strings tuned, by a machine head (as on a guitar), to violin pitch (g–d′–a′–e″); the pegs are at the back of the pegbox. The pear-shaped body is deeply vaulted; the fingerboard, with 17 frets, is slightly raised. The strings are hitched to the instrument's end. At its widest part, where the bridge is set, the belly angles downward, increasing the pressure of the strings on the bridge to give a brilliant tone of great carrying power. (The mandolin played in American bluegrass string bands is a shallow, flat-backed version of the instrument.) Quick movement of the plectrum across each unison pair of strings produces a characteristic tremolo. A shell plate around the oval sound hole protects the belly from damage by the plectrum. Mandolin playing and making flourished in Europe and in the Americas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 20th century the mandolin was built in a family of sizes from soprano to contrabass. Compositions for the mandolin include a concerto by Antonio Vivaldi, the serenade in Mozart's opera Don Giovanni (1787), and parts of Igor Stravinsky's ballet Agon (1957).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Mandolin — Man do*lin, Mandoline Man do*line, n. [F. mandoline, It. mandolino, dim. of mandola, fr. L. pandura. See {Bandore}.] (Mus.) A small and beautifully shaped instrument resembling the lute. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • mandolin — [man΄də lin′, man′də lin] n. [Fr mandoline < It mandolino, dim. of mandola, mandora < LL pandura, kind of lute < LGr pandoura, prob. < Ar ṭanbur] a musical instrument of the lute family, with four to six pairs of strings stretched… …   English World dictionary

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  • mandolin — UK [ˌmændəˈlɪn] / US noun [countable] Word forms mandolin : singular mandolin plural mandolins a musical instrument that looks like a guitar with a curved back …   English dictionary

  • mandolin — also mandoline noun Etymology: Italian mandolino, diminutive of mandola Date: 1707 1. a musical instrument of the lute family that has a usually pear shaped body and fretted neck and four to six pairs of strings 2. (usually mandoline) [French,… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • mandolin — man|do|lin mandoline [ˌmændəˈlın] n [Date: 1700 1800; : Italian; Origin: mandolina, from mandola large type of mandolin , from French mandore] a musical instrument with eight metal strings and a round back, played with a ↑plectrum (=small piece… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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