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The mandolin is a grand all-round instrument and one of the
easiest of the string instruments to learn to play. Originally it
was very popular to use as an accompaniment to singing, and
many people can remember sitting by picnic camp fires or
drifting in a canoe on a moonlit night while everybody sang
"In the Evening By the Moonlight" and other old favorite
songs to someone's tinkling on the mandolin.
Later, the mandolin was taken up by schools and colleges,
many of which had mandolin clubs and orchestras. Today it
is still a favorite for accompaniments to singing, either alone or
with a piano, and is also used in some dance bands. Music writ-
ten specially for the mandolin includes solos for the mandolin
alone or with guitar or piano accompaniment.
On the mandolin you can play any song melody in any key
directly from the music.
The Mandolin's Strings and Notes
The mandolin has four double strings, which are tuned to
the tones of E, A, D and G (Fig. 22). The two strings of each
pair are tuned exactly alike in pitch and each double string is
spoken of simply as one string.
The notes on the piano and on the staff to which the strings
are tuned are shown in Fig. 23. Please see the section on "The
Violin" for directions as to how to do the tuning.
Fig. 24 shows the natural notes (without sharps or flats)
that are most commonly used on the mandolin. The figure also
shows the positions of the left hand fingers required to make
the notes. The numbers above the notes show which left-hand