Mandolin Self Instructor - online tutorial - Contents Index Page

A simplified self learning system for the Mandolin with tuning instruction, song folio, chord diagrams, sheet music and PDF. By ZARH MYRON BICKFORD

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On-line Mandolin Instructor


This Method has been written not merely to add another to the long list of instruction books on the market, but rather as an attempt to present the subject in a more logical and practical manner, and, at the same time, to introduce a number of features which have not been covered heretofore, but which are of vital importance to the mandolinist of the present day and of the future. Particular attention is called to the reading matter and to the cuts illustrating the various points, both features making this Method valuable to student and teacher alike. The word "Method" implies a system of study or method of procedure, and the entire work has been planned with the idea of presenting every point and subject as it is needed, and not before. For example, the usual "Rudiments of Music" are not given in a dry, didactic form at the beginning, but the subjects are introduced at the proper time, as they are needed, throughout the work. Another important subject is the tremolo, which, in the majority of Methods, is intro- duced at the very beginning, notwithstanding the fact that progressive teachers, virtuosi and modern authorities are agreed that the very nature of the tremolo (a rapid succession of down and up strokes), demands a considerable degree of freedom and facility in the slower and more measured strokes before the rapid and unmeasured strokes can be properly and smoothly done. Attention is also called to the pages devoted to the other instruments of the mandolin or plectrum family—the banjo- mandolin, tenor or cello-banjo, tenor and octave mandola and mando-cello, since every mandolinist should know some- thing of these instruments, and it is believed that this is the first work which has given them consideration. Many of the Melodies and Studies have been given titles—a feature which detracts in no way from their utility, but which, it is believed, will give them an added interest. Book I has been designed to provide a thorough foundation and if some of the principles and rules laid down therein seem didactic or arbitrary, it must be remembered that they are for the purpose of development, and that some of them will be modified as the pupil advances in technical and musical development. In preparing this Method, the works of all the greatest authorities on the mandolin have been consulted and studied, including those of Munier, Bellenghi, Branzoli, Christofaro, Mariton, Pietrapertosa, Marzuttini, Bertucci, Tartaglia, Francia and many other foreign authors, in addition to those of all the American authorities. This exhaustive research, coupled with the author's extensive experience as a teacher and soloist makes him believe that this work covers the entire subject of mandolin playing in a most comprehensive manner. The endeavor of the author to cover the ground in a complete manner has necessitated the devotion of considerable space to the development of the correct manner of playing popular and dance music of various kinds. At the same time, however, it is believed that a real love for the best in music and musical literature will have been instilled, both through the high ideals constantly held forth and through the many examples and excerpts from the works of great composers that the Method contains. In points of procedure wherein this Method differs from those with which the teacher or player is familiar, the author begs a careful consideration and test of its principles before judgment is passed. A condensed synopsis of the three following Books will be found at the end of this volume. In conclusion, the author wishes to say that nothing in this Method is an experiment, every principle having been given that severest of all tests—long continued use in the studio, with successful and gratifying results, and it is hoped that teachers and students alike will derive as much benefit from the careful application of these principles as has the author.


The songs include sheet music with lyrics and ukulele chord diagrams. Many of these songs are in the public domain or traditional categories, however this cannot be guaranteed, and should you wish to use them as a basis of a performance or for any non-personal study purpose you are advised to contact the copyright holders (where available, copyright info has been included with the song). They are being shared on this site for educational purposes only, please see our copyright page for more info.


To save bandwidth, the PDF version of this book has been provided in a password protected zip file, the password is: Traditional-Music,Co.UK.

This is case sensitive and must include the exact punctuation as shown, if you copy and paste make sure you do not accidentally add spaces to the ends. You can download it from the link on final page of this book(page 90). Many thanks to Ian Chadwick ( for providing the book scan from which this web book was produced.

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For Mandolin books and sheet music to buy, see the Mandolin collection at Sheet Music Plus

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