"Baroque ukulele" tuned GDAE, playing 17th century mandore music

  1. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I've just bought a small four-string nylon-strung bowlback instrument, which is marketed as "Baroq-ulele" by various US and European sellers. While they're sold in ukulele tuning, the scale length of the soprano version (which is the one I bought) is much like a mandolin, so I have restrung it with Aquila nylgut strings for GDAE tuning.

    Solid spruce top, solid lacewood back (in my version, it's also available in rosewood and with alternating light/dark staves), ukulele-style friction tuners (also available with fiddle-style pegs). Looks like this (catalogue photo, but mine is the same variant):

    To test it, I've just recorded qick run-throughs of four early Scottish tunes from the Skene Manuscript (ca. 1620) and uploaded them to the discussion on these ukes in the Classical forum. The Skene manuscript was written for a mandore, which was a small bowlback soprano lute with four to six single strings -- in other words much like this instrument except for a different tuning (fourths rather than fifths).

    Here are the links to my four recordings:

    I Dare Not Vowe I Love Thee
    Joy To The Personne (double stops need a bit of polishing in this one -- I'm still finding my way around the fretboard)
    I Serve A Worthie Ladie
    Shoe Looks As Shoe Wold Lett Me

    It's fun to play -- it does indeed sound and feel like a soprano lute.

  2. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Here are Youtube links for two Skene tunes, with photos of my new uke/lute/mandore (but not video footage -- my webcam software doesn't much like my new USB microphone).

    My Ladie Laudians Lilt:

    Joy To The Personne:

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