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Thread: Goichberg Mandocello Studies #4, 9, and #29: Robert Margo

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    Default Goichberg Mandocello Studies #4, 9, and #29: Robert Margo

    Here are three more of Sol Goichberg's (1908 - 1978) unaccompanied solos for mandocello -- No. 4 ("Andante"), No. 9 ("Allegro Vivo"), and No. 29 ("Allegro moderato"). Because the originals contain little in the way of performance markings, I have added some of my own (repeats, right hand pizzicato, and so on). The G minor chord at the very end of No. 9 is not in the score but felt right in the moment. The instrument is a liuto cantabile by the late Walt Kuhlman.

    Robert A. Margo

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    Default Re: Goichberg Mandocello Studies #4, 9, and #29: Robert Margo

    As I understand it, Goichberg would have written for the 8 string mandocello. I am curious how much you use the "extra" liuto e string, and how that affects the music, as Goichberg is known to go up the neck so quickly. I have ordered a 10-string instrument from Jo Dusepo, and I'm wondering just what possibilties that will open.
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    Default Re: Goichberg Mandocello Studies #4, 9, and #29: Robert Margo

    "As I understand it, Goichberg would have written for the 8 string mandocello. I am curious how much you use the "extra" liuto e string, and how that affects the music, as Goichberg is known to go up the neck so quickly. I have ordered a 10-string instrument from Jo Dusepo, and I'm wondering just what possibilties that will open."

    My general goal in these videos is NOT to use the E-string at all -- I am treating my liuto as if it is a standard mandocello with four courses (C, G, D, A). In the heat of the recording moment I might deviate for musical effect (e.g. m.8 of Study #1, I use a cross-string right-hand campanella effect in the repeat, playing the E in the first triplet on the open E string, as this creates harmonic resonance with the open A in the second triplet) but this is very rare. A good example of NOT using the E string is the video of Study #29, mm. 29 -30, which have G5's. This note only marginally exists on the A string of my liuto; the fret is incomplete (I speculate that Goichberg played an L & H mandocello, which maybe had a complete fret for this note on its A-string, but I have no specific information).
    However, if I were playing this piece in a concert, however, no question I would use the E-string of the liuto for the relevant measures -- better sound. I am sure there are similar passages in some of the other studies.

    The question is a good one, as it raises interesting issues about differences between the violoncello and the mandocello. Over the past 100-odd years there have been many advances in violoncello technique, perhaps most visibly in the proficiency of playing extremely high up the neck with great fluency in the treble clef range (using thumb position). What was completely astonishing back in the 1930s -- Emanuel Feuermann, in particular -- is now pretty commonplace. There is really no equivalent on the standard mandocello (and a good illustration of the limitations of parallels between bowed and plucked instruments). The liuto, though, offers a partial way forward, as it gives good access (on my instrument, in particular) up to A5 and if necessary, somewhat higher. You don't get all the way into treble clef territory, but a decent distance. This would require very careful attention to left hand technique, however, as well as efficient string crossing with the right hand.
    Robert A. Margo

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    Default Re: Goichberg Mandocello Studies #4, 9, and #29: Robert Margo

    That was very nice playing. My wife and daughter got to meet Walt at a festival. He was just as awesome as he could be as a person and builder. I know he and Astrid would be pleased knowing his voice still sings through your playing.

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    Default Re: Goichberg Mandocello Studies #4, 9, and #29: Robert Margo

    "That was very nice playing. My wife and daughter got to meet Walt at a festival. He was just as awesome as he could be as a person and builder. I know he and Astrid would be pleased knowing his voice still sings through your playing."

    Thank you, Jamie, much appreciated. Walt was a lovely guy, with a very interesting background, an excellent luthier, and a great sense of humor. I do miss him. I also own one of his octave mandolins, a very fine instrument.
    Robert A. Margo

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