Exploring Classical Mandolin

Technique & Repertoire

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New Arrivals
  • Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
  • Format: Book with Online Media
  • Pages: 170
  • Dimensions: 9 x 12
  • ISBN: 0-87639-162-4
  • SKU: 00125040
  • Publication Date: May 29, 2015

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Learn the techniques, common practices, and essential repertoire of the classical mandolin.

In this book, you will learn long-established mandolin techniques and their contemporary applications. You will discover gems from the classical mandolin literature, and familiar classical melodies arranged for mandolin. You will also gain insights into how to arrange your own musical ideas, including classical melodies, for solo mandolin. This book and its online videos and play-along audio tracks will help to enhance your understanding of the greater context of mandolin traditions. Additional notation is provided for arrangements of small mandolin and guitar ensembles.

You will:

  • Learn mandolin techniques drawn across several centuries and worldwide traditions, particularly North America, Germany, Italy, France, and Japan
  • Study articulation, picking, and arpeggio practices, including alternate picking, rest strokes, glide strokes, compound picking patterns, tremolos, trills, and more
  • Master fretboard logistics through the study of scales, chords, and position playing
  • Explore advanced techniques such as split-string and duo-style playing
  • Consider ornamentation, interpretation, and improvisation in classical styles

Repertoire includes music for solo mandolin and small mandolin ensembles at varying levels of difficulty:

  • 25 classical mandolin pieces by Fouchetti, Barbella, Denis, Beethoven, Mozart, Nakano, and others
  • 14 mandolin arrangements of classical favorites by Bach, Telemann, Beethoven, Puccini, Foster, Dvořák, and others
  • Original etudes and concert music composed by the author

“This book includes many beautiful etudes—a fun and rewarding way to practice the techniques of classical mandolin. Highly recommended!”

—Carlo Aonzo, Mandolinist

“A comprehensive and indispensable work for those who, starting from other approaches, want to move to the classical mandolin. Exploring Classical Mandolin is also a very useful tool for classical mandolin students for becoming familiar with other approaches within the tradition, and to see the Baroque and Romantic techniques applied to new repertoire.”

—Emanuele Cappellotto, Mandolinist

“August Watters brings together three centuries of mandolin technique and repertoire, starting fairly simply, and leading up to more difficult techniques. A recommended book!”

—Neil Gladd, Mandolinist

Exploring Classical Mandolin is an indispensable companion for every developing mandolinist who wishes to play in the classical tradition. Watters masterfully evaluates and compares various approaches to mandolin playing as expressed in the major methods of the 19th and 20th centuries, making his work an essential part of one’s music library. He provides a wealth of musical examples of the techniques discussed, presenting numerous musical works incorporating these techniques, as well as imaginative and inventive technical exercises—many original. The well-rounded mandolinist should not gloss over any part of this invaluable volume.”

—John Craton, Composer

“While it would be both fair and easy to sing the praises of how useful this text is, how helpful it is in guiding the development of the aspiring mandolinist’s technique and artistry, it is perhaps even more salient to speak of how musical it is. No arid, pedantic ‘Thou shalt’ and ‘Thou shalt not’ in these pages! From gentle glide-strokes across strings, to the telling imagery of leaves rustling in the wind, Exploring Classical Mandolin conjures up one great, melodious Zen moment. A journey well worth taking.”

—Victor Kioulaphides, Composer


August Watters

August Watters is a multi-stylistic, improvising mandolinist, composer/arranger, and teacher who has performed with some of the leading figures in…