Sunday, January 20, 8182

Thibaut de Blason (c. 1182-1230) - Mandora

Thibaut de Blason (c. 1182-1230) - Chanson "Amours que porra" (Mandora)


[Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) - Odalisque and Slave]

The term "Blason" originally comes from French Heraldry and means either the codified description of a coat of arms or the coat of arms itself. The terms "blason," "blasonner," "blasonneur" were used in 16th-century French literature by poets who, following Clement Marot in 1536, practised a genre of poems that praised a woman by singling out different parts of her body and finding appropriate metaphors to compare them with. It is still being used with that meaning in literature and especially in poetry. One famous example of such a poem, ironically rejecting each proposed stock metaphor, is William Shakespeare's Sonnet CXXX.

Blason populaire is a phrase in which one culture or ethnic group increases its own self-esteem by belittling others eg. Samuel Johnson's description that "The noblest prospect which a Scotsman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England!"

The term originated from Auguste Canel's travelogue Blason Populaire de la Normandie (1859), in which people from Normandy boasted about themselves while sneering at other regions.


The mandora or mandore, also known as the gallizona or gallichon, is a type of 6 or 8-course bass lute (possibly a descendant of guiterne and/or chitarra italiana) used mainly for basso continuo, in Germany, Austria and Bohemia, particularly during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Mandora is often mistaken for Mandore, a small 16th- and 17th-century French type of a lute, or mandola.

The construction of the mandora is similar to other baroque lutes. It has a vaulted body (shell) constructed of separate ribs, a flat soundboard with either a carved rose or one which is inset into the soundhole, and a bridge (without a saddle) consisting of a wooden bar acting as a string-holder glued to the soundboard. Unique to this instrument is the neck, which is long enough to allow for ten to 12 tied gut frets. The pegbox is either straight and set at a sharp angle to the neck (much like a lute pegbox), or gently curving and set at a shallow angle, either case being fitted with laterally-inserted tuning pegs (although sometimes a flat pegboard with sagittal pegs is found). The strings were of gut (now replaced by such sustitutes as nylon) and are strung either singly or, especially on Italian instruments, in double courses. However, on German-made instruments, the first course (highest in pitch) is usually single (a chanterelle) and often has its own separate raised peg rider/holder attached to the pegbox. The number of courses varies from six to eight. Open string lengths tend to be fairly long (62–72 cm) on German instruments, but shorter (55–65 cm) on late Italian ones, probably because they tended to be tuned to a higher pitch.

At least 50 original instruments survive in collections around the world. Many of these instruments are found in a more or less unaltered state, and therefore are often used as models for modern reconstructions. Examples are found in museums in Berlin, Claremont, California, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, The Hague, Leipzig, Milan, Munich and Paris, New York and St. Petersburg.

The luthiers who produced Mandoras were Gregor Ferdinand Wenger in Augsburg, Jacob Goldt of Hamburg, Jacob Weiss of Salzburg, David Buchstetter of Regensburg and Mattias Greisser of Innsbruck, all dating from the first half of the 18th century. Italian-style instruments are represented by Martino Hell of Genoa, Enrico Ebar of Venice, David Tecchler of Rome, Antonio Scoti of Milan and, toward the end of the century, Antonio Monzino and Giuseppe Presbler of Milan.

Two tuning's are reported: a ‘galizona’ or ‘colachon’ is tuned A'( or ) –B'( or ) –C–D–G–c–e–a, and, under a separate heading, ‘mandora’ is given as D ( or ) –E ( or ) –F–G–c–f–a–d' (i.e. the same tuning but a 4th higher). or )-E–A–d–g–b–e' (identical to that of the modern guitar)

The playing technique for the mandora involves the same basic right-hand finger style as for all 18th-century lutes and, because of the tuning intervals of the upper five courses, a left-hand technique that is similar to that of the 18th-century guitar.

There are about 55 sources of mandora music in tablature, all in manuscript (none printed) and nearly all of Germanic origin. These manuscripts contain solos, duets, song accompaniments, and chamber music. Few studies of these manuscript sources have appeared, and very little of the music has been transcribed and published despite its quality. Critical editions are especially rare. Many sources have no composer attributions, but in recent years a many studies of concordances are beginning to uncover music by composers such as S.L. Weiss and Johann Anton Logy. The sources do mention some composers names such as Duke Clement of Bavaria, Placidus von Camerloher, Johann Paul Schiffelholz, J.M. Zink, Andrea Mayr, G.A. Brescianello and others. Other composers include J.F. Daube and Johann Albrechtsberger, whose three concertinos for ‘mandora’, ‘crembalum’ (Jew's harp) and strings has been performed and recorded.

[8200 Kallawaya Boliva / 8182 Thibaut de Blason / 8180 Neidhardt]