Name: Mandora.
Type: Chordophones > Composites > Lutes > Mandolin.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.321.6
Era: 18th and early 19th-century.
Country: Italy, Many.
Region: Europe.


Mandora Tunings
Names Tunings
E G C f a d
F G c f a d
E A D g b d
E A D g b e’
C D G c e a

Tunings: In the 18th century, mandora was the name of a six-course lute about 70 cm in length from bridge to nut. It is tuned from low to high F • G • c • f • a • d or E • A • D • g • b • e or rarely E • A • d • g • b • e with two or three additional bass courses. With the former tuning, the instrument was called Calichonor Galichon in Bohemia.

Around 1800 a mutual interchange between the mandora and the guitar took place. The guitar, which had so far been tuned in re-entrant tuning [A D g b e] took over the 6th course and the tuning of the mandora G • A • D • g • b • e later E • A • D • g • b • d, whereas the mandora took over the stringing with single strings instead of courses, as had been introduced to the guitar. The so-called wandervogellaute has been a late heir to that development.

From another source on tuning: Two tunings are reported: a ‘galizona’ or ‘colachon’ is tuned A’ ( or ) dropped to a –B’ ( or ) or further dropped by three tones from A –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.

Playing Technique: 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.