The Complete Mandolinist, Volume 2

Available from Mel Bay books and wherever fine books are sold.

In this sequel to The Complete Mandolinist, world-renowned mandolinist Marilynn Mair expands on her previous method books, presenting over 100 compositions that span 5 centuries, works she has thoughtfully edited or arranged for mandolin. Each piece is accompanied by a paragraph or two of musical context, and the book also includes 24 short essays on the evolution of musical style, drawn from decades as a Professor of Music History.

Music by great composers like Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven mixes with interesting compositions by little-known mandolin composers like Piccone, Barbella, Leone, and Gervasio, works discovered during her performing and recording career.

Concert pieces range from quite easy to very advanced, with most lying between those two extremes. In addition to music of the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th Century, contemporary pieces by some of the author’s favorite composers writing today are included. This book holds a musical world Marilynn Mair has compiled and presents to you. The Complete Mandolinist, Volume 2: Music in Context, is a book you will reach for again and again.

Contents: Read More »

Posted December 10th, 2020

The 100 – Techniques & Exercises for Mandolinists

How to play faster, cleaner, louder, more musically, and with greater confidence

The 100 cover imageThis book is a master class in musicianship for mandolinists, written and recorded by one of the most highly regarded performers and teachers of her generation.

Buy it now at Amazon.

Marilynn Mair is a world-renowned mandolinist with over a thousand concerts, two dozen CDs and two previous Mel Bay books to her credit. In The 100 -Techniques & Exercises for Mandolinists, she presents 100 tips and techniques distilled from her musical journey, developed over the course of her career, and used in her private lessons, workshops, and her own concert preparation.

For the first time ever, Marilynn has included TAB for all 100 exercises and the musical examples included in the book. Because these are exercises, she wanted the material to be accessible to all mandolinists whatever their choice of music, not only to those who read music. She also personally recorded 50 examples, specifically tailored to illustrate the book’s exercises and ideas, and access to that online audio is included with the book.

Here’s an excerpt from the book’s introduction:

“You play the mandolin; you want to play it better. It’s a noble quest pursued by many, one with several different components—improving technique, developing musicianship, learning to read and listen better, developing a roadmap to guide you through a piece from beginning to end, finding a style that makes your heart leap up, and discovering people to make music with. But the most important aspect of all may be understanding when you need to step back from your playing to survey the situation and develop a game plan, to hear what you want before you can play it, and to be able to figure out where you want your music to go.

I can help with that. I’ve most likely been playing mandolin longer than you have. I’ve had teachers who opened doors and students who asked questions, concert repertoire I’ve had to learn by a deadline and recording sessions that demanded perfection, stylistic questions that required research and situations where I had to jump without knowing where I would land. Along the way I’ve developed a methodology to improve my ability to listen, critique, work out problems efficiently, assess, and decide what is needed to bring a piece of music to life.

Blind hope is never the answer, and no one magically plays better at the gig than at home. Well, maybe sometimes, but those moments are rare and, though thrilling, can’t be counted on. To truly improve your playing you need to know how to practice, to understand that practicing is different from playing, and to realize that performing brings a greater level of intensity that you will not overcome unless you have done the requisite work.

You need to become a mechanic to develop as an artist. You have to take the engine apart to see how it works and figure out why some parts aren’t running smoothly. You need to see the big picture and then be able to deconstruct it down to a single problematic note. You have to know when to think and when to take your mind out of the equation so your fingers can learn their specific tasks. Simple ideas can bring powerful results. This book presents 100 tips and techniques distilled from my musical journey that may help you on yours.”

Posted October 1st, 2017

Brazilian Choro – A Method for Mandolin

Choro Brasileiro ~ Um Método para Bandolim

Learn to play Choro with true Brazilian style!
Aprenda a tocar Choro com base no verdadeiro estilo brasileiro!

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Brazilian Choro ~ A Method for Mandolin is the first book to capture and teach the fundamental technique of this Brazilian roots music as it has been played in Rio de Janeiro since the 19th-century. Like American jazz, the essential style of Choro lies beyond its written music, passed down from generation to generation of Brasileiros in the time-honored oral tradition. Marilynn Mair, renowned American mandolinist, and Paulo Sá, Brazilian bandolim master, have created a revolutionary method built on Choro’s characteristic rhythms that translates this oral tradition to a book/CD format. Although written for mandolin, their unique approach to Choro contains essential tips for anyone who would play this music with an authentic Brazilian accent.

Choro Brasileiro – Um Método para Bandolim é o primeiro livro a captar e a ensinar a técnica fundamental desta importante raiz da música brasileira que é o Choro, surgido no Rio de Janeiro no século XIX. Como o Jazz norte-americano, a essência do estilo do Choro está para além da música escrita e vem sendo passada de geração em geração por brasileiros através da venerável tradição oral. Marilynn Mair, renomada bandolinista norte-americana e Paulo Sá, um mestre brasileiro do bandolim, criaram um método revolucionário, desenvolvido a partir das características rítmicas do Choro, procurando colocar a oralidade no formato de um Livro-CD. Embora direcionado para bandolim, o trabalho apresenta dicas essenciais para qualquer músico que se interesse em tocar este gênero com o autêntico sotaque brasileiro.

Posted September 2nd, 2010

The Complete Mandolinist

The Complete Mandolinist

The Complete Mandolinist is the most comprehensive American mandolin method published in nearly a century.

Buy it now from Mel Bay

Or buy it now at Amazon.

Written by Marilynn Mair, internationally-acclaimed performer, recording artist, and teacher for over two decades, the insightfully written text and carefully selected exercises present a logical approach to mandolin technique that builds on the pioneering efforts of America’s mandolin teachers of the early 20th century– Pettine, Perry, Place, Odell, Seigel, Bickford, and others.

Exercises from American and European method books of the last two centuries and concert pieces by the great mandolin composers are combined here with Marilynn’s insightfully written text and beautifully-recorded 70-minute CD to create an exciting new mandolin method for the 21st century.

Starting with a foundation in basic technique and music reading, the book progresses in the course of its 224 pages through scales, arpeggios, tremolo, position work, shifting, rhythm studies, picking techniques, and duo-style, with carefully selected exercises and musical examples ranging from fiddle tunes and Brazilian choro to Vivaldi concertos and Beethoven sonatinas.

The method reflects the wealth of musical knowledge Marilynn has acquired over the course of her distinguished career, and she has compiled it here for you, to encourage the versatility and intelligent musicianship you will need to become a more complete mandolinist.

Posted April 24th, 2009
  • "She’s a fabulous player with a wonderfully clear and lyrical sound." – The Ottawa Citizen (Canada)
    "Marilynn Mair é uma bandolinista americana de formação erudita" -- Paulo Eduardo Neves, Agenda do Samba Choro (Brasil)
    "A lovely concert! We estimate your spell-bound and enthusiastic audience at close to 1800 people…" - Lincoln Center Out-Of-Doors (USA)
    "Mair travels by mandolin to Brazil and brilliance... her commitment to the music shines through." - Rick Massimo, The Providence Journal
    "A sparkling concert… absolutely brilliant!" – Guitar Magazine (England)
    "Smudging the lines between folk and classical is an intrepid endeavor... Mair's a superb mandolin player who has brought the instrument to unexpected places..." - Jim Macnie, The Providence Phoenix (USA)
    "Marilynn Mair lives up to her reputation as an excellent mandolinist, with clear tone, a beautiful tremolo, and creative expressiveness." – Zupfmusik Magazin (Germany)
    "Mair is unstoppable… capable of evoking any landscape, past or present, you’d care to conjure." – Mike Caito, Providence Phoenix (USA)
    "Stepping back to the 18th-century masterworks gave her the opportunity to highlight her technique with a fresh light... her playing is thoughtful, vibrant and a delight to listen to." -- Terence Pender, Mandolin Quarterly (USA)
    "Mair displays an exceptionally gifted approach to this music, using her formidable mandolin technique with grace and sensitivity… It’s the next best thing to a trip to Rio." – David McCarty, Mandolin Magazine (USA)
    "Marilynn Mair performs Brazilian mandolin music... she plays the mandolin as an instrument for all occasions." – Vaughn Watson, The Providence Journal (USA)
    "Marilynn Mair acquits herself very well indeed, a most accomplished player, able to deal with the many intricacies the repertoire demands of her." - Chris Kilvington, Classical Guitar (England)
    "Marilynn Mair has always had the keen ability to balance classical mandolin traditions and repertoire, while constantly breaking new musical ground…a superb and versatile mandolinist and composer." - – Butch Baldassari, Mandolin Magazine (USA)
    Marilynn Mair on mandolin...touches the deepest and most engaging reaches of the ancient and passionate 'Latin soul'. - Carlos Agudelo, Billboard Magazine
    "A brilliant concert from beginning to end…The performance was extraordinary." – La Rioja (Spain)
    "The final repeat of the melody transmitted a strong feeling of peace and tenderness that escaped no one in the audience. It is this sensitivity and subtleness that characterized the overall performance." - Brian Hodel, Guitar Review (USA)
    Bring a talented ensemble of gifted musicians together playing some of the great concertos and chamber music pieces of the 1700s, present the extraordinary classical mandolinist Marilynn Mair front and center, and you have a rare combination of the right musicians performing the right music at the right time. – David McCarty, Mandolin Magazine (USA)