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Six-courses mandolin
Rome, 1726
David Tecchler (Augsburg? 1666 - Rome 1747)
inv. n. 110
David Tecchler mandolin, inv. n. 110
The modern mandolin, also known as the "Neapolitan" mandolin, has very little in common with the Baroque mandolin (also called the "Milanese" mandolin). The latter had six double-stringed courses (12 strings in all), made of gut, tuned like a lute (in fourths, with a third at the bass), while the modern one has metal strings tuned like a violin (in fifths). As a result, the two models have completely different left-hand techniques. In addition, the Baroque mandolin was plucked with bare fingers using a right-hand technique comparable to that of the lute or guitar rather, than with the plectrum and tremolo characteristic of its modern counterpart.

The one thing - if not the only thing - the two instruments really have in common is their name. Therefore if we want to ensure a faithful rendition of the famous mandolin concertos by Vivaldi or one of his contemporaries, we must resort to the Baroque model. In addition, the Neapolitan mandolin was invented in the early-mid 1740's and thus after Vivaldi's death in 1741.

There are numerous examples of the remarkable production of mandolins dating from the first half of the 18th century in museums today; many of them are of very fine esthetic and structural quality. The David Tecchler mandolin on display here is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and masterly of these. It comes as no surprise that it was part of Queen Margaret of Savoy's personal collection. The Queen - it must be remembered - was one of the people principally responsible for the diffusion and proliferation of the Neapolitan mandolin, which she preferred and also played.

David Tecchler was born in 1666 (according to the very accurate clarification visible on the label of his viola in our collection, inv. 109), and probably moved from the region of Augsburg to Rome around 1696; here he worked until his death in 1747. With his outstanding art he gained very high reputation, which is fully confirmed by the two pieces present in this collection.
The oldest instrument by Tecchler conserved in our time is a 1698 pochette, which is followed by a 1699 violin. His cellos are particularly prized and sought after, even though they have all undergone an inevitable reduction of their original dimensions to those which became the standard modern size.

Nowadays nearly all of Tecchler's instruments are in private collections, except for a lute conserved in Copenhagen (in the Musikhistorisk Museum), a violin in Rome (in the Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali) and a violin and cello in Munich (in the Bayerisches Staatorchester).
The overall state of conservation of this Baroque mandolin is quite good. The instrument has already been restored in modern times, undergoing replacement of the soundboard - which shows the only traces of woodworm - as revealed at the neck juncture and by the replacement of the last frets (9th to 12th).
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