Jim Dalton: Instruments: Mandolin

please note this site is undergoing revision Oct. 2006 - Jan. 2007. Please check back for updates.

Jim Dalton: Instruments: Mandolin

  • Bio
  • Compositions
  • Instrument pages
  • Jim and Maggi Dalton (Singing String Music)
  • Studio/Lessons
  • Music Theory
  • Other activities and interests
  • World Music
  • What's New
  • Links


    Other Links of Interest

    Institute for Music, History, & Cultural Traditions (IMHCT)

    Back issues of The Singing String News

    Cultural Resources/Other Sites of Interest


    If you are new to the mandolin, I humbly recommend my book, < Mandolin for Beginners.

    If you have been playing for a while, here are a few lessons in pdf form: (check back periodically for new entries)

    --Lesson on picking technique for Irish Jigs coming soon]

    Transcription of ragtime mandolin solo, Toots, from a 1914 78rpm recording by Dr. Clarence Penney

    --Introduction to "Duo-style" mandolin. (Solo mandolin giving the impression of a duo.)

    There are two files:
  • Intro/Bibliography
  • PDF exercises

  • An arrangement for three mandolins that was played by my Renaissance and Baroque ensemble at the Cape Cod Mandolin Camp: --Kemp's Jig

    Here is an arrangement for 4 mandolins of a lute piece by Anthony Holborne -- The New Year's Gift

    A Duo Style arrangement of Stille Nacht! heilege Nacht!

    from my new book Ten Christmas Songs for Solo Mandolin (published by Singing String Music Publications)

    I have written a number of compositions for mandolin including:

    Gifts of the Bard (published by Wolfhead Music)

    Go here for a more complete mp3 of each movement

    Inspired by Irish mythological tales which relate the three skills a bard must possess, the work is structured in three movements that bear the names and character of these gifts: Goltra╠ (sorrowful music), Geantra╠ (mirthful music), and Suantra╠ (sleep-inducing music). The three movements are played without pause.

    Three Inventions for Two Mandolins (published by Singing String Music Publications)

    These works were inspired by the Two Part Inventions of J.S. Bach and represent something of a contemporary response to them. Technically, they are fairly easy and suitable for informal music making as well as performance.

    Invention #2 (free pdf)

    Etudes Book 1 (published by Singing String Music Publications)

    These etudes for mandolin are part of an ongoing project which will explore and expand the tonal and technical resources for the 21st century mandolinist.

    Etude #6 (free pdf)

    More information on Etude #6 can be found here.

    I own several mandolins.

    My favorite and main performing instrument is the Phoenix Neoclassical.

    Listen to the mp3 of Gifts of the Bard to hear me play on this fine instrument.


    Follow these links to some free lessons, publications and other information about some of the instruments that I play.

  • Banjo
  • Guitar
  • Mandocello

  • Ukelele

  • If you are interested in private lessons on plucked string instruments, music theory, ear training, improvisation and/or composition, please contact me at our SSM Studio.

    About Jim Dalton

    Jim is on the faculty of The Boston Conservatory, teaching music theory, ear training and world music courses for both the Music Theory and Music Education Departments.

    He maintains a private teaching studio in Salem, MA.

    He has written articles for Blues Revue Magazine and is the author of Mandolin for Beginners, published by Workshop Arts, Inc./Alfred Publishing. He is a frequent guest lecturer on topics such as composition, choral arranging and Irish traditional music.

    He recently (2004-2005) received a MACRO research grant (Univ. of Wisconsin) to study and analyze palindromic compositions in the concert music repertoire and presented this work at the 2005 Macro Musician's Workshop in Madison WI.

    Jim Dalton endorses and plays the Phoenix Neoclassical Mandolin

    About the Artists--Downloadable PDF form

    Programs--Downloadable PDF form


    Jim's book,

    Mandolin for Beginners, has been published by Alfred Publishing (and National Guitar Workshop)

    It's available online and in retail stores both nationally and internationally.

    You can learn everything from how to hold/ tune a mandolin, how read tablature and strum -- to reading music, tremolo techniques, improvising.

    It's full of interesting tunes and practical advice. There's a CD in it, so you can hear as well as read all the good stuff in the book.

    48 pages Book & CD

    Order it online: NGW Store

    WWW http://singingstring.org

    copyright 1997-2006 Jim & Maggi Dalton