1. silmov New Member

    USA english
    I am an American composer (of music). I used a theme of Couperin on which to base a concerto that was premiered a long ime ago, but continues to be performed. The Couperin theme was taken from a clavier piece entitled "La Bandoline."

    Periodically I'm asked for the meaning of the title, and I have no idea. Yesterday, a virtuoso soloist in Taiwan asked me for that information.
    So, finally, I've set out to research its meaning. The web has provided little help. One definition that comes up is: a thick pomade for the hair.
    I absolutely cannot imagine that anything like that could have induced Couperin to write such a delicate melody. I'm inclined to wonder whether he could have been inspired by some form of stringed instrument?

    I'd be most appreciative for any clarification.
  2. Karl K Member

    Quebec City
    Bandoline appears to be the French rendition of the name of a musical instrument of Brazilian origin, described as a small four-string guitar, probably named Bandolino. I have seen this word used as such in a French novel set in South America but I don't think it's officially accepted as a word in French.
  3. valerie Senior Member

    France, French & Spanish
    Yes, but would Couperin know this brazilian instrument?

    Here is what I found, looking on the web in spanish language for 'bandolina'


    ·(Del lat. pandura, 'guitarra de tres cuerdas'); sust. f.
    1.Bandolina, instrumento musical: dejó apoyada la bandola en la bandola del barco.
    Bandolín, bandolina, bandurria

    · (De bandola); sust. m. diminutivo.
    1.Bandola pequeña, instrumento musical similar a la bandurria: es importante coger bien el bandolín antes de empezar a tocarlo.
    - Instrumento musical similar a una bandurria pequeña. Se toca, como ésta, con una púa de pluma o de concha.

    u (Del fr. bandoline, y éste del it. bandolino); sust. f.
    1.Instrumento músico pequeño de cuatro cuerdas y cuerpo curvo como el laúd: te daré una serenata a base de bandurrias, laúdes y bandolinas.
    small instrument with 4 strings and a body rounded like a lute
    Bandola, bandolín, mandolina, bandurria, laúd.

    & Instrumento musical pequeño de cuerdas. Tiene el cuerpo como el del laúd y el mango es semejante al de la guitarra. Se tañe con una púa. Hay bandolinas de tres, cuatro o cinco cuerdas y su afinación varía de unas a otras.

    ·{m. aumentativo} De bandola.
    · Instrumento músico de 18 cuerdas, parecido a una bandurria grande.

    Today you can apparently find 'bandolinas' with 8 or 16 strings, de factoría italiana o rumana


  4. valerie Senior Member

    France, French & Spanish

    The RAE dictionary says:

    (Del fr. bandoline).
    1. f. Mucilago que servía para mantener asentado el cabello después de atusado.
    1. f. mandolina.

    and then:
    1. f. Instrumento musical de cuerda parecido a la bandurria, pero de menor tamaño y con cuatro cuerdas dobles.

    So finally it is probable that we are talking of the mandoline from the beginning...

    MANDOLINE, subst. fém.
    A. MUS. Instrument de la famille du luth, à cordes pincées, à manche court, à caisse de résonnance en forme d'amande, à fond bombé ou plat, dont la table est percée d'une rose circulaire ou ovale et dont on joue avec un plectre ou médiator.
  5. silmov New Member

    USA english
    Dear Karl K. and Valerie. Many thanks to you both. Valerie, I greatly appreciate the depth of your research, including the photographs of the instrument, which looks like my mother's mandoline, and would sound similar, except that it has more strings. Couperin's melody, although composed for the clavier, could be performed without the addition of Couperin's simple bass line, because the harmonies are clearly implied in the melody itself, which would make it a perfect tune for a mandoline-like instrument, played unaccompanied. That's how I used it to introduce a series of concerto-like variations.

    Finally, I can respond to questions about the origin of the title with confidence.

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