All these names have been given for just two different types of lutes:
1. Mandora - Today we describe the Mandora as an instrument with 6-9 courses and a string lenght of 58-78cm. Within this range the name Gallichon also has been used for the instruments with longer string lenght (tuning: in D (d‘-a-f-c-G-D or d‘-a-f-c-G-F). Instruments with shorter diapason were tuned in E (e‘-h-g-d-A-E). For a lot of pieces concordances can be found in different manuscripts, and it can happen that one manuscript is asking for a Mandora and the other for a Gallichon - just for the same piece!
Already in the first half of the 18th century the names Mandora and Gallichon were given to one and the same instrument. (The manuscript D-KA Don Mus. Ms. 1271/1, written the year 1735, bears the title „Gallischon: oder Mandorbuch“. Another manuscript for two mandoras, D-Dl Mus.2-V-7 kept in the University library of Dresden, shows „Mandora“ on the title page, but on the parts is written („Gallichono“). The denomination Gallichon with all its variations became less common in course of the 18th century and at the end of the century only the name Mandora remained.
By all means it’s to point out that
Solo music does exist only for Mandora / Gallichon, independent if is tuned in D or in E.
2. Galizona - A Galizona had a more extended string lenght (ca. 85-95cm) and its tuning was a-e-c-G-D-C. These instruments are, due to its string lengths, rather close to theorbos. They are not really suitable for playing the solo repertoire (for example the pieces of Brescianello or Camerloher). The Galizona has mostly been used as continuo-instrument, to intensify the thorough bass line. All preserved parts for Galizona are notated in mensural notation.
Where this instrument has been played?
At the beginning of the 18th century he Mandora/Gallichon became quite fashionable. Its distribution was limited on the region of Bavaria, Bohemia and Austria, and its florescence covered some 100 years. During this time she became rival of the baroque lute. More than hundred sources with mandora music have survived, and lute makers produced more mandoras than baroque lutes.
Who played Mandora/Gallichon?
The mandora was the preferred instrument of musical amateurs. We can spread them up into three different groups:
- members of the ministry (in monasteries)
- landed gentry, who far away from cultural centers, made their own transcriptions of dances and salon music
- women, who found here a possibility to expresse themselves in and with music
Furthermore here and there were some professional players as well. For the solistic repertoire Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello is to name. From 1716 - 1754 he was employed at Württemberg court (Stuttgart) as a concertmaster, musical director and composer. At the court Freising in Bavaria the priest Placidus von Camerloher worked as composer, director of the choir and the church music, and he wrote mandora music on a very ambitious artistic and technical level.
Last but not least there was the group of (professional) players, who played the continuo parts in chamber music, concerts and operas on the gallichon.
Which literature has been played on it?
a. solo works
b. chamber music
c. songs with mandora
d.) vocal and instrumental music with Galizona as continuo instrument (for example in works by Telemann or Keiser)
What is a Mandora?
That’s not easy to say. First of all it‘s a lute, a plucking instrument, which was developed at the end of the 17th century, and which was played in the same period when 11- or 13-course baroque lutes were highly appreciated, and arciliuti were still in use. But the Mandora with its 6 to 9 courses is in comparison to those lutes with 11 to 14 courses much more simple and easier to play.
To call today such an instrument just Mandora makes some problems, because in the 18th century some different types of these instruments already existed - and a lot of names too had been used for them. For example:
Calascione, Calchedon, Calichon, Callezono, Callichon, Calzedon, Chalcedon, Chalicon,
Colachon, Colachono, Colascione, Colocion, Galitson, Galizona, Gallichona, Gallimon,
Galischona, Gallishon, Ganascione