Welcome to vantichelen.name. This site is meant as a blog to share insights and finds about mandolin history.


A bundle of minor discoveries and announcements of blog posts for 2019

With the Year-end in sight, I wanted to share some minor discoveries I don’t consider important enough to warrant a separate blog post. At the same time, I can’t resist lifting some part of the veil of what is coming up in 2019. Minor discoveries Merchi, Sei duetti (opus 2), Paris, ? (ca. 1758) Although …

The mandolin(/violin)-piano sonata by Michele Bolaffi (1794)

Context Most of the mandolin-related prints prior to 1850, even those that are not preserved, are known to mandolin scholars through contemporary advertisements. Sometimes items still emerge which have escaped attention so far. The volume I have found and will discuss in this post is by the composer Michele Bolaffi and was printed in Firenze during …

VI Variations for mandolin(/violin) and guitar by Zucconi (1801)

Zucconi’s Variations, a quest by several mandolin scholars A few erudite researchers before me already pointed out that François de Zucconi at one time early in the 19th century published a set of variations for mandolin and guitar. (As usual the mandolin part also has the violin listed as alternative, this will be discussed in …


Pieter Van Tichelen first laid eyes on a mandolin at the age of 6 and never recovered. After graduating with high honours at the music academy of Brasschaat, he pursued studies in musicology at the Unversity of Leuven. In 2000 he graduated magna cum laude to a Master’s degree in Musicology on a theses about 17th century mandolin history. Afterwards he took some mandolin classes at the Tilburg Cathorlic Conservatory with professor Benny Ludemann.

Pieter has enjoyed playing the mandolin with several of Belgium’s symphonic and opera orchestras (Vlaamse Opera, De Munt, VRT-orkest etc.). He also recorded several CD’s as session musician, and for a few years played in a Dutch-Belgian folk ensemble (Aerdewerck). For about 15 years he formed a permanent mandolin-guitar duo with guitarist Johan Dias, which occasionally still performs. Pieter is also a member of the mandolin orchestra of Brasschaat (Brasschaats Mandoline-Orkest).

As specialist in musicology and mandolin history, Pieter has uncovered several manuscripts and prints with parts for mandolin who were either though lost or even completely unknown. He was honoured twice with a guest professorship at the Antwerp Music Conservatory to teach early mandolin history (to ca. 1850). To this day he’s also a permanent member of the International Symposium of Mandolin History.

Also check out mandolinhistory.org

Part of my time in investigating mandolin history is also spent on an ongoing effort to document the historical sources. It is a huge undertaking and I won’t always have enough time to continuously add new items. However, with a planned update of the site I will likely reduce maintenance and updates will become easier (and hopefully more frequent). Over the year, mandolinhistory.org should become a haven for any mandolin enthusiast who wants to know more.