The modern-day European Mandolin – often mandolim or bandolim in Portuguese – derives from 18th– and 19th-century Italian instruments. Later adapted by different countries, there are now several “mixed” types as a consequence of fusion with local and traditional elements. As a solo instrument, the Mandolin is usually played with a pick or plectrum, fulfilling the role of the soprano voice in a set of instruments that includes the Mandoleta (alto), the Mandola (tenor), the Mandocello (baritone or bass) and, sometimes, the Mandolinetto (sopranino). The mandobass and contrabass completed the family during its heyday between the 1880s and 1920s but are rarely used today. Mandolin-family instruments typically have four double courses of strings, totaling eight, and like the violin family, are tuned in fifths: G3 D4 A4 E5 for the mandolin; C3 G3 D4 A4 (tenor mandola); G2 D3 A3 E4 (octave mandola); C2 G2 D3 A3 (mandocello); the mandolinetto is tuned C4 G4 D5 A5, one fourth above the mandolin.
In September of 1992, ARTIMÚSICA Instrumentos Musicais, Lda. was officially established, being distinguished from other companies by its artisanal work.
The main luthiers, Manuel and José Carvalho, learned the traditional craft from their grandfather, the Master Joaquim José Machado – an important reference in the history of Portuguese chordophones.
At Casa da Guitarra you can find cavaquinhos, Portuguese guitars and steel-stringed guitars, among other instruments, made by Artimúsica.