Ukulele/Machete blog // Herman Vandecauter // Brussels

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Machetes (Madeira, musical Instruments)

Herman Vandecauter   hvandecauter ad

The oldest known reference about the machete seems to be early 17th century.

Most probably they are direct descendants from the renaissance guitar while the ukuleles are direct descendants from the machetes de Madeira.

It is easier to find Madeira wines from before 1800 than historical info on the machete!

Machete Madeirense

(Braguinha on the mainland Portugal)

                                                                                                   Made by Scot Trembly CA
                                                                                                   Roseberry guitars

4 strings, traditional tuning dgbd (re sol si re)   
Original gut strings were used, later also steel strings and today mostly fluorocarbon strings.

   Machinho 4 double strings, 18th century (Funchal)  5 string version did exist as well.

The lady is “Eliza Eleanor Murray”
Doughter of Charles Murray, British consul in Madeira.

Painter unknown
Classical music for machete?

There is the Colecção de Peças para Machete 1846. Valses, polkas, bolero....for machete & guitar accompaniment.

Catharina Sydney Pratten
One of the finest guitarist 19th century from England (Catharina Josepha Pelzer German origin) wrote some duets for machete and guitar as well! (Maud impromptu) 

The machetinho was even smaller and tuned a d f a (la re fa la)

The machete de rajão or in short “ Rajão”

5 strings d g C e a (re sol do mi la)
I use only the 5th string re-entrant, trad: 4th end 5th are re-entrant. 

It has lower pitch than the 4 string machete. A very interesting instrument, all the renaissance guitar repertorium can be played on it as well as a lot of baroque guitar music.

                                                              Made by Scot Tremblay     Roseberry guitars 

A mystery from the 16th century detail of a Flemish painting "Pieter Breugel de Ouwe"

                                             1559  'Tussen Carnaval en Vasten'     (5 single strings) 

More recent recordings can be downloaded via BandCamp

My 19th century guitar page!