It is Kerman’s instrument which allows Jacob to perform the great majority of the violin repertoire in a convincing, resonating manner. Kerman’s instruments manage to overcome many of the difficulties common to other, more traditional mandolins. For example, with his instruments it is possible to play on the highest positions even on the lower strings, and the notes produced never sound choked or muffled; in general, the notes resonate longer and the sound is warmer and more amicable than in traditional instruments. This is particularly important when playing solo pieces, Bach sonatas specifically, where a compensation for the lack of bass is required. Kerman’s mandolin compensate for the lack of bass by enabling longer reverberation of the melodic lines on different registers. Another important point is the tuning – mandolins are generally tuned in an equal temperament, which can generate intonation problems in various musical settings, such as when being accompanied by a piano, or a modern orchestra or an ethnic ensemble. Kerman’s mandolins are so well balanced that they can be tuned to fit successfully any musical setting. Kerman’s prime objective was, and still is, to improve the mandolin sound so players have an enhanced freedom of expression. Jacob’s acquaintance with Kerman and his mandolins goes back some 20 years. They connected immediately thanks to their shared quest of making the mandolin a boundless concert instrument. They also shared an origin: Kerman’s knowledge was based mainly on many years of violin building, whereas Jacob’s musical education was based heavily on the violin repertoire.
See also Kerman Mandolin Quartett.
The largest Kerman mandolin collection in the world is under the musical direction of Jacob Reuven. Some of the instruments are for personal use, while others are used by Beer Sheva Conservatory and Jerusalem Academy programs for excellent students, and the Israeli Mandolin Soloists Ensemble (IMS). Explore the collection below!
Find each mandolin’s year of make and what it is currently used for.