MAE Seminar – Italian Red Spruce and Traditional Mandolins

It is our pleasure to announce an interesting seminar on Musical Acoustics. The seminar will be offered by Martino Quintavalla, a luthier and researcher in materials engineering. The seminar will concern the choice of wood in musical instruments: Italian Red Spruce and traditional mandolins.

November 12, 2020, 2:30 pm. Approximate duration: 1.5 hr
Webex platform at the following link:


Stringed musical instruments and mandolins in particular are part of worldwide culture, dating back to ancient times. During the last two centuries, mandolin had a great development and diffusion all over the world and italian mandolin tradition still keeps going on. In spite of this, scientific research on these instruments is still at an early stage.
In a research project founded by the World Wood Day Foundation in 2019, Martino Quintavalla together with Federico Gabrielli, mandolin luthier since more than 30 years and Claudio Canevari, teacher at the Civica Scuola di Liuteria di Milano and researcher, undertook the challenge to investigate some peculiar aspects of mandolin acoustics and resonance wood characterization. The Acoustic emission spectra of several mandolins were recorded, as well as their vibration modal shapes aiming at establishing a connection between instrument design and perceived sound quality. Likewise, several red spruce samples have been characterized to determine a way to design soundboards and choose those specimens allowing for the best acoustic performance. The project has ended with the construction of three experimental mandolins, nominally identical in the aesthetics but with completely different soundboards and sounds.


Martino Quintavalla received his PhD in materials engineering in 2016 at Politecnico di Milano and, since then, he dedicates his activity to the characterization and use of materials in several engineering fields as a post-doc researcher. In the last years, he has dedicated his research activity to musical instruments acoustics. He is author of several scientific publications and a professional luthier.

MAE Seminar – Italian Red Spruce and Traditional Mandolins