Traditional tunes with guitar and mandolins

Petri Hakala
Publishing year: 

This learning material presents five Finnish traditional tunes arranged for a variety of stringed instruments such as guitar and members of the mandolin family including mandolin, mandola, octave mandolin and mandocello. Four of the examples was played on one or two guitars, The Charmer was played on guitar and mandola. I'm planning to release more mandolin tunes later on.

The arrangements are loose on purpose as they were created mostly by improvising, especially on the accompaniment and harmony parts. Some playing instructions are given but for the most part the music and the transcriptions are self-explanatory. I hope the music and transcriptions inspire you to make your own interpretations.

I have used these tunes along the years when teaching at Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department, Central Ostrobothnia Conservatory and Haapavesi Folk. They will be published as a book & CD package with complete and precise transcriptions.

Recorded and mixed by Petri Hakala in Järvenpää 2004. Transcriptions were reviewed by Timo Alakotila and written up by Roope Aarnio.

Minuet and polska

Minuet and polska. Trad., arr. Petri Hakala

Minuet and polska were recorded from Johan Erik Taklax in the early 20th century. The minuet is played with one and the polska with two guitars, the second one as an accompaniment. Grace notes koru are usually played as follows playing instruction.

Tuning: EGDGBE, from the lowest to the highest string.


Source: Finlands Svenska Folktidning, Äldre Dansmelodier, volumes 122 and 1017.


tuning sound, d, tuning level a = 440 Hz

Minuet and polska (2 guitars)

Minuet and polska, guitar 1: melody (PDF)

Minuet and polska, guitar 2: harmony part and accompaniment (PDF)


Polka. Trad., arr. Petri Hakala

Karl Ragnar Perus originally played this piece. It is a solo guitar piece exploring a variety of bluegrass guitar techniques, such as cross-picking (further information: In order to facilitate reading, the notes played by openfree strings resonate longer than is indicated in the music. Accents are provided as an example; the role of rhythm is very important. Feel free to create your own version!

Tuning: normal.

Source: Finlands Svenska Folktidning, Yngre Dansmelodier, volume 956.

Polka, guitar

Polka, guitar (PDF)

Syrjälän Kaapon polska

Syrjälän Kaapon polska. Trad., arr. Petri Hakala

Syrjälän Kaapon polska – a famous polska from the repertoire of Matti Haudanmaa – is played with two guitars. Grace notes koru are usually played as follows playing instructions.

Tuning: normal.

Source: Kulkurista kuninkaaksi (From a Tramp to a King) SKS (Finnish Literature Society), no 2.

Syrjälän Kaapon polska (2 guitars)

Syrjälän Kaapon polska, guitar 1: melody (PDF)

Syrjälän Kaapon polska, guitar 2: harmony part and accompaniment (PDF)

Ingrian pastoral tunes

Ingrian pastoral tunes. Trad., arr. Petri Hakala

Two Ingrian pastoral tunes, Matti Pukonen’s Tsizik and an untitled piece as played by Pavel Larinpoika, are played with one guitar.

Tuning: DGDGCD, from the lowest to the highest string. The same tuning is also common for the clawhammer banjo. The fourth note (C) of the scale is included in the chord in so called "Mountain Minor" tuning.

Source: Karjasoitto, Kansanmusiikki-instituutti (Folk Music Institute), volumes 23 and 47.

Ingrian pastoral tunes, guitar

Ingrian pastoral tunes, guitar (PDF)

The Charmer

The Charmer comp. Konsta Jylhä, arr. Petri Hakala

The Charmer – named by Konsta Jylhä after his horse – is a waltz played with mandola and guitar. Tremolo is usually played playing instruction, but the rhythm can be freely varied. The quavers are counted in triplets playing instruction.

Tunings: Mandola CGDA, from the lowest to highest string, normal tuning in guitar.

Source: Konstan nuottikirja (Konsta’s music sheets), Kansanmusiikki Instituutti (Folk Music Institute) and Konsta Jylhä’s concert LP (RCA LSP 10346).

The Charmer (mandola, guitar)

The Charmer (mandola, melody) (PDF)

The Charmer (guitar, accompaniment) (PDF)