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- General Description
- Modern Use
- Playing Technique
- Instrument Makers
The name cello is derived from the ending of the Italian violoncello, which means "little violone". Violone ("big viola") was a large-sized member of viol (viola da gamba) family or the violin (viola da braccio) family. The term "violone" today usually refers to the lowest-pitched instrument of the viols, a family of stringed instruments that went out of fashion around the end of the 17th century in most countries except England and, especially, France, where they survived another half-century before the louder violin family came into greater favour in that country as well. In modern symphony orchestras, it is the second largest stringed instrument (the double bass is the largest). Thus, the name "violoncello" contained both the augmentative "-one" ("big") and the diminutive "-cello" ("little"). By the turn of the 20th century, it had become common to shorten the name to 'cello, with the apostrophe indicating the missing stem. It is now customary to use "cello" without apostrophe as...
Cellos are tuned in fifths, starting with C2 (two octaves below middle C), followed by G2, D3, and then A3. It is tuned in the exact same intervals and strings as the viola, but an octave lower. Similar to the double bass, the cello has an endpin that rests on the floor to support the instrument's weight. The cello is most closely associated with European classical music. The instrument is a part of the standard orchestra, as part of the string section, and is the bass voice of the string qua...
Among the most well-known Baroque works for the cello are Johann Sebastian Bach's six unaccompanied Suites. Other significant works include Sonatas and Concertos by Antonio Vivaldi, and solo sonatas by Francesco Geminiani and Giovanni Bononcini. Domenico Gabrielli was one of the first composers to treat the cello as a solo instrument. As a basso continuo instrument basso continuo the cello may have been used in works by Francesca Caccini (1587–1641), Barbara Strozzi (1619–1677) with pieces su...
The violin family, including cello-sized instruments, emerged c. 1500 as a family of instruments distinct from the viola da gamba family. The earliest depictions of the violin family, from northern Italy c. 1530, show three sizes of instruments, roughly corresponding to what we now call violins, violas, and cellos. Contrary to a popular misconception, the cello did not evolve from the viola da gamba, but existed alongside it for about two and a half centuries. The violin family is also known as the viola da braccio (meaning viola of the arm) family, a reference to the primary way the members of the family are held. This is to distinguish it from the viola da gamba (meaning viola of the leg) family, in which all the members are all held with the legs. The likely predecessors of the violin family include the lira da braccio and the rebec. The earliest surviving cellos are made by Andrea Amati, the first known member of the celebrated Amati family of luthiers. The direct ancestor to th...
Cellos are part of the standard symphony orchestra, which usually includes eight to twelve cellists. The cello section, in standard orchestral seating, is located on stage left (the audience's right) in the front, opposite the first violin section. However, some orchestras and conductors prefer switching the positioning of the viola and cello sections. The principalcellist is the section leader, determining bowings for the section in conjunction with other string principals, playing solos, an...
There are numerous cello concertos – where a solo cello is accompanied by an orchestra – notably 25 by Vivaldi, 12 by Boccherini, at least three by Haydn, three by C. P. E. Bach, two by Saint-Saëns, two by Dvořák, and one each by Robert Schumann, Lalo, and Elgar. There were also some composers who, while not otherwise cellists,[clarification needed] did write cello-specific repertoire, such as Nikolaus Kraft who wrote six cello concertos. Beethoven's Triple Concerto for Cello, Violin and Pian...
Quartets and other ensembles
The cello is a member of the traditional string quartet as well as string quintets, sextet or trios and other mixed ensembles.There are also pieces written for two, three, four, or more cellos; this type of ensemble is also called a "cello choir" and its sound is familiar from the introduction to Rossini's William Tell Overture as well as Zaccharia's prayer scene in Verdi's Nabucco. Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture also starts with a cello ensemble, with four cellos playing the top lines and two v...
The cello is typically made from carved wood, although other materials such as carbon fiber or aluminum may be used. A traditional cello has a spruce top, with maple for the back, sides, and neck. Other woods, such as poplar or willow, are sometimes used for the back and sides. Less expensive cellos frequently have tops and backs made of laminated wood. Laminated cellos are widely used in elementary and secondary school orchestras and youth orchestras, because they are much more durable than carved wood cellos (i.e., they are less likely to crack if bumped or dropped) and they are much less expensive. The top and back are traditionally hand-carved, though less expensive cellos are often machine-produced. The sides, or ribs, are made by heating the wood and bending it around forms. The cello body has a wide top bout, narrow middle formed by two C-bouts, and wide bottom bout, with the bridge and F holes just below the middle. The top and back of the cello has a decorative border inlay...
When a string is bowed or plucked, it vibrates and moves the air around it, producing sound waves. Because the string is quite thin, not much air is moved by the string itself, and consequently, if the string was not mounted on a hollow body, the sound would be weak. In acoustic stringed instruments such as the cello, this lack of volume is solved by mounting the vibrating string on a larger hollow wooden body. The vibrations are transmitted to the larger body, which can move more air and pro...
Playing the cello is done while seated with the instrument supported on the floor by the endpin. The right hand bows (or sometimes plucks) the strings to sound the notes. The left-hand fingertips stop the strings along their length, determining the pitch of each fingered note. Stopping the string closer to the bridge results in a higher-pitched sound because the vibrating string length has been shortened. On the contrary, a string stopped closer to the tuning pegs produces a lower sound. In the neck positions (which use just less than half of the fingerboard, nearest the top of the instrument), the thumb rests on the back of the neck; in thumb position(a general name for notes on the remainder of the fingerboard) the thumb usually rests alongside the fingers on the string. Then, the side of the thumb is used to play notes. The fingers are normally held curved with each knuckle bent, with the fingertips in contact with the string. If a finger is required on two (or more) strings at o...
Standard-sized cellos are referred to as "full-size" or "4⁄4" but are also made in smaller (fractional) sizes, including 7⁄8, 3⁄4, 1⁄2, 1⁄4, 1⁄8, 1⁄10, and 1⁄16. The fractions refer to volume rather than length, so a 1/2 size cello is much longer than half the length of a full size. The smaller cellos are identical to standard cellos in construction, range, and usage, but are simply scaled-down for the benefit of children and shorter adults. Cellos in sizes larger than 4⁄4 do exist, and cellists with unusually large hands may require such a non-standard instrument. Cellos made before approximately 1700 tended to be considerably larger than those made and commonly played today. Around 1680, changes in string-making technology made it possible to play lower-pitched notes on shorter strings. The cellos of Stradivari, for example, can be clearly divided into two models: the style made before 1702, characterized by larger instruments (of which only three exist in their original size and...
There are many accessories for the cello. 1. Cases are used to protect the cello and bow (or multiple bows). 2. Rosin, made from resins tapped from conifers, is applied to the bow hair to increase the effectiveness of the friction, grip or bite, and allow proper sound production. Rosin may have additives to modify the friction such as beeswax, gold, silver or tin. Commonly, rosins are classified as either dark or light, referring to color. 3. Endpinstops or straps (tradenames include Rock stop and Black Hole) keep the cello from sliding if the endpin does not have a rubber piece on the end, or if a floor is particularly slippery. 4. Wolf tone eliminators are placed on cello strings between the tailpiece and the bridge to eliminate acoustic anomalies known as wolf tonesor "wolfs". 5. Mutes are used to change the sound of the cello by adding mass and stiffness to the bridge. They alter the overtonestructure, modifying the timbre and reducing the overall volume of sound produced by the...
Cellos are made by luthiers, specialists in building and repairing stringed instruments, ranging from guitars to violins. The following luthiers are notable for the cellos they have produced: 1. Nicolò Amatiand others in the Amati family 2. Nicolò Gagliano 3. Matteo Goffriller 4. Giovanni Battista Guadagnini 5. Giuseppe Guarneri 6. Charles Mennégand 7. Domenico Montagnana 8. Giovanni Battista Rogeri 9. Francesco Ruggieri 10. Stefano Scarampella 11. Antonio Stradivari 12. David Tecchler 13. Carlo Giuseppe Testore 14. Jean Baptiste Vuillaume
- Luigi Boccherini. You’ll know him best from his celebrated String Quintet in E, but Boccherini was actually one of the foremost influences on modern cello repertoire thanks to his eternally rewarding cello concerto.
- Adrien-François Servais. This great Belgian muso lived from 1807 to 1866) and was one of the most influential cellists of the nineteenth century. He is one of the founders of the Modern Cellistic Schools of Paris and Madrid, and was also a highly regarded composer.
- Pablo Casals. The Spanish cellist was responsible for some of the most scintillating Bach recordings ever made, and was a genuine link between the modern age and the true history of the instrument.
- Pierre Fournier. Fournier was known in musician circles as ‘the aristocrat of cellists’, thanks to his refined sound and stage presence. But that didn’t mean he was in any way polite or conservative: in fact, his apparent ease just makes his musicianship all the more impressive.
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- Pablo Casals. One simply cannot explore iconic cellists and cello recordings of the 20th century without mentioning Pablo Casals. He revolutionized the cello and transformed it into a world-accepted solo instrument, which helped to pave the way for thousands of others after him.
- Emanuel Feuermann. Commonly referred to as the Wienawski of the cello, Emanuel Feuermann was an internationally recognized Ukrainian born cellist that lived and performed in the first half of the 20th century.
- Jacqueline du Pre. When talking about popular female cellists, Jacqueline du Pre immediately springs to mind. She was only 17 when she gained critical acclaim and even younger than that when she set off to the Swiss Mountains to learn under the greatest virtuoso of all, Pablo Casals.
- Natalia Gutman. Natalia Gutman is a Russian world-famous cellist and one of the most distinguished of her time. Born in Kazan in 1942, Natalia learned and trained under the indomitable R. Sapozhnikov in Moscow but later, she joined the Mosco Conservatory to specialize her training.
Due to Piatigorsky’s efforts to significantly expand the cello repertoire by transcribing, arranging, composing and commissioning cello pieces, the exquisite voice of the cello was popularized. Richard Strauss: Don Quixote, Op. 35, TrV 184 : Finale (Richard Burgin, violin; Joseph de Pasquale, viola; Gregor Piatigorsky, cello; Boston Symphony Orchestra; Charles Munch, cond.)
Great Cellists of The 20TH And 21ST Centuries. 73,230 likes · 971 talking about this. The Most Amazing Cellists of All Time