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This article is about the stringed musical instrument. Cello_sentence_0

For other uses, see Cello (disambiguation). Cello_sentence_1


String instrumentCello_header_cell_0_0_0
Other namesCello_header_cell_0_1_0 VioloncelloCello_cell_0_1_1
Hornbostel–Sachs classificationCello_header_cell_0_2_0 321.322-71

(Composite chordophone sounded by a bow)Cello_cell_0_2_1

DevelopedCello_header_cell_0_3_0 c. 1660 from bass violinCello_cell_0_3_1
Playing rangeCello_header_cell_0_4_0
Related instrumentsCello_header_cell_0_5_0

The cello (/ˈtʃɛloʊ/ CHEL-oh; plural celli or cellos) or violoncello (/ˌvaɪələnˈtʃɛloʊ/ VY-ə-lən-CHEL-oh; Italian pronunciation: [vjolonˈtʃɛllo) is a bowed (and occasionally plucked) string instrument of the violin family. Cello_sentence_2

Its four strings are usually tuned in perfect fifths: from low to high, C2, G2, D3 and A3. Cello_sentence_3

The viola's four strings are each an octave higher. Cello_sentence_4

Music for the cello is generally written in the bass clef, with tenor clef and treble clef used for higher-range passages. Cello_sentence_5

Played by a cellist or violoncellist, it enjoys a large solo repertoire with and without accompaniment, as well as numerous concerti. Cello_sentence_6

As a solo instrument, the cello uses its whole range, from bass to soprano, and in chamber music such as string quartets and the orchestra's string section, it often plays the bass part, where it may be reinforced an octave lower by the double basses. Cello_sentence_7

Figured bass music of the Baroque-era typically assumes a cello, viola da gamba or bassoon as part of the basso continuo group alongside chordal instruments such as organ, harpsichord, lute or theorbo. Cello_sentence_8

Cellos are found in many other ensembles, from modern Chinese orchestras to cello rock bands. Cello_sentence_9

Etymology Cello_section_0

The name cello is derived from the ending of the Italian violoncello, which means "little violone". Cello_sentence_10

Violone ("big viola") was a large-sized member of viol (viola da gamba) family or the violin (viola da braccio) family. Cello_sentence_11

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. Cello_sentence_12

In modern symphony orchestras, it is the second largest stringed instrument (the double bass is the largest). Cello_sentence_13

Thus, the name "violoncello" contained both the augmentative "-one" ("big") and the diminutive "-cello" ("little"). Cello_sentence_14

By the turn of the 20th century, it had become common to shorten the name to 'cello, with the apostrophe indicating the missing stem. Cello_sentence_15

It is now customary to use "cello" without apostrophe as the full designation. Cello_sentence_16

Viol is derived from the root viola, which was derived from Medieval Latin vitula, meaning stringed instrument. Cello_sentence_17

Description Cello_section_1

Cellos are tuned in fifths, starting with C2 (two octaves below middle C), followed by G2, D3, and then A3. Cello_sentence_18

It is tuned in the same intervals as the viola, but an octave lower. Cello_sentence_19

Unlike the violin or viola but similar to the double bass, the cello has an endpin that rests on the floor to support the instrument's weight. Cello_sentence_20

The cello is most closely associated with European classical music. Cello_sentence_21

The instrument is a part of the standard orchestra, as part of the string section, and is the bass voice of the string quartet (although many composers give it a melodic role as well), as well as being part of many other chamber groups. Cello_sentence_22

Among the most well-known Baroque works for the cello are Johann Sebastian Bach's six unaccompanied Suites. Cello_sentence_23

Other significant include Sonatas and Concertos by Vivaldi, and earlier works by Gabrieli, Geminiani, and Bononcini. Cello_sentence_24

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 such as Il primo libro di madrigali, per 2–5 voci e basso continuo, op. 1 and Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (1665–1729) who wrote six sonatas for violin and basso continuo. Cello_sentence_25

From the Classical era, the two concertos by Joseph Haydn in C major and D major stand out, as do the five sonatas for cello and pianoforte of Ludwig van Beethoven, which span the important three periods of his compositional evolution. Cello_sentence_26

Other outstanding examples include the three Concerti by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Capricci by dall'Abaco, and Sonatas by Flackton, Boismortier, and Luigi Boccherini. Cello_sentence_27

A Divertimento for Piano, Clarinet, Viola and Cello is among the surviving works by Duchess Anna Amalia of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1739–1807). Cello_sentence_28

Well-known works of the Romantic era include the Robert Schumann Concerto, the Antonín Dvořák Concerto, the first Camille Saint-Saëns Concerto, as well as the two sonatas and the Double Concerto by Johannes Brahms. Cello_sentence_29

A review of compositions for cello in the Romantic era must include the German composer Fanny Mendelssohn (1805–1847) who wrote the Fantasy in G minor for cello and piano and a Capriccio in A-flat for cello. Cello_sentence_30

Compositions from the late-19th and early 20th century include three cello sonatas (including the Cello Sonata in C Minor written in 1880) by Dame Ethel Smyth (1858–1944), Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor, Claude Debussy's Sonata for Cello and Piano, and unaccompanied cello sonatas by Zoltán Kodály and Paul Hindemith. Cello_sentence_31

Pieces including cello were written by American Music Center founder Marion Bauer (1882–1955) (two trio sonatas for flute, cello, and piano) and Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901–1953) (Diaphonic suite No. Cello_sentence_32

2 for bassoon and cello). Cello_sentence_33

The cello's versatility made it popular with many composers in this era, such as Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich, Benjamin Britten, György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski and Henri Dutilleux. Cello_sentence_34

Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz (1909–1969) was writing for cello in the mid 20th century with Concerto No. Cello_sentence_35

1 for Cello and Orchestra (1951), Concerto No. Cello_sentence_36

2 for Cello and Orchestra (1963) and in 1964 composed her Quartet for four cellos. Cello_sentence_37

Well-known cellists from the 20th century include Jacqueline du Pré, Pablo Casals, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Feuermann, Guilhermina Suggia, Mstislav Rostropovich and Beatrice Harrison. Cello_sentence_38

Others include Raya Garbousova, Anner Bylsma, Zara Nelsova, Alfred Wallenstein, Han-Na Chang, Mischa Maisky, Hildur Gudnadottir, and Gregor Piatigorsky. Cello_sentence_39

See the comprehensive list of cellists here. Cello_sentence_40

In the 2010s, the instrument is found in popular music, but was more commonly used in 1970s pop and disco music. Cello_sentence_41

Today it is sometimes featured in pop and rock recordings, examples of which are noted later in this article. Cello_sentence_42

The cello has also appeared in major hip-hop and R & B performances, such as singers Rihanna and Ne-Yo's 2007 performance at the American Music Awards. Cello_sentence_43

The instrument has also been modified for Indian classical music by Nancy Lesh and Saskia Rao-de Haas. Cello_sentence_44

History Cello_section_2

The violin family, including cello-sized instruments, emerged c. 1500 as a family of instruments distinct from the viola da gamba family. Cello_sentence_45

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. Cello_sentence_46

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. Cello_sentence_47

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. Cello_sentence_48

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. Cello_sentence_49

The likely predecessors of the violin family include the lira da braccio and the rebec. Cello_sentence_50

The earliest surviving cellos are made by Andrea Amati, the first known member of the celebrated Amati family of luthiers. Cello_sentence_51

The direct ancestor to the violoncello was the bass violin. Cello_sentence_52

Monteverdi referred to the instrument as "basso de viola da braccio" in Orfeo (1607). Cello_sentence_53

Although the first bass violin, possibly invented as early as 1538, was most likely inspired by the viol, it was created to be used in consort with the violin. Cello_sentence_54

The bass violin was actually often referred to as a "violone", or "large viola", as were the viols of the same period. Cello_sentence_55

Instruments that share features with both the bass violin and the viola da gamba appear in Italian art of the early 16th century. Cello_sentence_56

The invention of wire-wound strings (fine wire around a thin gut core), around 1660 in Bologna, allowed for a finer bass sound than was possible with purely gut strings on such a short body. Cello_sentence_57

Bolognese makers exploited this new technology to create the cello, a somewhat smaller instrument suitable for solo repertoire due to both the timbre of the instrument and the fact that the smaller size made it easier to play virtuosic passages. Cello_sentence_58

This instrument had disadvantages as well, however. Cello_sentence_59

The cello's light sound was not as suitable for church and ensemble playing, so it had to be doubled by organ, theorbo, or violone. Cello_sentence_60

Around 1700, Italian players popularized the cello in northern Europe, although the bass violin (basse de violon) continued to be used for another two decades in France. Cello_sentence_61

Many existing bass violins were literally cut down in size to convert them into cellos according to the smaller pattern developed by Stradivarius, who also made a number of old pattern large cellos (the 'Servais'). Cello_sentence_62

The sizes, names, and tunings of the cello varied widely by geography and time. Cello_sentence_63

The size was not standardized until around 1750. Cello_sentence_64

Despite similarities to the viola da gamba, the cello is actually part of the viola da braccio family, meaning "viol of the arm", which includes, among others, the violin and viola. Cello_sentence_65

Though paintings like Bruegel's "The Rustic Wedding", and Jambe de Fer in his Epitome Musical suggest that the bass violin had alternate playing positions, these were short-lived and the more practical and ergonomic a gamba position eventually replaced them entirely. Cello_sentence_66

Baroque-era cellos differed from the modern instrument in several ways. Cello_sentence_67

The neck has a different form and angle, which matches the baroque bass-bar and stringing. Cello_sentence_68

Modern cellos have an endpin at the bottom to support the instrument (and transmit some of the sound through the floor), while Baroque cellos are held only by the calves of the player. Cello_sentence_69

Modern bows curve in and are held at the frog; Baroque bows curve out and are held closer to the bow's point of balance. Cello_sentence_70

Modern strings normally have a metal core, although some use a synthetic core; Baroque strings are made of gut, with the G and C strings wire-wound. Cello_sentence_71

Modern cellos often have fine-tuners connecting the strings to the tailpiece, which makes it much easier to tune the instrument, but such pins are rendered ineffective by the flexibility of the gut strings used on Baroque cellos. Cello_sentence_72

Overall, the modern instrument has much higher string tension than the Baroque cello, resulting in a louder, more projecting tone, with fewer overtones. Cello_sentence_73

Few educational works specifically devoted to the cello existed before the 18th century and those that do exist contain little value to the performer beyond simple accounts of instrumental technique. Cello_sentence_74

One of the earliest cello manuals is Michel Corrette's Méthode, thèorique et pratique pour apprendre en peu de temps le violoncelle dans sa perfection (Paris, 1741). Cello_sentence_75

Modern use Cello_section_3

Orchestral Cello_section_4

Cellos are part of the standard symphony orchestra, which usually includes eight to twelve cellists. Cello_sentence_76

The cello section, in standard orchestral seating, is located on stage left (the audience's right) in the front, opposite the first violin section. Cello_sentence_77

However, some orchestras and conductors prefer switching the positioning of the viola and cello sections. Cello_sentence_78

The principal cellist is the section leader, determining bowings for the section in conjunction with other string principals, playing solos, and leading entrances (when the section begins to play its part). Cello_sentence_79

Principal players always sit closest to the audience. Cello_sentence_80

The cellos are a critical part of orchestral music; all symphonic works involve the cello section, and many pieces require cello soli or solos. Cello_sentence_81

Much of the time, cellos provide part of the low-register harmony for the orchestra. Cello_sentence_82

Often, the cello section plays the melody for a brief period, before returning to the harmony role. Cello_sentence_83

There are also cello concertos, which are orchestral pieces that feature a solo cellist accompanied by an entire orchestra. Cello_sentence_84

Solo Cello_section_5

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. Cello_sentence_85

There were also some composers who, while not otherwise cellists, did write cello-specific repertoire, such as Nikolaus Kraft who wrote six cello concertos. Cello_sentence_86

Beethoven's Triple Concerto for Cello, Violin and Piano and Brahms' Double Concerto for Cello and Violin are also part of the concertante repertoire although in both cases the cello shares solo duties with at least one other instrument. Cello_sentence_87

Moreover, several composers wrote large-scale pieces for cello and orchestra, which are concertos in all but name. Cello_sentence_88

Some familiar "concertos" are Richard Strauss' tone poem Don Quixote, Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, Bloch's Schelomo and Bruch's Kol Nidrei. Cello_sentence_89

In the 20th century, the cello repertoire grew immensely. Cello_sentence_90

This was partly due to the influence of virtuoso cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who inspired, commissioned, and premiered dozens of new works. Cello_sentence_91

Among these, Prokofiev's Symphony-Concerto, Britten's Cello Symphony, the concertos of Shostakovich and Lutosławski as well as Dutilleux's Tout un monde lointain... have already become part of the standard repertoire. Cello_sentence_92

Other major composers who wrote concertante works for him include Messiaen, Jolivet, Berio, and Penderecki. Cello_sentence_93

In addition, Arnold, Barber, Glass, Hindemith, Honegger, Ligeti, Myaskovsky, Penderecki, Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos and Walton also wrote major concertos for other cellists, notably for Gaspar Cassadó, Aldo Parisot, Gregor Piatigorsky, Siegfried Palm and Julian Lloyd Webber. Cello_sentence_94

There are also many sonatas for cello and piano. Cello_sentence_95

Those written by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Brahms, Grieg, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Fauré, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Poulenc, Carter, and Britten are particularly well known. Cello_sentence_96

Other important pieces for cello and piano include Schumann's five Stücke im Volkston and transcriptions like Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata (originally for arpeggione and piano), César Franck's Cello Sonata (originally a violin sonata, transcribed by Jules Delsart with the composer's approval), Stravinsky's Suite italienne (transcribed by the composer – with Gregor Piatigorsky – from his ballet Pulcinella) and Bartók's first rhapsody (also transcribed by the composer, originally for violin and piano). Cello_sentence_97

There are pieces for cello solo, J. Cello_sentence_98 S. Bach's six Suites for Cello (which are among the best-known solo cello pieces), Kodály's Sonata for Solo Cello and Britten's three Cello Suites. Cello_sentence_99

Other notable examples include Hindemith's and Ysaÿe's Sonatas for Solo Cello, Dutilleux's Trois Strophes sur le Nom de Sacher, Berio's Les Mots Sont Allés, Cassadó's Suite for Solo Cello, Ligeti's Solo Sonata, Carter's two Figments and Xenakis' Nomos Alpha and Kottos. Cello_sentence_100

Quartets and other ensembles Cello_section_6

The cello is a member of the traditional string quartet as well as string quintets, sextet or trios and other mixed ensembles. Cello_sentence_101

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. Cello_sentence_102

Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture also starts with a cello ensemble, with four cellos playing the top lines and two violas playing the bass lines. Cello_sentence_103

As a self-sufficient ensemble, its most famous repertoire is Heitor Villa-Lobos' first of his Bachianas Brasileiras for cello ensemble (the fifth is for soprano and 8 cellos). Cello_sentence_104

Other examples are Offenbach's cello duets, quartet, and sextet, Pärt's Fratres for eight cellos and Boulez' Messagesquisse for seven cellos, or even Villa-Lobos' rarely played Fantasia Concertante (1958) for 32 cellos. Cello_sentence_105

The 12 cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (or "the Twelve" as they have since taken to being called) specialize in this repertoire and have commissioned many works, including arrangements of well-known popular songs. Cello_sentence_106

Popular music, jazz, world music and neoclassical Cello_section_7

Alternative materials Cello_section_8

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) as well as German luthier G.A. Cello_sentence_107

Pfretzschner produced an unknown number of aluminum cellos (in addition to aluminum double basses and violins). Cello_sentence_108

Cello manufacturer Luis & Clark constructs cellos from carbon fibre. Cello_sentence_109

Carbon fibre instruments are particularly suitable for outdoor playing because of the strength of the material and its resistance to humidity and temperature fluctuations. Cello_sentence_110

Luis & Clark has produced over 1000 cellos, some of which are owned by cellists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Josephine van Lier. Cello_sentence_111

Neck, fingerboard, pegbox, and scroll Cello_section_9

Above the main body is the carved neck. Cello_sentence_112

The neck has a curved cross-section on its underside, which is where the player's thumb runs along the neck during playing. Cello_sentence_113

The neck leads to a pegbox and the scroll, which are all normally carved out of a single piece of wood, usually maple. Cello_sentence_114

The fingerboard is glued to the neck and extends over the body of the instrument. Cello_sentence_115

The fingerboard is given a curved shape, matching the curve on the bridge. Cello_sentence_116

Both the fingerboard and bridge need to be curved so that the performer can bow individual strings. Cello_sentence_117

If the cello were to have a flat fingerboard and bridge, as with a typical guitar, the performer would only be able to bow the leftmost and rightmost two strings or bow all the strings. Cello_sentence_118

The performer would not be able to play the inner two strings alone. Cello_sentence_119

The nut is a raised piece of wood, fitted where the fingerboard meets the pegbox, in which the strings rest in shallow slots or grooves to keep them the correct distance apart. Cello_sentence_120

The pegbox houses four tapered tuning pegs, one for each string. Cello_sentence_121

The pegs are used to tune the cello by either tightening or loosening the string. Cello_sentence_122

The pegs are called "friction pegs", because they maintain their position by friction. Cello_sentence_123

The scroll is a traditional ornamental part of the cello and a feature of all other members of the violin family. Cello_sentence_124

Ebony is usually used for the tuning pegs, fingerboard, and nut, but other hardwoods, such as boxwood or rosewood, can be used. Cello_sentence_125

Black fittings on low-cost instruments are often made from inexpensive wood that has been blackened or "ebonized" to look like ebony, which is much harder and more expensive. Cello_sentence_126

Ebonized parts such as tuning pegs may crack or split, and the black surface of the fingerboard will eventually wear down to reveal the lighter wood underneath. Cello_sentence_127

Strings Cello_section_10

Historically, cello strings had cores made out of catgut, which, despite its name is made from dried out sheep or goat intestines. Cello_sentence_128

Most modern strings used in the 2010s are wound with metallic materials like aluminum, titanium and chromium. Cello_sentence_129

Cellists may mix different types of strings on their instruments. Cello_sentence_130

The pitches of the open strings are C, G, D, and A (black note heads in the playing range figure above), unless alternative tuning (scordatura) is specified by the composer. Cello_sentence_131

Some composers (e.g. Ottorino Respighi in the final movement of ‘’The Pines of Rome’’) ask that the low C be tuned down to a B-flat so that the performer can play a different low note on the lowest open string. Cello_sentence_132

Tailpiece and endpin Cello_section_11

The tailpiece and endpin are found in the lower part of the cello. Cello_sentence_133

The tailpiece is the part of the cello to which the "ball ends" of the strings are attached by passing them through holes. Cello_sentence_134

The tailpiece is attached to the bottom of the cello. Cello_sentence_135

The tailpiece is traditionally made of ebony or another hardwood, but can also be made of plastic or steel on lower-cost instruments. Cello_sentence_136

It attaches the strings to the lower end of the cello and can have one or more fine tuners. Cello_sentence_137

The fine tuners are used to make smaller adjustments to the pitch of the string. Cello_sentence_138

The fine tuners can increase the tension of each string (raising the pitch) or decrease the tension of the string (lowering the pitch). Cello_sentence_139

When the performer is putting on a new string, the fine tuner for that string is normally reset to a middle position, and then the peg is turned to bring the string up to pitch. Cello_sentence_140

The fine turners are used for subtle, minor adjustments to pitch, such as tuning a cello to the oboe's 440 Hz A note or to tune the cello to a piano. Cello_sentence_141

The endpin or spike is made of wood, metal, or rigid carbon fiber and supports the cello in playing position. Cello_sentence_142

The endpin can be retracted into the hollow body of the instrument when the cello is being transported in its case. Cello_sentence_143

This makes the cello easier to move about. Cello_sentence_144

When the performer wishes to play the cello, the endpin is pulled out to lengthen it. Cello_sentence_145

The endpin is locked into the player's preferred length with a screw mechanism. Cello_sentence_146

The adjustable nature of endpins enables performers of different ages and body sizes to adjust the endpin length to suit them. Cello_sentence_147

In the Baroque period, the cello was held between the calves, as there was no endpin at that time. Cello_sentence_148

The endpin was "introduced by Adrien Servais c. 1845 to give the instrument greater stability". Cello_sentence_149

Modern endpins are retractable and adjustable; older ones were removed when not in use. Cello_sentence_150

(The word "endpin" sometimes also refers to the button of wood located at this place in all instruments in the violin family, but this is usually called "tailpin".) Cello_sentence_151

The sharp tip of the cello's endpin is sometimes capped with a rubber tip that protects the tip from dulling and prevents the cello from slipping on the floor. Cello_sentence_152

Many cellists use a rubber pad with a metal cup to keep the tip from slipping on the floor. Cello_sentence_153

A number of accessories to keep the endpin from slipping; these include ropes that attach to the chair leg and other devices. Cello_sentence_154

Bridge and f-holes Cello_section_12

The bridge holds the strings above the cello and transfers their vibrations to the top of the instrument and the soundpost inside (see below). Cello_sentence_155

The bridge is not glued but rather held in place by the tension of the strings. Cello_sentence_156

The bridge is usually positioned by the cross point of the "f-hole" (i.e., where the horizontal line occurs in the "f"). Cello_sentence_157

The f-holes, named for their shape, are located on either side of the bridge and allow air to move in and out of the instrument as part of the sound-production process. Cello_sentence_158

They probably actually stand for an old-style medial S, for words related to Sound. Cello_sentence_159

The f-holes also act as access points to the interior of the cello for repairs or maintenance. Cello_sentence_160

Sometimes a small length of rubber hose containing a water-soaked sponge, called a Dampit, is inserted through the f-holes and serves as a humidifier. Cello_sentence_161

This keeps the wood components of the cello from drying out. Cello_sentence_162

Internal features Cello_section_13

Internally, the cello has two important features: a bass bar, which is glued to the underside of the top of the instrument, and a round wooden sound post, a solid wooden cylinder which is wedged between the top and bottom plates. Cello_sentence_163

The bass bar, found under the bass foot of the bridge, serves to support the cello's top and distribute the vibrations from the strings to the body of the instrument. Cello_sentence_164

The soundpost, found under the treble side of the bridge, connects the back and front of the cello. Cello_sentence_165

Like the bridge, the soundpost is not glued but is kept in place by the tensions of the bridge and strings. Cello_sentence_166

Together, the bass bar and sound post transfer the strings' vibrations to the top (front) of the instrument (and to a lesser extent the back), acting as a diaphragm to produce the instrument's sound. Cello_sentence_167

Glue Cello_section_14

Cellos are constructed and repaired using hide glue, which is strong but reversible, allowing for disassembly when needed. Cello_sentence_168

Tops may be glued on with diluted glue since some repairs call for the removal of the top. Cello_sentence_169

Theoretically, hide glue is weaker than the body's wood, so as the top or back shrinks side-to-side, the glue holding it lets go and the plate does not crack. Cello_sentence_170

Cellists repairing cracks in their cello do not use regular wood glue, because it cannot be steamed open when a repair has to be made by a luthier. Cello_sentence_171

Bow Cello_section_15

Traditionally, bows are made from pernambuco or brazilwood. Cello_sentence_172

Both come from the same species of tree (Caesalpinia echinata), but Pernambuco, used for higher-quality bows, is the heartwood of the tree and is darker in color than brazilwood (which is sometimes stained to compensate). Cello_sentence_173

Pernambuco is a heavy, resinous wood with great elasticity, which makes it an ideal wood for instrument bows. Cello_sentence_174

Horsehair is stretched out between the two ends of the bow. Cello_sentence_175

The taut horsehair is drawn over the strings, while being held roughly parallel to the bridge and perpendicular to the strings, to produce sound. Cello_sentence_176

A small knob is twisted to increase or decrease the tension of the horsehair. Cello_sentence_177

The tension on the bow is released when the instrument is not being used. Cello_sentence_178

The amount of tension a cellist puts on the bow hair depends on the preferences of the player, the style of music being played, and for students, the preferences of their teacher. Cello_sentence_179

Bows are also made from other materials, such as carbon fibre—stronger than wood—and fiberglass (often used to make inexpensive, lower-quality student bows). Cello_sentence_180

An average cello bow is 73 cm (29 in) long (shorter than a violin or viola bow) 3 cm (1.2 in) high (from the frog to the stick) and 1.5 cm (0.59 in) wide. Cello_sentence_181

The frog of a cello bow typically has a rounded corner like that of a viola bow, but is wider. Cello_sentence_182

A cello bow is roughly 10 g (0.35 oz) heavier than a viola bow, which in turn is roughly 10 g (0.35 oz) heavier than a violin bow. Cello_sentence_183

Bow hair is traditionally horsehair, though synthetic hair, in varying colors, is also used. Cello_sentence_184

Prior to playing, the musician tightens the bow by turning a screw to pull the frog (the part of the bow under the hand) back and increase the tension of the hair. Cello_sentence_185

Rosin is applied by the player to make the hair sticky. Cello_sentence_186

Bows need to be re-haired periodically. Cello_sentence_187

Baroque style (1600–1750) cello bows were much thicker and were formed with a larger outward arch when compared to modern cello bows. Cello_sentence_188

The inward arch of a modern cello bow produces greater tension, which in turn gives off a louder sound. Cello_sentence_189

The cello bow has also been used to play electric guitars. Cello_sentence_190

Jimmy Page pioneered its application on tracks such as "Dazed and Confused". Cello_sentence_191

The post-rock Icelandic band Sigur Rós's lead singer often plays guitar using a cello bow. Cello_sentence_192

In 1989, the German cellist Michael Bach began developing a curved bow, encouraged by John Cage, Dieter Schnebel, Mstislav Rostropovich and Luigi Colani: and since then many pieces have been composed especially for it. Cello_sentence_193

This curved bow (BACH.Bow) is a convex curved bow which, unlike the ordinary bow, renders possible polyphonic playing on the various strings of the instrument. Cello_sentence_194

The solo repertoire for violin and cello by J. S. Bach the BACH.Bow is particularly suited to it: and it was developed with this in mind, polyphonic playing being required, as well as monophonic. Cello_sentence_195

Physics Cello_section_16

Physical aspects Cello_section_17

When a string is bowed or plucked, it vibrates and moves the air around it, producing sound waves. Cello_sentence_196

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. Cello_sentence_197

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. Cello_sentence_198

The vibrations are transmitted to the larger body, which can move more air and produce a louder sound. Cello_sentence_199

Different designs of the instrument produce variations in the instrument’s vibrational patterns and thus changes the character of the sound produced. Cello_sentence_200

A string’s fundamental pitch can be adjusted by changing its stiffness, which depends on tension and length. Cello_sentence_201

Tightening a string stiffens it by increasing both the outward forces along its length and the net forces it experiences during a distortion. Cello_sentence_202

A cello can be tuned by adjusting the tension of its strings, by turning the tuning pegs mounted on its pegbox, and tension adjusters (fine tuners) on the tailpiece. Cello_sentence_203

A string's length also affects its fundamental pitch. Cello_sentence_204

Shortening a string stiffens it by increasing its curvature during a distortion and subjecting it to larger net forces. Cello_sentence_205

Shortening the string also reduces its mass, but does not alter the mass per unit length, and it is the latter ratio rather than the total mass which governs the frequency. Cello_sentence_206

The string vibrates in a standing wave whose speed of propagation is given by √T/m, where T is the tension and m is the mass per unit length; there is a node at either end of the vibrating length, and thus the vibrating length l is half a wavelength. Cello_sentence_207

Since the frequency of any wave is equal to the speed divided by the wavelength, we have frequency = 1/2l × √T/m. Cello_sentence_208

(Note that some writers, including Muncaster (cited below) use the Greek letter μ in place of m.) Thus shortening a string increases the frequency, and thus the pitch. Cello_sentence_209

Because of this effect, you can raise and change the pitch of a string by pressing it against the fingerboard in the cello’s neck and effectively shortening it. Cello_sentence_210

Likewise strings with less mass per unit length, if under the same tension, will have a higher frequency and thus higher pitch than more massive strings. Cello_sentence_211

This is a prime reason why the different strings on all string instruments have different fundamental pitches, with the lightest strings having the highest pitches. Cello_sentence_212

A played note of E or F-sharp has a frequency which is often very close to the natural resonating frequency of the body of the instrument, and if the problem is not addressed this can set the body into near resonance. Cello_sentence_213

This may cause an unpleasant sudden amplification of this pitch, and additionally a loud beating sound results from the interference produced between these nearby frequencies; this is known as the “wolf tone” because it is an unpleasant growling sound. Cello_sentence_214

The wood resonance appears to be split into two frequencies by the driving force of the sounding string. Cello_sentence_215

These two periodic resonances beat with each other. Cello_sentence_216

This wolf tone must be eliminated or significantly reduced for the cello to play the nearby notes with a pleasant tone. Cello_sentence_217

This can be accomplished by modifying the cello front plate, attaching a wolf eliminator (a metal cylinder or a rubber cylinder encased in metal), or moving the soundpost. Cello_sentence_218

When a string is bowed or plucked to produce a note, the fundamental note is accompanied by higher frequency overtones. Cello_sentence_219

Each sound has a particular recipe of frequencies that combine to make the total sound. Cello_sentence_220

Playing technique Cello_section_18

Main article: Cello technique Cello_sentence_221

Playing the cello is done while seated with the instrument supported on the floor by the endpin. Cello_sentence_222

The left-hand fingertips stop the strings on the fingerboard, determining the pitch of the fingered note. Cello_sentence_223

The right hand bows (or sometimes, plucks) the strings to sound the notes. Cello_sentence_224

The left-hand fingertips stop the strings along their length, determining the pitch of each fingered note. Cello_sentence_225

Stopping the string closer to the bridge results in a higher-pitched sound, because the vibrating string length has been shortened. Cello_sentence_226

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 and the side of the thumb is used to play notes. Cello_sentence_227

The fingers are normally held curved with each knuckle bent, with the fingertips in contact with the string. Cello_sentence_228

If a finger is required on two (or more) strings at once to play perfect fifths (in double stops or chords) it is used flat. Cello_sentence_229

In slower, or more expressive playing, the contact point can move slightly away from the nail to the pad of the finger, allowing a fuller vibrato. Cello_sentence_230

Vibrato is a small oscillation in the pitch of a note, usually considered an expressive technique. Cello_sentence_231

Harmonics played on the cello fall into two classes; natural and artificial. Cello_sentence_232

Natural harmonics are produced by lightly touching (but not depressing) the string with the finger at certain places, and then bowing (or, rarely, plucking) the string. Cello_sentence_233

For example, the halfway point of the string will produce a harmonic that is one octave above the unfingered (open) string. Cello_sentence_234

Natural harmonics only produce notes that are part of the harmonic series on a particular string. Cello_sentence_235

Artificial harmonics (also called false harmonics or stopped harmonics), in which the player depresses the string fully with one finger while touching the same string lightly with another finger, can produce any note above middle C. Glissando (Italian for "sliding") is an effect played by sliding the finger up or down the fingerboard without releasing the string. Cello_sentence_236

This causes the pitch to rise and fall smoothly, without separate, discernible steps. Cello_sentence_237

In cello playing, the bow is much like the breath of a wind instrument player. Cello_sentence_238

Arguably, it is a major factor in the expressiveness of the playing. Cello_sentence_239

The right-hand holds the bow and controls the duration and character of the notes. Cello_sentence_240

In general, the bow is drawn across the strings roughly halfway between the end of the fingerboard and the bridge, in a direction perpendicular to the strings; however, the player may wish to move the bow's point of contact higher or lower depending on the desired sound. Cello_sentence_241

The bow is held and manipulated with all five fingers of the right hand, the thumb opposite the fingers and closer to the cellist's body. Cello_sentence_242

Tone production and volume of sound depend on a combination of several factors. Cello_sentence_243

The four most important ones are weight applied to the string, the angle of the bow in relation to the string, bow speed, and the point of contact of the bow hair with the string (sometimes abbreviated WASP). Cello_sentence_244

Double stops involve the playing of two notes at the same time. Cello_sentence_245

Two strings are fingered simultaneously, and the bow is drawn so as to sound them both at once. Cello_sentence_246

Typically, in pizzicato playing, the string is plucked directly with the fingers or thumb of the right hand. Cello_sentence_247

However, the strings may be plucked with a finger of the left hand in certain advanced pieces, either so that bowed notes can be played on another string along with pizzicato notes, or because the speed of the piece would not allow the player sufficient time to pluck with the right hand. Cello_sentence_248

In musical notation, pizzicato is often abbreviated as "pizz." Cello_sentence_249

The position of the hand in pizzicato is commonly slightly over the fingerboard and away from the bridge. Cello_sentence_250

A player using the col legno technique strikes or rubs the strings with the wood of the bow rather than the hair. Cello_sentence_251

In spiccato playing, the bow still moves in a horizontal motion on the string, but is allowed to bounce, generating a lighter, somewhat more percussive sound. Cello_sentence_252

In staccato, the player moves the bow a small distance and stops it on the string, making a short sound, the rest of the written duration being taken up by silence. Cello_sentence_253

Legato is a technique in which notes are smoothly connected without breaks. Cello_sentence_254

It is indicated by a slur (curved line) above or below – depending on their position on the staff – the notes of the passage that is to be played legato. Cello_sentence_255

Sul ponticello ("on the bridge") refers to bowing closer to (or nearly on) the bridge, while Sul tasto ("on the fingerboard") calls for bowing nearer to (or over) the end of the fingerboard. Cello_sentence_256

At its extreme, sul ponticello produces a harsh, shrill sound with emphasis on overtones and high harmonics, while sul tasto produces a more flute-like sound, with more emphasis on the fundamental frequency of the note, and softened overtones. Cello_sentence_257

Both techniques have been used by composers, particularly in an orchestral setting, for special sounds and effects. Cello_sentence_258

Sizes Cello_section_19

Standard-sized cellos are referred to as "full-size" or "​⁄4" but are also made in smaller (fractional) sizes, including ​⁄8, ​⁄4, ​⁄2, ​⁄4, ​⁄8, ​⁄10, and ​⁄16. Cello_sentence_259

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. Cello_sentence_260

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. Cello_sentence_261

Cellos in sizes larger than ​⁄4 do exist, and cellists with unusually large hands may require such a non-standard instrument. Cello_sentence_262

Cellos made before approximately 1700 tended to be considerably larger than those made and commonly played today. Cello_sentence_263

Around 1680, changes in string-making technology made it possible to play lower-pitched notes on shorter strings. Cello_sentence_264

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 configuration), and the style made during and after 1707, when Stradivari began making smaller cellos. Cello_sentence_265

This later model is the design most commonly used by modern luthiers. Cello_sentence_266

The scale length of a ​⁄4 cello is about 70 cm (27 ⁄2 in). Cello_sentence_267

The new size offered fuller tonal projection and a greater range of expression. Cello_sentence_268

The instrument in this form was able to contribute to more pieces musically and offered the possibility of greater physical dexterity for the player to develop technique. Cello_sentence_269


Approximate dimensions for ​⁄4 size celloCello_header_cell_1_0_0 Average sizeCello_header_cell_1_0_1
Approximate width horizontally from A peg to C peg endsCello_cell_1_1_0 16.0 cm (6.3 in)Cello_cell_1_1_1
Back length excluding half-round where neck joinsCello_cell_1_2_0 75.4 cm (29.7 in)Cello_cell_1_2_1
Upper bouts (shoulders)Cello_cell_1_3_0 34.0 cm (13.4 in)Cello_cell_1_3_1
Lower bouts (hips)Cello_cell_1_4_0 43.9 cm (17.3 in)Cello_cell_1_4_1
Bridge heightCello_cell_1_5_0 8.9 cm (3.5 in)Cello_cell_1_5_1
Rib depth at shoulders including edges of front and backCello_cell_1_6_0 12.4 cm (4.9 in)Cello_cell_1_6_1
Rib depth at hips including edgesCello_cell_1_7_0 12.7 cm (5.0 in)Cello_cell_1_7_1
Distance beneath fingerboard to surface of belly at neck joinCello_cell_1_8_0 2.3 cm (0.9 in)Cello_cell_1_8_1
Bridge to back total depthCello_cell_1_9_0 26.7 cm (10.5 in)Cello_cell_1_9_1
Overall height excluding end pinCello_cell_1_10_0 120.9 cm (47.6 in)Cello_cell_1_10_1
End pin unit and spikeCello_cell_1_11_0 5.6 cm (2.2 in)Cello_cell_1_11_1

Accessories Cello_section_20

There are many accessories for the cello. Cello_sentence_270


  • Cases are used to protect the cello and bow (or multiple bows).Cello_item_0_0
  • 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.Cello_item_0_1
  • Endpin stops 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.Cello_item_0_2
  • Wolf tone eliminators are placed on cello strings between the tailpiece and the bridge to eliminate acoustic anomalies known as wolf tones or "wolfs".Cello_item_0_3
  • Mutes are used to change the sound of the cello by adding mass and stiffness to the bridge. They alter the overtone structure, modifying the timbre and reducing the overall volume of sound produced by the instrument.Cello_item_0_4
  • Metronomes provide a steady tempo by sounding out a certain number of beats per minute.Cello_item_0_5

Instrument makers Cello_section_21

Main article: Luthier Cello_sentence_271

Cellos are made by luthiers, specialists in building and repairing stringed instruments, ranging from guitars to violins. Cello_sentence_272

The following luthiers are notable for the cellos they have produced: Cello_sentence_273


Cellists Cello_section_22

Main article: List of cellists Cello_sentence_274

A person who plays the cello is called a cellist. Cello_sentence_275

For a list of notable cellists, see the list of cellists and :Category:Cellists. Cello_sentence_276

Famous instruments Cello_section_23

See also: :Category:Individual cellos Cello_sentence_277

Specific instruments are famous (or become famous) for a variety of reasons. Cello_sentence_278

An instrument's notability may arise from its age, the fame of its maker, its physical appearance, its acoustic properties, and its use by notable performers. Cello_sentence_279

The most famous instruments are generally known for all of these things. Cello_sentence_280

The most highly prized instruments are now collector's items and are priced beyond the reach of most musicians. Cello_sentence_281

These instruments are typically owned by some kind of organization or investment group, which may loan the instrument to a notable performer. Cello_sentence_282

(For example, the Davidov Stradivarius, which is currently in the possession of one of the most widely known living cellists, Yo-Yo Ma, is actually owned by the Vuitton Foundation.) Cello_sentence_283

Some notable cellos: Cello_sentence_284


Organizations Cello_section_24


In popular culture Cello_section_25

La Mariée, a 1950 painting by Marc Chagall which is prominently featured in the 1999 film Notting Hill, portrays a goat playing a cello. Cello_sentence_285

See also Cello_section_26


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cello.