The cello is the tenor voice of the string family. While it may not be as versatile or agile as its smaller counterpart, the violin, it is still a beloved instrument. The sound of the cello is often described as dark and mysterious, but also capable of producing a wide spectrum of sounds from tender and elegant to passionate and powerful. It is no wonder that this instrument enjoys such popularity.
The history of the cello is relatively short compared to that of other instruments, but it has a rich and vibrant heritage nonetheless. Unlike many other popular instruments, the cello was not developed by a single individual or culture, but rather is an amalgamation of ideas and traditions brought together over time by many different people and places. The cello we know today owes its existence to centuries of development on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
The cello is a musical instrument that has been in existence for hundreds of years, but many do not know the history of this useful and beautiful instrument.
The cello originated in the 1500s in Italy, where it was known by a variety of names: violoncello or simply violincello, which is Italian; violon or violoncino, which are French words; and viol d’amour (“love viol”) or viol da gamba (“leg viol”), which are terms used by Germans.
The first use of the word “cello” to describe this instrument was in Germany in around 1730. The word “cello,” itself, is derived from the Italian word “violoncello.”
In 1689 an Italian musician named Francesco Ruggieri began constructing a new kind of stringed instrument with four strings instead of three. He created it because he was unsatisfied with the current instruments on the market at the time. He made his instruments out of maple wood that came from Italy’s Tyrolean Alps and he used a special varnish that he brought back from Rome. Ruggieri succeeded in making a new kind of stringed instrument–a cello–and he became very famous for it.
The cello is a member of the string family and has been around for well over 400 years. It was originally invented as a bass violin (a smaller version of the violin) and went by such names as “violoncello” in Italy, “violon” in France, and “viola da gamba” in Germany.
The earliest evidence of the existence of the cello dates back to 1538. The first known depiction of a cello being played is a painting by Gasparo da Salò, which was created around 1570.
The cello is a string instrument that is played with the fingers. It is held between the knees of the cellist with the body resting on the floor. The strings are made of either gut, nylon or metal and are attached to the body at one end and a bridge (a raised piece of wood) at the other end. The strings run over a fingerboard which is glued onto the neck of the cello.
The modern cello is held upright with it’s end pin in contact with the floor, unlike its predecessor, the violoncello da spalla, which was played laying down on its side. By around 1690, Italian luthiers were making small cellos for children (usually aged between 5 and 15) who were interested in learning how to play this instrument. These cellos, known as “piccolos”, had only three strings and were tuned G-D-A like a viola or violin. In order to allow their students to get used to holding these instruments correctly, luthiers created shoulder straps which could be attached to both sides of the neck of these instruments. As a result, they became known as “violoncelli da spalla”.
The cello is a string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola and double bass. While the double bass is a large instrument usually played while seated, the cello is smaller and meant to be played while standing or sitting on a tall stool.
The cello has an endpin at the bottom to rest on the floor, and it’s held between the player’s knees when they are seated. The strings are sounded by drawing a bow across them, or by plucking them (this is called pizzicato). The strings are stopped by pressing them against the fingerboard with the fingers of the left hand. The word “cello” means “little violone” in Italian and was used as a generic term for all bass instruments, including double basses.
The cello first appeared in Italy during the 16th century, but its ancestry can be traced back to much earlier fiddles like the rebec and vielle that were played throughout Europe during ancient times. By the mid-17th century, it had become common to see string quartets including a bass instrument like a violone or cello.
The earliest surviving music written specifically
The violin family of instruments has been around for a very long time. The oldest surviving violin, the Charles IX, was made in 1564. This instrument is now owned by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. However there is evidence that violins were being made as early as 1555. They were originally called viols or violones and were played upright like a cello. In the 16th century when the violin first appeared, two other members of the violin family were also created: the viola and the cello (or violoncello).
For a long time, only one size of cello was made; this was known as a 5/4 size. During the 1700s a smaller version of the cello was created, called a 4/4 size; this became known as a regular sized cello. A 3/4 sized cello followed, then in 1820 an even smaller 1/2 size cello was introduced; this is around the size of an adult’s guitar!
The cello is the largest and lowest pitched member of the violin family. It has four strings, which are tuned in fifths to the notes C2, G2, D3 and A3. The standard range of the cello extends over four octaves from C2 to C6. The cello has a deep, rich voice which can be heard in both solo and orchestral works.
The modern cello is derived from its predecessor, the violoncello da spalla or viola da spalla (literally: shoulder viola), which was similar to modern violin but with a slightly smaller body and sloping shoulders. The first record of a violoncello da spalla dates back to 1600 in Brescia, Italy, where it was called “viola alla spagnola.”
In the 16th century, some cellists opted to play their instruments like a guitar by holding them between their legs instead of under their chin. This technique evolved into what today is called “cello posture,” in which players sit on an elevated stool with their feet flat on the floor.