Worth knowing about the cello

The cello or violoncello belongs to the Viola da Braccio instrumentsinthefamily of the bowed stringed instruments and takes the tenor range. Unlike the viola and violin, the cello is fixed on the floor with a spike. Its origin dates back to the early 16th century.

The cello was originally simply called "bass violin" and also the terms „violon“ and „bassviolon“ had been used. Today's current tuning of the instrument with four strings (C, G, D, A) in the distance of fifths had varied initially from region to region. Only 200 years after the development of the first instruments today's tuning was already used in whole Europe. Even the today used spike was not common from the beginning. The large stringed instrument was played clamped between his knees. It should even have been played fixed standing or running at the shoulder. The register of the modern violoncello is exactly one octave lower than the viola one and its range, even in the highest, is still able to convince in sound and also sounds correspondingly larger.

Construction of the cello

Although the cello belongs to the same family as viola and violin, the proportions of the musical instrument are deviating. To implement the low pitch sound of the cello, it would be a lot bigger than we know it today in a pure increase in the violin dimensions. Instead, the body of an entire cello is still about twice as long as a fiddle, but its sides are four times as high.
Thus, the necessary space for low-frequency resonance is achieved. Based on these dimensions, a violin maker needsed about three times as long for the construction of a cello. This also explains the higher price of the cellos.

The characteristic scroll at the head of bowed stringed instruments is also a typical feature at the cello. Pegs and fingerboard are made of ebony, for lower-priced cellos also other stained hardwoods. The tailpiece may also be produced of ebony, but plastics or metal are also used there. Sides, neck and table of the violoncello are made of spruce wood - the back, in contrast, is mostly made of maple. This is often flamed for optical reasons. The sound-holes serve all strings not primarily intended to direct the sound to the outside, but rather increase the response capability of the instrument table and make it more flexible.

Components and materials of the cello

The spike of the cello fixes the instrument on the ground. Today it is produced from metal, but also of carbon fibers. For professional players, this can already make a phonetic difference. A prime floor protector supports the sound development of the instrument. The same is true for the cellist also in material selection of fine tuners, tailpiece and, in the quality of the bridge and especially also in the choice of strings. There are many different cello strings. Concerning sound, sound volume, big tone range and playability steel strings are especially popular. They are mostly wound with chrome steel, silver or tungsten. The cello bow thereby receives enough resistance from the string to generate a sonorous tone, provided that the bow is treated with a first class rosin. For professional cellists the combination of Larsen Cello Strings for the A- and D-string is very popular, as well as Thomastik Spirocorecello strings for the G- and C-string. In recent years Pirastro offers a good alternative with the Evah Pirazzi and the Evah Pirazzi Gold cello strings. Currently Larsen has developed a new great quality string with the Magnacore cello string. The placement of the valuable stringed instrument in a possible lightweight yet stable cello case is standard nowadays.

Use of the cello

The violoncello is used both soloistic, in chamber music and in the orchestra. This means a long history in development, which had started with the use of the cello in through-bass. Until 1650 the cello could not exceed its role as pure basso. There have been also composed sonatas for lower strings, but especially for the then current gambas. The cello was summarized vocally with the double basses. It was not until the works of Vivaldi and Bach, the importance of the cello in the orchestra incresed and assumed the role of the gamba which had come into disuse until 1750. In the 18th century the first major concert for the cello was composed, among others the Cello Concertos in C major and D major by Haydn. The literature from the period of classical music to the modern offers cellists a number of wonderful Cello Sonatas (e.g. Beethoven and Brahms) and exceptional Cello Concertos (e.g. BoccheriniSchumannSaint-SaënsDvořákBruch and Schostakowitsch).

At PAGANINO you will find

Cello strings from Pirastro and Thomastik

Cello cases or cello bags and furthermore

Cello bows and

Cello sheet music as well as all

Accessories for cello like

Fine tuners
Wolf eliminator
Cello bridges
Cello spikes
Cello stands or

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