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Cellos

The History of the Cello

 

Early European string instruments tended to be plucked (lyres, harps, etc.) but bowed instruments were found in central Asia and the Middle East. The cello as it is known today emerged from 16th-century, Renaissance Italy and is a direct descendant of the viola de gamba family of instruments.

Cellos play a significant role in classical music and feature in orchestras, string quartets, chamber and solo music. Film music has also heavily used the cello. Stradivari, whose instruments are now famous as being highly desirable by professional players and collectors, fetching huge sums of money at auction.

 

How do cello work? 

 

The cello is essentially built from a hollow resonating box with strings stretched across a wooden support called the bridge. The player uses a bow, which traditionally is made from a wooden stick with horsehair and coated with rosin (a resin-like substance) which creates friction on the strings, producing a sound. Cellos much like other stringed instruments in the orchestra tend to feature four strings at different pitches, C, G, D and A, one fifth lower than the violin and an octave lower than the viola in this case. Strings used to be made from animal gut, but today they tend to be made from a combination of metal alloys and synthetic material.

 

Common Types of cello

 

Most often cellos tend to be the acoustic variety you would find in any orchestra around the world. Manufacturers such as Hidersine and Stentor make cellos in a variety of sizes ranging from 1/16 (very small) to 4/4 (full size) meaning that players of any age can take up the instrument. There are solid body electric versions which are able to be amplified such as Yamaha’s silent cellos. Five and six string instruments exist but these are less common.

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