The Cello

The name violoncello was really first used in the mid-17th century, but bass violins of one kind or another are mentioned throughout the 16th and early 17th centuries. The instrument originated in the early 16th century as a member of a whole family of instruments of different sizes and with varying compasses, known as 'viole da braccio'. These instruments were considerably larger than the standard modern cello, some having a body length of 80 cm or more. During the 18th century the instrument became smaller in size and the neck and fingerboard were lengthened and curved more sharply introducing more or less the instrument we know today as the cello.

The cello is the second largest member of the string family. It has a warm, melodious sound and is used as a solo instrument as well as providing a bass line in symphonic and chamber music. Composers that have written music for the cello include Bach, Haydn, Dvorak, Elgar and Saint Saens.

The cello is played sitting down and normally with a bow. With 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and full size cellos available the instrument can be started at an early age. Cases can range from basic nylon covers, to padded bags with straps to hard plastic or fibreglass cases.

Click here for lessons Below you will find links to some simple cello lessons.


The Strings

Using the bow - arco
Plucking the strings - pizzicato

Cello picture

||: Open Strings :: The Bow :: Rhythm :: G string :: D string :: A string :: E string :: Bass Clef :||


Here are a few guidelines to follow, especially if you are new to the instrument.

  • Always take the bow out of the case first and put it away last.
  • Tighten the hair on the bow to play, loosen it when you have finished.
  • It doesn't matter if the case falls on the floor, it does matter if the instrument falls - IT WILL BREAK.
  • Lay the instrument on the floor. It can't fall off the floor!! Put the instrument down on it's side, don't put it on it's back and NEVER put it down on it's front.


Cello Days
In July 2004 we held our first cello day for many years. Over 60 cellists attended, there were group workshops and an impressive cello orchestra.
Click on photo or HERE for more details.


Click here for Cello Day details.
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