Baroque Bass

what is a cellist?

a cellist is a person that plays a cello.
Here are some info on the cello.

The violoncello, almost always abbreviated to cello, or 'cello (the c is pronounced [tʃ] as the ch in "cheese"), is a stringed instrument and a member of the violin family. A person who plays a cello is called a cellist. The cello is popular in many capacities: as a solo instrument, in chamber music, and also as a foundation of the modern orchestral sound.
The name cello is an abbreviation of the Italian violoncello, which means "little violone". The violone is an obsolete instrument, a large viol, similar to a modern double bass.

The cello is most closely associated with European classical music. It is part of the standard orchestra and is the bass voice of the string quartet, as well as being part of many other chamber groups. A large number of concertos and sonatas have been written for it. It is less common in popular music, but is sometimes featured in pop and rock recordings. The cello has also been modified for Indian classical music by Saskia Rao-de Haas.

Among the most famous Baroque works for the cello are J. S. Bach's Unaccompanied Suites for Cello, commonly known as the Bach Cello Suites. An example of a Classical era piece is Haydn's Cello Concerto #1 in C major. Standard Romantic era repertoire includes the Cello Concerto in B minor by Antonín Dvořák, Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor, and two sonatas by Brahms. Modern compositions from the early 20th century include unaccompanied cello sonatas by Paul Hindemith (opus 25) and Zoltán Kodály (opus 8). Recordings within the Avant Garde (cutting edge) genre have revitalized the instrument's perceived versatility. One example is Night of the Four Moons by George Crumb.The cello developed from the bass violin, first used by Monteverdi, which was a three-string consort instrument. 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. 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. This instrument had disadvantages as well, however. The cello's light sound was not as suitable for church and ensemble playing, so it had to be doubled by basses or violones.

Around 1700 Italian players popularized the cello in northern Europe, although the bass violin continued to be used for another two decades in France and England. The sizes, names, and tunings of the cello varied widely by geography and time. The size was not standardized until around 1750.

Despite superficial similarities, the cello is not in fact related 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. There are actually paintings of people playing the cello on the shoulder, like a giant violin. It was only somewhat later that the cello began to be played while being supported by the calves, and even later, by an endpin (spike).

Baroque era cellos differed from the modern instrument in several ways. The neck has a different form and angle which matches the baroque bass-bar and stringing. Modern cellos have a retractable metal (or sometimes carbon fibre) spike 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. 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. 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. Modern cellos often have fine-tuners connecting the strings to the tailpiece, which make it much easier to tune the instrument. Overall, the modern instrument has much higher string tension than the Baroque cello, resulting in a louder, more direct, tone, with fewer overtones.

No 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. 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).

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