Deciding which string instrument to learn can be a complex topic. Many would-be musicians are paralyzed by the choices available to them, and they aren’t sure what the difference is between some of the most common instruments.
Deciding between the violin, the cello, and other string instruments is an important decision for the sound of your music. If you are thinking about taking up the cello, you need to know the answer to the most common question: what is a cello?
Music and instruments have a long and rich history. Understand exactly where your cello came from and what you can expect from the sound of this beautiful instrument. We will cover all of the most common questions related to this storied instrument in this article.
What Is a Cello?
Playing beautiful music starts by selecting the proper instrument. The cello is a popular choice, but too many people are confused by what this instrument offers. What is a cello, and where does it come from? The cello definition is actually quite simple, even though the instrument itself can create wonderfully complex sounds and melodies.
The cello is a part of the violin family. It is much larger than a violin, though, and provides more of a bass sound. When playing the cello, you will hold it upright on the floor, positioning it between the legs instead of tucking it under the chin as you would a violin. This instrument is composed of several common parts:
- Head and neck
You will want to take the time to familiarize yourself with these parts before you start taking your lessons. This familiarization will help you to better understand how the music is made and how to care for your instrument.
What is a cello? The cello meaning becomes much clearer when you understand all of the various parts that come into play. Studying the instrument itself is just as important as learning how to read music and play some of the most popular melodies.
What Does a Cello Look Like?
What is a cello, and what does it look like? Understanding the aesthetics of your instrument choice is just as important as understanding the music itself. As mentioned previously, the cello consists of several parts. It is a rather large instrument, though you can purchase a cello in different sizes depending on your height or your age.
The large body is made of wood, most often maple or spruce. At the top of the instrument is the scroll, followed by four pegs that hold the strings in place.
The thickest string is at the bottom, and the strings become thinner as you proceed over to the top string. The strings go down the cello and over the wooden bridge into the tailpiece at the end.
At the bottom of the cello is the spike, which allows the instrument to rest on the floor between your legs.
If you are familiar with other orchestral instruments, you might notice that the cello looks a bit like a violin except much larger. This is because they are from the same cello instrument family, though they will produce different sounds.
How Many Strings Does a Cello Have?
When it comes to playing your cello, many people want to know exactly how many strings they will have to manage to produce a beautiful sound. Your posture can influence the sound, but the primary driving force behind all music created by the cello is the strings.
The cello has four unique strings that vary in thickness. Each one plays its own note naturally: A, D, G, and C. The thickest string at the bottom is the C string, and it progresses to the thinner A string at the top. Having a basic understanding of how these notes relate to one another is important when you are first starting.
What is a cello, and what types of sounds does it make? You will need to learn a bit of music theory to understand the unique sounds associated with each string, from the higher pitch of the A to the lower pitch of the C.
When the cello was first developed, most models were made with five strings. Some of the instruments that are being played today are still made with this traditional fifth string tuned to a high E or a low E.
What is a Cello Like with a Fifth String?
This final string is worked into the design of the cello by making the neck a bit wider than the standard and by shortening the body. The 5-string cello is not as popular or well-known as the 4-string cello.
Keep in mind that if you decide to play the 5-string cello, finding the cello sheet music for this style of the instrument may be a bit more challenging.
Because of the extra string, you do have a few more options when it comes to playing these melodies, though. You can still produce the standard scales, but you may find that you have more fingering and bowing combinations that can enrich the sound of your music.