The violoncello, or simply cello, is one of the foundations for
orchestral and chamber music playing. Like the violin, almost all
people are familiar with the cello and the sound it produces. The
tone produced by this instrument, though, is drastically different
than that of violins or violas.
The cello developed in the same way as the violin and viola and has always been an important part of the orchestra due to its role as a foundation for the other parts of the orchestra. Although the cello was an important ensemble instrument, not much solo music was written for it until the late 19th century.
Early cellists were not able to show the expressive qualities that modern day cellists are able to convey. Part of the reason for this is that the cello strings were made out of gut instead of steel. This caused the sound produced to be thinner and less warm. Also, the current cello bows are much better than the ones used by early cellists. Early bows had little or no curve to them; that stopped cellists from using bouncing the bow on the string or playing very loudly.
Ever since the 1700's, the cello has been needed as part of a string quartet. The amount of solo pieces written for the cello was slightly low, even though the number of cello concertos grew with works by Luigi Boccherini, C.P.E. Bach, and Antonio Vivaldi.
In the early 20th century, cello masters such as Pablo Casals
and Emanuel Feuermann inspired composers such as Arnold Schoenberg, Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich, and
Benjamin Britten to write
difficult and complex cello solos. Soon, cello concertos and
sonatas became common works for composers to write.
Today's CelloThe cello is one of the most popular instruments for young people to learn today. The cello attracts many people for its power and wide range of color. The cello has rapidly shouldered aside the violin as a solo instrument with its amazing and popular players such as the American Yo Yo Ma.