Cello Information

The cello is a bowed string instrument. The word derives from the Italian violoncello. A person who plays a cello is called a cellist. The cello is used as a solo instrument, in chamber music, and as a member of the string section of an orchestra. It is the second largest bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, the double bass being the largest.

The name Cello is an abbreviation of the Italian violoncello, which means "little violone", referring to the violone , the lowest-pitched instrument of the viol family, the group of string instruments that were superseded by the violin family. Thus, the name carries both an augmentative "-one" and a diminutive "-cello" . By the turn of the twentieth century, it had grown customary to abbreviate the name violoncello to 'cello, with the apostrophe indicating the six missing prefix letters. It now is acceptable to use the name "cello" without the apostrophe and as a full designation. Cellos are tuned in fifths, starting with C2 as the lowest string, followed by G2, D3, and A3. It is tuned the same way as the viola, only an octave lower.

The cello is most closely associated with European classical music, and has been described as the closest sounding instrument to the human voice. The instrument is a 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 the cello.

Wikipedia, Cello, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cello (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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