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Sunday, 16 February 2014


Its full name is the Italian violoncello, meaning little violin, but the abbreviation cello is more commonly used today.

The cello came into use in the 17th century. At that time there was a family of instruments called the viols. The invention of wire-wound strings 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.

Originally, cello strings were made out of sheep gut. Now, metal wiring has become predominant.

The cello has a range of well over four octaves, with its four strings being tuned in fifths at C2, G2, D3, and A3.

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote six very famous suites for solo cello. One of the other best-known pieces for solo cello is ‘The Swan’ from Charles Saint-Saëns's Carnival of Animals (1887).

In the 1960s, artists such as the Beatles used the cello in popular music, in songs such as "Eleanor Rigby" and "Strawberry Fields Forever,".whilst Pink Floyd included a cello solo in their 1970 instrumental "Atom Heart Mother.”

In 1999, world renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma left his 266 year old cello, worth $2.5 million, in the back of a New York City taxi. It was returned to him in time for his evening concert.

There’s a group called the “Extreme Cellists” who played on the roofs of all 42 Anglican Cathedrals in England within two weeks.

Encyclopedia of Trivia © RM 2014. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.

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