Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Cello Facts

20 Interesting Facts About The Cello

The Cello is considered by many to have the closest sound to the human voice. Due to its rich tones, the Cello is used in both classical and popular music. The Cello has been around for more than 450 years. Celebrated composers like Bach, Beethoven, Haydn and Prokofiev have all written famous Cello music, from solo pieces to orchestral arrangements. The Cello is part of the string family, which also consists of the Viola, the Violin and the Double Bass.

Cello Facts

1. The first Cello

Cello Facts

The first ever Cello was invented in the early 16th century in Italy, a few years after the Violin and Viola were invented. The earliest record of the Cello’s existence dates back to 1535-1536, recorded by Gaudenzio Fenali in Saronno, Italy.

2. The origins of the Cello

Invented in the early 16th century, this huge instrument has a highly versatile history. The Baroque period saw Bach composing solo Cello suites. Haydn, Schumann and Brahms make use of Cellos in concertos in the Classical and Romantic eras. In recent times there has been a rise in solo Cello pieces and soloists frequently play modern pop and rock music.

Cello Facts

3. The Cello is a string instrument

The Cello is the second largest instrument in the strings family, second only to the Double Bass

4. The world’s most expensive Cello

The Duport Stradivarius Cello is the most expensive Cello in the world. It was made by Antoni Stradvaivari in 1711. The Cello, to this day, supposedly bears a mark on it which was made by Napoleon’s boot. Now that’s a claim to fame! 20th century Cello phenomenon, Mstislav Rostropovich played the instrument from 1947, right up until his death in 2007. In 2008, the Duport Stradivarius Cello was bought by the Nippon Music Foundation for a cool $20 million (£15 million). 

Cello Facts

5. The Cello is complex. It’s made up of…

The Cello is typically made from carved wood, although sometimes alternative materials like carbon fibre or aluminum are used. A traditional Cello is made from a spruce top and a maple back, side and neck. Other woods like polar and willow are sometimes used to construct the Cello’s back and sides.

The Cello’s neck slants backwards so the downward force a Cellist exerts on the bridge is increased, producing the louder sound needed to compete with an orchestra during a concerto. Originally, Cello strings were made out of sheep gut, (charming)! Now, metal strings are more commonly used.

 

6. The world’s smallest Cello

The world’s smallest Cello is called the Violoncello de Spalla. This instrument is essentially a small Cello, played braced against the shoulder like a Viola or Violin. Mintature Cellos are readily available, measuring in back length at just 6”. Teeny tiny!

7. The world’s largest Cello ensemble

In 1998 a concert was held in Kobe, Japan featuring over 1,000 cellists. This is reckoned to be the largest Cello ensemble ever formed. The musicians performed nine pieces, including Bach’s Suite in D major.

8. The Cello and the orchestra

The Cello is essential to the orchestra. The Cello balances out the loud, high pitch of the Violin section. A Cellist gets to play every part of the orchestra; the melody, harmony and bass line, often all in one piece. Many Cellists have entire careers made out of ensemble work and Cello solos are arguably one of the most stunning in the orchestra. 

Cello Facts