The cello, which is short for violoncello, is a bowed stringed instrument, and it is the lowest sounding member of the violin family. The cello can be used as a solo instrument, in chamber music, or as a foundation of the orchestral sound. The person who plays the cello is called a ‘cellist’.

In the violin family, the cello is larger than the viola or violin, but smaller than the double bass. It has four strings, which are normally tuned to the pitches A, D, G, and C. The strings are tuned one octave lower than the viola, and one octave plus one fifth lower than the violin. The instrument produces a deep and rich sound. While playing, a cello is held by the knees of a seated musician. The bow is drawn horizontally across the strings, producing the vibration effect. Most parts of a cello instrument are made of wood, but there are parts made of steel or other metals. Modern strings are made of gut, steel or nylon.

The cello originated in the early 16th century and it developed from the bass violin. In the 17th century, the violoncello was popularised in northern Europe by Italian musicians. The name, size and tuning of the instrument varied by time and geography.

The cello is mainly associated with European classical music. It is less common in popular music, but sometimes it is used in pop and rock music by musicians like The Beatles, Jamiroquai and Bjork. In the 1900s, the most famous cellist was Pablo Casals who made the cello popular as a solo instrument. Some other famous cellists include Gregor Piatigorski, Jacqueline du Pre, Emanuel Feuermann, and Paul Tortelier. Nowadays, among known cellists we can mention Tim Hugh, Robert Cohen, Octavia Philharmonica, Mischal Maisky, and Pieter Wispelwey.

At Varsity music we provide a great range of new and used cellos available to buy online. They are the best on the market and serviced by our trained musicians.

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