The Violoncello and Its History: More Context from the Intro.

What could be more interesting than excerpts from the introduction of this historical work? This is, as the translator put it, in the preface, the first book about the cello in English.

Learning the cello’s history, and what preceded it; how it came into being gives us some intriguing insight. We can know more about why the cello is named, full name, Violoncello, why it has its shape and dimensions, why there are only 4 strings, what the purpose of this instrument was, etc.

The name of the violoncello has to with the bass instrument it was created to the take the place of. Because it was smaller the ending -cello, is a diminutive. Did you know that? It actually is not a scaled down version of the violin per se, although it certainly borrows some of the dimensional features of it.


This begs the question, is the violin the original instrument in the “violin family” as we so often hear stated in modern times? Or was it, the viola?

The greater “Violin Family”

As Wasielewski points out in respect to the diminutive –cello, he is quick to point our attention to the ending of violin (violino in Italian). The –ino is also a diminutive—due to its smaller size. But, smaller compared to what instrument? —> The viola.

Violinists, the violas are your daddy’s. And the cello was so amazing that its daddy went extinct. Take that again, violino players!

An Italian Gamba with lots of Strings

It not particularly clear for the decision to have only four strings. Many of the early cellos had five strings. One possibility is the desire for more powerful tones and resonance. Another could be the move away from chordal playing to more one-line playing with occasional double-stops. Indeed, even less frequent chords.


Tune in to the next podcast installment to hear more beautiful history about this amazing invention called the Violoncello.

Thanks to everyone listening to Forgotten Cello Music on Spotify,, et al. Although I have yet to cash out for the first time (pay per view—I was not exaggerating the fractional percentages), the number of plays is regularly going up. To be honest, I think The requirement for $10 in revenue is 1,500 plays. Currently I have 721 plays.

Some statistics of my Podcast.

Keep tuning in. I still have not received any more comments or messages since July. Maybe you can break that streak.

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Forgotten Cello Music

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