Known for its deep sound and rich tonal quality, the cello is one of the larger and most recognizable stringed instruments you will see in an orchestral setting. The cello has a rich and storied history, dating all the way back to the 16th century. But don't let the cello's age fool you; it still continues to find its way into all sorts of modern music, making it one of the most versatile instruments out there.
From left to right facing the instrument, the cello's strings are tuned to C, G, D and A respectively. The C string is the thickest string and produces the lower pitch, while the A string is the thinner and produces the instrument's higher-pitched notes.
Stringed Instrument Family
The cello belongs to the string family of instruments. All of the instruments produce sound through the vibration of strings with varying lengths and thicknesses. In a full orchestra, the cello is the second-largest stringed instrument. It is larger than the violin and the viola but smaller than the upright double bass.
The typical cello is nearly four feet tall. The instrument can come in smaller sizes, however, ranging all the way down to 1/16th the size of a normal cello.
The best cellos are hand carved from natural wood such as spruce or willow. These wood types in particular are best suited for the harmonics of the instrument, delivering the clearest and most accurate tones.
Many modern bands have made use of the cello in their songs. Aerosmith, OneRepublic and Smashing Pumpkins all have had high-charting singles that featured the instrument as part of their ensemble.
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