violoncello


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violoncello:

see violinviolin,
family of stringed musical instruments having wooden bodies whose backs and fronts are slightly convex, the fronts pierced by two f-hole-shaped resonance holes. The instruments of the violin family have been the dominant bowed instruments because of their versatility,
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Violoncello

 

(Italian, diminutive of violone, contrabass), a bowed musical instrument of the violin family, made in the bass-tenor register. The four strings are tuned in fifths (C two octaves below middle C, G a fifth above that, D below middle C, and A above middle C).

The cello is used as a solo, ensemble, and orchestral instrument. It originated around the turn of the 16th century as a result of the development of folk string instruments. The classic examples of the violoncello were created by the Italian masters of the 17th and 18th centuries, A. and N. Amati, G. Guarnieri, and A. Stradivari. The Russian master I. A. Batov and the Soviet masters E. F. Vitachek and T. F. Podgornyi also created highly successful violoncellos.

In the 17th and 18th centuries the violoncello replaced the viola da gamba in aristocratic circles, largely because of its rich expressive and technical possibilities and its fuller and brighter sound, similar in timbre to the human voice. Com-posers who wrote concertos, sonatas, and suites for the violoncello include J. S. Bach, J. Haydn, L. Boccherini, L. Beethoven, F. Mendelssohn, F. Chopin, E. Grieg, J. Brahms, R. Schumann, C. Saint-Saens, E. Lalo, and A. Dvorak. Composers for the cello include P. I. Tchaikovsky, N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov, A. K. Glazunov, S. V. Rachmaninoff, S. S. Prokofiev, D. D. Shostakovich, A. I. Khachaturian, D. B. Kabalevsky, and T. N. Khrennikov. Some of the greatest foreign cellists were L. Boccherini, J. L. Dupourt, B. Romberg, F. Servé, and P. Casals; great Russian cellists include K. lu. Davydov, A. V. Verzhbilovich, and A. A. Brandukov; great Soviet cellists include M. L. Rostropovich, S. N. Knushevitskii, and D. B. Shafran.

REFERENCES

Ginzburg, L. Istoriia violonchel’nogo iskusstva. Books 1-2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950-57.
Ginzburg, L. Istoriia violonchel’nogo iskusstva. Russkaia klassi-cheskaia violonchel’naia shkola. Moscow, 1965.
Wasielewski, W. J. Das Violoncello und seine Geschichte, 3rd ed. Leipzig, 1925.
Forino, L. Il violoncello, il violoncellist a ed i violoncellisti. 2nd ed. Milan, 1930.

L. S. GINZBURG

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