The Physics and Science of the Violoncello Essay

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The violoncello, or more commonly known as the cello, is often referred to as the tenor of the string family. The name ‘violoncello’ literally means “little violone”- where ‘one’ means big and ‘cello’ means little. The violone was the lowest-pitched instrument of the Viol family. By the end of the 19th century, the term “violincello” has been more or less replaced with “cello”. The cello has four strings, tuned in relations of perfect 5ths. This fact is derived from the phenomenon of the overtone series; a perfect fifth is the second overtone above the fundamental, and the first non-repetitious overtone. Therefore, relations of perfect fifths are the strongest relations in the musical language, and are used for tuning as well as major…show more content…
The violoncello, or more commonly known as the cello, is often referred to as the tenor of the string family. The name ‘violoncello’ literally means “little violone”- where ‘one’ means big and ‘cello’ means little. The violone was the lowest-pitched instrument of the Viol family. By the end of the 19th century, the term “violincello” has been more or less replaced with “cello”. The cello has four strings, tuned in relations of perfect 5ths. This fact is derived from the phenomenon of the overtone series; a perfect fifth is the second overtone above the fundamental, and the first non-repetitious overtone. Therefore, relations of perfect fifths are the strongest relations in the musical language, and are used for tuning as well as major harmonic movements within classical pieces. From the top, the cello strings are: A3, D3, G2, C2- which is two octaves below middle C. It has the same open string pitches as the viola, except an octave below. When cellos are bowed or plucked, the air around the string vibrates, producing sound waves. Since the strings are very thin, not much air is moved; therefore, it is mounted on a larger body. Because of the large body of the cello, it can produce a full-bodied sound. Since the physical characteristics of each individual cellos are different, the sound produced is also very slightly different. The resonance of the wood makes it so that all cellos have a “wolf tone”. This is when the resonance is split into two frequencies, and the

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