The next block in "Baltimore Rhapsody" is the cello. It's full name is violoncello, which means "little bass viol," but it is commonly just called "cello."
It is not simply a violin that has been blown up in size...the proportions of the instrument are different, and it is played with a shorter bow than the violin (which means less notes can be played on a single bowing).
Difficult passages can be played on the cello, but it requires greater stretch in the hand to facilitate the placement of the fingers on the longer neck of the instrument. It has to be played sitting down, between the knees, and there is a spike extending from the bottom to help hold it in place.
Short, "plucked" notes (pizzicato) sound beautiful on this instrument, either as single notes or chords. This ability and the instruments range made it a natural harmonic choice to accompany woodwinds or higher strings.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the cello mostly played the bass part along with the continuo/harpsichord (baroque) or double bass.
A little later, Haydn and Mozart finally gave the instrument more moving, interesting parts. Ultimately Beethoven came along and brought out the cello's singing quality in his orchestral works, chamber music, and 5 sonatas for cello and piano.
The greatest and most recognized cello works date back to the early 1700's...a set of six suites for unaccompanied cello by J.S. Bach. They are very technically challenging and rank among the most significant masterpieces in musical literature.
I fell in love with the cello (and fell hard!) when I first heard a string quartet playing outside, near a fountain, at some fancy event when I was a kid. That is what possessed me to draw and applique a fountain in this block...I may have to go back and embroider some more water so it will show up a little better!
If there had been a string program in my school in the late 60's/early 70's, I would have played cello. I love the sound and the versatility of this instrument!
"Baltimore Rhapsody" is an original project done in the Baltimore album style. Read more about the project here.