Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Baltimore Rhapsody" Block #13 - the cello

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.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


  1. the detail on the instruments is very unique and lovely - such detail!

  2. what a lovely block. Your details are stunning as usual.
    I absolutely love the fountain!! the fabric is perfect and the water stitches are so sweet! the flowers at the bottom are a great touch too

  3. And the fountain! So very delightful :D

  4. Your massive stash has paid off. The fabrics in the intrument and the fountain really tell the eye for detail you have. I want to grow up and be like you. LOL Chris

  5. lovely block and great history lesson :-) my husband used to own a cello but sold it.

  6. Wow, I'm learning all kinds of things while you're building these blocks!! Wonderful blocks, too.

  7. So very lovely!!
    Gmama Jane

  8. A beautiful block!! I love the personal significance of the fountain. The embroidered details are wonderful!

  9. Oh Teresa, the Cello is beautiful. All of the blocks are beautiful. This quilt is going to be absolutely amazing when it is finished. I am feeling very inspired by your beautiful designs. I just don't know if I have the patience to do the balitmore.

  10. Your attention to detail is outstanding!

  11. Your details are amazing!!! All the blocks have been lovely.

  12. Another gorgeous block! Love the special details and stitching!

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  14. I write from italy. This blog is beautiful and this post is beautiful because i have a sohn who playes cello. Compliment
    bye Rosanna


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