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Definition: cello from The Penguin English Dictionary

a stringed musical instrument of the violin family that is intermediate in range between the viola and the double bass and is held between the player's knees, supported on the ground by an adjustable metal spike

cellist noun [short for violoncello].


Summary Article: cello
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Bowed, string instrument that is the second largest member of the violin family and one of the four instruments that make up the string quartet. Its full name is violoncello but the abbreviation cello is more commonly used today. Although similar in shape to the violin, it is more than twice the size and is played resting on the ground on an adjustable spike, being held in place lightly between the knees. It has a range of well over four octaves, with its four strings being tuned in fifths at C2, G2, D3, and A3. The solo potential of the cello was recognized by Johann Sebastian Bach (his cello suites still form one of the most important parts of the cello repertoire), and its concerto repertoire extends from Joseph Haydn (who also gave the cello a leading role in his string quartets) and Luigi Boccherini to Antonín Dvořák, Edward Elgar, Benjamin Britten, György Ligeti, and Witold Lutosławski. The Bachianas Brasilieras 1 (1930–44) by Heitor Villa-Lobos is scored for eight cellos, and Pierre Boulez's Messagesquisse (1977) for seven cellos. One of the best-known pieces for solo cello is ‘The Swan’ from Charles Saint-Saëns's Carnival of Animals (1887).

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Full text Article cello (full name: violoncello)
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A musical instrument of the violin family, held between the knees and supported at its lower end by an adjustable pin. It has an extensive...

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