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Lesson

08

The Cello

The Cello

Well follow the exact same procedure in this lesson as the previous.

In the Book

 Chapter 4 - The Cello:


Basic Information

Reading Assignment
Please read from Professional Orchestration, Vol. 1:

Videos to Watch

 Watch the Lesson 8 video

Scores to Study

 Chapter 4 - The Cello: Basic Information


 Go to http://www.professionalorchestration.com/online-library/

Scroll down the OrchLinks section to the Cello heading and


browse through the listed articles.

 Sibelius - Swan of Tuonela,


pg. 50/PDF pg. 73 (POvol1)
 Mahler - Symphony #1,
4th Movement, pps. 52-53/
PDF pg. 75-76 (POvol1)
 Beethoven - Symphony #9,
4th Movement, pps. 54-55/
PDF pps. 77-78 (POvol1)
 Strauss - Don Juan, pps.
56-57/PDF pps. 79-80
(POvol1)
 Wagner - Tristan and
Isolde (Overture), pps. 5860/PDF pps. 81-83 (POvol1)

Have Ready
1. The Spectrotone Chart printed out;
2. The bar charts you were instructed to create in the Spectrotone
video (Lesson 2A Video). Then print out pg. 15 (PDF pg. 38)
in Professional Orchestration, Vol. 1, showing the low,
medium, high, and very high registers for the strings;
3. The Strings Positions PDF Booklet printed out;
4. Colored pencils;
5. Optional conductors baton (or long pencil).

Compositional Considerations
After the violins, the cellos are the second star of the string section
since it:

 stands on its own as a solo instrument (especially in the upper


register);






blends with the violins;


blends with the violas;
blends in unison with selected woodwind combinations;
blends with selected brass combinations especially French
horns;

 can act as the bass of the section;


 is often written in octaves with the basses (basses sounding an
octave lower);

 capable of wide themes crossing multiple registers;


 is sometimes doubled by basses to create a unison bass line.

Writing For Strings, 5th Edition. Copyright 2011 Peter Lawrence Alexander. All rights reserved. Printed in the
United States of America. No part of this work may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written
permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Looking At The Cello Range


As previous, look at the cello range by:
Range breaks

08

Cello Positions

The Cello






Lesson

The Spectrotone Chart


Hz Frequencies to learn EQing when recording with sample
strings libraries

Work out the low, medium, high and very high registers by Hz
frequencies from the Spectrotone Chart. Where are they on your
primary EQ?

STOP! Listen!

In the Student String Recordings folder listen to the Cello .wav


files of the Cello range performed by college music majors.

Lesson

08

The Cello
3

Cello Musical Examples


Low Range

Lesson

08

The Cello

STOP

Before proceeding:
 From Professional Orchestration, Vol. 1, what are the
pitches that make up the low range of the Cello?

 From the String Positions Booklet what strings do you find


the low range pitches on?

 To the best of your ability, in the following example, what

strings do you think these pitches were performed on based on


the range and the positions charts? There may be more than
one answer.

Sibelius, Swan of Tuonela, pg. 50 (PDF pg. 73)


The opening bars start with each string section divided (divisi) from
two to four parts. Notice carefully how the lower strings drop out
and the effect that it creates. The soli Cello section line comes in six
bars after Rehearsal 9. The melodic line starts in the low register and
moves up to the Very High.

Low Medium Range


STOP

Before proceeding:
 From Professional Orchestration, Vol. 1, what are the
pitches that make up the medium range of the Cello?

 From the String Positions Booklet what strings do you find


the medium range pitches on?

 To the best of your ability, in the following two examples by

Mahler and Beethoven, what strings do you think these pitches


were performed on based on the range and the positions
charts? There may be more than one answer.

Mahler, Symphony #1, 4th Movement, pps. 52-53 (PDF pps. 75-76)
Starting at Rehearsal 19, you have a very interesting low string
ensemble made up of the Basses, Cellos and Violas. The Basses
sustain the pedal point. Using the tenor clef, the Cellos are in the lead,
with the Violas forming the inner part. At Rehearsal 21, the Basses
are divided (but again, sustaining) while the Cellos are also divided
in octaves between the low and medium registers. Notice that for the
Cellos to stand out, most of the other instruments have sustaining
parts.

Mostly Medium Range


Beethoven, Symphony #9, 4th Movement, pps. 54-55 (PDF pps. 77-78)

Lesson

08

The Cello

Here is a pure soli line for the Cellos with no other strings, but! with a
whole choir. Basically, youre looking, at minimum, at a 40-voice choir
with a maximum of 8-12 Cellos. Notice that Beethoven has nothing
else doubling the Cellos. Do you agree with that decision? How about
doubling the Cellos with the Bassoons?

High & Very High Range


STOP

Before proceeding:
 From Professional Orchestration, Vol. 1, what are the
pitches that make up the high range of the Cello?

 From the String Positions Booklet what strings do you find


the high range pitches on?

 To the best of your ability, in the following example, what

strings do you think these pitches were performed on based on


the range and the positions charts? There may be more than
one answer.

Strauss, Don Juan, pps. 56-57 (PDF pps. 79-80)


Here we have the Cellos as a unison soli line in the High and Very
High registers. Unlike Beethoven in the last example, Strauss doubles
the Cellos with the brass, creating a huge, dynamic, action-adventure
sound.

Very High Range


STOP

Before proceeding:
 From Professional Orchestration, Vol. 1, what are the
pitches that make up the very high range of the Cello?

 From the String Positions Booklet what strings do you find


the very high range pitches on?

 To the best of your ability, in the following example, what

strings do you think these pitches were performed on based on


the range and the positions charts? There may be more than
one answer.

Wagner, Tristan and Isolde (Overture), pps. 58-60 (PDF pps. 81-83)
When the Cellos first enter, theyre all alone. Look carefully at
Wagners choices of woodwinds to blend with the Cellos. Watch how a
mini-ensemble evolves with Cellos, Bass Clarinet, Bassoons, and the
Basses.