You have decided that learning a musical instrument could be fun. You have heard the cello on a CD and like the sound of it. However before launching ahead to start learning it, you would like to know some facts about it. Here are some cello facts for you.
A Cello is a bowed string instrument. The word cello is derived from the Italian word Violincello. It used to be spelled with an apostrophe ( ‘cello ) to indicate that there were letters missing. However Cello is the accepted name and spelling used today.
A Cello looks like a violin but is much bigger thus having many parts to it. These include a soundbody with two f shaped soundholes, neck, pegbox with the tuning pegs, scroll, bridge,a fingerboard, tailpiece, four strings and a bow. Due to the large size, a cellist sits whilst playing with the main body of the instrument between the knees and the neck of the cello above the left shoulder. Therefore a cello has an endpin to support it on the ground for playing. So just imagine a person ( cellist ) sitting on a chair holding onto their cello, with soundbody between knees and neck above left shoulder. Starting at the bottom you will see an endpin attached to the main soundbody. Attached to the soundbody at the lower end is the tailpiece to which the four strings are attached. The strings are stretched over a supporting bridge to the top of the cello where they are attached to tuning pegs in the pegbox. As you follow the strings from bottom to top, you will see a fingerboard attached over the top end of the soundbody to the carved neck and pegbox. The cellist will hold and use the bow in the left hand.
A cello is typically made of varying types of wood but can be made of carbon fibre or aluminium. The parts are joined with hide glue. The quality and cost of the cello is determined by the type(s) of wood used. The size of a cello can vary to accommodate the varying sizes of people playing from young children to adult. They are all identical in construction.
The strings are made of sheep or goat gut, metal or synthetic material. The open strings are C G D A which is exactly the same as a viola except one octave lower. The cello is tuned to these four open strings. Tuning is done by turning the tuning pegs tighter or looser to match the sound with an external source such as a piano or tuner.
The bow averages around 73cm long and is made of materials such as wood, carbon-fibre, fibre-glass. The bow hair is traditionally horse hair however sometimes synthetic materials of varying colours are used.
Apart from the main cello and bow there are accessories a cellist can have. These include a cello case for instrument protection, rosin applied to the horse hair to aid in sound production, mutes, endpin stops, metronome, tuner, humidifiers and instrument care kit.
A sound on the cello is produced when a cellist presses down on the string (s) with the left hand and moves the bow horizontally across the strings with the right hand somewhere between the bridge and the end of the fingerboard. The pitch of the note is determined by where on the string the finger is pressed on the fingerboard. Sounds get higher as the string gets pressed closer to the bridge because there is less string to vibrate when the bow moves across. The tone and expression of the note is determined by the weight applied to the string, the speed the bow moves across the string and where the bow hair touches the string eg softer, more mellow sounds are produced nearer the fingerboard and brighter, more metallic sounds are produced nearer the bridge. There are other techniques involved to vary the sounds you can produce on the cello which you find out when learning the cello.
These cello facts for you on its name, looks, materials, accessories and sounds are not complete.
It’s difficult for fans of rock and roll to imagine how a rock song could exist without drums. Well, maybe some rock ballads or slower folk-rock tunes could get away with it. But not a driving rock song that makes you want to get up and move to the music. No way, right? Wrong. Enter rockabilly!
It’s true that most rockabilly songs do indeed feature drums. In fact, the drums–particularly the snare drum–have become an integral member of the typical rockabilly combo. But it wasn’t always that way. some of the most famous rockabilly songs didn’t have any drums at all and they still rock as hard as any other tune ever recorded.
Rockabilly evolved out of a combination of several musical styles. The blues, rhythm and blues, gospel, and some elements of jazz all contributed something. And the supplier of the “billy” part of the name: country music (which was often called “hillbilly” music back in the 1940s and early 1950s.) Several artists and bands can probably be pointed to as creating music that sounded an awful lot like rockabilly even as far back as the 1940s. Some of these bands were R&B bands and some where country-oriented bands. It was Elvis who really melded these styles together to make no doubt that this was a new type of music and it came to be called rockabilly.
Elvis had obviously been influenced by all of these musical forms, but it was country music he chose to pursue. Of course, that made perfect sense since he was a white kid and blues-related music was mostly made by black musicians. In the early 1950s, that color difference made a huge difference. Blues and R&B music was “race” music. A white performer would be bucking strong racial currents to be involved in it. And so, Elvis turned to country.
But the other music had become such a part of the young Elvis that it couldn’t be held down long. When he showed up at Sam Phillips’ Memphis Recording Service studios to cut a few country tracks for Phillips’ Sun Records, Sam hired a couple of country musicians (Scotty Moore on electric guitar and Bill Black on string bass) to accompany Elvis in the sessions. Country music didn’t make heavy use of drums at that time and so no drummer was brought in for the session. During a break from recording the scheduled songs, Elvis started camping it up on an old R&B number called, “That’s Alright Mama”. Moore and Black followed his lead and joined in. Phillips knew there was something special about what he was hearing and told the boys to start over from the beginning, this time with the tape running.
The result was an amazing recording of the song which Phillips released on Sun Records under the title “That’s All Right” along with a country number “Blue Moon of Kentucky” done up in the same style. Maybe they didn’t know what to call it at the time, but it was rockabilly through and through. Both recordings are as rockin’ as anything ever recorded and there are no drums on either recording! Instead, Bill Black provided the percussion with the slap-bass style that he’d learned from listening to and watching blues bop and R&B bass players. This slap style has become a hallmark of rockabilly music ever since.
It didn’t take long before Phillips started adding drums to Elvis’ Sun Records recordings, bringing in drummer D.J. Fontana to provide the beat. They all recognized what the drums could bring to an already exciting rockabilly recording and the drums have, of course, become a must-have in rock and roll music. But those early recordings prove that it wasn’t always that way.