19th century cellists and their “classical holds”

Per a conversation I found myself in the other day, I have realized that I am woefully behind in my life-long search to understand and play the cello to the best of my ability – particularly overdue in studying the history of the cello.

Sure, I’ve been to Florence and seen the old Stradivari and even been to the not-so-distant (but worthy) National Music Museum in Vermillion, SD to see the worlds oldest collection of musical instruments. But how well do I know the forefathers of this instrument and why they made the choices they did?

I think it is time to start investigating, and making it a journey that my students can ride along with me (kiddos, Breval was a real cellist – not just some composer.)Amedeo modgiliani cello

To start off I think we should just remember that this thing was invented and worked on over centuries – not just spontaneously made as it is today. For example, the end pin did not always exist. Cellist used to hold their instruments up with their calves! Imagine my daily workout that would be : )

For a bit of brief history on some 19th century French cellists from cello.org, stop by here to read about their accomplishments and old-style of bow holds!

image: Amedeo Modgiliani, Cello Player, before 1920


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