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Title: Chats to 'Cello Students
Author: Broadley, Arthur
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                      PRINTED BY E. SHORE AND CO.,

[Illustration: ARTHUR BROADLEY.]

                    _"THE STRAD" LIBRARY. No. VII._

                        CHATS TO 'CELLO STUDENTS
                            ARTHUR BROADLEY


                 D. R. DUNCAN, 186, FLEET STREET, E.C.




 CHAPTER I.--Preliminary Remarks--'Cello Difficult to
    Master--Choice of a Teacher--Choice of an Instrument and Bow       1

 CHAPTER II.--How to Hold the Instrument--Attitude of the
    Player--Use of a Sliding Pin Recommended--Correct Way of
    Holding the Bow--Some Incorrect Sketches of Same                   6

 CHAPTER III.--General Knowledge--Eccentricity not Necessarily a
    Mark of Genius--Musical Notation--Common Errors with Respect
    to the Actual Position of the Various Clefs--Tenor Clef
    Indispensable to the 'Cellist                                     12

 CHAPTER IV.--Early Attempts at 'Cello Playing--Firmness in
    Fingering--The Left Hand--Correct Method of Placing the Left
    Hand Fingers                                                      17

 CHAPTER V.--General Remarks on Bowing--Useful Method of
    Combining Scale Practice with Study of Various
    Bowings--Smooth Bowings--Crescendo--Diminuendo--The Slur          20

 CHAPTER VI.--Bowing Continued--Martelé--Detached Stroke--Mixed
    Bowings--The Various Divisions of the Bow                         28

 CHAPTER VII.--On "Staccato" Bowing--Spiccato--Slurred
    Springing-Bow--Varieties of Phrasing Occasioned by the
    Portion of Bow Used--Sautillé--Dotted Notes                       33

 CHAPTER VIII.--On the Positions--The Individual Requirements of
    the Orchestral Player and Soloist--The Necessity of
    "Stretching" for the Intervals--The Locality of the Neck
    Positions--The Enharmonic Difference of Sharp and Flat
    Keys--Absolute Pitch--How to Leap any Awkward Interval--The
    Positions not Determined by Mathematical Rules, but by the
    "Ear"--Shifting--"Economy of Motion" _v._ "Effect"--Choice
    of Positions                                                      42

 CHAPTER IX.--Portamento--The Various Uses of Gilding--Some
    Exaggerations Exposed--How to Leap Great Intervals without
    "Howling"--Combination of Glissando and Sforzando                 54

 CHAPTER X.--Double-Stopping--Useful in Developing the Hand--How
    to Determine the Fingering of Various Intervals--Gliding in
    Double Stops--Chords--A Correct Manner of Playing Chords          61

 CHAPTER XI.--Arpeggios--Their Evolution from Various
    Chords--The Bowing of Arpeggios                                   67

 CHAPTER XII.--Graces and Embellishments--The Use of the
    Thumb--Extensions--Octaves                                        73

 CHAPTER XIII.--Scientific Basis of Harmonics--Some Peculiar
    Laws which Govern a Vibrating String--"Natural" and
    "Artificial" Harmonics--Manner of Bowing Harmonics82

 CHAPTER XIV.--Special Effects--"Trick Staccato"--Various
    Methods of Producing Chromatic Scale Passages--"Sul
    Ponticello" Bowing and "Bowed"
    Harmonics--Flautando--Pizzicato Glide and Grace Notes!            89

  CHAPTER XV.--Delivery--Style--"Form" _v._
    "Feeling"--Conception--Essentials of a "Fine"
    Delivery--Orchestral Playing                                      94


In introducing this little work on Violoncello Playing, a few words
of thanks and explanation are perhaps necessary. My thanks are due to
the professional friends, and students--and also to others with whom
I am not personally acquainted, who have spoken or written concerning
the benefit they have derived from the study of the "Chats" during the
serial "run" in THE STRAD. It is a great pleasure to find that
through the perusal of these crude literary efforts, some few have
derived pleasure or assistance--that some difficulty has been made
easier of mastery.

An explanation will assist any who fail to realize the limitations and
intentions of a work of this description. In the first place it is
impossible to thoroughly exhaust the whole science and art of 'cello
technique and 'cello playing; recognising this, it has been my aim to
draw on my own experience as a teacher of the instrument, rather than
follow in the trail of any existing work. With respect to the intentions
of the work, nothing can equal _viva-voce_ instruction and the personal
supervision of a good master, but it is to be feared that many who are
really talented cannot afford lessons from anyone who is thoroughly
capable of directing their studies--it is this class of player who will
derive the most benefit from a conscientious study of the ensuing pages;
may the instructions contained therein, direct and stimulate him to that
which is good and artistic.

                                                        ARTHUR BROADLEY.

 _January, 1899_.




Several works of more or less excellence have already been written on
the violoncello and its study. It is all the more difficult then to
write a work treating on the whole subject of 'cello playing, without
in some measure going over the ground that has already been covered by
previous writers. As I have found, however, that certain branches of
this interesting study have received but scant treatment, and in some
cases have even been completely ignored, I have directed my special
attention to these subjects; thus, much that has been passed over in
existing works will be found to have here received due treatment.
Throughout the whole of the present work, I have endeavoured to clothe
the matter in as original a manner as possible, and putting aside all
stereotyped phrases, have tried to write in the same language that I
would express myself in to a pupil having a course of actual lessons.

If by so doing, anything that the student may have passed over as being
unimportant, now forces itself upon him, my aim will be accomplished.

In various parts of the work I have endeavoured to introduce the reader
to some of the higher branches of 'cello playing, as far as it is
possible through the medium of literature, but it must be understood
that any treatise on the higher branches of music can only be of a
general character, the laws which govern musical expression, or those in
connection with the delivery of a musical composition are so fugitive,
and players vary so much in the observation, or disregard of them,
according to their individual temperament, etc., that to give any hard
and fast rules would only be to put fetters on all individuality.

If the student is really musical he will obtain the best results in
this direction, by hearing our first class artists interpret the works
of the great masters: by thus bringing his faculties of observation and
imitation into use, he will gradually absorb some of their style, which
in due time will assert itself in his own performance.


If the reader has already commenced the study of the 'cello, it will be
advisable for either his parents or himself to make direct enquiries
of his professor, whether the latter thinks the pupil is sufficiently
gifted to continue the study of this most difficult instrument. Of
course every 'cello player cannot be a Becker or a Klengel, but unless
the student has a very correct ear, and if he is old enough a fair
amount of ambition, it would be better for him to study some less
exacting instrument; that is if he feels compelled to learn something.
The piano is generally supposed to be the fallback classical instrument,
but I would not recommend this, we have quite enough piano playing of
the second and third and the atrocious order, without violin and 'cello
cast-offs trying their hand at it. I do not know of a more pathetic
sight, than to see a youth with no musical gifts whatever, wasting the
best years of his life, and his--or his parents'--money, in the study of
an instrument for which he has no natural capabilities.

Perseverance, although a very estimable gift, never yet by itself made
an artist, the real artist is an artist because it is impossible for
him to be anything else. Nevertheless if the pupil can feel assured
that he has a fairly fine ear, capable of easily distinguishing the
difference in musical pitch, and a natural feeling for rhythm, he will
be justified, providing he likes music almost better than anything else,
in taking up the study of an instrument, which for solo work ranks with
the violin for difficulties.


The pupil is caused to suffer much inconvenience and perhaps even
spoiled altogether for any real artistic work, if his early studies
are not directed in an efficient manner. One smiles when one sees an
advertisement in a local morning paper after the following fashion. Mr.
----, Professor of Music. Lessons on Piano! Singing! Violin! 'Cello!
Guitar! and Zither! also French! and German! All one man, remember, not
half-a-dozen, and yet learned as he evidently is, I would not trust
him to show a pupil how to hold his bow correctly. If the student
resides in or near London, he will obtain better results, and in the
long run will find that it costs him less, to connect himself with one
of the recognised institutions, such as the Royal Academy of Music
or the Guildhall School of Music. To be recommended by one of these
institutions is to obtain the passport into the highest musical circles.
In the provinces the choice of a good 'cello teacher is not so great,
the reader will do well to remember that being a member of some fairly
well known orchestra, is not always a guarantee of excellence, sometimes
influence, or money, or perhaps both have been the means of obtaining
the coveted position. The student will do better then to have lessons
from someone who is known to be a master of his instrument, and if it
should happen that the teacher is a better player than an exponent of
the art of 'cello playing, if the student carefully watches his style,
and hears him play often, he will at least learn how a composition ought
to be performed, even if he is compelled to find out for himself how
the mechanical part of its production is accomplished. I know one of
our first class teachers (violin) who seldom takes the instrument into
his hands during a lesson, contenting himself with verbal explanations;
this, unless the student is above the average standard of intelligence
can never be productive of really good results; practical demonstrations
generally being far more effective than mere talk. The pupil then must
see that his teacher can play the exercises which he teaches, and should
the teacher make any objection to exhibiting his skill in this fashion,
depend upon it that the lack of it has a great deal to do with it.


Do not let my reader imagine that in the present work I am going to
weary him with a long discourse on a matter which is so much controlled
by the length of the purse; I flatter myself, however, that the advice
will at least be sound. To those who can afford to buy a real genuine
Cremona of good name, I have nothing whatever to say; if they can afford
this, they can, or ought for their own satisfaction and safety, to pay
for professional advice as to the real merit of their purchase. It is
to the readers with a limited amount of spare capital that I wish to
address myself, and I would tell them that there are a lot of fairly
old instruments either German or French copies of one or other of the
early Italian School, that will be found quite good enough for solos.
These instruments may have individual faults and weaknesses, but the
player will gradually find these out and learn to humour them. Of the
old English instruments I would advise the reader to beware, a lot of
them although of good wood and passable varnish, yet manage to have
some more or less irreparable fault not readily discernible at first
sight. An instrument of this class I have in mind, a beautiful 'cello
spoiled with the _f_ holes being cut about half their length too low,
making it impossible to play a forte passage on the A string owing to
the bow coming in contact with the lower corners; so that this would not
be readily noticed a fingerboard had been fitted, which was about three
inches longer than is usual. Others are thin in the wood, causing wolf
notes in various positions. These latter remarks refer more particularly
to nameless old English instruments of the home-made type, and of
course do not apply to the best work of such makers as Forster, Banks,
Thompson, Joseph Hill, etc., many specimens of which have a particularly
fine tone.

To the young player buying an instrument for life, if upwards of £15 can
be given it is far better to purchase an entirely new one of good make,
of a model suited to the individual taste of the student; by the time
he has worked some ten or a dozen years on it he will have brought out
most of the beauties of tone which the instrument is capable of giving.
A really good new instrument improves more rapidly than is generally
admitted--with good hard exercise work in all the positions.

In choosing a bow Dodd and Tourte are names to conjure with, but happily
there are no lost "secrets" in the art of bow making, and fortunately a
new bow after a few weeks use is better than an old one, therefore the
craze for old bows except with collectors and rich amateurs, will never
be so pronounced as is the case with old instruments. If the student can
pay say a couple of sovereigns, he must consider himself tricked if he
does not secure a bow good enough for any sort of work, and one which
will with care last for years.

I have lately come across some French bows without any name, retailed, I
believe, at about thirty shillings, which are very fine indeed, nice and
light with plenty of spring. Some recommend a second-hand bow, saying
that in buying one that has been used the faults, if any, will have made
their appearance, but as it is hardly possible to tell whether a bow
has been much used unless the stick is very badly worn, this is hardly
sound. Buy from a conscientious dealer, pay a fair price and trust to
it, that is all that can be done.




Most pupils are surprised I have no doubt, at the evident discrepancy
seen in the plates usually published with 'cello schools, when compared
with the manner in which our first class artists hold their instruments.
I will endeavour in some measure to explain this away.

The correct way to hold the 'cello if the instrument is not fitted with
a sliding pin is as follows. The player to sit on the front part of
the chair with the feet advanced, the left a little more forward than
the right. The 'cello to be held with the legs, the lower part of the
front edge (table) of the instrument being held in position by the right
calf--the edge of the back being supported by the left calf--the legs of
the player not to cover the ribs of the instrument so that the vibration
is not impeded. The upper part of the back to the right of where the
neck of the instrument is fitted should rest against the chest of the
performer, this will throw the scroll of the instrument a little to the
left of the face. The instrument to be held high enough for the bowing
to clear the knees of the player. The thumb to be placed in a horizontal
position at the back of the neck of the instrument, and should be
between the first and second fingers. The left elbow not to be raised.
This then is the _correct_ manner of holding the 'cello. If the reader
will look at the plate which is published with either the Kummer or the
Seb. Lee instruction book, he will find that the figure there agrees
with the foregoing rules in every particular.

If the student makes use of a sliding-pin these instructions cannot be
observed in every respect, the legs are not required to hold the 'cello,
the left knee alone being brought into use as a slight support--not to
hold the instrument from the ground, but to prevent it from rocking
backwards and forwards.

[Illustration: FIG 1.]

In this matter I would like the student to understand that attitude
does not assist in the production of music, but do not let the reader
imagine that if unnecessary posing does not help, awkward and uncouth
positions of the players do not take away from the effect. Anything
which distracts the attention of the audience from the music should be
rigidly avoided; awkward attitudes, and grotesque motions of the head
and body should therefore be instantly suppressed by the teacher or the
private friends of the student.

Piatti, who does not use a 'cello peg, holds his instrument in a correct
manner, not shuffling about or varying his position. Now if the reader
ever has a chance of hearing Van Biene, let him observe the manner in
which that artist holds his 'cello. We have here the two extremes; as
Piatti is of the strictly correct order, Van Biene is of the exaggerated
artistic order, all the time he is playing constantly striking some
fresh attitude. If Van Biene had again to take to concert work, I
have no doubt that he would calm down a little in this respect, his
exaggerated style while being very effective on the stage, would not
be tolerated on the concert platform. By all means let the student use
a sliding-pin, but let him take advantage of the greater facilities
which are offered, to make his attitude more artistic, always adopting
the happy medium in _this_ matter at least, correctness--without
awkwardness, artistic grace--without unnecessary vain posing. As a
first class elocutionist seeks by attitude to help the effect of his
words, not to distract the attention of his audience, so the attitude
of the 'cellist must be pleasing and easeful. If the student will
compare (Fig. 1) with the plates usually published with 'cello schools,
especially the two previously mentioned, he will see the importance of
the matter.


[Illustration: FIG. 2.]

[Illustration: FIG. 3.]

There can be no departure from the acknowledged way of holding the
bow if the best results are to be obtained, that is to say, that the
rules must be strictly observed as far as the individual shape of the
hand will allow. It will be observed that the nut of the 'cello bow
is scooped out on the inner side, which forms two projections, one of
these, the lower one, is surrounded with metal through which the hair of
the bow passes, the upper projection fits against the stick. The extreme
tip of the thumb should be placed on this upper projection (Fig. 2) so
that it is also partly on the stick, the thumb being assisted in holding
the bow by the second and third fingers. The second or middle finger is
so placed that the tip touches or overlaps the hair close to the lower
projection; the third finger falls naturally into its place next to the
second finger, and has its tip touching the metal, or silver ferrule
on the lower projection (Fig. 3). These two fingers and thumb are all
that are required to hold the bow, the fourth finger serves to balance
the bow and should be placed lightly on the stick, its chief work being
to prevent the bow dropping too much when playing at the heel, and to
ease the pressure on the strings in very light passages. Last but not
least comes the first finger; this is the member which is responsible
for quality and quantity of tone, it should have a slight bend round
the stick, and so that the other fingers do not interfere, it should be
placed slightly apart, this also helps to bring out a louder tone if
required. The first finger like the fourth is not compelled to remain
stationary, thus in long semiquaver _sautillé_ passages, where the
extended position of the first finger would interfere with the natural
spring of the bow, it should be made to relax its pressure and take a
position nearer the second finger; again in long sustained heavy notes
the first finger may be extended slightly, so that more pressure may
be put on the bow. These last remarks are most important, as the whole
success of the student's bowing rests on the correct use of the first
finger, and the proper position of the thumb. I cannot quit this subject
without mentioning the importance of having the muscles, especially
the tendons on the back of the hand, perfectly easy when the bow is in

To allow this, the knuckles must not protrude in the least, the fingers
also help by being allowed to bend easily at their middle joints, the
upper phalanges having an almost horizontal position over the bow (Fig.
2). The wrist is more rounded when playing near the heel than at the
tip, and also when playing on the lower strings. Without the aid of an
Edison Cinematograph, it would be impossible to demonstrate pictorially
the action of the wrist, fore-arm, and upper arm during the transit
of the bow from heel to tip, and on all the four strings, but if the
preceding instructions are carried out the bow will at least be held
properly. Although my remarks may seem rather drawn out on this subject,
from my own personal experience I may say that could I have had this
knowledge imparted to me a couple of years earlier than was the case,
much unlearning and relearning at more than double the expense would
have been saved. To the student who is in possession of the Seb. Lee
instruction book, I would remark that the position of the thumb as shown
in the plate superscribed "Position de l'archet" (Fig. 2) is decidedly
misleading. It is impossible to have the thick fleshy part of the thumb
near the first joint, grasping the nut as there shown, without having
the fingers stiffly extended, and the knuckles protruding; a position
which I wish the student to guard against.




The general education of the student must on no account be neglected,
in prematurely or unduly developing his talent for 'cello playing. The
life of a musician is distinctly social, and it should be the aim of all
aspirants to the title of artist, to fit themselves for the society into
which it is likely their professional duties will take them.

It is well known that some people believe that musical talent can only
be in a high state of cultivation, at the expense of every other branch
of learning; the term virtuoso in their estimation being synonymous
with ignorance or even vice. Others even go so far as to imagine that
all great musicians are in a more or less state of imbecility, and no
matter how much they may be encouraged when on the concert platform, if
invited to a private social function would only be tolerated for their
musical capabilities. In a great measure this has been caused by some
few artists who have thought to add to their popularity by assuming in
their demeanour, eccentricities of the Paganini type.

In these days of much education, it is almost essential for the
violoncellist who hopes for only ordinary success, especially as a
teacher, to be well grounded in several secondary subjects, as well as
in 'cello playing. Besides an ordinary English education, the following
are the most important, Theory of Music, Musical Form, a slight
knowledge at least of Harmony and History of Music, and for teaching
purposes, if not for his own edification, a smattering of at least two
modern languages, say French and German; even if the instrumentalist
only knows the correct pronunciation of musical terms in these and
similar languages, much blundering will be saved. To all this should be
added a complete knowledge of the construction of the violoncello, and
also its most well known makers, together with the period in which they

The reader will perhaps be dismayed at so large a list of subjects,
but as it is not necessary to teach every subject of which one knows
a little, sufficient for one's own use may soon be learned, if a
properly regulated course of reading be adopted. To accomplish this, it
is much better to master an elementary work on each subject, than to
skip through a more advanced treatise in an imperfect fashion. Messrs.
Novello, Ewer and Co. publish some very useful little works on some
of the above subjects. There is also a little book on Theory by Robt.
Sutton (Robert Cocks and Co.) which will be found to be very useful for

The above and similar works should be the daily companions of the young
student for the first few years of his pupilage.


With the help of the theoretical works mentioned previously, the student
will soon learn the various clefs, key-signatures, rhythms, and scale
forms, etc. My remarks will be confined to various peculiarities in
the clefs used in 'cello music, and I shall also try to explain away
some of the difficulties over which learners generally stumble. The
violoncellist ought to be happy in the knowledge that his music is
written for him in at least three clefs; but on the contrary this very
abundance, to many, is a great annoyance. The fundamental clef in
'cello music is the bass clef


its range as far as the 'cello is concerned, if from C, two leger lines
below, which is the C open string of the 'cello, to C, leger line above.
However, for clearness and simplicity in reading, the range of the
bass clef is extended by means of leger lines as far as A, an octave
higher than the top line of the clef. The bass clef seems to be the most
easily learned, perhaps because it is generally the first to be tackled,
differing greatly in this respect from the tenor clef, the latter clef
sometimes having a damping influence on the young 'cellist's enthusiasm
for a considerable period.

The tenor clef


is generally used for passages on the violoncello, the range of which
does not extend below the open D string, except for an occasional note
or two, and upwards as far as C, or D, above the A half-string. This
is a very useful clef, taking, as it does, the middle range of the
instrument. Sometimes whole compositions, especially if of a cantabile
nature, are written entirely in the tenor, and I am pleased to say
that it is now becoming more known, and is more used by composers than
formerly. In passing it is perhaps interesting to observe that the
notes in the tenor clef, are exactly a fifth higher than if written in
the corresponding positions in the bass clef. Some players use this as
a kind of help, when playing in the tenor clef, reading the notes as
if they were in the bass, but playing them a string higher; thus, a
passage commencing on the first line, tenor clef, would be read G but
played open D string. These short-cut helps as a rule are not much to be
depended upon, and generally are the result of the inventive faculties
which seem to be a special gift to the lazy. Each clef should be made to
have a separate existence in the mind of the player, or hesitation and
confusion are sure to result.

The treble clef


is also much used in its proper pitch in modern 'cello music; the old
masters instead of writing in the tenor clef, wrote the high passages in
the treble, the notes to be played an octave lower than represented. In
playing from early editions, the violoncellist must be on the alert for
this, as some of the passages written thus would not sound well even if
they could be played in their proper pitch.

The student should thoroughly understand the relation of each clef to
the great stave; until he is decided on this simple matter, he will be
much troubled with the relative pitch of the tenor clef, treble, etc.

The great stave is composed of two sets of five lines each, with an
intermediate line. This intermediate line belongs alike to the treble
and the bass clefs, that is to say, it forms the leger line below the
treble, and also the leger line above the bass.


Young students generally think that above the bass clef comes the tenor,
higher up still the alto, and above all; the treble clef, whereas all
four clefs are part of the great stave.


As before stated it is usual to carry the bass clef as far up as A above
three leger lines, this is really the treble A, and not an octave lower.

The following passage will show the necessity for this, and also the
need of an intermediate clef, between the bass and treble.


Any pianist of ordinary ability would be able to play the above passage
at sight, without the slightest difficulty, and according to theory
it is correctly written. Now, if written for the violoncellist in one
stave, according to the same rules, it would be extremely difficult to
read at sight, the abrupt changes of clef being very confusing.


It would be possible to write this passage entirely in the tenor clef,
using only three leger lines above.

In certain passages the introduction of the various clefs in rapid
succession, materially assists the player to determine the pitch of the
intervals, as


It will hardly be interesting to the violoncellist to pursue the subject
further, its continuation applying more particularly to composers and
music copyists, than to practical musicians.




The first attempts at 'cello playing must be made with long, smooth
bow-strokes, care being taken to have a nice even tone from heel to
point; great vigilance is here required on the part of the master, in
observing that the motion of the arm and wrist is correct.

The pupil must not think that practising these long, slow bowings is
a waste of time, it is the only way to obtain a good round tone, and
afterwards, when whole bows are used for a quicker tempo, a command of
the bow.

In practising studies in detached crotchets after the style of Ex.
1, Dotzauer, op. 120, or Ex. 1, Schroeder, op. 67, great firmness is
required to stop the bow suddenly at the point; _even_ pressure must
be brought to bear on the bow, accompanied by great rigidity of the
thumb. If the exercises previously mentioned, and similar studies are
practised in this firm, detached, manner, it will prevent that "groping"
for the note, a bad habit which the young player speedily contracts if
not watched. The student being compelled to make a short pause between
each note, will allow time for the hand to move into position, and the
fingers to be firmly placed, before the bow is again set in motion.


To a great extent the work of the left hand is mechanical, and
like everything which is mechanical in true art, must only occupy
a secondary place. This is particularly true about the elements of
fingering, _i.e._, placing the fingers on the strings in the proper
manner, fingering the intervals in tune, etc., but does not apply
to the close shake, gliding and various vocal effects obtained by
changing the fingers on one note, or playing passages up the strings
in various positions, which might be executed in a more ordinary way.
All this is high art, and helps to reveal the true artist by his manner
of introducing the beautiful effects caused by the means previously
mentioned. However, to consider fingering pure and simple, a 'cello
player of the first rank does not constantly think about his fingers,
his mind is occupied with the phrasing and the correct interpretation
of the composition. A good knowledge of the fingerboard is best learned
at the instrument, no amount of diagrams or lengthy description of
chords in the various positions, etc., being of much use in real work.
The violoncellist has quite sufficient to think about without carrying
diagrams of the positions in his head, even the old method of pasting
such diagrams on the fingerboard of the instrument must be denounced, as
this only causes the student to watch his fingers, a most objectionable
habit. But again, a good player would be able to instantly place the
position of any playable chord on the violoncello, or would be able to
tell the sound effects of any two or more notes played in any position.
This knowledge must come with practice, or it will take no small
amount of trouble to make the theory fit the instrument, especially
in quick passages at sight. The only way to obtain this mastery of
the fingerboard, is by always adhering to one way of fingering,
when practising scales and exercises. If a passage of extraordinary
difficulty presents itself, stop and analyse it, then decide upon some
way of fingering. Whether the best way will be adopted is another
matter, and a matter in which our first class artists disagree, but the
chief thing is to adhere to the fingering adopted.

The fingers must be firmly placed on the strings; to allow this, and so
that the tips of the fingers are used, the joints must be bent outwards.
This will allow the fingers to fall and rise like little hammers; and
also if properly accomplished, will cause the strings to pass under
the centre of the tip of each finger, in an almost parallel line with
the tip edge of each finger nail. A very important rule, is to have
as many fingers placed on the strings as possible, thus when playing
the fourth finger, do not have the other three pointing upwards in as
many different directions, they should be placed in semitones on the
string, ready for use if a descending passage happens to follow. In
some cases of vibrato, and always when playing harmonics, the fingers
behind the one used must be kept off the strings; even then it is
advisable to have them only slightly raised, and bent ready for use. In
descending passages as previously hinted, the fingers must be placed
simultaneously on the strings, the necessary fingers being raised as the
passage proceeds; the student will find it rather difficult at first to
place the fingers in tune behind the one actually played, but constant
practice will accomplish this.




The student should always strive to produce a beautiful pleasing
tone from his instrument. Rapidity of execution can be acquired with
downright hard work, but great skill, prompted and controlled by a
fine sense of tone quality is necessary to obtain a full tone, without
it partaking of a hard, forced quality, or accompanied by scraping
so pronounced as to be most unpleasant except perhaps to people at a
great distance from the player. To acquire this skill, and also in some
measure to educate the ear to the various tone-colour effects which are
possible on the violoncello, much thoughtful practice is necessary.
The student must not only _know_ the correct movements which the hand
and arm are to make in performing any particular style of bowing, but
with much practice, he must so develop the muscles of his bow-arm, that
they respond instantly to effect the slightest change in the amount of
pressure required for the different degrees of sound-volume, or for the
various parts of the bow used.

Eventually it will be found that it is possible to produce a complete
change in tone-colour, which will prove a great relief to a continued
tone of one character. Thus by using a whole length bow, without any
pressure for a note of a certain description, the quality of tone
produced will be far different to that obtained by using half the length
of bow, with pressure applied to make up the sound volume. This and
other changes in tone-colour will gradually unfold themselves to the
student, if after thoroughly mastering the correct way of holding the
bow, he practises the following bowings according to the directions


It is a mistake for a young player to imagine that after he has once
"been through" the scales with his teacher, he need never bother
himself about them again. When the major and minor scales in three
octaves can be played from memory, it will be found to be of great
assistance in keeping the intonation correct in all the keys, to adopt
a system of daily scale practice. The number of scales taken each day
must depend upon the amount of time which each student has at command;
it is advisable, however, to be content with one kind of bowing each
week, and even longer may be devoted to bowings which are difficult to
master, or in which the student happens to be backward. The advantage of
studying the various bowings after this method, is that the attention
of the student, not being occupied with reading the music, can be fully
directed to the management of the bow.


[Illustration: (EX. 1)]

The scales in semibreves, must be played with whole bowings. The student
should endeavour to produce a clear, round tone, which must be of
_even_ volume throughout the whole bow-stroke. To accomplish this, a
correct motion of the arm and wrist is necessary, the first finger must
gradually increase the pressure on the bow as the head is reached,
being again relaxed as the bow is pushed to the heel; to apply the
necessary pressure without causing any inequality in the tone, is the
secret of fine legato playing. To change the stroke of the bow requires
the assistance of the wrist and fingers, thus, in the down stroke when
the bow is within a couple of inches from the head, the movement of the
arm ceases, the hand moved at the wrist continues the stroke, and also
reverses the bow for the up-stroke. In the up-bow the rounded position
of the wrist when the heel is approached, will not allow of an exactly
similar movement; to accomplish a neat change of bow-stroke at the heel,
it is necessary to let the fingers _give_ slightly, which allows the bow
to be carried forward about an inch, and the stroke reversed after the
arm movement ceases. These slight wrist actions are required to prevent
a peculiar kind of scrape being heard, this sound, although permissible,
and even necessary in certain kinds of bowing, is most objectionable
in smooth legato playing. To prevent any harshness in the tone, the
pressure on the bow must be nicely regulated at the change of stroke.

[Illustration: (EX. 2)]

To be able to produce a fine crescendo is a grand accomplishment. The
bow must be lightly placed on the strings at some distance from the
bridge; as the stroke proceeds, more pressure with the first finger is
gradually applied, the bow is caused to approach the bridge and at the
same time is drawn more rapidly. In performing a crescendo passage with
the down bow, the strongest possible pressure must be applied as the bow
is drawn to the point. The gradual swelling from _piano_ to forte, must
be accomplished without any break in the tone being perceptible; a great
amount of practice is necessary to give the ability to produce a full
round tone at the forte, without a disagreeable hardness in tone-quality.

[Illustration: (EX. 3)]

In a decrescendo the reverse action takes place. The bow is placed very
firmly on the strings near the bridge, great pressure being applied. As
the stroke proceeds the pressure is gradually withdrawn, the bow moves
more slowly, and approaches the fingerboard.

[Illustration: (EX. 4)]

The effect of Ex. 4 is a combination in one bow of the crescendo and
decrescendo effects given in bowings 2 and 3. The bow must be used very
sparingly at the crescendo, so that sufficient may be left to sustain a
bold forte, for the middle of the semibreve, and also to allow the tone
to be gradually diminished. The student cannot devote too much time to
the study of this difficult bowing; if properly mastered, great command
of the bow, in a slow bow-stroke, will have been obtained.

[Illustration: (EX. 5)]

Scales played with two minims slurred (Ex. 5) should have whole smooth
bow-strokes. In approaching an open string, care should be taken to
prevent any break in the bow-stroke, or any roughness being perceptible.
The open string should first be caused to vibrate with the friction of
the bow, the pressure then being applied. Equal divisions of the bow
are necessary for each minim, the bow being lightly placed at the heel,
with slightly increasing pressure, as the point is neared; this is
required to keep the tone-volume equal with that produced at the heel.

[Illustration: (EX. 6)]

Four crotchets slurred, are to be played with the same kind of bowing as
Ex. 5, but here there are four notes to one bow-stroke. Each crotchet
should have its full time value allowed, and the stroke should be
equally divided, so that each note gets about a fourth of the bow.
Equality of tone, and smoothness are the chief characteristics of a good
performance of this and all similar slurred bowings. There should not be
the slightest break between each crotchet, one note only being left off
as the next is sounded.

[Illustration: (EX. 7)]

Smooth detached crotchets may be played with the upper half of the bow.
In this style of detached bowing, each note must be approached and left
without any roughness, a clear division of the notes being suggested
rather than any decided break made. When moving from one position to
another, no gliding is allowed, each note separate, but smooth.

[Illustration: (EX. 8)]

In Ex. 8 the whole octave is played with one bow stroke. In scale
practice, it will be advisable for the student at first to repeat the
tonic, so that a proper sense of the correct phrasing is felt, thus--

[Illustration: (EX. 8_a_)]

[Illustration: (EX. 9)]

Various divisions of slurred quavers may be practised, where each group
contains the same quantity of notes, the same length of bow-stroke must
be given each slur. Ex. 9 should be played with the upper third of the
bow. The student should not acquire the habit of making the second
quaver shorter than the first; each note must have equal duration. This
bowing may also be practised with the middle third of the bow.

[Illustration: (EX. 10)]

Where one group contains more notes than another, it is not always
advisable to use the same amount of bow for the smaller slur. To
preserve the same tone-quality throughout in Ex. 10, it should be bowed
as follows:--Place the bow on the strings near the heel; for the first
three quavers, draw it just beyond the middle, then give the two tied
quavers an up-stroke, using about a third of bow; for the remaining
three quavers, draw the bow quite to the point. The octave higher
commences with an up-bow, the action being exactly reversed until the
heel is reached.

[Illustration: (EX. 11)]

In playing two octaves slurred, besides observing all that has been
written concerning smooth slurred bowings, the student must be careful
to adopt a proper system of phrasing. It is perhaps advisable in scale
practice to suggest in the phrasing, the commencement of another octave.
This may be accomplished by dwelling slightly on the leading-note (in
this case B), or by accenting the tonic of the upper octave.

Whatever method is adopted, must not be such as to seriously disturb the
even run of the semiquavers.

[Illustration: (EX. 12)]

Detached quavers should be practised with the upper third of the bow, in
the same manner as the crotchets in Ex. 7. The wrist is assisted by the

[Illustration: (EX. 13)]

Smooth detached semiquavers should be played with the point of the bow,
using the wrist only. They may also be played with the middle eighth of
the bow, but if a very smooth performance is desired, it is better to
keep near the point. This prevents the bow from getting a springing
movement, and causes the notes to be "rubbed" out of the instrument.
Much practice is necessary, to get the fingers of the left hand to
work in sympathy with the movements of the bow. The fingers must be
pressed firmly on the strings, at first the student must exert himself
to put forth the necessary pressure, afterwards, when the muscles of
the fingers are fully developed, this will be done unconsciously. When
playing in the middle of the bow, care must be taken to prevent any
scraping sound being produced by too much pressure on the bow, or by not
regulating the pressure when reversing the bow-stroke.




[Illustration: (EX. 14)]

This style of bowing (Ex. 14) is known as _martelé. It consists
of a smart heavy stroke, with the upper third of the bow. The bow
is stopped suddenly at the end of each stroke, without allowing the
pressure of the first finger to relax; the bow stroke being suddenly
checked, causes the abrupt stoppage of the smartly vibrating string, and
allows a short pause to be made between each note. The effect might be
represented thus:

[Illustration: (EX. 14_a_)]

[Illustration: (EX. 15)]

Short detached crotchets may be played with the upper half of the bow.
The stroke must be made smartly, without any real gap between the notes.
The bow should seem to pass quickly and smoothly over the strings, the
tone being produced by friction, rather than any pressure which the
first finger may exert. The scales in crotchets may be played with
_martelé_ bowing, using whole bow-strokes as previously explained in the
remarks on early exercises.

[Illustration: (EX. 16)]

Short detached quavers should be played with the upper third of the bow.
There are numerous examples of this kind of bowing in the studies for
violoncello, by Kummer, Dotzauer, etc.

[Illustration: (EX. 17)]

This is an exceedingly difficult kind of bowing, but if well executed
has a very brilliant effect. To produce the sforzando note with the
up stroke, the bow should be lifted and thrown on the string with
force, care being taken to do this close to the point, or instead of
a sforzando note, a series of bounces will result. The balance is
preserved with the fourth finger, which also assists in raising the
bow from the string for the next sforzando note; the quaver with the
down stroke should be played smartly. It would be unwise to use a gold
mounted Tourte, in the first attempts at this bowing, as it is possible
to seriously damage the bow if not executed with skill.


[Illustration: (EX. 18)]

This bowing is performed by commencing at the middle of the bow; with a
smart, light stroke, draw the bow to the point, the three quavers played
very smoothly take the bow back to the middle.

[Illustration: (EX. 19)]

The bowing in Ex. 19 has the phrasing just reversed, this bowing gives
a very beautiful effect if nicely executed. For the three tied quavers
commence at the middle of the bow, draw it smoothly to the point, then
relaxing the tension of the muscles in the right hand, carry the bow
smartly over the string, back to the middle. This light up-bow should be
done without any pressure, and with the bow well under control.

[Illustration: (EX. 20)]

In Ex. 20 the first quaver receives a smart down stroke at the point
of the bow. The slurred quavers should all be of equal length, and on
no account must the second slurred quaver receive any emphasis. If an
accompanying part preserves the original accent, the effect is very

[Illustration: (EX. 21)]

A large variety of mixed bowings may be invented by the student, after
the style of Ex. 21. The chief object in practising such, should be to
obtain a facility in using the various parts of the bow. Where groups
containing the same quantity of slurred notes are separated by two,
four, six, or any even number of detached notes, the slurred groups are
played alternately with a down and an up bow-stroke, the detached notes
being played first at the point, then at the middle or near the heel
(as in Ex. 21), according to the length of bow-stroke required for the
slur. If the slurs are separated by one, three, five or any odd number
of detached notes, the bowing will be so arranged that the slur has
always to be taken with the same kind of bow stroke: to allow this the
necessary quantity of bow must be gained on one of the detached notes,
this may be accomplished as in Ex. 22.

[Illustration: (EX. 22)]

The slurs are always taken with a down-stroke, using the upper third of
the bow. The bow should be carried back, on the first detached quaver,
which being the first note of a triplet, may be given a slight emphasis;
the two remaining quavers are played with a short wrist movement.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

Before leaving the subject of mixed bowings, I would impress upon the
student the necessity for the application of a good division of the
bow's length, so that whatever variety of bowing presents itself, may
be treated with the part of the bow, and in the manner most capable of
producing the finest effects. The student should make a mental division
of the bow into thirds, fourths, etc., see Fig. 4, the various divisions
being designated as there shown, such as point fourth, heel fourth,
upper third, etc. In the smaller divisions there given, the wrist may
be assisted with a slight movement of the fore-arm, for purely wrist
movements, a bow-stroke of about a couple of inches may be taken with
any part of the bow, according to the requirements of the particular




[Illustration: (EX. 23)]

The staccato bowing, if neatly executed, has a very brilliant effect;
to obtain anything like mastery of it the student must first be careful
to see that the bow is held correctly, and from the commencement, the
bowing must be practised only in the recognised fashion, and according
to the hints here given. If any movements other than those described
are allowed, the student will find that he can never execute this
difficult bowing beyond a certain speed, or if he does flatter himself
in to the belief that he has arrived at a brilliant execution of it,
on comparison it will be found that instead of the recognised bowing,
it is one of the various kinds of trick staccato, often accomplished
by a slight tremolo of the fore-arm or some such movement. The chief
movement in the staccato bowing is distinctly a wrist-one, the first
finger playing a great part in giving crispness and attack to each
note. The initial quaver in Ex. 23, should receive a smart down-stroke
with the upper third of the bow; as previously explained in the remarks
on legato bowing, the hand carries on the stroke after the fore-arm
movement ceases, causing the hand, when the bow is at the point, to be
turned away from the player. This should be made the foundation of the
staccato stroke. As the arm progresses slowly and steadily along for
the up-stroke, the hand keeps pace by a series of short jerks; these
are purely wrist movements, not being assisted in any fashion by the
arm. It is of the utmost importance to have the hand, and wrist, in a
proper position at the beginning of the series of up-strokes, if the
hand is already turned inwards, how will it be possible to execute a
wrist movement in the same direction? The first finger should press
firmly on the bow as the hand moves for the attack of each note, this
attack if analysed, will be found to be a modified kind of sforzando on
every semiquaver; the notes are separated by relieving the pressure, and
also by the short pauses between the wrist movements. An explanation
concerning the pressure of the first finger is perhaps necessary; the
pressure is not caused by the contraction of the muscles of the first
finger, so much as by the weight caused by an inward turn of the hand,
being brought to bear on the bow through the medium of the first finger.

[Illustration: (EX. 24)]

The first attempts at the staccato bowing may be made on one string,
after the fashion of Ex. 24; about an inch of bow may be used for each
quaver, taking care to produce the sforzando effect, which in an attempt
at a slow tempo should be more apparent than in a quick staccato run.

The bow must not be allowed to leave the string, the release of pressure
only allowing the bow to right itself in preparation for the "bite"
on the next note. After the movements previously explained have been
mastered, there is nothing further required for the production of a good
effect in staccato bowing, except a complete command of the upper-half
of the bow, in the sense of being able to produce a good tone, without
unduly straining or fatiguing the muscles of the hand and fore-arm.

The staccato may be played with the down-bow, the wrist and arm
movements being simply the reverse of those in the up-bow. It is better
not to commence quite at the heel, as the tone there, unless great care
and skill be exercised, is apt to be "gritty." It is possible to produce
a very pleasing effect on the 'cello with this bowing, even in fairly
quick passages; the bow should not grip the string too heavily, nor be
allowed to drag, but should be carried lightly.

In slow movements, a class of phrasing is often introduced, which
although expressed like the staccato, if executed as such, would
entirely spoil the effect.

[Illustration: (EX. 25)]

The four slurred staccato quavers should be played with four down-bow
strokes, using the whole length of the bow, each quaver receiving about
a fourth; the division between the notes should be very slight, being
caused almost as much by a slight accent on each quaver, as by the bow
being actually stopped.


[Illustration: (EX. 26)]

The introduction of the springing-stroke in the interpretation of a
composition, is left almost entirely to the discretion of the performer.
It will be observed (Ex. 26), that the same signs are used for this, as
for short detached solid bowings. Although this lack of clearness in our
system of musical notation is to be regretted, one cannot help but think
that this very general way of expressing the whole variety of detached
staccato bowing, is really a gain to the artist. What is now admired as
originality, and individuality in reproduction, would be considered an
undue license or lack of skill, and thus it is, that out of the very
incompleteness in our musical notation, or in the failure of composers
to express the details of phrasing, etc., the freedom of interpretation
is given, which allowing of such various treatment, forms the foundation
of the different "schools," or styles in instrumental playing.

The springing stroke is suitable for any music of a light, playful
character, although it should not be continued too long without the
introduction of solid bowing as a relief. In practising the scales in
quavers (Ex. 26), the bow actually bounces away from the string between
each note, at the moment the bow is thrown on the string, the hand
should move backwards, or forwards, so that sufficient tone may be
brought out of the instrument. Regarding the latter, it will be evident
to the student, that the action of the bow falling on the strings cannot
alone set them in vibration; no matter how brilliant is the bowing, we
must have some species of _stroke_ or the result will be minus tone. To
allow of the maximum tone being produced which is possible with such
a slight bow-stroke, the hand may droop more than usual, causing the
whole width of the hair to come in contact with the strings, this will
also prevent any jarring sound being occasioned by the "wood" of the
bow. To prevent a very scratchy performance, the bow strokes should be
made exactly at the same part of the strings; taking care that the bow
springs away at right angles. The most useful part of the bow for the
slow style of spiccato, is generally just below the middle; although for
detached notes with long rests between, or intermixed with left-hand
pizzicato, it may be accomplished with the point.

[Illustration: (EX. 27)]


Slurred spiccato is very useful as a relief to the staccato proper.

It is performed after the same style as detached springing-stroke,
except that instead of the bow being reversed at each stroke, a number
of notes are played with the bow springing in one direction. The bow
should be given a preliminary bounce by a smart downward turn of the
wrist, then gradually moved forward, which will cause several detached
strokes as the bow falls after each rebound. For long, quick passages,
it is necessary to commence near the point, although not so near that
instead of the bow springing, a sforzando is produced; it is not
necessary to assist the bow to spring away from the strings in these
quick passages, after the initial bounce has been given, the natural
spring of the bow asserting itself against the weight of the hand, being
sufficient to allow of twenty or more notes being played.

Although the slurred spiccato bowing is expressed in the same manner as
solid staccato, the violoncellist will occasionally come across certain
passages, which would lose all their charm if played with solid bowing.
Ex. 28 will illustrate this. The semiquaver triplet should be executed
with three smart bounces with the up-bow; then the bow should be
controlled, and lightly drawn for the two tied quavers. The introduction
of the two slurred quavers in this passage, makes it almost compulsory
to execute it between the middle and the heel of the bow, it being
possible to check the bouncing better there than if playing near the

[Illustration: (EX. 28)]

However, to illustrate how the 'cellist must be able to appreciate the
subtle differences in various manners of phrasing, or how an artist by
a slight liberty, would transform an awkward bowing into one with more
character and force, we will suppose the above passage written thus:--

[Illustration: (EX. 28_a_)]

The semiquaver triplet in this case, (Ex. 28_a_), is executed with
springing-bow, using the upper third; the bow is then thrown on the
string close to the point for the sforzando.

In substituting or inventing the manner of bowing any particular
passage, the violoncellist should always take into consideration
the character of the composition being performed, not being above
considering the generally acknowledged manner of interpreting the works
of well known composers. The introduction of any exaggeration in accent,
etc., whilst being perfectly admissable in performing compositions by
Brahms, Schumann, or Dvorak, would most probably be out of place, if
introduced in similar works by Mendelssohn or Beethoven.


[Illustration: (EX. 29)]

Although this bowing is often called Spiccato, Springing-stroke,
Dancing-bow, etc., etc., it must not on any consideration be confused
with the bowing previously described as such, that is the springing-bow
applied to passages at only a moderate tempo; the method of production
and the effect of these two bowings are entirely different, the
sautillé, varying from the heavier class of springing-stroke, in not
being produced by any studied action of the right-hand, wrist, or
fingers. The work of the fingers in executing this bowing, is merely
passive, except perhaps the first finger, which assists in giving the
"go" to the bow. No pressure is required; the tone seems to be "pulled"
out of the instrument by the bite of the hair on the strings, the
springing movement being caused solely by the elasticity of the bow.

The scales may be practised as Ex. 29, first in smooth semiquavers at
the middle of the bow, using about an inch of bow, and without any
pressure being applied. The scales should be worked up to a very high
rate of speed; when this is accomplished, the student will find that
unless he prevents the bow from springing, it will commence a kind
of dancing movement, although it hardly seems as if the bow leaves
the strings. The student will easily recognise the bowing when he has
accomplished it, by the distinct picked out character of the notes. Most
amateurs who fail to acquire this bowing, may blame their misfortune
either to gripping the bow too firmly, thus not allowing the wrist and
fingers sufficient play, or being "weary in well doing" with respect to
practice. Modern compositions for violoncello abound with this bowing,
fine examples may be found in Am Springbrunnen, Davidoff; Papillon,
Elfentanz, etc., etc., by Popper, last movement Military Concerto, and
other solos by Servais; in fact nearly all modern player-writers, have
composed works which introduce this fairy-like bowing.


[Illustration: (EX. 30)]

The rhythm given in Ex. 30, is frequently met with in almost every class
of instrumental music. It may be bowed in four distinctly different
ways. The way mostly adopted, especially in chamber, or orchestral
music, where occasionally whole sections of a work have accompaniments
for the strings in this rhythm, is to tie the two notes in one bow as
marked in Ex. 30, this is done, even if no bowing marks whatever are
given in the parts. The upper half of the bow may be used, the bow being
almost drawn to the point, then suddenly stopped to allow the semiquaver
to have a distinct stroke, for the latter, using about a couple of
inches of bow with a wrist movement only.

[Illustration: (EX. 30_a_ & _b_)]

In solo pieces, and occasional passages in chamber-music, this rhythm
may be given one bow-stroke to each note. However, the effect although
pleasing, is so assertive especially if executed in a very broad,
heavy fashion, that the listener becomes tired before many bars have
been played. This bad effect is not quite so evident if the bowing is
executed in a light, playful manner, the very nature of the rhythm
is of a gay, frolicsome character, especially in a moderately quick
tempo, therefore a dull, solid performance is entirely out of place.
In practising the bowing at Ex. 30A, more than a third part of
the bow must not be used, and slightly less for a quicker tempo. The
semiquaver must have the same length of bow-stroke as the dotted quaver;
therefore the bow must move more slowly, and receive more pressure for
the down-stroke than for the light up-stroke; for the latter, the bow is
carried lightly over the string, with the pressure relieved. The
bowing may also be reversed as in Ex. 30B, here the longer note is
played with an up bow-stroke, the semiquaver receiving a smart, light,
down bow.

Another method of bowing may also be occasionally used, although when
compared with any of the foregoing, it will perhaps be regarded as a
trifle commonplace. The bow is placed on the strings at the heel; the
first dotted quaver receives a down stroke with the heel fourth, the
semiquaver being played with an up-bow, using about an eighth of bow;
the next dotted quaver again receives a down-stroke with a fourth; thus
gaining an eighth at each dotted note, the bow gradually travels to the
point. The up-bow may also be used in like manner, commencing at the
point and finishing near the heel, the movements being reversed. This
method of bowing will be found useful for special passages which have
to be executed in a quiet manner, or where the change in bowing thus
occasioned is necessary.




Although learning the various positions used in violoncello playing is
neither so interesting a study nor so quickly mastered as are a few of
the seemingly more difficult styles of bowing, a thorough practical
knowledge of them is absolutely necessary both for orchestral and solo
work. It is interesting to note, however, that extraordinary ability
in any one direction is generally obtained at the expense of the other
branch of 'cello playing. A long experienced orchestral player, although
having a complete mastery of the "fingerboard," in the matter of being
able to play almost any composition at sight, seldom possesses that
perfection in bowing requisite for a successful soloist. The chief
matters for special attention in the orchestra are time and tune,
together with the ordinary "light and shade" effects; and considering
the numerous compositions which the orchestral violoncellist must "go"
through in one short season only, it is not to be expected that any
great attention can be devoted to the perfection of bowing; or at
least to such brilliant bowings as the staccato, and various spiccato
effects, which are only heard to advantage when each instrument may be
heard individually. The exceptions to this rule, are orchestral players
who combine with their orchestral work, much practice in chamber music
or solos. The same law is in effect with any who excel greatly as
soloists; the solo player may have a greater command of the positions
in a mechanical sense than has the orchestral player, but it is seldom
he reads so well at sight. The very system of working up to perfection,
and memorizing a certain number of compositions, is detrimental to
good reading; in fact it may be safely said that the more an artist
plays by ear the less able will he be to read at sight. I should think
such artists as Piatti, Lady Hallé, Joachim, however, are notable
exceptions,--not to the rule, but to great solo players being poor sight
readers, but these artists have always combined much quartet playing
with their solo work.

The special requirements in respect to positions, of each class of
violoncellist, may be stated as follows; the soloist to be successful
requires a complete mastery of the practical or mechanical part of
playing perfectly in tune, and a perfect command of shifting from one
position to another. The orchestral player requires the ability to
quickly divine the most suitable positions in which to play any given
passage, when seen expressed in musical notation. The successful quartet
player must possess to a certain degree, the abilities of both classes.
Whatever class of work the student intends to fit himself for, he must
gain a knowledge of the positions in a practical manner, _i.e._, with
the instrument in hand. Theory by itself is of no use, the player may
know that a certain note will be produced if a given string be stopped
in a certain place, but if he is unable to perform the mechanical
part, and by exactly gauging the distance to be leaped, stop the note
perfectly in tune, the knowledge stands for nothing.

Each position should have separate attention, and the notes obtainable
thoroughly mastered both theoretically and practically before another
position is attempted. The position most easily learned is the first
position (first finger on B a whole tone above the open A string), and
as this is in a sense the normal position in 'cello playing, and for
ordinary work the most useful owing to its relation to the four open
strings, the hand of the student should be allowed to become thoroughly
"set" to this position, and facility obtained in stretching the various
intervals, before attempting to "shift."

From the commencement, the student should compel himself to _stretch_
for the intervals when necessary, and not contract the bad habit of
using the thumb as a kind of pivot, on which the hand is moved backwards
and forwards, the thumb remaining in the same position. If the student
once gets into this habit, his hope of ever playing perfectly in tune,
especially in rapidly descending passages, must be abandoned; it is a
bad habit, however, which nearly every learner will contract unless
strictly watched; and when pupils who have had previous instruction come
to me for lessons, I generally have to commence with a series of finger
exercises composed expressly for its correction.

The player will find that after a few years of 'cello playing, if the
correct system of fingering has been adopted, the bones of the hand
(metacarpal) seem to get quite loose, and are under the control of the
muscles, so that when the fingers are stretched for a wide interval,
they are assisted by the hand-bones, which move direct from the wrist,
almost like the action of the metacarpal bone connected with the thumb,
only of course in a much smaller degree. This gives a greater width of
the hand, measuring across the knuckles, and it is with this capacity
that ease in stretching the intervals is arrived at, and _not_ with
long fingers, as some are apt to imagine. Fingers of more than ordinary
length are of no special assistance in 'cello playing, if they are
so firmly bound together at the knuckles as to hamper free movement
from side to side; this is one of the chief reasons why it would be so
difficult to master a stringed instrument, if maturity should be reached
before commencing to learn. Besides the bones of the hand getting
gradually bound together with the surrounding muscles and ligaments,
if not kept in constant use; the tendons which are plainly discernable
at the back of the hand seem to lose individuality, thus we see some
aged people who are unable to move any one finger independently to the
others. The player must grow to his instrument, and it is wonderful what
change does take place in this respect, the whole character of the hand
being altered; this has to come about before anything like command of
the instrument can be expected.

As a ready way of describing the locality of the various "neck"
positions, the names of the notes stopped by the first finger on the A
string will be given only. In these neck positions, the thumb remains
behind the neck of the instrument, retaining as far as possible the same
relationship to the hand as in the first position, already explained.
For the half-position, or what is generally known as the back-shift,
the hand should move backwards from the first position the distance of
half a tone, the first finger will then stop A♯ or B♭. When playing in
extreme keys, this half position is very useful, especially when the
notes of all the four open strings have to be played sharp.

The distance of the second position from the first is only a semitone,
the first finger stopping C. This position also bears a "raised"
position, sometimes named the "second-and-a-half position"; although
it is easier to designate it the second raised, or if in flat keys the
third lowered position. For this position, the whole hand moves forward
from the second position, until the first finger stops C♯ or D♭. The
third position is distant a tone and a half from the first position,
the first finger stopping D. The second and third positions are perhaps
not so readily mastered as are the first and fourth, or perhaps even
the higher positions; for this reason they should be all the more
perseveringly practised. Not only should the notes which are obtainable
in the second and third positions have special attention, the student
should practise various leaps from any of the other positions, until
he has their exact locality firmly fixed. When playing in the fourth
position, the first finger stops E, the hand should be allowed to rest
on the ribs of the instrument, this will assist the student in placing
the locality of this position. The fourth position bears a lowered, but
not a raised position, as there is only a semitone between E and F. The
fourth lowered position is identical with the third raised position, the
first finger stopping E♭ for the former, and D♯ for the latter form.

The fifth position therefore is a semitone higher than the fourth,
the first finger stopping F. From the fifth position upwards to the
seventh, the thumb is allowed to gradually leave its position _behind_
the neck, until for the seventh position it only touches the side of the
lower portion, almost where the neck joins the body of the instrument.
However, the thumb should retain its touch, so that the hand may quickly
assume the necessary attitude for the lower positions when required. For
the fifth raised position the first finger stops F♯.

In the sixth position, the first finger stops G. The fingers are now
in advance of the thumb, also the student will observe that in these
higher positions, the distance between the notes gradually grow smaller.
It is now possible to stop three notes separated by intervals of whole
tones (major 2nds), with the first, second, and third fingers, and not
as in the first position, compulsory to use four fingers to stop three
notes. The sixth raised position is taken with the first finger on G♯.
The seventh position is the highest neck position practicable, the first
finger stopping A.

To sum up, we find that there are seven ordinary neck positions, the
fundamental notes of which on the A string, are directly related to the
diatonic scale of C. Also there are six half-positions, each position
bearing a "raised" form, except where the fundamental note of two
positions is only separated by a semitone. This occurs in two instances,
_i.e._, between the leading-note and tonic of the C scale (first and
second position), and between the mediant and sub-dominant (fourth
and fifth positions). These five raised positions, together with the
backshift, gives us the six. Together with this, each position bears a
normal, and a "stretched" form, for the former in the lower positions,
the fingers are allowed to fall naturally at the distance of a semitone
apart; for the latter the thumb (behind the neck of course), and one or
more fingers remain in the position, the first finger being stretched
backwards, or the third or fourth fingers stretched forwards, or both.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am aware that some theorists may object to the method of assigning
the same position to say B♭ and A♯, on the principle that B♭ is lower
in pitch than A♯. However, if the matter is thoroughly looked into,
we shall find that the system of portioning out the fingerboard with
mathematical exactness, and giving to the various groups the names of
positions, is really under the control of another system. This system,
which is found to be the chief factor both in singing in tune, and in
giving the stringed instrumentalist the power of playing in tune, for
want of a more comprehensive title might be named "relative pitch." The
student if sufficiently advanced may easily prove this to himself in the
following manner.

Reverse the usual position of the instrument, that is, instead of
having the fingerboard turned away, place the 'cello in such a position
that the whole length of the fingerboard may be viewed from before.
Now endeavour to point out the position of any given note, it will be
found that an entirely wrong conception has been formed of the distance
between the intervals, and it will be almost impossible to place the
exact position, where any isolated note could be sounded exactly in
tune. Perhaps more success will be experienced in placing the position
of a few of the easier divisions of the string, like the harmonic at the
half-string, but strange as it may appear, the attempts to point out the
exact positions of notes even in the first position, will, in nearly
every case, be complete failures. If the reader has had much experience
in teaching the 'cello, and has become accustomed to judge the distance
of notes by eye measurement, he must be considered an exception to the
above. This proves to us then that the eye has, or should have, nothing
to do with gauging the distances to be leaped, or stretched, for the
various intervals. It is here that a wonderful faculty is found to exist
in the trained violoncellist; this faculty is obtained by the wonderful
connection between the fingers and arm movement, and the "ear," or more
correctly, the brain. At first sight it appears very wonderful how any
given interval between two sounds may be reduced down to measurement,
and have its tonal character represented by a physical movement, but
with long practice the movements of the arm and fingers become so
perfectly under control, and work in such sympathy with the brain, that
the act of conceiving the character of an interval, and its production,
seems almost to be accomplished by the same brain action. This applies
only to the production of one note in relation to another, or to the
position of a note in relation to a fixed position, and not to isolated
notes. How then is the 'cellist to establish the pitch, and decide the
position of an isolated note, if in such a high position that no guide
is given to the hand, such as is noticed in positions like the fourth?
Although pursuing this subject has the appearance of leading us away
from the chief matter of the present chapter, it is of such importance
to the instrumentalist to know exactly how to obtain any isolated note,
and as it is so much more easily explained at the present stage, it will
be better to consider it straight away.

The brain must have some basis whereon to build up an expectation
relative to any isolated sound. Thus, if a solitary note is represented
on the music page, say E♭, the brain not having any fixed sound
whereby to place the tonality of E♭, no expectation is raised as to
its probable pitch; to bring this to practice. A pianist striking the
one note E♭, on the piano, would feel quite satisfied with the pitch
of the sound produced, whether the piano should happen to be tuned a
quarter of a tone either below, or above concert pitch. This statement
is open to challenge by the upholders of the theory of absolute pitch;
I am well aware that a _few_ musicians have this gift of absolute
pitch, and perhaps a greater number still, from long practice with one
fixed sound--like the singing master with his C tuning fork--are able
to guess the pitch of that one sound with moderate success, but for a
musician to have the pitch of all the range of sounds so thoroughly
established, as to feel a sense of disappointment if an isolated note
was sounded either slightly above, or below concert pitch, is almost
an impossibility, if such an one does exist he must be considered an
exception to the above. It may be accepted as the general rule, that
until one note is heard, no expectation is raised as to any given note.
The 'cellist, therefore, not having any fixed notes like the pianist,
would be completely at sea, especially if a composition should commence
on a note in rather an awkward position, say on the E♭ above the A half
string. If an introduction in the accompaniment preceded, the 'cellist
would be able to tell after the E♭ was sounded, whether he had happened
to hit on the right position, but it would hardly be edifying to the
audience to commence the note slightly out of tune, and shuffle to the
correct pitch, after the accompanying chords were struck, nor would they
appreciate a series of introductory grace notes leading to the required

It is here that the faculty of gauging the distance of a _known_
interval, taking the required note by a leap from some equally well
known position, is brought into force. If the 'cellist has just
previously tuned his instrument, the sounds of the open strings will
be still fresh in his mind, dispensing with A, D and G, the C being
the nearest related to E♭ will be immediately seized upon, and a
conception of the interval to be leaped (a minor third above the third
octave), will be firmly established. After this the process is chiefly
mechanical, the move may be made from any position the exact locality of
which the student is thoroughly acquainted with, exactly as if leaping
from a note in that position to the required E♭, as--

[Illustration: EX. 31]

(The bow not to touch the strings until the E♭ is firmly stopped with
the third finger, the grace notes merely show from which position the
leap is made.)

The student should carry out this principle for all difficult leaps,
and not seek for the position by gliding up, or down to it. However
"to return to our sheep," this system of relative pitch affects
the performance of flat and sharp keys in the following way, as an
illustration the different manner in which B♭ and A♯ is treated,
although both being in the back-shift, or half position, will be

[Illustration: EX. 32]

In the first bar of Goltermann's Cantilena (Example 32), the first
finger is on A♯ in the back position, the character of the accidental
following the B♮ is such, that the musician seems almost compelled to
sound this note as near the B as possible. It would irritate a musician
with a well trained ear, to have anything but the smallest interval
between the two notes, he will therefore quite unconsciously make the A♯
as "sharp" as possible, which conclusively proves that there is not any
necessity for forming two positions for these enharmonic differences.

[Illustration: EX. 33]

Here we have a different idea of the B♭--the equivalent to A♯. The
progression from C to B♭ (Example 33), instead of giving one the idea
that the B♭ should be drawn to the C, has the opposite effect; a sense
of satisfaction is only felt, when the largest possible interval between
two tones is made between the super-tonic and tonic. With the second B♭,
the feeling is to glide quietly off the leading note on to the tonic,
making the least possible interval. Thus the B♭ is pushed down by the C,
and again drawn down by the A, making it impossible with any sense of
satisfaction to play it in anything but its "flattest" form.

All this will be evident to the cultured musician, to whom these remarks
may appear somewhat superfluous; but to the learner, who has not arrived
at that stage of ear perfection, when the half-flat, half-natural style
of playing flattened notes is a positive annoyance, the hints may be of
service in teaching him that anything short of absolute correctness with
respect to playing in tune is not to be tolerated.

With respect to the choice of positions, so many things are to be
taken into consideration that only general hints may be given. The
golden rule is--"Never move into a more remote position than is
absolutely necessary." In slow expressive passages, everything must
give way to allow of correct phrasing; thus to preserve a uniform
quality of tone throughout a particular phrase, it will sometimes be
necessary to work along one of the lower strings up to the sixth or
seventh positions, in preference to using the next higher string. In
orchestral work, and generally in quick movements, the chief matter to
consider, as previously stated, is "economy of motion," but even in
quick movements "effect," which may be considered the counterpart of
the generally accepted term of "expression," has also to be taken into
account. Occasionally a kind of verve or vigour, or sometimes a certain
daintiness in effect is produced, if instead of playing a passage in the
quietest way, it is taken along the string. A striking example of this
may be seen in the first movement of the Goltermann concerto in D, op.

[Illustration: EX. 34]

It would be possible to play this passage across the strings without
having to move out of position, however the effect is much heightened
when played as fingered above (Ex. 34) the whole effect being augmented
by the octave passage which follows, gradually working upwards until the
climax is reached on the high E harmonic. There is yet another matter
which I am well aware in really high art should not find a place: that
is the manner in which a complete mastery over _seen_ difficulties
affects an audience. We are told that musicians should reach their
audiences through the ear and not the eye, but when one considers the
numerous class of compositions which have been written solely to display
the brilliant technique of the soloist, or to show the possibilities of
the violoncello as a solo instrument, and that many of these works are
written by really great composers, the fact is forced to be acknowledged
that this phase of our subject must be considered.

It will be found that many passages in such compositions are, when
analyzed, found to be quite worthless in a musical sense, the only
excuse for their introduction being that they offer a good chance for
the player to display some brilliant feats in bowing or fingering.
Therefore in playing pieces of this description, it would not be wise
to sacrifice brilliance, for the sake of an easier and consequently
a quieter method of fingering. From the foregoing remarks it will
be gathered that various matters must be taken into consideration,
especially by the soloist, when finally deciding in which positions to
play any composition. The mechanical difficulties which are patent to
the violoncello, must not be allowed to interfere with the phrasing of
a melody, or with the musical significance of an idea. Nor in the other
direction, the violoncellist must not overload any passage with effects,
simply because the 'cello happens to be especially adapted for such,
without any real warrant that such graces or additions are intended.
This applies particularly to the introduction of the glide, which will
be next treated.




The subject of gliding, although referring more directly to phrasing,
is so nearly connected with shifting and the choice of positions that
one is insensibly led into its treatment. A melody should never depend
on the characteristics of an instrument for its effectiveness, although
much individual charm is given to a composition by such characteristics
being allowed to assert themselves without spoiling the intentions of
the composer. Thus the phrasing should never be marred just because it
is convenient or inconvenient to introduce that connecting link, the
glide. I shall in this chapter endeavour to explain a few of the many
methods of gliding, and the reasons why one method is used in preference
to another; their practical application will be learned, partly from a
knowledge of phraseology and musical form, and also from experience. The
human voice is supposed to be the most perfect musical instrument--if
one may so term it; all instruments which are made by man having in
comparison some imperfection. Thus, it is impossible on the pianoforte
to commence a sustained note _piano_ and gradually swell out to forte,
nor is it possible to glide one note into another, although much may be
done in this direction by causing the note to _sing_ in such a manner,
that one note seems to be sustained until the next has been tenderly
approached. Each note has to remain fixed as far as pitch is concerned,
the idea of gliding only applying to the "thickness" of the tone being
varied when quitting one note and approaching the next. The latter
remarks apply also to wind instruments. No matter how small is the
break between two notes, or in what manner art is introduced to conceal
or in any other way attempt to make up for this deficiency, it is yet
there, and to a great extent must influence the interpretation of a
composition. The violoncello resembles the human voice perhaps more than
any other instrument. The character of the tone in certain portions of
its register is very similar to that of the human voice, and without
going too far, it may be said that it is possible to produce nearly all
the varied effects of articulation of which the voice is capable, except
actually speaking. Thus the variation in tone which singers produce by
a clever management of the breath, the glide when two notes are sung to
a vowel sound, the hard sound of an initial consonant, the vibrato, and
numerous other effects are all possible on this most human instrument.
However, as far as gliding is concerned, the 'cello has a big range, and
far more is expected from the instrumentalist, in the way of leaping
to and from notes at extreme distances, than is ever expected from a
single voice. The vocalist performs similar skips by an unconscious,
and to a certain extent, involuntary contraction of the various small
and delicate muscles in the larynx. The 'cellist has sometimes to make
a sweep of the whole length of the fingerboard, or to break the flow
of the melody by leaping over one or more strings. This then will show
the imperfections of even the most perfect instrument made by man when
compared with the voice; the 'cellist must endeavour by the aid of art
to overcome, or conceal, the bad effects which may be caused by the
mechanical difficulties of his instrument, and taking the voice as an
example endeavour to interpret a composition in the same manner as would
a good vocalist, imitating as closely and truthfully as possible the
phrasing and the various effects which one observes in singing.

Some professors of the strictly classical school condemn all gliding
as faulty; the finest of these players are noted for their perfect
intonation, but are also noted for their lack of sentiment. Any
exaggeration in the opposite direction, however, tends to undue
sentimentality, and to an unprepared audience will have most disastrous
results. It is well known that the player may so accustom himself to
glide on to the notes, that any amount of exaggeration in this respect
seems quite right. The player should regulate his performance according
to the manner in which the absence, or too great a prominence, of the
glide in the playing of others affects him; this is the only safe way to
judge, as the effect on the listener is always more pronounced than on
the player.

In almost every melody there are places where every musician feels
compelled to dwell on the interval between two notes, sustaining the
one note, and retaining the advent of the other; this "expressive"
kind of glissando, besides being the most pronounced in its effect,
is consequently the most objectionable if incorrectly used. On the
violoncello it is produced by playing two notes with the same finger,
gliding slowly from one position to the other. This glide must never
be used to connect two notes which are separated by a large interval,
as a most unpleasant howling will be occasioned; the only places where
it may be introduced are at a cadence, or at the full close of a
musical composition, where the terminal note of the phrase is reached
by a descending passage, and then it must only be taken on an interval
composed of not more than one or two whole tones at the most.

Vocalists generally make the most of this glide to sustain a passionate
delivery at the close of a vocal piece, and indeed it has a very
disturbing effect on the listener. This effect may be described as being
occasioned in the following manner; in accordance with the musical
structure of the composition, the listener expects a certain note to be
sounded, thus when the close of a composition is being approached, the
listener naturally expects the tonic (key-note). Naturally therefore,
anything which delays the tonic--whether it be a slight ritard, a
sustained trill, or the seeming unwillingness of the player to quit the
note preceding the tonic, although having an exciting influence over
the listener, makes the appearance of the final note more acceptable
and the consequent rest and satisfaction more complete. I must here
caution the reader against gliding to the tonic from the leading-note,
that is unless the identity of the tone is afterwards firmly established
by being played again on an accented part of the bar. If the examples
here given (Ex. 35) are studied, it will be seen that in each case
the terminal note of the phrase thoroughly establishes itself on the
ear by being twice sounded, first on an unaccented beat, then on the
strongly marked portion of the bar. The ear requires this to give it
the necessary assurance of the identity of the tonic. In ascending
passages the approach to the tonic from the leading-note is by so small
an interval (half-tone), that the arrival at the close must always be
distinct, the introduction of the glide on so small an interval, would
give the appearance of the tonic being played out of tune.


[Illustration: EX. 35]

The glide in each case (Ex. 35) is made on the two notes connected with
a slur.

The glide of next importance is generally introduced in imitation of
that produced by vocalists when two notes are taken on a vowel sound;
the only difference to be observed by the 'cellist is that the interval,
and consequently the glide, must not be so strongly marked. The same
method of fingering as that given for the gliding previously explained
may be used, but as this glide is sometimes taken on notes at extreme
distances, the bow must be nicely managed, and the shifting done firmly
and rapidly so that any unpleasant howling is not too much in evidence.

The introduction of this gliding is really a matter of taste, the only
uses with which it can be credited in instrumental music, are to lend a
certain amount of tenderness to a melody, and also to connect any wide
intervals or isolated notes, which otherwise would spoil the phrasing.
The two foregoing methods of glissando may be termed the only styles of
gliding which are introduced solely for effect in an "active" sense,
the remaining styles of gliding are merely passive in their nature, and
are introduced to cover the defects of the instrument, in the way of
bridging over any awkward leaps caused by the necessary length of string
to be covered. Before proceeding, I would here caution the student
against blindly following all the exaggerations in which even our best
vocalists occasionally indulge. A short time ago I heard a well known
tenor sing the song "Annie Laurie," the last line of which was given
after this fashion.

[Illustration: EX. 36]

The glide to and from the top F was quite correct, and indeed very
expressive, the objectionable part being the manner of dividing each
word, and even introducing another syllable so that the following note
may be anticipated. However by these exaggerations the singer succeeded
in "bringing down the house," so I suppose he was satisfied.

This is almost akin to the method adopted by some instrumentalists to
heighten the effect in a passage made up of detached notes. Instead of
changing the bow-stroke at the moment the leap is made, during a slight
break between the notes, the method is to change the bow-stroke before
the first note is quitted, then glide rapidly to the next note, at the
same time producing a sforzando; the effect is seen in Ex. 37.

[Illustration: EX. 37]

I mention this solely to caution young players against unconsciously
forming a habit which is at once incorrect and vulgar, and although
players of the first rank in the height of their passion may sometimes
employ this artifice to more fully express their feelings, it would be
unwise for one of lesser musical standing to attempt that which great
artists only employ on sufferance. The most ingenious method adopted
by stringed instrument players to cover a great expanse of string,
without either chopping up the phrase or giving too much prominence to
the glide, was, I believe, first given by Spohr; it may be explained as

In an ascending passage, the player must always have at liberty one of
the fingers to stop a higher note than that produced by the gliding
finger, so that the gliding has not to cover the whole distance of the
interval (see Ex. 38). In descending passages the reverse takes place,
the glide being executed with the third or fourth finger, the first or
second fingers being retained to stop the lower note on the arrival of
the hand in position.

[Illustration: EX. 38.]

The grace notes in the above examples must not on any account be heard.
To prevent any possibility of this, the finger stopping the second
note must be firmly placed almost before the gliding has ceased, the
introduction of the grace notes in the above examples being merely
to illustrate the method of carrying the glide up to the necessary
position, then firmly stopping the required note.

Other methods of gliding have to be invented for special passages, or
for the production of extraordinary effects. One of the most surprising
effects is to combine the sforzando with a strongly marked glide, the
sforzando being given on the second note of the slur, and the glide
being of the most pronounced type. I have heard our great violinist,
John Dunn, occasionally give vent to his feelings in a slightly
exaggerated glide and sforzando combination of this description, and for
waking up a sleepy or apathetic audience, I can strongly recommend it.

Beyond all these hints, and far removed from any explanation, there
remains that delicacy of feeling which the artist alone can introduce
into his playing--that subtle management of bow and fingers, so
necessary to really fine playing. Even in the matter of gliding this is
easily recognised; the varying speed at which the glide is taken, the
pressure put on the strings or otherwise, accenting the commencement of
the glide and lightly approaching the second note, or lightly gliding
off the first note and strongly accenting the arrival at the second; the
varying pressure brought to bear on the bow, etc., etc. All this must
come from natural feeling, and cannot be taught, no matter how clever
the teacher or how willing the pupil.




In consequence of the great distances which separate the notes in
the neck positions on the violoncello, nothing very extraordinary is
written, or is expected in the matter of double-stopping. However as a
training for the left-hand, there is nothing to equal a series of well
planned studies in double-stopping; by practising such, the student
obtains a command of the various "stretches" necessary for a correct use
of the fingers of the left hand. Dotzauer, in his famous studies, seems
to have recognized this, and by the regular, systematical introduction
of double-stopping exercises of varying and increasing difficulty,
almost compels the absolute development of the left hand. In practising
double-stops, the student must always be careful to cause equal pressure
to be applied by the bow to both strings, so that each note of the chord
is distinctly heard. Some young players on the other hand, instead of
requiring to be urged to do this, are unable to give two strings a
continued even vibration, without expending an undue amount of force,
but this is really so elementary a matter that a little practice on the
open strings (sounding them in twos) should easily set right. Beyond
this the player should have all the varieties of light and shade just
as much at command in the bowing of double-stops, as in playing single

With respect to the left hand, the chief difficulty which first assails
the student is that of judging the character of the intervals, and for
their production--in knowing exactly in what "form" the hand should
be; thus in certain chords the hand has to assume its most "stretched"
form, for others the normal, or closed positions of the fingers are
necessary. This knowledge is really of great importance; both notes of a
chord must be sounded simultaneously, therefore even before the chord is
approached, the player must be conscious of the "form," as well as the
position in which the hand has to be, in order to play any combination
of notes. A few of the easier chords in double-stops may readily be
learned in the following fashion:

Taking the fifth as the basis, it will be evident that if any finger be
placed horizontally across two strings, in any part of the instrument,
a perfect fifth will be produced. To accomplish this the student will
have to depart from the rule respecting the stopping of notes with the
tips of the fingers, as it is impossible to produce a fifth except with
"flat" fingering, or of course the open strings.

From this it will be an easy matter to settle the fingering of a major
sixth; in the first position, a major sixth may be produced by using
a lower open string, and the first finger on a higher string, thus in
any position the fingering of major sixths is obtained on the same
principle, viz., the higher note is fingered a whole tone in advance of
the lower.

The same method may be taken to obtain the fingering of a perfect
fourth. In the first position, using the open string, a fourth in
double-stops is produced with the open string for the higher note, and
the first finger on the next lower string for the lower note; here the
lower note is fingered as far as position is concerned a whole tone in
advance of the higher note. Major thirds in the neck positions, have
to be played with the "set" fingering of fourth and first; using the
fourth finger for the lower note and the first on the next higher string
for the higher note.

A little time expended in the study of Ex. 39 will clearly illustrate
the preceding remarks, and at the same time will prove conclusively,
that if double-stops are only treated according to their harmonic worth,
that is as perfect fifths, fourths, major and minor sixths, thirds,
etc., the difficulties of extreme keys, and positions, will in a great
measure be cleared away.

[Illustration: EX. 39.]

Thus in any position the relation of two notes (providing the harmonic
value is the same) remains undisturbed, the only difference in the
fingering being in the lower positions where the open strings are
utilized, and the only modification being in the very high positions,
where the gradually decreasing distances of the intervals render the use
of the fourth finger unnecessary.

Before attempting anything great in the matter of double-stopping,
the student should practice various scales in sixths, thirds, etc.
(both notes being sounded together) and also any possible arpeggi in
double-stopping, after the manner of Ex. 40.

[Illustration: EX. 40.]

The student will not find any published arrangement of arpeggi in
this form, but he may easily construct them for himself, using only
the tonic, mediant, and dominant of the key. It will be found that a
little practice in this direction will amply repay, as to accomplish
the playing of arpeggi in double-stopping without scrambling and with
the intervals correctly in tune, means a command of the positions truly

In reading works composed chiefly of double-stops, it is at first rather
difficult to decide in which position any passage should be played.
The progression of both "melodies" has to be watched, as well as the
intervals which separate any given two part chord, the fingering is also
affected by the preceding and the following chord, as well as by the
introduction of passing notes, or such ornamentation as trills, turns,
etc., in either of the parts.

With respect to shifting, leaping, etc., in double stops, owing to the
choice of fingering being curtailed, the player must be careful that no
unpleasant howling is thus caused.

In passages composed of thirds (slurred), the player must leap firmly
and rapidly from one chord to another, and where necessary withdraw the
pressure from the bow, so that although the passage is yet slurred, the
connecting glide is not too much in evidence.

[Illustration: EX. 41.]

A striking example of the need of this advice is found in the Military
Sonata by Boccherini in G (Ex. 41). This passage is played throughout
with the first and fourth fingers--that is the first finger plays the
upper melody, the fourth finger playing the lower.

It will be evident that the beauty of the above melody will be
destroyed if no division whatever is made between the notes. This
must be accomplished without spoiling the legato effect of the three
slurred quavers. A skilful management of the bow may also serve to
hide a difficult and awkward move; thus in cases where the fingering
is reversed for two succeeding chords (Ex. 42), it is liable to let the
open strings be heard during the changing of the fingers, especially if
a big leap has to be made to reach the second chord. This will be very
slovenly, and on no account must be allowed.

[Illustration: EX. 42.]

The portamento may be introduced in double-stopping progressions for
effect, but more knowledge and judgment is necessary for its successful
use than in single melodic progression. It is generally safe to
introduce it on two chords taken with the same fingering in different
positions, with the exception, of course, of whole passages in thirds,
etc., like the "Menuetto" in the Boccherini sonata previously mentioned.

Occasionally, when moving from one position to another, it will be
found advisable, or necessary, to let one of the parts cease, until the
required position is gained, the glide being executed between the upper
notes only; the player must study any such special passages, trying them
over in various ways, until he is perfectly satisfied that the correct,
and yet most effective method, is arrived at.


Owing to the arching of the bridge, it is impossible to sustain more
than two notes during the whole stroke of the bow. Therefore, three
or four part chords are only possible as "broken" chords (Ex. 43). A
bold attack is necessary to play chords at all effectively, the fingers
of the left hand should be placed simultaneously on the strings, the
necessary changes in fingering for a succession of chords, being
accomplished rapidly and neatly during the moment of reversing the

[Illustration: EX. 43.]

It is general to explain that although chords are written as in Ex. 43,
yet it is only possible to play them as in Ex. 43_a_. However, if the
chords have to be played in strict time, it will also be evident that
even this method cannot be followed--each minim would receive three
beats, one for the two lower notes and two for the two upper. A correct
way of portioning out the time to be allowed for each couple of strings
is shown in Ex. 43_b_. The student should here count four quavers to
each chord.

[Illustration: EX. 44.]

In some cases the chords are intended to be firmly and smartly struck,
such as repeated chords at the end of a brilliant allegro, the chords
should be divided, allowing half the time for the lower strings and
half for the upper, and instead of sustaining the upper portion, the
bow should be immediately taken off the strings, thus allowing them
to vibrate freely and vigorously (Ex. 44). Chords of this description
are usually taken with down bow-strokes. The player should take care,
however, not to make the chords sound too harsh, or crabbed.




Arpeggios are chords, the notes of which are sounded separately. A
modified way of expressing that chords are to be played in arpeggio, is
by placing a curved line immediately preceding the chord, thus:

[Illustration: EX. 45.]

Key arpeggi are formed from the common chord, that is the tonic,
mediant and dominant; they may be practised as running arpeggi in three
octaves. These arpeggi are published for 'cello in a very useful form,
together with the major and minor scales, etc., by the St. Cecilia Music
Publishing Co.; the arrangement is by Coward Klee.

The notes of a chord which are to be played as arpeggios, are sometimes
interspersed with notes foreign to the chord in the form of passing
notes, and nearly always one or more notes of the chord are reiterated
(Ex. 46).

[Illustration: EX. 46.]

Ex. 46 will illustrate how arpeggios are usually evolved from a chord.
First is shown the G major triad; 46_a_ gives the three part chord
played in arpeggi form; 46_b_ has the mediant and the dominant repeated,
and 46_c_ introduces the C and the A♯, both notes being foreign to the
harmony, but used as passing notes. Many otherwise difficult passages,
are rendered quite simple to the student, who only considers of what
chord the scattered notes form the harmony.

In playing arpeggios the hints previously given in the remarks on
the "Left hand," "Positions," "Double-stops and Chords," concerning
a correct management of the left hand fingers are applicable. The
remainder of the present chapter will be chiefly devoted to the
management of the bow, in several of the standard forms of arpeggio.


The manner of bowing the various forms of arpeggio, offers difficulties
of a peculiar nature to the student; this is chiefly occasioned by
the crossing and recrossing of the strings, which although greatly
adding to the possibilities and brilliance of many of the various modes
of phrasing, also in most cases adds to the difficulty of a quiet
performance. A thorough knowledge of the arm and wrist movements which
are brought into use in approaching any of the four strings with various
parts of the bow, and with either up or down bow-stroke is essential;
this knowledge is not to be gained by hard practice, but rather by a
careful analysis of the "mechanics" (if the word may be used in this
sense) of simple bowing.

The end to be kept in view should be to accomplish the crossing of the
strings in as quiet a manner as possible, that is with a minimum of
effort; as an aid to this, wherever possible the elbow and upper arm
should be held in a quiet position near the side, the changing of the
bow from one string to another being chiefly accomplished by a wrist
movement, or by a slight upward movement of the fore-arm.

[Illustration: EX. 47.]

Arpeggios on three or four strings phrased as Example 47_a_ should
be played with alternate down and up bow strokes, always attacking
the arpeggio commencing with the lower string with the down bow. For
a moderate allegro, about half the bow's length may be used, the two
middle fourths (upper and lower) being the most serviceable; the bowing
should be as smooth as possible, each note being of equal length; in the
triplet arpeggio the customary accent on the first of each group must
be observed, and in every case the groups should be quite distinctly

In mixed bowings as Example 47_b_, the same quantity of bow stroke must
be used for the detached note as for the slurs; the detached quaver or
semiquaver in each case being taken with a light up-bow.

Exercise 47_c_ is a very brilliant style of bowing, yet generally very
easy to acquire. The bow is thrown with force for the first note of each
group, then with a nicely regulated wrist movement, assisted by the
fore-arm to allow sufficient stroke, the three or four springing strokes
fall, one for each note. Any slovenliness in the management of the wrist
will result in some of the notes being missed, and others obtaining more
than one of the springing strokes. Although this style of bowing is
expressed exactly as solid staccato, it is very seldom that arpeggios
would be played other than with slurred spiccato, the unhelpable
roughness which accompanies a short staccato stroke on an open string,
renders the solid staccato impracticable for passages regularly crossing
the strings. This bowing is often used with alternate groups of smooth
slurred bowings.

Example 48_a_ is a style of phrasing which should always commence with
the up-bow; the reasons for this are as follows. Foremost and most
important is that the wrist action which one observes in reversing the
bow from an up-stroke to a down-stroke, may be utilized to serve the
double purpose of changing the bow-stroke and leaping to the A string;
this could not be accomplished in so quiet a manner with the reverse
stroke. If the above phrasing was commenced with the down stroke, it
would be necessary to make two distinctly separate movements to reach
the A string; one, a wrist movement from side to side to reverse the
stroke, the other an upward movement of forearm and wrist, to obtain
the necessary elevation which will allow the bow to leave the D string
and touch the A. Another reason is that the nearer the heel of the bow
is approached, less leverage and consequently less arm movement is
required to cross the strings; this is counterbalanced by the lack of
control over the bow at the heel in rapidly changing from one string
to another. The bowing should be commenced slightly nearer the point
than the middle, especially for Example 48_b_, so that the spiccato
semiquavers may be played at the middle of the bow, with a wrist
movement only.

[Illustration: EX. 48.]

In Example 48_a_ the upper arm should move backwards and forwards (the
elbow must not project) the bow being thrown on the upper string by
the wrist as previously explained. The student should play an arpeggio
phrased as above, at the same time carefully analyzing each arm and
wrist movement; he will thus realise the importance of utilising every
movement to assist in giving a quiet and finished performance.

[Illustration: EX. 49.]

Example 49_a_ should be played with alternate down and up-strokes,
commencing with the down bow near the heel; the bow should be drawn
say one fourth part for the two lower notes, then the hand--from the
wrist, should be rapidly raised, so that the bow leaves the G string and
touches the A, using another fourth part of the bow for the two upper
notes. The second chord commences with the up-bow, at the middle.

A good, broad effect is generally intended with this kind of bowing.
To produce this, only the slightest possible gap must be allowed in
changing the bow from one string to another, thus giving the impression
that two notes are constantly being sounded; sufficient pressure must
be applied to the bow to cause the whole width of the hair to touch the
strings, and an equal division allowed for each part of the arpeggio.

It is possible to produce a very brilliant, heavy effect with the
bowing at Example 49_b_; it should be commenced with the up-bow near
the heel, using a very heavy spiccato stroke, the two upper notes
receive a down stroke. It is also possible to execute it commencing with
the down-stroke, but if played in this manner it is difficult to get
sufficient power on the two upper strings, as well as more time being
wasted in changing the bow from the down-stroke to the up-stroke (see
explanation of Example 48_a_).

The bowing at Example 49_c_ is a style of phrasing which one often comes
across, especially in brilliant solo pieces; it is sometimes wrongly
written as Example 49_d_, that is, with three spiccato notes to each
bow; if executed in this manner it is safe to say that the effect will
be exceedingly tame. In solos, concertos, etc., and for heavy passages
in chamber music, it will be necessary to give the first note of each
group a heavy down-stroke (spiccato), the remaining two notes being
played with the up springing-bow; in this manner the strokes are all
given near the heel of the bow, the metrical accent on the first note of
each group being effectively produced with the heavy down-stroke.

Other styles of arpeggios bear more or less similarity to those which
have here received treatment, with a little thought the student should
now be able to determine which will be the most effective way of bowing.




There are various embellishments in use, some of which are expressed
in notation, such as the cadenza, the group of grace notes, the
appogiatura. Others are expressed by signs. The most important of
these are the trill, or shake (tr), the pralltriller, or short shake
([symbol]), and the mordent, or turn ([symbol] or [symbol] according
to the variety). Besides the above, and not included in these two
divisions, are numerous graces, or ornaments, which perhaps come under
the head of effects, and both in their introduction and their manner
of execution, are left entirely to the player. Under this head may be
mentioned the close shake, or vibrato, and the vocal effect produced by
changing the fingers on a stopped note, or playing two notes of the same
pitch in different registers of the instrument.

Considering the largely increasing quantity of literature which deals
with the elements of music, wherein most of the above graces are
treated, it will be useless to again go through an explanation of them.
It will be necessary, however, to deal with one or two matters relative
to their execution on the violoncello.

It used to be customary for singers and instrumentalists to take more
liberty in the introduction of graces and embellishments than is
allowed in modern times, or is possible with modern compositions. The
early Italian vocal school must be held responsible for many early
extravagances in this direction. The representatives of this school,
fitted as they were by nature, climate, language and training, for
brilliant vocalisation, never lost an opportunity of displaying their
wonderful feats of execution; in the opera even the simplest melody
being overloaded with trills, turns, grace notes and especially by the
introduction of long bravura passages, in the shape of variations on the
melody, or as cadenzas. An amusing instance of this was the competition
between Farinelli, the celebrated singer and a trumpeter (Rome, 1723),
which took place before a large and enthusiastic crowd. I suppose each
of these artists tried to outshine the other in the brilliance of their
improvised cadenzas and coloratura passages. With the exception of
added cadenzas in some concertos, it is not now considered good taste
to embellish a composition--even the simplest melody, by the addition
of anything to the written notes. The modern artist, especially the
instrumentalist, must content himself with his individual treatment of
what is before him, depending solely on this, and the beauty of the
composition for his effect.


To acquire a good trill on the violoncello, the student should
practice trilling with each finger, commencing very slowly at first,
then gradually increasing the speed. Each finger should be perfected
separately, the fourth being generally the weakest, will require more
attention. The following exercise (Ex. 50) if properly practised, should
be the means of perfecting the student in this essential and pleasing

[Illustration: EX. 50.]

To study this exercise properly a week should be devoted to each figure,
that is to say, one figure must be fairly well perfected before the
next is attempted; the student should devote several minutes at various
times of the day to its practice. This system of dividing the time
devoted to the practice of a mechanical study like the perfection of the
trill, will prevent the muscles being over exerted. In slow movements,
especially on a long sustained note, a good effect may be produced by
commencing the trill slowly, then gradually increasing the rapidity of
the beats. In quick movements the trill should be generally commenced
and continued quickly.

The chief beauty in the introduction of the pralltriller and the various
turns, consists in throwing them into the melody without disturbing the
time or phrasing; to acquire this ability, the student may first play
the passage without introducing the turns, etc., then when the structure
of the phrase is clearly grasped, the embellishments should be added. As
a good concert composition which may be of use both in acquiring a neat
method of introducing the turn, or of displaying such accomplishment,
may be mentioned the "Arlequin" by Popper. It is very pleasing and fits
the instrument.


The vibrato or close shake is produced by shaking the left hand from
side to side, the finger tip--which stops the note on which the vibrato
is produced,--forming the pivot. The soft fleshy cushion which forms
the tip of the finger, seems to grip the string, and should not on any
account be allowed to slide out of tune; thus the effect must never be
so exaggerated as to allow the beats to be varied in pitch, the result
should merely be a kind of throbbing.

A good effect is produced in a sostenuto theme by commencing the vibrato
slowly on a crescendo note. As the crescendo gathers in force, the
throbbing of the vibrato is increased in rapidity; much practice is
necessary to accomplish the gradual increasing or diminishing of the
speed, without any break being observable in either the increasing of
the tone, or the vibrato beats. The natural law with respect to the
variety in vibrato effects may be given as follows. A note low in pitch,
or a note played _piano_, requires a slow vibrato, a higher note, or
a note played forte and passionately, requires a rapid vibrato. The
student must be cautioned not to introduce the slow vibrato too freely,
although he may see many players constantly wag the hand in sustained
or passionate passages, this is not always done to produce a vibrato
effect, but is often intended to give a thrilling tone by a clearly
defined stopping of the note.


The cadenza may be said to range from the group of notes taken _ad
lib._, to the brilliant virtuosic cadenza introduced, or added to
concerto compositions.

The first form is generally used as a connecting link between one
section of a composition and another, and although the time is marked
_ad lib._, the student should always strive to correctly phrase these
little solo passages in accordance with the character of the movement or
composition, so that the desired effect may be given.

The latter and "big" form of cadenza, is generally given to allow the
performer an opportunity to show his skill, although Schumann did not
favour this idea; the cadenza to his 'cello concerto being merely a
few bars of recitative leading into the brilliant coda (finale), in
other compositions he adhered to the same idea, the cadenza being
thoroughly and wholly "Schumann," without any attempt to serve as a
means of display. In compositions where the cadenza is not written out,
the player is expected to supply one; this should be constructed from
motives taken from the work, the skill of the player being shown in
the manner in which these motives are treated. As the composition of a
cadenza will necessarily be of a free character, the introduction of
brilliant arpeggios, double-stops and rapid scale passages all skilfully
woven around and connecting the motives introduced, may be taken as the
basis on which to work.


Grace notes expressed in groups of small notes are not essential in
any great degree to the musical structure of a composition, they are
supposed to add to its effectiveness; the success of their introduction
and their chief charm, consists in throwing them into the melody with
ease. Sometimes a ritard is made, especially in song-like compositions,
so that the grace notes may be played quite deliberately; in other
pieces where strict time is essential, the time must be stolen from
the note which precedes or follows. It may be accepted as a general
rule that the grace notes should not delay the enunciation of a heavily
accented note, so that the rhythm may remain undisturbed.


Notes are played pizzicato by pulling the strings with the fingers,
instead of causing their vibration with the bow; the player should grasp
the bow firmly at the nut with the little finger, and perhaps the third
finger, according to the requirements of the pizzicato passage.

In scale passages it is wise to use the first and second fingers
alternately for the purpose of plucking the strings, the thumb resting
on the edge of the fingerboard as a support for the hand. For arpeggios
and chords, the thumb may be used for the lower string, and the fingers
for the upper strings. Chords in rapid succession are best played by
striking across all the four strings with the thumb and first finger
alternately; when the thumb is used, the lower strings receive the first
vibration, the higher strings being struck first when using the first
finger; the chords should be struck so smartly that the four strings
seem to vibrate simultaneously. The advantages of this method is that
with each motion of the hand a chord is sounded, thus, when using the
thumb, the hand moves from right to left, returning from left to right
when using the first finger.

In all pizzicato passages the strings should be plucked in such a manner
that they oscillate from side to side during their vibration; if they
are allowed to snap against the fingerboard, the sound will be instantly
checked. The student should remember that taste may be brought into play
in the method of executing pizzicato passages. It is not necessary to
play all the notes with one volume of sound; a crescendo on a series of
notes can be produced quite as effectively as with the bow. In chamber
music there is often a better opportunity for the display of taste in
the execution of pizzicato passages than in solo compositions; pizzicato
passages in the latter being generally introduced for display rather
than accompaniment.


A knowledge of the correct use of the thumb for the purpose of stopping
notes on the violoncello, is of the utmost importance to any who wish to
have anything like command of the instrument. It is quite certain that
the 'cello would not be anything like the perfect instrument it is, if
the player was confined to the neck positions. As already explained, the
neck positions only extend to a couple of notes beyond the half-string.
When it is necessary to go beyond this, the thumb is taken from its
position behind the neck of the instrument, and firmly placed in a
horizontal position across two strings, thus stopping a perfect fifth.

The student should attend very carefully to the hints here given
respecting the part of the thumb which actually stops the strings. The
first joint of the thumb should be slightly bent outwards, the higher
string should pass across the side of the thumb just under the root
of the nail, the strings being about half-an-inch apart, the lower
string will be that distance nearer the tip of the thumb. On no account
must the thumb be so placed that the higher string interferes in the
slightest with the joint of the thumb: this would make it impossible
to quickly slide along the strings without disturbing the relative
positions of the two strings. Continued practice with the thumb will
form two grooves on the under side of the thumb, exactly the width of
the strings apart; when this comes about, no inconvenience will be
experienced either in rapidly sliding along the strings, or in putting
on sufficient pressure. A common experience with students first learning
thumb positions, is the feeling that the fingers are too long. To
remedy this and also to gain sufficient weight on the fingers, some
young players will allow the knuckles to protrude and the finger joints
to bend inwards. I have noticed this time after time in pupils, even
when they have overcome the same difficulty in the neck positions. In
a short time the hand will get accustomed to the change of posture, in
the meantime the knuckles must be kept quite flat, and the finger joints
bent outwards. When the muscles, which have hitherto remained idle, are
fully developed, the player will be able to put sufficient pressure on
the strings without any assistance from the weight of the hand.

With respect to the introduction of the thumb; it is not always
necessary in the high positions to use the thumb to actually stop
certain notes, occasionally certain scale passages occur which may be
fingered as the ordinary scales--that is, with the thumb following
behind at the distance of a tone. However, the most important reason
for rejecting the thumb for speaking notes and "fingering" the passage,
is that of phrasing. In expressive movements, exactly as one finds it
necessary in the lower range of the instrument to leave out the use of
the open strings, or play in a higher position than necessary, so in
the high thumb positions the same unity of feeling must be observed
by a nicely arranged system of fingering. The reason for an objection
against the indiscriminate use of the thumb in slow cantabile passages,
is that the tone produced when the note is stopped by the pressure of
the thumb, is not of the same character as that produced when the tips
of the fingers are used. Perhaps it takes a very fine ear to distinguish
this difference. In quick movements it is not discernible, but on a
sustained note the tone produced by the thumb is to a great extent
colourless. That there should be a difference in tone is hardly to be
wondered at, when one considers the acute sensibility of touch at the
finger tips. It is possible that the necessary varieties of pressure, or
more accurately, "touch," which are requisite to a soulful performance,
may be more readily accomplished with the tips of the fingers, owing
to a greater concentration of nerve matter there than at the side of
the thumb, but this we must leave to physiologists; those whose ear
is so delicately formed that they notice these slight varieties in
tone colour, will perhaps be thankful for the hint whereby a soulful
manner of fingering and phrasing in the high positions may be acquired.
The fear of being thought dogmatical in this work, prevents me giving
examples of this method of fingering in the thumb positions, as, of
course, each player will naturally adopt the system which suits his
style the best, but to the student I would advise that the passages are
phrased exactly as one would sing them, entirely irrespective of strings
or positions; using the finger tips in preference to the thumb for the
speaking notes wherever possible.

In quick movements the use of the thumb is indispensable. In many cases
one is compelled to use it even in the lower neck positions so that
certain passages may be possible.


The use of extensions, that is, the fingering of certain notes which
are foreign to the position in which the hand is placed, is of more
frequent occurrence in the thumb positions than in the lower range of
the instrument. To a great extent these have to be studied as special
passages. However, each passage of this description thoroughly
mastered, will make similar passages easier and assist in giving a
greater command over the fingerboard. To acquire a general knowledge
of these extensions, the student may practise a series of "running
arpeggios" in the various keys, similar to those given by Coward Klee in
his arrangement of scales for 'cello. The student may play them in three
or four octaves according to the possibilities of the instrument.


Octave passages are usually played across two strings, with the thumb
and third finger, the thumb stopping the lower note on the lower string,
and the third finger stopping its octave on the higher string.

The most difficult progressions in octaves are those which are
played in unison, that is, the higher and lower notes being sounded
simultaneously--the slightest faults in intonation are here most
painfully evident. Where the octaves are sounded separately, one part
moving independently to the other, the difficulty of intonation is
nothing near so great.

Occasionally one comes across octave passages which are either
impossible to be played in the usual manner of thumb and third
finger--or else sound better to be played with different fingering. An
example of the former is met with in Popper's well-known "Elfentanz."
This is an extremely brilliant descending passage in octaves, with the
ninth used as a passing note. Here the octaves are played with thumb
and _second_ finger, thus leaving the third finger free for the added
ninth. An example of the latter exception is the final octave passage
in the Rondo of the favourite Beethoven Sonata for 'cello (No. 2). This
passage, which remains in the lower range of the instrument, sounds much
more brilliant if taken as an ordinary passage across the strings, than
if attempted with the usual octave fingering.




In considering harmonics, the names of two of the greatest
violin players the world has ever seen force themselves to one's
mind:--Paganini and Spohr; the exponents of two schools of violin
playing as diametrically opposed to each other as darkness is to light.
Paganini the weird, fiery Italian, astonishing the world with hitherto
undreamt of effects, not the least marvellous in the eyes of critics and
multitude alike, being his wonderful command over every possible form of
harmonic playing. Spohr with his solid, classical, German temperament,
attempting nothing out of the established limits of real, solid playing,
countenancing nothing which the "great in music" before him had not
accepted and stamped with their hall-mark. Considering this, and also
that Spohr may have been annoyed at the allegiance which nearly the
whole music-loving public were only too eager to pay to the Italian
violinist, it is not to be wondered at that he should find it necessary
to denounce the whole art of harmonic playing as trick playing and
unworthy of a great artist. One can hardly forgive Spohr's description
of harmonic tones as "foreign and childish"; they certainly are
entirely different to the tone produced by stopped notes, but this very
difference, instead of condemning them, should rather recommend them to
the instrumentalist as another means of adding variety, that essence of
life, to his playing. It is really surprising what an electrical effect
on an audience has a well executed passage in harmonics; "harmonics
excite wonder"! true, but if well played they also excite enthusiasm.

Spohr is to be praised for his recommendations to young violinists not
to neglect that which is useful, in the prosecution of the study of
harmonics; young violoncellists please attend to the advice! yet every
player should be thoroughly conversant with the science of harmonics
even if he has to defer perfection in the art of their production until
a later period. "Harmonics" are described as "the accessory sounds
generated with the predominant and apparently simple tones of any
vibrating string or column of air." Science teaches us that a single
note is impossible; immediately a note is sounded, certain tones more
or less related to the fundamental note, are generated. These overtones
may be distinctly heard if one of the open strings of a good old
violoncello is vigorously sounded; as the fundamental note decreases
in power, the harmonic over-tones will be easily heard in their order
of production--first the octave, then the fifth to the octave, then
the major third to the octave above. Another method of hearing these
harmonics is by causing a note in unison with one of the open strings of
the violoncello to be sung, or played upon some other instrument, the
string in unison with the note sounded, through sympathetic vibration
will give out the overtones only, as previously described. However it
is not these fleeting overtones which demand our attention, although
they form the natural basis to the whole matter, it is the production
of harmonic tones in the form of independent or primary notes. To
accomplish this on the violoncello the string must be touched lightly
with the finger at certain places, not as for the production of a
stopped note, by pressing the string firmly against the fingerboard,
but by allowing one finger to lightly rest upon it with sufficient
"touch" to divert the vibrations. It will be found that only at certain
places are harmonic notes possible. These places are called nodes or
nodal points; they are to be found at the mathematical divisions of
the strings into halves, thirds, quarters, etc. The class of harmonics
produced in this manner are termed "Natural Harmonics." As each string
gives out the same notes relative to the pitch of the open string, one
description will suffice.

If a string is lightly touched at its half length during vibration, the
octave to the open string will be produced; at one-third or two-thirds
its length, measuring either from the bridge to the nut or _vice versâ_,
the fifth above the octave; at one-fourth or three-fourths the double
octave; at one-fifth, two-fifths, three-fifths and four-fifths the major
third above the second octave; at one-sixth and five-sixths the fifth
above the second octave, and at one-eighth, three-eighths, five-eighths
and seven-eighths a harmonic note three octaves above the open string
will be produced. The difference between the vibration of a musical
string during the production of a stopped note, and a harmonic note is
of sufficient interest, and of enough importance to merit description.
Most of my readers will be aware that when the string is pressed firmly
against the fingerboard for a stopped note, the portion between the
finger and the nut does not vibrate, the string is practically shortened
to the dimensions of that portion which lies between the finger and the
bridge; when a harmonic note is played however, the finger being lightly
placed on the string merely diverts the vibration; the whole length of
the string vibrates, the part between the finger and the nut assisting
as actively in producing the note as the part between the finger and
bridge. The following rough sketch will illustrate this more clearly
than is possible in words alone; Fig. 5 represents a vibrating string;
(_a_) is the nut, (_c_) the bridge, the string being stopped at its half
length (_b_), the only portion which vibrates is that between (_b_) and
(_c_). Fig. 6 represents a harmonic note produced at the half string
(_b_) in this case the whole string vibrates yet the string is divided
into two equal parts, the part between (_a_) and (_b_) vibrating in
unison with that between (_b_) and (_c_). The student will here see the
importance of keeping all the fingers quite clear of the string except
of course the one producing the note, so that the vibrations may not be
impeded. So far this seems quite logical, it is in proceeding further
that one realizes the wonderful laws which govern the production of
harmonics. Fig. 7 represents the string touched lightly at its fourth
part (_d_) or (_e_) giving the harmonic note two octaves above the open
string; the student will observe that it is quite immaterial whether the
fourth be calculated from the bridge or from the nut; the vibrations in
each case will be thus:--If the string is touched at (_d_) the portion
between (_d_) and (_c_), that is between the finger and the bridge, will
naturally divide itself into three equal parts, each part vibrating in
unison with the part between (_a_) and (_d_); again, if the finger is
placed at (_e_) the part behind the finger, that is, the portion of the
string between (_e_) and (_a_) will divide itself into equal parts in
like manner. One of the fourth parts is to be found at (_b_); how is
it then that if the string is touched there a harmonic note of lower
pitch than those given out at the first and third fourths is produced?
The reason is that the portion of string at each side of (_b_) being of
equal length, the string naturally divides itself into halves; we have
found that this gives the octave to the open string. The student may
work out for himself the reason why the fifth above the second octave
is only playable at the one-sixth and five-sixth parts and not at the
two-sixth, three-sixth and four-sixth, and why the third octave is not
possible at the two-eighth, four-eighth, and six-eighth parts.

[Illustration: Fig 5]

[Illustration: Fig 6]

[Illustration: Fig 7]


The name "artificial" is used merely in contrast to "natural," they are
only artificial in the sense that they are produced on an artificial or
"made" basis, instead of being in the key of the open string.

If one was restricted to the use of natural harmonics it would be
impossible to play scale passages, or any passages foreign to the key of
the four open strings. However by causing the string to be shortened by
the employment of a stopped note the pitch of the fundamental note may
be raised to any desired height, the harmonics being produced exactly
as before, on the fresh root thus formed; the harmonic being in the
key of the shortened string. In playing artificial harmonics on the
violoncello it is usual to employ the thumb for the stopped note, the
third finger should then be caused to touch the string lightly at one
of its nodal points, the distances of course being now calculated from
the thumb to the bridge. Owing to the sometimes great length of string
between the stopped note and the bridge it is often found impossible to
use any but the smaller divisions, the form most often met with being
harmonics produced by fourths, that is, the third finger touching the
string at the interval of one fourth (stopped note) above the thumb:
the harmonic thus produced will be two octaves above the pitch of the
note stopped by the thumb. Whole passages are written for this form
of artificial harmonics. To the student who has thoroughly mastered
octave passages in stopped notes the technical difficulties presented
ought to be easily conquered, as the same technique really suffices for
both; the only difference being that whilst octaves are played across
two strings--artificial harmonics by fourths are played with the same
fingering and the same intervals on one string.

With respect to the bowing of harmonics, the peculiar manner in which
the string vibrates during the production of harmonic notes must be
taken into consideration. It is important to notice that the vibration
of the string near the nodal points is the least intense (see double
lines in diagram), whereas the part mid-way between the nodes vibrates
with the greatest intensity; if the bow is caused to pass near one of
these nodes it may possibly give a greater vibration to that portion of
the string than is required, which would have the effect of displacing
the natural division, and placing of the nodes, thus causing confusion
or perhaps another harmonic than the one intended to be produced. It is
general to give an all round rule that in playing harmonics the bow must
always be drawn close to the bridge, the student will comprehend that
the smaller the division of the string used to produce the harmonic, the
greater need will there be to attend to this rule. The progression of
harmonic notes should be clearly defined; in passages composed wholly of
harmonics it may sometimes be found advisable to use a down bow-stroke
for each note, slightly striking the commencement of each harmonic; this
will give the necessary attack, and will cause each note to ring out
clear as a bell, providing the fingering is correctly managed.

Harmonics are indicated in various ways, sometimes causing much
confusion and indecision as to what is really required; thus in a
single composition it is possible to find the real notes which are to
be produced being given with the word "harmonique" or "flageolet" or
sometimes the sign O (usually employed for natural harmonics) added,
the player to produce the harmonics as he pleases; again the position
of the node which produces the harmonic will be indicated by a blank
note, the pitch of the harmonic to be produced being left to fate and
the performer. To indicate artificial harmonics it is usual to write the
stopped notes as an ordinary passage, then with the aid of blank notes
the positions where the string has to be lightly touched are shown.




There are various effects possible on the violoncello, which one often
finds introduced in modern solo compositions, but on which most works
on the art of violoncello playing are strangely reticent. Some of these
effects may perhaps come under the head of trick playing, but as they
are to be found in the works of such masters as Servais, Davidoff,
Popper, etc., it will be advisable to devote a little time to their

Servais--who is credited with doing more by his compositions and playing
towards giving the violoncello a firm standing as a solo instrument than
any previous writer, and perhaps any subsequent player-writer with the
exception of Popper--makes free use of most of the effects here treated.

The most common effect, generally known as "trick staccato," may be
explained as follows:

[Illustration: EX. 51.]

The left hand takes no part in the division of the notes, the third
finger merely gliding from the highest note of the passage, down to the
open A string; the finger should press uniformly on the string, the
division of the notes being accomplished by a nervous tremolo movement
of the fore-arm which causes the bow to proceed in a series of rapid

The right hand wrist remains fixed, the pressure on the bow being
almost uniform. The above kind of staccato must not be confounded with
solid staccato. It is possible to attain a very high rate of speed in
a passage as Ex. 51 if executed as explained, but apart from this, the
effect is entirely different than if performed with solid staccato,
even if it were possible to play the passage as rapidly with the latter
form of bowing. Another kind of chromatic passage produced wholly by a
bow movement may be found in Davidoff's "Am Springbrunnen" and Popper's
"Elfentanz." The following (Ex. 52) is taken from the latter work.

[Illustration: EX. 52.]

The finger should glide along the string as previously explained, the
division of the notes in this instance being accomplished by a rapid
spiccato movement of the bow, producing a series of short detached
strokes. In a passage of this character it is impossible for either
player or listener to discern whether the exact chromatic scale is
actually played; the only method to approach anywhere near a faithful
interpretation of the passage, is by a correct division of the bow
strokes in groups of fours, at the same time carefully regulating the
speed of the gliding finger. It will be evident that the gliding must
be more rapid when the lower positions of the instrument are reached
than in the high positions; thus in commencing the above passage (Ex.
52), the notes being nearer together in the higher positions than in
the lower, the hand should move correspondingly slower; the movement
becoming more rapid as the passage proceeds.

A third method of producing a chromatic passage--this time, however,
with the left hand, without any assistance from the bow for the division
of the notes--seems to be a speciality of Servais. It is introduced both
in slow portamento effects and rapid chromatic passages.

[Illustration: EX. 53.]

The bow should be drawn as for a long sustained note, the division of
the notes being caused by a series of rapid jerks performed by the left
hand. The finger should sustain the pressure on the string during the
whole passage, the movement is similar to that explained as the method
of producing the vibrato, with the addition of the forward or backward
progression of the hand according to the requirements of the passage.
The passage may be played with any finger, but it is advisable to use
the fourth finger for a descending passage (see Ex. 53) and the first or
second finger for an ascending chromatic run. It is also here impossible
to attempt to play the real notes except in very slow passages; to
execute a rapid chromatic as above, the player should merely grasp the
time of the semiquavers, and regulate the distances for each movement
previously as explained.

The same effects as above examples are also possible in octaves, they
are produced in a similar manner.


A style of bowing which seems to be either very little understood, or
very much neglected, is "sul ponticello" bowing. In string quartets,
orchestral music, etc., a very fine effect is possible if all the
players execute it in a proper manner. The bow should be drawn quite
close to the bridge, with only medium pressure applied, the stroke
should be performed more rapidly than ordinary bowing. This bowing
executed by a number of strings gives a very weird effect, the only
objection to its use being that if great skill is not used, the string,
instead of vibrating as a whole, will vibrate in segments, thus giving
out one or other of the natural harmonics. It is stated that Paganini
used to play certain passages in harmonics after the above manner;
harmonic tones may be produced on any stopped note, by the bow alone, as
follows. The bow should be drawn very lightly across the strings near
the bridge, the left hand fingers firmly stopping the notes; various
harmonics may be produced with one fingering by slightly varying the
position of the bow, moving it slightly nearer or away from the bridge.
Except for special passages, which are really intended for this kind of
ponticello harmonic playing, it is not advisable to introduce it; the
slightest irregularity in the position of the bow on the string will
alter the harmonic notes to a great extent.


Of more real use than the preceding, is the bowing sometimes styled
_sotto voce_, or more properly "flautando"; the tone produced by this
manner of bowing is of a beautiful soft flute-like character, and serves
as a grateful change to a continued hard tone. It is accomplished by
causing the bow to be drawn near the fingerboard, and without any
pressure being applied; the strokes should be drawn much more rapidly
than for the usual way of bowing, the change of bow-strikes being
accomplished almost unheard. It is practicable for any sustained
cantabile theme, especially if the tone is to be kept _piano_; great
freedom in bowing must be obtained before anything like perfection be
arrived at, the only objection to its introduction being the manner in
which phrases are "chopped up" if bowed in this manner; this, however,
is more apparent on paper than in the performance, as if the bowing is
skilfully managed it is possible to reverse the strokes without any
perceptible break in the tone, the phrase being as continued as if
executed with one sustained bow-stroke.


Various effects are possible in pizzicato playing, such as the close
shake, the pizzicato glide; the latter if done well has a very good
effect, especially in chord passages, the fingers should glide to the
next chord almost as soon as the strings are plucked. Grace notes are
also possible in this manner; the string is plucked for the grace
note, then the finger rapidly glides to the principal note during its
vibration; the string only being plucked once for the two notes or




Up to the present chapter the student has been instructed how to
interpret and perform that which he sees on the music sheet before him;
to give a soulful and intelligent reading of any composition, he must
look beyond the mere written notes, and see if it is not possible to
discover some _meaning_, some effect which the composer has been unable
to express in musical notation.

True music is conceived in the mind of the composer, in some more or
less perfected form, before any attempt is made to transfer the ideas
to paper. Of course each composer has his individual way of working,
thus Beethoven never was without a note book in which he jotted down any
bits of melody or any musical thought which occurred to his mind during
his perambulations. Among these ideas may be found the leading themes
from which some of his greatest compositions were afterwards developed.
Mozart gives us an instance in the extreme opposite direction; it is
stated that this wonderful composer carried the whole of a sonata
for violin and pianoforte in his mind without a single note being
transferred to paper, the composer taking part in a public performance
of the same with only a duplicate of the violin copy at the pianoforte.

The student must keep in mind that the composer writes his thoughts;
perhaps the reader is unable to conceive the difficulty of transferring
to paper the musical thoughts which come unbidden to the mind; to write
the notes is simplicity itself, but how impossible to write a melody so
that every inflection of tone power, every slight change in tempo, and
more than this the exact sentiment which the music should convey. To
some people--perhaps to some players--music is merely the sounding of
a variety of combinations of sounds, in various rhythms; it expresses
nothing more than that. Emotion, sentiment, must not be given a place in
the musician's vocabulary, anything which does not appeal solely to the
intellect we are told to consider vulgar and sensual. Luckily for the
string player these superior people are in a minority, the multitude are
yet swayed, and to the end will continue to be moved by a melody sung or
played from the heart.

Perhaps it is possible to find a parallel in art; one contemplates a
beautiful geometrical design; clever, intricate, graceful, but how much
better are we for its contemplation? Has it conveyed any truth? Is it
possible to move a crowd either to tears or laughter? Is it possible
to awaken either warlike or peaceful feelings in the breasts of the
observers? How much greater to portray feelings than forms, thus a
picture which depicts love, hatred, happiness, misery or gratitude, must
be considered greater than a mere figure study. In landscape painting it
is greater to reproduce _living_ nature than mere studies of trees, sky,
etc.; thus the painter who makes us see the driving snow, the rushing
torrent, the beating rain, the fitful gleam of sunlight or even the
passive stillness of the wood, conveys impressions to our minds, not
only impressions of nature, but of certain states or moods of nature.

Compare some of the music by such as Romberg to that of Beethoven or
Schumann; the first merely studies in sound, the latter brimful of
thoughts, impressions, which appeal to the intellect of the performer,
and test his musicianship by the manner in which they are expressed or

The student should remember that all good music is composed with a
strict observance of its effect on the listener; this does not mean that
Beethoven wrote a scherzo for the sole purpose of causing people to
feel jolly, any more than he wrote a funeral march or an adagio solely
to make people sad. In all Beethoven's music, as in that of other great
masters, the listener is purposely compelled to pass through various
states of mind; where necessary the addition of a movement or section
in quite a contrasting mood is purposely made, so that the mind of the
listener is prepared for the ensuing movement. The composer writes what
inspires him at the moment, but his greatness is shown in the manner
in which these themes are contrasted and varied, so that the interest
of the listener is sustained throughout the whole performance. This
must be considered in the delivery of a musical composition. "It is
the effect on the listener which one must constantly have in mind," no
matter how turbulent are the feelings of the player, if the passion
does not find its way into the delivery, the audience will be quite
unaware of the fact. How is this to be accomplished? In reading aloud
or reciting, if one only observes the ordinary rising and falling of
the voice at the division of the periods, marks of interrogation, etc.,
it would be hardly possible to say that one read with expression. There
is something more than this school boy elocution required; does not an
orator hurry an impassioned passage, and drag a doleful one, does he
not shout a command and whisper a tender sentence. So if the musician
merely observes the rhythmical and dynamic effects, the performance may
be correct, yet it will be void of soul, and of that force which carries
along the hearer.

Exactly as in elocution, the performer must first grasp the intention
of the composer before a soulful interpretation is possible; it is
just this "conception," this grasp of the composer's meaning, this
transforming of the groups of sound into a real living performance,
which at once reveals the real genius. It is quite true that genius must
be trained or it will fall into many errors and exaggerations, there are
many who, guided by feeling alone, put such an amount of individuality
and what is commonly termed expression into their performances, that the
listener, led away by the rush of passion, overlooks the many errors
with which the performance abounds. It is for the student to cultivate
a style which shall satisfy the most refined tastes, at the same time
infusing as much of his own personality and feeling into the delivery
as the nature of the composition will admit. It is a difficult matter
to give any absolute rules for the guidance of young players, let us,
however, consider what constitutes a fine delivery.

The first essential is beauty of tone; it is recorded of Jenny Lind--an
artist with a reputation more unique it would be difficult to find--that
the quality of her voice was of such beauty that even the ordinary
diatonic scale sung slowly, was enough to create the utmost enthusiasm.
One writer describes the pleasure experienced from hearing the _tone_
of her voice only, as that obtained by the sight of pure, brilliant
colour; thousands who heard this great singer were melted to tears, even
when the work was quite unintelligible to the majority of them; this
was occasioned chiefly by the natural pathos in the tone of her voice,
added to a personality as simple as sincere. The performer should always
consider that "tone" is the fundamental matter with which he works; as
a rule "tone" is generally thought to mean "big" tone, but this is not
necessarily so; beautiful, sweet, brilliant tone should be the aim,
big tone if possible, but never at the expense of quality, variety and

The next matter of importance is a correct conception of tempo; as some
writer has remarked, "it is possible to transform a scherzo into a
funeral march by a wrong conception of tempo." This is a matter of great
importance, but also a matter in which some of our finest players and
conductors differ to an alarming extent. In the case of solo players
this may be excused, as the tempo which may suit the characteristics
of one player would perhaps be quite dull if adopted by a soloist with
quite a different style. In the case of conductors, however, it is to be
feared that much of this difference arises from a desire to be thought
original, even at the expense of all tradition. In determining the tempo
of a composition the character and general build of the work itself is
the only guide.

The third essential is a faithful reproduction of all the dynamic
effects marked by the composer, as well as all the varieties in tempo
such as ritards, calando passages, accelerandos, etc., etc.; beyond this
may be again mentioned the different varieties of tone, the playing of
certain passages on one string in preference to another, artificial
shifting for the purpose of a correct phrasing, the increasing or
retarding of the tempo other than marked by the composer; these latter
liberties are only applicable to compositions of the lyric or romantic
type, in the delivery of which it is needful to introduce the emotional
element, and are not intended to be introduced in compositions which
depend solely or chiefly on rhythm for their effect. Under the latter
head may be classed mazurkas, tarantelles, etc., and nearly all dance
movements, except those of the sentimental type.

The fugue also comes under the same head, it is possible to express
rhythm in musical notation but not emotion, and it must be remembered
that the fugue is the outcome of a highly trained intellect, and not
the outcome of inspiration in its independent sense. The fugue is
really "paper" music, it is possible to write more than could possibly
be imagined, this also applies in some degree to pieces of a highly
contrapuntal nature. In concluding this part of our subject it may be
recommended to the player to learn to anticipate effects--to hear in
advance that which he is about to play. "Expression is the manifestation
of impression," if the performer is not sensitive to the generating
causes of expression--if these make no impression on him, it will be
impossible for him to feel what he is playing, this system of reading in
advance allows the performer to thoroughly grasp the musical phrase, and
to give it a sensible intelligent treatment. In playing at sight, or in
the performance of concerted music, this is of great importance.

The foregoing remarks on individuality of interpretation do not apply
to the performance of concerted music; in playing trios, quartets,
and especially in orchestral work the performers must sink their own
individuality, for the sake of the general effect: in orchestral
playing, purity of intonation, a strict and decided division of the
notes, and especially in large orchestras, what may be termed an
exaggerated interpretation of the dynamics, must form the basis. All
artificial shifting must be dispensed with, gliding along the strings
must also not be indulged in, except in some unison passages where
all the players can decide to finger the passage in the same manner;
passages marked "piano" must be played throughout "piano," and not as
in solo work, be varied by slight crescendos, etc., according as the
passage rises or falls, etc. The reader will readily understand that a
theme played pianissimo by a half-dozen 'cellos will have an entirely
different effect than the same theme played by one instrument, even if
the same body of tone is produced. A number of instruments playing in
unison impart a grandeur to a passage which is quite characteristic; it
must be remembered that composers have this effect in their minds when
writing for strings in the orchestra. The conception of the work and its
manner of delivery rests entirely with the conductor, each player for
the time being must accept his reading, and be as subservient to the
will of the conductor as are the keys of a pianoforte to the fingers of
the musician.

In concluding it is as well to remember that we are not all constituted
alike; some are born to be leaders, they have will, individuality,
originality; others are more fit to be lead, they can accomplish much
under the guidance of some master mind, but if left to themselves are
utterly useless.

To place a fine solo player in an orchestra would be equal to compelling
the general of an army to serve in the line. The reverse is not always
the case, there are many who although brilliant and successful in the
orchestra are useless for any other branch of playing. Let each one
perfect himself in the branch of art for which he is most suited;
exactly as it is impossible for a musician to be "master" of more than
one instrument, so it is impossible to arrive at perfection in every
branch of music. There are many fine solo players who have had long
experience with the orchestra, but they have been soloists in spite of

                                THE END.

                          TENTH YEAR OF ISSUE.

_The Largest Circulation in the World of any paper amongst Violinists_


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THE STRAD gives every month a beautifully executed portrait on fine art
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Lady Hallé, L. J. Massart, Emile Sauret, Pietro Nardini, Ludwig Straus,
Marie Soldat, George Craske, Carl Courvoisier, Robert Lindley, Henri
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               _Crown 8vo., Cloth, 2/6, Post Free, 2/9._

    _"THE STRAD" LIBRARY EDITION is the only Authorised Edition of_

                       Technics of Violin Playing


                            JOACHIM'S METHOD


                           CARL COURVOISIER.

         With Folding Plates, Containing Fifteen Illustrations.

                        LETTER FROM DR. JOACHIM

MY DEAR MR. COURVOISIER: I have read the book on Violin Playing
you have sent me, and have to congratulate you sincerely on the manner
in which you have performed a most difficult task, _i.e._, to describe
the best way of arriving at a correct manner of playing the violin.

It cannot but be welcome to thoughtful teachers, who reflect on the
method of our art, and I hope that your work will prove useful to many

Believe me, my dear Mr. Courvoisier, to be most faithfully yours,

                                                         JOSEPH JOACHIM.

Berlin, November 3rd, 1894.

The New and Revised Edition of "Technics of Violin Playing" issued by
The Strad is the only authorised edition of my work. The several English
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                                                       CARL COURVOISIER.

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               _Crown 8vo., Cloth, 2/6, Post Free, 2/9._

                        HOW TO STUDY THE VIOLIN

                           By J. T. CARRODUS


Strings and Tuning. The Bow and Bowing. Faults and their Correction.
Scales and their Importance. Course of Study. Advice on Elementary
Matters. Concerning Harmonics, Octaves, etc. Orchestral Playing.
Some Experiences as a Soloist. With full page portraits of Carrodus,
Molique, Paganini, Spohr, Sivori, De Beriot, Blagrove and Sainton, and a
photo-reproduction of Dr. Spohr's testimonial to Carrodus.

       *       *       *       *       *

"An interesting series of articles 'How to Study the Violin,' which
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two before his death, have now been collected in cheap book form. The
technical hints to violin students, which are practical, plainly worded,
and from such a pen most valuable."--_Daily News._

"But a few weeks before his sudden death the most distinguished of
native violinists completed in THE STRAD a series of chats to
students of the instrument associated with his name. These chats are
now re-issued, with a sympathetic preface and instructive annotations.
All who care to listen to what were virtually the last words of such
a conscientious teacher will recognise the pains taken by Carrodus to
render every detail as clear to the novice as to the advanced pupil.
Pleasant gossip concerning provincial festivals at which Carrodus was
for many years 'leader' of the orchestra, ends a little volume worthy a
place in musical libraries both for its practical value and as a memento
of the life-work of an artist universally esteemed."--_Daily Chronicle._

"It is surely, hardly necessary to direct the attention of students
to the unique value of the hints and advice given by so experienced
and accomplished a virtuoso as the late Mr. Carrodus, so that it only
remains to state that the 'Recollections' make delightful reading, and
that the book, as a whole, is as entertaining as it is instructive.
The value of the _brochure_ is enhanced by an excellent portrait of
Mr. Carrodus, as well as of a number of other violin worthies, and
the printing, paper, and get up generally are good as could possibly
be."--_Musical Answers._

       *       *       *       *       *



                _Crown 8vo., Cloth 2/6, Post Free 2/9._

                                THE BOW

                    Its History, Manufacture and Use


                          HENRY SAINT-GEORGE.

      With Full Page Illustrations (exact size) by Photo Process.

       *       *       *       *       *

MONS. EMILE SAURET writes--"I have read it with great interest, and
think that it supplies a real want in giving musicians such an excellent
description of all matters referring to this important instrument."

SIGNOR GUIDO PAPINI writes--"Thanks so much for your splendid and
interesting book. You are quite successful and all the artists and
amateurs are indebted to you for a so exact and correct '_Texte_' on the

ADOLF BRODSKY writes--"I am delighted with the book and find it very
instructive, even for those who think to know everything about the bow.
It is very original and at times very amusing. No violinist should miss
the opportunity to buy it."

THE TIMES.--"A useful treatise on the Bow, in which the history,
manufacture and use of the bow are discussed with considerable technical

DAILY TELEGRAPH.--"To the student there is much of interest in the work,
which has the advantage of being copiously illustrated."

DAILY NEWS.--"This book seems practically to exhaust its subject."

       *       *       *       *       *



                _Crown 8vo., Cloth 5/-, Post Free 5/4._

                         CELEBRATED VIOLINISTS,
                            PAST AND PRESENT

                    _Translated from the German of_

                              A. EHRLICH.

                _And Edited with Notes and Additions by_

                            ROBIN H. LEGGE.

                     _WITH EIGHTY-NINE PORTRAITS._


"Those who love their fiddles better than their fellows, and who
treasure up every detail that can be found and recorded about their
favourite and cherished players will not fail to provide themselves with
a copy of this book."--_Musical Opinion._

"This book of 280 pages is a most interesting and valuable addition
to the violinist's library. It contains 89 biographical sketches of
well-known artists, ancient and modern, of all nations. This is not
intended to be a perfect dictionary of violinists; the aim of the Editor
of the present volume being merely to give a few more up-to-date details
concerning some of the greatest of stringed instrument players, and we
must concede that no name of the first importance has been omitted.
Germany is represented by 21 names, Italy by 13, France by 10, England
by 4, Bohemia by 8, Belgium by 7, and the fair sex by seven well-known
ladies, such as Teresina Tua, Therèse and Marie Milanollo, Lady Hallé,
Marie Soldat, Gabrielle Wietrowetz, and Arma Senkrah. Altogether this
is most agreeable reading to the numerous array of violinists, both
professionals and amateurs, and after careful examination we can
find nothing but praise for this translation into English of a book
well-known on the Continent."--_The Piano, Organ and Music Trades

       *       *       *       *       *



                _Crown 8vo., Cloth 2/6, Post Free 2/9._



                          E. VAN DER STRAETEN.

                         COPIOUSLY ILLUSTRATED.

    _Copy of Letter received by the Author from the great 'cellist,
                         SIGNOR ALFRED PIATTI._

                              Cadenabbia, Lake of Como, March 9th, 1898.

DEAR SIR,--I received the book you kindly sent me on "The Technics of
Violoncello Playing," which I found excellent, particularly for
beginners, which naturally was your scope. With many thanks for kindly
remembering an old ex-violoncello player.

                                            Believe me, yours sincerely,
                                                          ALFRED PIATTI.

   _Copy of Letter received by the Author from the eminent 'cellist,
                          HERR DAVID POPPER._

                                          Budapest, February 22nd, 1898.

DEAR SIR,--In sending me your book on "The Technics of Violoncello
Playing" you have given me a real and true pleasure. I know of no work,
tutors and studies not excepted, which presents so much valuable
material, so much that is absolutely to the point, avoiding--I might
say, on principle--all that is superfluous and dispensable. Every
earnest thinking violoncello student will in future make your book his
own and thereby receive hints which will further and complete the
instructions of his master.

I congratulate you and ourselves most heartily on the new violoncello
book. With kind regards, Yours most sincerely,

                                                           DAVID POPPER.

       *       *       *       *       *



                _Crown 8vo., Cloth, 2/6, Post Free 2/9._

                             VIOLIN PLAYING


                               JOHN DUNN


INTRODUCTORY--Qualities indispensable to the ideal Violinist--Hints on
the Choice of a Teacher--Some Tricks of pretending professors exposed.

ON THE CHOICE OF A VIOLIN AND BOW--Advice regarding general adjustment
and repairs.

ON THE CHOICE OF STRINGS--Stringing the Instrument and keeping the Pegs
in Order.

ON THE GENERAL POSTURE--The manner of holding the Violin and Bow as
accepted by the leading artists of the day.

ON FINGERING GENERALLY--The various positions--Scales recommended--The
Modern Orchestral "Principal" or (so-called) Leader.

ON GLIDING--Special Characteristics of some of the most Eminent Players.

DOUBLE STOPPING--The main difficulty in Double Stopping--How to gain
independence of Finger.

BOWINGS--Smooth Bowings--Solid Staccato--Spiccato--Spring Bow--Mixed

TONE PRODUCTION--Character of Tone--Rules and Condition necessary to
produce a good tone--Style and Expression.

       *       *       *       *       *


                            THE OLD "STRAD."

                          By LIONEL J. COWEN.

Prints from this celebrated Picture, exhibited at the Royal Academy in
1886, engraved in the most admirable manner, in Photogravure.

          The size of the engraved surface is 19 by 14 inches.

    Artist's Proofs, limited to 100           £4  4  0
    Prints on Indian Paper, limited to 250     2  2  0
    Prints                                     1  1  0


"Among the recent art publications, of which the increasing number gives
the measure of popular appreciation, may be mentioned the production of
L. J. Cowen's 'The Old Strad.' The picture was exhibited at the Royal
Academy as far back as 1886, and attracted considerable attention on
account of the thoroughly Dutch feeling and humour the artist had thrown
into his work. It has now been reproduced by the Swan Electric Engraving
Company, of which the methods are probably unsurpassed by any other
process in this country. How far it can compete with other processes in
the matter of cost is another matter."--_Illustrated London News._

"Under the title, 'The Old Strad,' is published a reproduction of
Mr. Lionel J. Cowen's picture, which represents a mender of violins
carefully surveying a famous old fiddle. The subject is very well
suited to reproduction in black and white, it is of special interest
to those who watch the reproductive arts grouped under the term of
Photogravure."--_Art Journal._

"Mr. Lionel Cowen's 'Old Strad.' The softness and tone of the plate is
remarkable."--_Daily Chronicle._

"The Old 'Strad.' An important print from the celebrated picture of
a connoisseur inspecting a genuine Stradivarius, by Lionel J. Cowen,
exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1886. The picture has been reproduced
in a most admirable manner, in photogravure, by the Swan Electric
Engraving Company, of London, and cannot fail to have a ready sale
amongst violinists, musical instrument makers, and all who take an
interest in thoroughly genuine works of art."--_Morning Advertiser._

"Of the illustrations, incomparably the best is 'The Old Strad,' a
photogravure of a painting by Mr. Lionel Cowen. As a realisation of
quiet ecstacy, it is almost perfect."--_The Spectator._

"'The Old Strad.' We know of no picture in recent years that could give
such keen pleasure to the fiddle-lover and confidently recommend our
readers to become possessors of the _early_ prints."--_Violin Times._

       *       *       *       *       *


    Transcriber's Note:

    Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as

    Italic text has been marked with _underscores_.
    Musical symbols which are not available as Unicode characters are
    represented by [symbol].

    The following is a list of changes made to the original.
    The first line is the original line, the second the corrected one.

    action of the wrist, form-arm, and upper arm during
    action of the wrist, fore-arm, and upper arm during

    the above passage at sight, without the slighest difficulty,
    the above passage at sight, without the slightest difficulty,

    its relation to the five open strings, the hand of the
    its relation to the four open strings, the hand of the

    the larnyx. The 'cellist has sometimes to make a sweep
    the larynx. The 'cellist has sometimes to make a sweep

    as perfect fifths, fourths, major and minor sixth, thirds,
    as perfect fifths, fourths, major and minor sixths, thirds,

    of these are the trill, or shake (tr), the praltriller,
    of these are the trill, or shake (tr), the pralltriller,

    former is met with in Popper's well-known "Elfantanz."
    former is met with in Popper's well-known "Elfentanz."

    Paganini the wierd, fiery Italian, astonishing the world
    Paganini the weird, fiery Italian, astonishing the world

    accellerandos, etc., etc.; beyond this may be again
    accelerandos, etc., etc.; beyond this may be again

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chats to 'Cello Students" ***

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