The first cellos were made in Italy in the 16th century. Composers wanted a lower toned instrument in their music, so an instrument which is an octave lower than violas or an octave and a fifth lower than violins was made. The cello is correctly called violincello, which in Italian means "little violone". It refers to the fact that the cello was developed from the relatively unknown bass violin and not from the viol as many believe. The double bass was later evolved from the cello.
Beethoven and Bach took to the cello
The cello soon became very popular among royal families. Beethoven and Bach were the first composers to make the cello a big part of their compositions and there were soon a lot of cello players evolved. The cello is today a very essential instrument, on its own, in quartets, and in orchestras.
Cello maker, Andrea Amati
The first known cello maker was Andrea Amati. He made cellos for the French king, Charles IX, with lots of decorations, such as carvings, painting and mottoes of the king. Andrea Amati's two sons, Girolamo and Antonio, were also celli makers. Andrea Amati's grandson, Nicolo is perceived as the best luthier of the Amati family, and the greatest maker of violins and celli of all times, the famous Antonio Stradivari, was one of his students.
Changes to the original cello design
At first the cello didn't have an end pin. It was soon to be a standard feature though, after a cello player carved a stick out of wood to hold his cello while he played, and other cello players loved the idea. The size of the cello has increased a bit in both height and width, to make
the cello easier to play. Besides these changes to the original cello, the design has not changed much over the past centuries. The size of the modern cello was standardized by Antonio Stradivari.
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