/chel"oh/, n., pl. cellos.the second largest member of the violin family, rested vertically on the floor between the performer's knees when being played. Also called violoncello.[1875-80; short for VIOLONCELLO]cello2/sel"oh/, n., adj. Informal.cellophane.[by shortening]
* * *or violoncelloIts full name means "little violone"i.e., "little big viol." Its proportions resemble those of the violin. Players hold its body between the legs, its weight supported by a metal spike that touches the floor. It has four strings, tuned an octave below those of the viola. The cello was developed in the early 16th century along with the violin and viola; later innovations increased its power. It gradually displaced the bass viola da gamba in the 18th century, especially as a continuo instrument. It has been essential to chamber music ensembles for 250 years. The modern orchestra includes 6 to 12 cellos. In the 19th and 20th centuries it was increasingly used as a solo instrument.
* * *bass musical instrument of the violin group, with four strings, pitched C–G–D–A upward from two octaves below middle C. The cello, about 27.5 inches (70 cm) long (47 inches [119 cm] with the neck), has proportionally deeper ribs and a shorter neck than the violin.The earliest cellos were developed during the 16th century and frequently were made with five strings. They served mainly to reinforce the bass line in ensembles. Only during the 17th and 18th centuries did the cello replace the bass viola da gamba as a solo instrument. During the 17th century the combination of cello and harpsichord for basso continuo parts became standard. Joseph Haydn (Haydn, Joseph), Mozart (Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus), and later composers gave increased prominence to the cello in instrumental ensembles. Notable works for the instrument include J.S. Bach's (Bach, Johann Sebastian) six suites for unaccompanied cello, Beethoven's (Beethoven, Ludwig van) five sonatas for cello and piano, the concertos of Antonín Dvořák (Dvořák, Antonín) and Darius Milhaud (Milhaud, Darius), the sonatas of Zoltán Kodály (Kodály, Zoltán) and Claude Debussy (Debussy, Claude), and the Bachianas brasileiras of Heitor Villa-Lobos (Villa-Lobos, Heitor), for eight cellos and soprano. One of the outstanding cellists of the 20th century was Pablo Casals (Casals, Pablo).
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