Baroque Cello History
Are you HIP?
Everything is an interpretation of what has been written and drawn. The aim of the performer is to get as close as possible to the text knowing that there no absolute truth, and many possibilities.
THE BAROQUE ERA
The "VIOLONCELLO" was born!
a bass instrument
What we call nowadays baroque cello cannot refer to only one type of instrument.
There was no size established during the baroque period, but many types of bass instruments among the family of the violin, the bass violins.
The word violoncello first started to appear in Italy during the second half of the XVIIth c.
the bow: clip in, no screw
It is important to experience a pure gut G String to understand the instrument, tempi and more but a silver-wound G string is often adopted by baroque cellists. A and D are always pure, without silver-wound.
The shape is almost flat
The inside part of the feet is small or inexistent.
Distance beweeen the strings is wider than on a modern bridge
A Baroque bass bar is:
shorter than a modern bass bar
generally oriented parallel to the centerline of the instrument, either under the bass bridge foot or in the center of the instrument.
What we can see:
The fingerboard was shorter and wider
What can be discussed:
Angled or Non-angled necks?
Fingerboard and bridge
The tilt angle of the fingerboard has a great influence on the instrument and its vibration. The greater the inclination, the higher will be the bridge and the pressure on the cello.
Another angle to look at is the angle of the rope over the bridge. Bigger angle means more pressure.
The main difference between a baroque cello and a modern cello is not only about the strings and the bow, but also the pressure exerted on the cello.
le mot de la fin...
Good news, you don't need a stradivarius to play baroque cello! ;)
Points to consider...
- Almost all the celli of the baroque period have been transformed to modern set up (including neck, fingerboard, bass bar, sound post, bridge, and size for most of the instruments made before 1700).
- Playing a 300 years old wood is not the most important knowing that the cellos in the baroque era were recently made of dry wood not 300 years old wood. An historical set up on a newly made instrument with baroque mesures is, to my opinion, the most authentic approach (and affordable for a musician!).
By comparing essays, paintings, one can get closer to what might have been the instrument 200, 300, or 400 years ago but what is also important to consider is that the human kind changed, the performer changed, the society and the developpment of the ego of the performer also changed. It is impossible to erase the present, nor the past but only be aware of it.