I believe, like Philibert Jambe de Fer stated in 1550, that the origin of the difference between the viols and the violin was the initial purpose of the instrument, the social class the players and their audience.
It is important to take in consideration that:
· During the baroque period, the same bass line of the continuo was played by the bass bowed instruments : viola da basso no matter the shape they had.
· The underhand bow grip was not reserved to the viols. It was of common use among the cellists until the middle of the eighteenth century and was still used until the beginning of the nineteenth century in Germany.
· Until the middle of the eighteenth century, cello methods mention the bowing for the Arpeggios and Batteries (characteristic figures of the baroque period), explaining that the bass had to be played on the up bow.
· No matter if playing the lutes, viols or violins; when playing the bass of the chord, the arm was going toward the sound board and the other strings, using the natural weight of the arm.
· Quantz in his essay explains that it Germany it was common that cellists played with a bow strokes similar to the one on the viola da gamba.
By consequence, I believe that in order to get the best sound from the instrument, applying a bowing technique similar to the technique of the viola da gamba in the Bach cello Suites is something we cellists should consider becaue it has a major impact on phrasing and on the way of sounding a string.
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