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Cello Lessons: What is this Instrument I'm Holding?

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This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Multi-Style Cello with Mike Block. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Cello Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

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[MUSIC]
Welcome to the Artistworks
multistyle cello channel.
Before we dive into a lot great
music I wanna talk about what
is this instrument we're holding and
what are all the names of the parts.
So, that we can talk about
it as we move forward
at if God forbid anything
ever happens to your cello.
You can tell me what is broken.
Here we have the main body of the Cello.
This is surprisingly enough called the top
and here we have the back of the Cello.
The back can either be one single piece or
two pieces as mine is,
you can see the seam down the middle.
The top and the back are the main
resonating pieces of wood on the Cello.
So if anything ever happens to them,
if there's a crack it can actually
make it sound much worse.
So you want to be careful with the top and
the back particularly.
The Cello is held up the what's
called the end pin which is
this metal spike down here.
We'll talk more about adjusting
the height of the end pin
in our sitting posture video, but
it has a screw here, that if I loosen it,
will allow me to move the instrument
up and down depending on my height.
And on the bottom,
often end pins have a sharp edge so
that you can stay stable on the ground.
I have a little rubber stopper so
that I don't hurt myself.
Above the end pin is
attached the tail piece.
If you feel the tail piece,
there's some tension on it,
cuz it's actually holding
the tension of the strings.
Connecting these strings to the end pin.
On my tail piece, you'll see a pick up.
And I'll talk more about
that in a gear video later.
And also here is a microphone that
we're using to capture everything.
The strings go over the bridge.
The bridge is a very
special piece of wood.
It's thin and as you can see,
it's actually unvarnished.
All the vibrations in the string
are being sent through the bridge,
through the feet of the bridge,
into the top of the Cello.
So if your bridge starts to bend or warp.
It can also severely impact sound
because the vibrations from your strings
won't get into the Cello as effectively.
So you definitely want to make sure,
particularly that
the feet of the bridge are always in
full contact with the instrument.
If you know slightly part
of the feet are raised,
that's a sign that your bridge is slanted.
All of the vibrations from these strings,
they go through the bridge into the top.
And it's the vibrations of the top and
the back that vibrate all of the air
inside the hollow instrument and
that is basically nature's natural
amplifier, and then all the sound comes,
all the air carries the sound
out through these F holes here.
These sides of the instrument
are called the ribs, and the middle,
this C shaped section
is called the C bouts
yeah, I talked about the F-holes already,
obviously they're shaped like Fs.
The strings go over the fingerboard.
The fingerboard is where your
left hand is going to be playing
all the notes of all
the pieces ever created.
This is where all the music happens.
And Ebony is a particularly
hard type of wood, so
it can withstand a lot of banging and
playing.
The strings go all the way
up the fingerboard.
And the fingerboard is connected
here via the neck of the instrument.
The neck connects to the main body, and
then at the end of the neck
is called the nut.
That's where the strings
contact the Cello again.
You can see they're all raised over the
finger board and so your fingers will push
them against the finger board, but
an open string is what we call a string
where you're not using any fingers and
the nut is what's stopping the vibrations.
Above the nut is the peg box.
The peg box holds the tuning pegs.
I've actually got three tuning pegs,
most Cellos and
yours most likely has four tuning pegs.
Occasionally people with
like my body types, tall,
lanky, we often get hit in the neck
by one of the tuning pegs.
So,there's a couple companies
that sell tuning pegs
that you can adjust with a gear.
And so that enables me to sort of sit
straight up and not get hit in the neck.
And I'll talk about that
more in a later video.
Above the tuning pegs.
Well, actually you see a little
remnant of the block strap
which we'll also talk about
later if you're into standing.
But the top of the instrument
is a decorative scroll, and
it's shaped sort of like a shell.
And actually I've talked to
a lot of Violin makers about it,
it's purely decorative and there's no real
reason for it to be shaped like that.
But it's kind of awesome.
Apart from the body of the instrument
itself, I hope you also have a bow.
This is a bow.
The bow is called a bow actually,
because the earliest forms of them,
were literally hunting bows.
You know that one a bow and
arrow, they started adapting that
to plucked instruments, they started
rubbing the strings with it that way.
So, that's sort of how bowed
instruments got their beginning.
You can see there's a couple
different parts of the bow.
This black part is another piece of Ebony,
this is called the frog.
Above the frog we have the screw,
the screw is what tightens and
loosens the hair on the bow.
It reduces or increases the tension,
we'll talk about that again soon and
then you'll have some grip here and
some metal grip and that's all to sort of
give your hand a place to be at the other
end of the bow we've got the tip.
There is an ivory casing here at the tip
which can occasionally get damaged but you
wanna make sure that it's in good shape so
that the hair doesn't come flying out.
Apart from that we've got this
concave stick happening here.
Most bows have a sort
of an octagonal shape.
Some are circular.
But that was a big difference
between the broke bows,
which again,
we'll address in a later video.
But, the concave,
the angle of the bow is what enables
you to have a sustained sound.
All the way to the tip, so
that's gonna come in very handy when we
start playing some beautiful melodies.
These are the main parts
of the instrument.
>> When you put it altogether,
it can sound a little like this.
[MUSIC]