1 April 2021

Hello to the cello: Check out our top cello facts while organising your cello insurance

By Lark Music

It’s fair to say that the cello is not the easiest instrument to carry around or transport (which is why cello insurance is so important), but in return it offers cellists the most pleasing sound and range.

Invented in the 16th Century, it is an instrument that has evolved since then and is considered ‘the most human of instruments’.

Scottish cellist Alasdair Tait, Chief Executive & Artistic Director of the Young Classical Artists Trust, agrees and says “Yes, it’s a bit of a cliche, but the sound and range of a cello is so close to the human voice”.

Alasdair, who has performed in many of the world’s major concert halls, said: “As a cellist, you are constantly required to switch roles from being a gourd ed and supportive bass for others to also jumping up to take the main singing melodic line. I always loved the metaphor of the cellist in a string quartet being like the actual bottle that holds the wine and the label of the other three instruments!”

Alasdair is a much sought-after chamber music coach but actually grew up playing the piano. He said: “Learning to play the piano was invaluable to me. But the cello is just so much part of me and feels more of an extension, both physically and emotionally, to my musical voice.

“I love the fact that my instrument, (Wilhelm Ruprecht, 1820), was made in the city and the time that is probably closest to my heart, Vienna. It also has a unique one piece back with a beautiful varnish bringing out a vivid striped grain, hence my christening the instrument ‘Tiger’!”

Cello facts

  1. It was Francesco Rugeri (1628-1698) who established the measurements and proportions that became the modern cello which we know today.
  2. Some cellos had what is known as a procession hole in the back, which allowed marching musicians to attach the cello to their neck or shoulder and play it while walking along. An amazing example of this is an Amati cello from c1600, where the now-filled hole is still clearly visible.
  3. Not all cellos have four strings. Some five-string cellos were made in the 17th and 18th centuries, most notably required for Bach’s 6th cello suite, which calls for an extra string at the top, being an E string.
  4. In 2018, Sheku Kanneh-Mason became the first cellist in history to reach the UK Top 10 chart with his second album, Elgar, recorded at Abbey Road Studios with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra.
  5. There are two main types of bridge for a cello: Belgian and French models. Belgian bridges visually have a shorter heart in the centre and are known for their greater power of projection.

Facts provided by Florian Leonhard at Florian Leonhard Fine Violins. The London-based company makes, restores, sources and authenticates fine instruments. www.florianleonhard.com

Cello Insurance

If you are looking for cello insurance our team are happy to help. You can get in touch by clicking here or alternatively you can get a quote for your cello, or any type of musical instrument insurance, online.