Any violinists here that wished they played cello instead?

April 13, 2017 at 06:09 PM ·

Replies (26)

April 13, 2017 at 06:25 PM · I currently have left shoulder tendonitis. While violin isn't the cause, it doesn't help my shoulder issues. Currently, I'm doing all the normal things one does for my condition. The worst part is not being able to practice for many months.

I have talked to my teacher about this. Her suggestion after exhausing all other possibilities to get better is to learn cello. Its not a bad idea. I may just do that come September.

April 13, 2017 at 06:26 PM · Actually, yes. I always wanted to play cello. I begged my high school orchestra teacher to let me switch to cello for my senior year. As I was the concertmaster, he declined. Still wish I could play, though.

April 13, 2017 at 06:48 PM · I never really wished I could play the cello, although I'm sure I would love it (I like the cello sound). The large size would trip me up a bit because of travelling management, but otherwise, I would go for it just for the heck of it. What about viola (laugh)? Definitely a little underrated, but a beautiful instrument too.

April 13, 2017 at 06:54 PM · If there had been no room in the viola class, I would have asked for 'cello rather than violin. Strangely, I have earned more with the violin!

April 13, 2017 at 07:04 PM · I love my violin(s). I love listening to cellos. I'm profoundly happy that I don't have to drag a cello around, load it into and out of my car, find space in my home to store it, pay the high price for string sets, have a summer and winter bridge, ......... I love my violin(s)!

April 13, 2017 at 07:37 PM · I love the violin rep, but we don't get an awesome Dvorak, Schumann, or Elgar concerto. I also think cello seems really fun to play.

April 13, 2017 at 07:47 PM · no.

April 13, 2017 at 08:00 PM · One can love the instrument and its repertoire without needing to play it. I prefer violin to piano, classical guitar, & cello, even if I love them all. Even based on repertoire, I definitely prefer some not-so-popular violin works over other instrument's famous workhorses.

April 13, 2017 at 09:42 PM · I have always been fascinated by bass fiddles but none of the shops near me has ever had one for sale. They also seem a bit cumbersome to transport.

April 13, 2017 at 11:29 PM · Of course I wish I could play the 'cello. In fact, I'd like to be able to come back in some other lifetime as a cellist. It's my favourite string sound. However, I adore the violin and learning it seems quite enough for one lifetime . . . .

April 14, 2017 at 12:33 AM · I hope you meant to say, "Any violinists here that wished they played cello instead in addition ?" Correct?

From a different angle, I've always played piano and recently decided to learn violin. I wouldn't say I've always wanted to play violin, until about a year ago, and nevertheless - I'm learning it and loving it. When there's a will, there's a way.

You have plenty of time ahead of you in life to begin learning cello. Maybe when you're older, or have some savings, or it becomes more practical. Don't dismiss it as a dream just yet!

April 14, 2017 at 12:46 AM · I know, but they aren't as good IMO.

April 14, 2017 at 01:35 AM · YES! So I rented a cello and started cello lessons. Nothing wrong with that at all! I left the violin under the bed for 30 years, but now I am back. In fact, I am meeting more folks who play both. Today I even tried a friend's viola!

The violin is brighter, and the orchestra parts are way better. But the cello has that deep, soulful voice...it is wonderful to experience both instruments. Who says you can't??

April 14, 2017 at 02:07 AM · I did and tried, but it wasn't meant to be. The bass, though, was amazing to play.

April 14, 2017 at 05:47 AM ·

April 14, 2017 at 07:58 AM · I play both cello and violin, and intend to start on viola soon. I play cello in an amateur orchestra. I'm more technically proficient on the cello than on the violin although I started playing the former later. I love the unique spectrum of colours both instruments can produce, so I decided to play both simultaneously. I advise you to do so if you have the financial ability to do so. At first, it may feel daunting to try reading bass clef but you will get used to it quickly. Playing the violin prior to cello allowed me to discern between various sound qualities and I could become more proficient quickly. I sought (and still do) to reproduce the deeper and sonorous sound quality of the cello on my violin, and vice versa, hence I think it is beneficial to play these two instruments simultaneously. The cello is beautiful and very versatile (quartet playing, solo playing, chamber/ symphony orchestra playing) but less sought after so it may be easier to get a position in an orchestra. And yes, I did think of becoming a cellist full time but decided to forgo the idea because I still loved the violin.

P.S I watched a Chinese Orchestra on vacation here in China and there was a cello section!!!

April 14, 2017 at 12:29 PM · I was once an orchestral cellist until I was faced, for the second time in a few months, with the Pachelbel Canon appearing on my stand ....

Seriously though, the older one gets the more the logistical problems of the cello get in the way. That was one of the main reasons I moved to the violin a few years ago, which means that to a significant extent I no longer need to rely on motor transport. Another reason was that I seriously felt I had been through the local orchestral cello repertoire at least half a dozen times over the years, and a change (and challenge!) of instrument and repertoire became distinctly attractive.

I gave my cello to my daughter in Belgium a few years ago, her need for a decent instrument being more important than my now non-existent cello requirements.

But it is fair to say that I enjoyed playing the cello in orchestra, with occasional solos and recitals in my younger days.

April 14, 2017 at 02:20 PM · A violinist who takes up cello has a "years-ahead" advantage over a non-musician or pianist who takes up cello. Just having experience with the feel of bowing strings puts one way ahead. However, the positioning of the left and right hands is sufficiently different for the two instruments that getting started with a good cello teacher is of utmost importance. One particular advantage of a violinist turned cellist may show up after a couple of years, when you advance to the upper region of the cello - and reading the TREBLE clef - because reading it is just like reading violin music and the finger spacing is nearly identical to that on a violin because the length of the upper half of cello strings is within a half inch of the vibrating length of 4/4 violin's strings (on one of my cellos the length is identical).

I also think the book "New Directions in Cello Playing" by Victor Sazer can be very helpful in checking ones technique after one has finished with lessons - especially if the lessons ended long ago. I would not recommend this book as a substitute for a teacher because it is really helpful to have professional eyes on you to see where your muscles are in excessive tension. Among professional cellists, Mr. Sazer's book has its detractors as well as admirers - so your own teacher might be in either category, although his successful performing and teaching career should speak for itself.

I think a person playing the cello can maintain a high level of proficiency for 10 to 20 years longer than on violin - it can be that much gentler on critical joints and muscles - and the fact that you always sit to play cello doesn't hurt! Carrying it around in a protective case and protecting it from danger may get to you after a while.

I had my first cello lesson about one month after I was given a cello while I was still 14 years old (I had started violin lessons 10 years earlier). For the first week after getting that cello I played from my violin music, reading treble clef music one octave down. I also played cello in my dad's string quartet 10 days after he brought me the cello (which was why he got it for me in the first place) - I could read bass clef by then. A couple of days later I was brought a much better cello and the original one was taken away (that was 68 years ago - I still have that 2nd cello and 2 others). Fortuitously a retired professional cellist showed up in town just about then and my cello lessons began. The first and most important thing my cello teacher did right away was adjust my left hand and the way I held the cello bow. THIS WAS CRITICAL to my rapid future progress on cello - what you learn to do on violin is not the right way to play a cello! The evening after that first afternoon lesson my teacher and I both went to the very first meeting of the town's community orchestra that we both played in that night and together at the first stand for the next 2-1/3 years. (The third cellist in the section was to become my father-in-law just over 6 years later.) During these years I also played violin as the concertmaster of my high school orchestra.

Although I regularly play cello in chamber music, I have preferred to play violin (or viola) in orchestras for two reasons: (1) the problems of carrying the damn thing and the awkwardness of protecting it in the crowding of an orchestra and (2) I have always found it harder to hear myself on cello in orchestra than on the specific chin instruments I am able to play in orchestra.

The toughest thing one might find in cello playing - especially when sight reading - can be noticing the clef changes that are so frequent in some music. Cellists have to make mental adjustments among 4 clefs: bass, tenor, treble, and treble played an octave down (which places the notes on the staff just one note lower than with the tenor clef). Far too often (for convenient sight reading a clef change is first indicated at the very end of a staff line - not something anyone is used to paying attention to - certainly not a violinist! Cello playing can cover about 4 octaves and the technique of playing the higher (thumb positions) is quite a bit different than playing on the lower octave of each string I think only the very finest cellos have the same level of "playability" high on the strings that they do lower down - most cellists (I think) will never get to play on such fine instruments let alone own one of them.

My experience playing the three smaller bowed instruments (violin, viola, and cello) has been that first of all it takes an "act of will" - that is I determine that I will learn to play another instrument and vow to myself to do what it takes. It also takes compartmentalization - that is, my mind goes "cello" when that's what I'm holding or it goes "violin" for that instrument. By my early 20s I found that just the position of my hands seemed to shift my mind to appropriate reading of the music (before that I could play a violin in cello position, reading violin music, but after that my mind would not let me). Playing viola seemed more difficult for me because the hand positions are pretty much identical to those for violin - but I think I've got that one down now too and have been playing viola in orchestra for the past 2 or 3 years.

(In coached sessions I have experienced professional cellists who can also read alto (viola) clef on their cellos (either actual or an octave down) - but I have not yet set my will to attempt it - I don't think there is enough space left between my ears to hold that together too.)

April 14, 2017 at 10:36 PM · My left hand can twist round rather less than most people's (notewise I shall never get beyond the Mendelssohn and the Beethoven, and I struggle with the Walton on the viola), so I wonder whether I would have done better on the 'cello (My late mother doubted whether my left pinky would have been strong enough for me to be a virtuoso 'cellist, so I might have struck a different ceiling, but a ceiling nevertheless). On the piano, the problem is co-ordination, even more so on the organ. Just as well I'm an amateur.

By the way, there is also a Schumann Violin Concerto (which, unlike the cello concerto, I have never heard).

The composer the cello really scores with, is Shostakovich - Yes, the violin concerto is magnificent, particularly the Passacaglia, but the 1st cello concerto is something special.

April 15, 2017 at 12:03 AM · Andrew, the final paragraph of your last post reminds me only too vividly of an orchestral rehearsal many years ago in which the viola section was inexplicable bereft of its key players. Our conductor, who wasn't a string player but knew that the cello was tuned an octave below the viola, thought it would be a good idea if I would transfer from the first desk of the cellos to the first desk of the violas to help them out just for that rehearsal.

Unthinkingly, like a fool I agreed. All went well for a few bars until I met my first alto clef. As we all know (but the conductor evidently hadn't thought through the possible consequences), the viola's alto and the cello's tenor clefs are a line apart on the stave. So there I was, a cellist sight-reading a viola part and desperately trying not to read the alto clef as a tenor clef. I survived - only just - but I could have done with a lie-down or a stiff drink (preferably both) afterwards!

April 15, 2017 at 12:10 AM · Yes, but only when I start thinking about the best vibrato for a particular passage in lower strings, a little slower with more forearm. It 'seems' it would be easier oriented as a cello. (sigh)

April 15, 2017 at 02:08 AM · I've tried my daughter's cello a few times. What a train wreck. She sounds great on it, but get that thing away from me.

April 16, 2017 at 03:21 PM · Do I wish I played cello instead? No, because there's not a "cellist.com". :)

April 16, 2017 at 04:27 PM · But there is a http://cellofun.yuku.com , but unfortunately it really can no longer compare with violinist.com - so you do have a point!

April 18, 2017 at 10:13 PM · Uhh yes I've also wanted to play the cello and my stand partner says he wants to do so as well. Honestly I think the cello looks really fun plus it fits my vocal range lol.

April 21, 2017 at 03:35 PM · I play both, so...no problem for me!

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

ArmSymphony AI Violin Competition
ArmSymphony AI Violin Competition

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Violinist.com Business Directory
Violinist.com Business Directory

AVIVA Young Artist Program

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Fiddlershop

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Violin-Strings.com

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Warchal

Barenreiter

Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine

Subscribe