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MrMilton

Violin vs Cello

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G'day all

I've been playing the violin for four years now, and I have suffered with tinnitus for about seven years. I have to use an orchestral mute on my fiddle in order to play at all, otherwise my ears scream at me causing physical pain. I am (finally)

considering giving up the violin and taking up cello instead - cello would have been my first choice if I had been able to afford it four years ago. So my question is, will the cello be easier on my ears than the violin? It does seem to be primarily the higher notes which cause the worst reaction, which is why I hope the cello will ease my problem. Also, will the last four years of violin playing make learning the cello any easier for me, or can I consider those years completely wasted?

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Hey! I also have Tinnitus, and I play the cello! How fun is that?! smile.gif

The cello has caused absolutely no problems as far as Tinnitus goes. I'm sure the lower voice helps, not to mention that when you play cello you are not bowing the instrument right at your ear! Go for it. The cello is the most beautiful instrument ever invented. smile.gif

I don't know any advantages or disadvantages of switching. The cello is totally different from the violin, so your left hand might have a little trouble.

I'm really not much help at all. Surely someone else will reply that is. smile.gif

Aaron

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quote:

Originally posted by Aaron:

I don't know any advantages or disadvantages of switching. The cello is totally different from the violin, so your left hand might have a little trouble.

though i'm not a cellist, i've played around with them a bit (a lot). i've found that the hrdest part is bowing. the left hand was pretty easy, and a lot less painful for the tendonitis i have in my left elbow (and who knows what the **** else now).

give it a try, cello is fun and if i had the money, i'd probably start playing.

cello is one of the most beautiful instruments out there, but in my mind, that honor still belongs to the mandolin smile.gif.

ben

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I think you should have little trouble switching to the cello. I have hearing problems, and now use a "hearing aid" in my right ear to boost the important violin overtone frequencies when I play that instrument, but I need no hearing aid when playing the cello.

Your bowing experience on violin should help you on cello (that part of the discipline seems to carry over from instrument to instrument if one has developed a feel for a bow working properly on the strings). (The father (and husband) of two of my violin students had no trouble just picking up a violin and playing it (better than his wife or son, my new students) - it's the bowing ability that counts most; he was a bass player until he was 14, at least 20 years ago.)

The left and right hand positions on cello are both different than for violin, so that might take a little getting used to. The cello positions are far less strained and more natural, vibrato is a breeze. The bow hair should be about parallel to the floor so that you play with the near edge of the hair on the string (instead of the far edge, as on violin). THe longer you can extend the endpin the more gravity will help your bowing - and the more direct will be the acoustic path from the f-holes to your ears.

Reading the bass clef for starters - each open string reads like it is one note above the open string on violin - each half tone is a finger apart (sort of) and the 4th finger notation (in 1st position) looks the same as for violin. There are 3 other clefs to worry about eventually, tenor, treble (just like playing violin - but up in the second octave of the strings, usually in what are called the thumb positions - usually) and a notation that is written as treble clef but actually played one octave down (and not always clearly indicated) - this is the most confusing because it is just one whole tone removed from the tenor clef and as you adapt to this clef you will find the tenor clef less natural to sight read.

Once you get your hand positions and your tone working right (which could conceivable be done within a week - for an experienced violinist) your biggest problems for the rest of your life will be remembering what clef you are playing in from measure to measure.

Good Luck!

Andy

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Thanks for the advice!! I guess my biggest problem is the feeling of having to begin all over again from scratch, but I hope it will be worth it in the end, as I suspect if I continue playing the violin I may always regret not making the switch - I love violin music, and viola music, but there is something about the cello that draws me..... This is all helping me make up my mind, yet it is still a difficult decision since I have poured so much of myself into the violin for the past four years. And special thanks to you Andy, as usual your advice and comments are incredibly useful and exactly what I need to know. Cheers!

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Hey! Get to it! Cello is so relaxing.

For technique, i've noticed a lot of people who try the cello after the violin have a tendency to bend the left hand back. So keep an eye out for that.

Otherwise, the only thing you have to get used to is the fact that you don't have to deal with something a fifth higher than A.

The Rat lady

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LOL Mr Woof, to each their own eh!! I have rented a cello to try, and so far I'm delighted with the instrument, I feel I can express more of what is in me with this voice than I could with the violin - I guess I'm just by nature more melancholy than cheerfuland bright ;-) And it does not hurt my ears at all, blessings abound!! So I can spend far more time practising. However, if anyone has any tips on how to "transfer the weight of the arm to the bow" as my teacher said I should, I'm all ears....it seems this is a technique that must be found by oneself, and rather difficult to teach. I tend to press with the hand and squeeze the bow, and when I relax the tone gets very surfacy and weak.

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quote:

Originally posted by Ben:

though i'm not a cellist, i've played around with them a bit (a lot). i've found that the hrdest part is bowing. the left hand was pretty easy, and a lot less painful for the tendonitis i have in my left elbow (and who knows what the **** else now).

give it a try, cello is fun and if i had the money, i'd probably start playing.

cello is one of the most beautiful instruments out there, but in my mind, that honor still belongs to the mandolin
smile.gif
.

ben

LOL, get real Ben. The mandolin is just a little plucky violin wannabe. The mandolin can't even come close to the beautiful rich, resonant voice of the cello.

wink.gif

Don Crandall

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quote:

Originally posted by MrMilton:

LOL Mr Woof, to each their own eh!! I have rented a cello to try, and so far I'm delighted with the instrument, I feel I can express more of what is in me with this voice than I could with the violin - I guess I'm just by nature more melancholy than cheerfuland bright ;-) And it does not hurt my ears at all, blessings abound!! So I can spend far more time practising. However, if anyone has any tips on how to "transfer the weight of the arm to the bow" as my teacher said I should, I'm all ears....it seems this is a technique that must be found by oneself, and rather difficult to teach. I tend to press with the hand and squeeze the bow, and when I relax the tone gets very surfacy and weak.

I have heard it said that you have to have the "heart of a lion" to play the violin, to this I would add that you must posess the "soul of a poet" to play the cello. I saw Yo Yo Ma play in concert once and it was a life changing electrifying experience I will never forget.

I am a Leo by birth I think I have to stick to the violin it fits my temperment and fat head (lol) better.

I do envy the depth and passion that pours abunduntly from the violoncello, that lovely grand instrument.

Regards,

Don Crandall

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I have two sons . One plays violin and one plays cello. It;s interesting that the older one loved to hear me play the violin. when he was a baby. I would practice the Mendelssohn violin concerto over his crib and it would entertain him for about 45 minutes.

When I tried that with son #2 he screamed as soon as I got onto the A string. When he was about 2 and 3 and I had string quartets at the house he was the one that stayed and listened and was attracted to the sound of the cello. Now he is a fine musician working on the Haydn C major cello oncerto for his jury at the conservatory. He still doesn't like it when I pratice high orchestra parts.

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quote:

Originally posted by ratlady:

Hey! Get to it! Cello is so relaxing.

For technique, i've noticed a lot of people who try the cello after the violin have a tendency to bend the left hand back. So keep an eye out for that.

Otherwise, the only thing you have to get used to is the fact that you don't have to deal with something a fifth higher than A.

The Rat lady

I finally started the cello after 14 years as a violinist as I always wanted to play cello. I found the crossover easy and I prefer the cello. However due to the extra stretching and because I'm not giving the same amount of time/focus on my violin my technique is slipping - although I still enjoy teaching my students.

Regardless I wouldn't stop playing the cello now for anything! laugh.gif

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I'm in my fifth week of cello learning now, and I'm getting more and more delighted with it every day!! I can't wait for the kids to go to bed so I can practise, whereas with the violin I seemed to be looking for excuses to avoid practise! And I am enjoying practising, working smarter, and seeing results far beyond what I did with the fiddle. My teacher is amazing, her love of and enthusiasm for the instrument are so contagious I leave my lessons hankering to get my cello out and start practising. I have no regrets now about switching, I really have found "my" instrument. It's an amazing experience, even the frustrating bits are great! I owe this to you people here, without your advice and ideas I would never have been brave enough to make the switch.

Andy, thanks again for your advice. My rental cello and bow are definately cheap and nasty, my teacher let me bow a few notes on her delightful English cello last week and the difference was astounding! Now my search begins for my own instrument and bow, and this time I shall be paying as much attention to my choice of bow as well as choice of instrument.

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To get enough "bow weight" on the cello, be sure you extend the endpin enough so that the cello is at a credible angle and not too steep. Next, the bow hold is definitely different - basically have the stick straight across the second joint of all fingers a bit simplistic, but much closser to correct than a violin bow hold would be). The nominal instructions call for a bent right thumb, but I don't think that is necessarily correct - at least not when playing near the frog (Casals used a straight right thumb - I read).

DO not let the bow hair get too tight, it makes it hard to play and hard for the hair to grip the string. The rosin choice and the amount of rosin used can also be big factors. Try a few more bows because cellos are extraordinarily sensitive to the bow one uses.

Andy

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I took one semester of cello lessons right before I graduated from college. The teacher (who was really cool) knew I was doing it strictly for fun and that I had been taking more 'serious' lessons at school (from her husband no less). We both had a great time that semester and when I get some money saved up I hope to get a cello of my own to play around with.

As for wanting to practice more, I am usually like that when learning a new instrument because there is so much to explore and that can be very exciting. While my main love will always be playing the violin, there has got to be something said about the tone that comes out a cello (maybe I just prefer the baritone range more)

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I'm not completely up on all the symptoms of tinnitus (I understand there is some sort of buzzing), but if it cause hearing sensitivity and you want to keep playing the violin, you might try getting a pair of musicians earplugs. They cost around $150 and are custom-made for you by an audiologist. They have flat response attentuators in them, so you don't lose any frequency response. They are available in 15 and 25 db models. I got a pair last year, since I work as a music writer and go to a lot of loud concerts, and they work fantastically. They first time I put them in my ears, I didn't think they were having any effect until I took them out again.

Here are two sites with more info: http://www.rayshearing.com/musician.htm http://www.hearnet.com/index.shtml

Good luck.

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Ratlady, can you tell me more about bending the left hand back? When you on the A string in the lower positions, isn't a little bending almost unavoidable?

[This message has been edited by Elisabeth (edited 03-14-2002).]

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