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Open Access Publications from the University of California

How baroque cello music laid the foundation for cello works of the 19th and 20th centuries

  • Author(s): Fedoryka, Larissa
  • Advisor(s): Koenig, Robert
  • Rothfarb, Lee
  • et al.

It has long been the common belief that advanced cello technique and repertoire did not rise until Luigi Boccherini began writing for his instrument in the late 18th century. Prior to this, the cello was viewed predominantly as an accompaniment instrument, struggling to reach equality with its higher registered family member, the violin. The propagation of this belief was due greatly to a misunderstanding of the role of the cello and its relationship to other members of the violin family, as well as little to no access to the compositions of the early 1700’s. Until recently. Utilizing Nona Pyron’s collection of over 8,000 works where the cello is either featured or plays a prominent role, the author has chosen the cello sonatas of five composers, as well as Bach’s unaccompanied suites, to demonstrate how cello technique of the early 18th century informed the technique that is used today to play works of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The author will compare the techniques of the right- and left-hand found and isolated within etude books commonly used today, and demonstrate how they are presented within the context of a musical line in the early compositions.

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