how difficult is the cello cf. the violin?

(8 Posts)
ZZZenAgain Tue 30-Oct-12 11:07:41

I often read that the violin is a difficult instrument to learn but isn't the cello equally difficult, since surely the principle is the same?

Just wondering because dd who plays the violin and would like to start viola is also attracted to the cello, in fact more so. I suppose the sound is similar but fuller on the cello. I had told her she could start viola after Christmas if she still wanted to. She has been really blown away by a cello solo she heard recently and is thinking now maybe cello and not viola. AFAIC, she can try either but definitely not both!

Any thoughts on the cello or just any information on what it is involved in learning the cello would be appreciated. I had a thread here about the viola which was very helpful so that seems straight-forward to me. Not so sure about learning both violin and cello.

Ponders Tue 30-Oct-12 11:19:45

I wouldn't say the sound is similar - I've had beginners on both & the cello was much less painful to listen to grin

I learned the cello rather than the violin, and I think it was a better instrument to learn, as it is easier to make nicer noises on the cello than the violin, because it is a much deeper instrument - the richness of the notes makes them sound OK even when the bow is in the hands of a learner - or so my mum reckoned.

I also found that learning the cello taught me basic skills which did transfer across when I decided to switch to the violin - I imagine it would happen the other way too.

Practically, the cello is a harder instrument to transport and store - that might be a consideration.

Another cellist here.

One of the huge pluses I found was that because there were significantly fewer cellists than violinists around, I got loads of amazing opprotunities to get involved in orchestras/chamber groups that a lot of my violinist friends didn't get as there was more competition for places.

And yes, it is less screechy and much easier on the ear!

I would think cello might be slightly easier normally, as the position for holding the cello and bow is not quite so tricky. (Disclaimer I have never played cello though, but DB does and I've played violin!). Tricky bowing stuff is perhaps easier when you are lifting the bow away from the strings horizontally rather than up in the air, and the left arm position is more natural on cello too.

BUT if your DD already plays violin, she will already be used to the position, so would not have so much to learn to adjust to viola, whereas cello position would be all new to her - so in her case, I would think viola would be easier as there's relatively less to learn. Lots of people play violin and viola, not so many violin and cello.

Other factors - there are lots more pieces written for cello than viola; but it is bigger/heavier (and not sure about relative cost?).

Sounds like ultimately she would be best going with whichever she feels most drawn to, though!

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 30-Oct-12 13:19:17

DD learnt violin until Grade 2 and then switched to cello. Her teacher wanted her to do both, but as she also plays sax we said one stringed instrument was enough. He has several pupils who do play both though.

I have just asked her how she found it and she said learning bass clef was the hardest part of the transition, everything else was fine.

She loves her cello.

ZZZenAgain Tue 30-Oct-12 16:31:39

thanks everyone. That's interesting pavlova, I just spoke to the cello teacher and she told me that it doesn't really work out longer term playing cello and violin parallel to each other and that generally the pupil needs to choose between them at some stage. She said it is easier to move from violin - cello than the other way around and she told me that it can be confusing because the bow hold and movement is very different so at a certain level of difficulty it doesn't make sense to continue with the two. I don't know really, after speaking to her I had the impression that dd would need to drop violin if she took up cello so interesting to hear that it isn't always the case.

We may be going on Friday to have a trial lesson, she's calling me later. I think atm dd needs to just feel what it is like to hold and play a cello. I love the cello but the viola does seem to be the more sensible option to me if dd really wants to do another string instrument. She is quite advanced on the violin really so to go back to scratch with another string instrument might be strange. I am not sure she will really want to do it if she tries it. I agree with you pavlova, I actually think one string instrument is enough but it isn't me doing it!

Thanks for the advice everyone.

ZZZenAgain Wed 31-Oct-12 17:38:04

well just spoke to the Head of Strings here and he said the same as the cello teacher that you really cannot learn both parallel for the same reasons she gave me, so I think cello will have to be one of those instruments you love to listen to but not one dd can play, so long as she wants to keep up the violin.

It is interesting that when she was very small, I signed her up for cello lessons but while I was waiting for a place to become available, she decided that she wanted to do violin instead, just as I got a place for her with a very good cello teacher. So she never tried cello in the end. Funny how these things work out. Well never mind. THanks for the comments everyone.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now