Anyone remember this cartoon? (Sorry, YouTube won’t let me embed this one)
When I heard this cello for the first time, I flashed immediately to this cartoon, feeling a little bit like the puzzled dude who watches the frog leap to life, singing and dancing. Two days later I still feel like that every time I hit an open string (and most of the closed ones)
There is something thrilling about the resonance of this cello. I get immediate tonal feedback that I can FEEL – not just hear – on my eardrum, as well as this huge vibration from the cello body into my chest. My fingers ache from the height of the strings on the fingerboard in that good way that signals strength being built. The tones are so clear and resonant, I’m starting to hear (and feel) a lot of the sympathetic vibration stuff I’ve been told about all this time. I’m already feeling both more frustrated, and more pleased with my playing in a couple of days than over the last few months. Minuet in C sounded clear and bell-like when it sounded good. When it didn’t, I think Bach may have rolled over in his grave. Poor guy. Would he have composed if he knew millions of beginners would be making trainwrecks out of his music in a couple hundred years?
My hang up is that like that cartoon frog, this cello is just – LOUD. In the right hands, I would use words like strident, rich and full to describe that sound. For me, it’s just loud, bordering on obnoxious when I’m flat, sharp or my bow is at the wrong angle. My left ear ached after I’d been playing for a while this afternoon, but I can’t tell if it’s from the vibration or the volume. I haven’t ever heard of anyone going deaf from a cello, but you may have heard it here first.
It’s a little better with my bow than with the store bow – of course it doesn’t sound as good either – but at least I’m not making my own skin crawl. Improvement with this cello is going to be driven by the desire to avoid obnoxious noisemaking that might drive my neighbors to show up on the doorstep with pitchforks and torches.
I have a lesson tomorrow, I’m interested to hear what Kaia thinks – I have a feeling I’m just being a big wimp having moved from the sandbox to the big kid playground (metal bars and woodchips and a big slide, oh my!) If so, she’ll set me straight.