There are many stringed instruments, but the cello and violin are two of the most easily identifiable. The violin is more famous than the cello. The cello is played differently than the violin. The cello is played sitting down and between your knees. You hold the bow differently when playing the cello and a violin.
Find out what makes a cello different from a violin in this article.
Cello Vs. Violin
The main differences between cellos and violins are their size, how they are played, and the sound they make.
There are several more distinctions. In the following sections, we’ll cover each of these in detail.
1. Size Difference
Violins and cellos come in different sizes. So that learners of all levels and professional musicians can use them. There is a full size, 7/8th size, 3/4th size, half size, and even smaller versions for very young learners. Remember that these fractional sizes are not an exact measurement of the instruments. They are just a way to show the approximate differences in sizing between the violins and cellos.
A full-sized violin is about 23 inches tall from the endpin to the scroll. This measurement may vary depending on the age and maker of the violin.
A full-sized cello is about 47.6 inches long from the base to the scroll.
A cello is twice the height of a regular violin. It is because the cello has a longer endpin that makes it taller.
The cello is wider and has a fuller body than the violin. Both instruments have similar-looking bodies, which act as chambers to make sound echo.
2. Weight Difference
A standard violin weighs approximately 0.88 pounds, the same as an iPad Air. On the other hand, a traditional cello can consider more than or around five pounds, about the same as a standard-sized bag of flour in the United States.
3. Material Used
Cellos and violins are usually made of a mix of different types of hardwood.
Factors Influencing the Type of Material Employed
The materials used to make each instrument are determined by a variety of criteria, including the following:
- Origin country
A luthier is a person who makes stringed instruments. Antonio Stradivari is one of the most famous luthiers in history.
He and other luthiers use their woodwork skills to make strong instruments that look good and are strong. Most importantly, the instruments sound great.
Maple and Spruce
Many luthiers prefer to use a combination of maple and spruce when constructing a violin. Maple is used for the violin’s neck, ribs, and scroll.
Ebony, Ivory, and Willow
The fingerboards on modern violins are made of ebony by luthiers. Ivory fingerboards are found on older violins. Spruce or willow wood is used for the sounding chamber and face panel.
Cellos are often made with similar hardwood combinations, but ebony or maple are mainly used for the back and sides.
Laminated Wood or Composite Board
Laminated wood and composite board are used to make cheaper stringed instruments. Remember that the sound quality of mass-produced cellos or violins is usually not as good as expensive instruments because of the more affordable materials.
4. String Gauge and Length
A cello’s strings are much longer than a violin’s. The diameter of cello strings is also bigger. Cello strings are also thicker in diameter. Violin strings are much thinner and shorter and are strung under more tension, which causes them to have a higher pitch.
It is worth mentioning that cello strings are also under tension, although they are thicker and longer than violin strings. When compared to their thinner counterparts, the thicker strings make sounds with a lower frequency.
5. String Tuning Differences
To better comprehend their similarities and differences, you must attempt to master each instrument. The C string on a cello is an octave lower than the G string on a violin.
6. Violin vs. Cello – Bow
Both violins and cellos have bows that look a lot alike. Both are made of tropical hardwood, which usually comes from Brazil. You could also use carbon fiber or a composite.
Some musicians use black horsehair for their bows because it has a coarser feel and better grip against the strings. Horsehair, preferably white, is used for the bow’s actual hair.
One difference between a cello and violin bows is the length. The cello bow is shorter than the violin bow and has a larger surface area of horsehair.
You need a wider surface of horsehair on bigger strings. Cellos have a more significant gap between the wooden stick and horsehair, so they can be more sturdy when you play them.
The violin bow is thinner and longer than the cello bow. There is also less space on the violin bow between the wood stick and the horsehair. There may be differences in how each bow is made, but both bows are used similarly to create the sound a musician wants.
7. Playing Position
The cello is played while sitting down, whereas the violin can be played in different positions.
The instrument must be held between the musician’s legs. The strings will have an outward orientation. The neck and scroll will be positioned on the shoulder of the musician’s dominant hand. The instrument’s body will rest against the upper body of the musician.
It is necessary to play the cello bow from the side. It must be held in a horizontal position and pulled across the strings. It will provide the desired noise.
Most cello artists play the instrument while sitting down. It is more comfortable and customary. On the other hand, some modern artists and street musicians may play the cello standing up for better showmanship or if the performance calls for it.
The violin has a more versatile playing style because it can be played while standing or sitting. The violin will be on your shoulder, and the strings will face up. You need to hold it in place with your chin or jawbone.
Some modern classical players use a shoulder rest to lift the instrument higher. The instrument might also have a chin rest to keep it from moving.
The violin must be held between your chin and shoulder so it does not move. It may initially feel strange, but it will become more natural with time and practice.
8. Compositional Requirements
Violin, viola, cello, and double bass are four-stringed instruments. The violin has the highest pitch and is regarded as a soprano instrument. The lowest-pitched instrument is the cello, which is classed as a tenor. The viola falls in between the two with an alto classification.
A cello can be used in a string quartet, but it will usually take the bass or alto role because of its flexible range.
Because polyphonic music has different needs, the rules for writing music have changed. Luthiers construct instruments with the inherent musical scale in mind.
The portability of a violin may be an issue, considering its size and weight. A violin can fit snugly inside a hard case and can be transported in virtually any mode of transportation. This option is more manageable, even for a child.
Cellos are bulkier than guitars. They need a safe way to be transported. But with modern technology, they can be transported like guitars- over the back.
However, navigating crowded public transport areas, tight spaces, or subway stations with stairs may be challenging while carrying a bulky cello.
Cellos and violins are both string instruments but are different in size. The average person can distinguish between the two based on their relative sizes.
Cellos and violins are both played similarly, but they sound different once they are played. To better comprehend their similarities and differences, you must attempt to master each instrument.
Read more: Unleashing the Potential of the Strings
Frequently Asked Questions About Violin vs. Cello
Is It Easier To Play Violin or Cello?
People who have tried both the violin and cello say that the cello is less difficult. It is because the cello is in a more natural position. The violin’s Position can initially feel unnatural, but accomplished violinists assert that it becomes natural with practice.
Is the Cello or Violin Better?
The sound of the violin is higher than the cello. The violin can get squeaky when playing in 7th and 8th Positions. You might even have to play in a higher position if you get more advanced. The cello has a deeper and richer sound. Music is written and read in bass clef when it is for cellos.
Why Are Violins Better Than Cellos?
The violin is a practical choice because it is less expensive than the cello, smaller, and more portable. Additionally, many appreciate the violin’s range and tone, similar to the human voice.
Is Cello the Hardest Instrument?
Cello is one of the most challenging instruments to learn. It requires much practice and commitment to learn how to play.