Violin or cello gas z factor


I’m so conflicted right now. I don’t know if I want to learn violin or cello. Sound and playing wise I love the cello’s deeper voice and the powerful vibrations it emits from the sound board. You don’t just hear the music, you can feel it. Although, that doesn’t mean I dislike the sound of a violin. It has it’s own high points and in it’s own respect I find it beautiful, but I simply prefer the beauty of the cello and it’s deep resonance more. Although, one thing the violin has over the cello is practicality. The violin is smaller and so more portable, which might be a key point since I’m going to college next year, and I won’t be able to bring a car on campus freshman year. So I’m not sure if I’d want to bring a cello on bus trips to wherever I do lessons. That’d be cumbersome. Also, the violin can be played standing up or sitting down or even while walking around. The cello can only be played sitting down. And of course, the violin is cheaper because it’s smaller. And the violin’s repetoire of music is sizably larger than the cello’s.

I´d like to throw in the assumption also that, if you look into it, the solo cello repertoire is probably more extensive and varied than that of the solo violin, thus making the possibility of solo recital concerts more feasible.I am a cellist, and my wife is a violinist, and the truth is that there is a vastly unfair ratio of violin solo music to cello solo music. There are really only the standard solo works for cello, and a few less known works, but the violin repertoire is grotesquely large. If you value having many different pieces to play and never wanting to worry about running out, play the violin. However, if you value the beauty of the sound of the cello enough, then playing all there is to play will be alright, since you couldn’t not play the cello.

Keep in mind, too, that cellists that have gone through basically all there is to play, like Yo Yo Ma, now to contemporary works, or different projects to keep themselves doing new things. But then again, most of us are satisfied with the standards.

the J S Bach set of 6 works, the Paganini 24 Capricci, the 6 Reger sonatas, the 6 Ysaye sonatas and the Bartok sonata, plus perhaps the Berio Sequenza. There are of course many other solo works that exist in recordings, especially from the 20th century, such as works by Schulhoff, Nielsen, Hindemith, to mention a few.

Turning to cello works, there is probably the canon of the Bach set of 6, the 3 Reger suites, the 3 Bloch Suites, the Hindemith sonata, the Kodaly Sonata, the 3 Britten Suites, perhaps Gubaidulina 10 Preludes. But there are so many other recorded works and sonatas, for instance by Crumb, Ligeti, Nørgård (3), Boris Tischenko, Wainberg etc. that I think they outnumber the violin solo recorded works. Must however admit that such a judgment is also based on the fact that I would definitely choose the cello works rather than the violin works, if asked. My collection for instance probably comprises about 25 solo violin works (the Paganini counting as one, though) and 50 solo cello works.

Oh my, I am going to have to double my husbands reply (ahansen_cello). Violin definitely has more solo repertoire than the cello. Violin repertoire in general is incredibly extensive. To name just a few of the pieces that have yet to be mentioned, there are the 2 Hindemith Sonatas, Kreisler Recitative and Scherzo, Paganini Nel Cor Piu Non Mi Sento, Milstein Paganiniana, Ernst/Schubert Erlkonig, Ernst Last Rose of Summer, Prokofiev Sonata…The list just keeps going and going. That is before we even begin to look into contemporary works.

The fact of the matter is that violin has had many more great virtuosos throughout time. It was considered a great solo instrument long before the cello earned its well deserved respect from musicians and composers alike. So if you are looking for repertoire depth, than violin is the way to go. You’ll never play all there is!

Additionally, the reason you will hear less recordings dedicated to unaccompanied violin works, is because there are just too many pieces in the rep to record them all. Standard concerti is a big focus in the recording industry. Cellists will be more likely to record outside the realm of standard works since they have so little repertoire historically.

However, although I am a violinist , I wouldn’t fault you for choosing the cello. It is a wonderful instrument with a beautiful tone. You really should choose the one you enjoy listening to the most. It will make learning it much easier because you will be more motivated to do so.