How Does a Cello Work?

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The cello, a string instrument, creates sound when its bow pulls across the strings, causing vibrations. Look inside a cello with an experienced cello teacher and learn how it makes music in this free video on how a cello works.

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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Marty Sproul with Summerhays Music in South Lake City, Utah, and I'm here today to talk to you about how the cello works. Cello is essentially a large box. It's a very specially made large box; but, the box amplifies the sound. So, when we play the cello, we use a bow and the horsehair on the bow has, is a rougher substance that when we put rosin on it, it makes the bow stick to the strings, essentially, it pulls the strings and causes a vibration. So, we pull that string with the bow; the string vibrates, which causes the initial sound. This, the vibration from the strings is transferred into the bridge. The bridge then attaches to, is sitting upon the top of the cello. Inside the cello, we have the sound post. The sound post transfers the vibrations from the bridge and works them around the inside of the cello so they can be amplified and come out of the cello. I'd like to show you the interior workings of a cello. The top of this cello, this one has been turned in for repair; I'm going to take the top of this cello off; the bridge would sit right here. The top of this cello we can see come off and inside the cello, it's just a whole box. We have blocks here; these essentially holds the cello together. These blocks are essential, absolutely essential to the structural integrity of the cello and its sensibility a whole lot. This particular cello has suffered an injury to the back of it, has a crack and needs a sound post patch. So, this patch allows the cello to still remains functional after an accident. What happened to this cello, the sound post which would sit here and most likely had an impact and the sound post crack the back. So, we repair that with the sound, with a, with a patch. The sound post sits in here and is kind of sandwich between the top and the back and this is what allows the, the cello to, to transmit vibrations and amplify those vibrations. So, once we get the top of the cello back on, we'll wedge the sound post between the two pieces of wood. The top of the cello has a piece on the back here which is the base bar. It's attached on the underside of the top, right where those foot of the low side, the foot of the bridge has the low side. It'll go back on here; we'll glue it down. We'll put the sound post through here, grab it with the tool and wedge it in to the top. That's how the cello makes sound.

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