Pizzicato Chords On The Cello

Unlike with bowed chords, we can pluck all of the notes of a pizzicato 3-or-4-string chord simultaneously, although this task is made much harder (and is actually impossible for 4-string chords) if we have to hold the bow at the same time. We can also alternatively choose to “spread” our chords, strumming them like a guitarist, normally with the thumb, from the bottom string towards the top string or, occasionally, with a finger in the reverse direction, from the top to the bottom string. For broken (spread) chords, see the article dedicated to “Fast And Mixed-Hands Pizzicatos“.

Plucking each note of a chord simultaneously represents the culmination of several skills: here we not only have to place several left-hand fingers on several strings at the same time but also need to simultaneously do the same with the right-hand fingers. This is perhaps the greatest test for our Horizontal Positional Sense (which string am I on ?) for both hands.



Three and Four-String Pizzicato Chords: REPERTOIRE EXCERPTS

We can also take any progression of 3 and 4-string chords and play them pizzicato in different ways, inventing our own variants using combinations of strumming, spreading and plucking.

Three-String Chord Progressions              Four-String Chord Progressions