FOR THE CURIOUS CELLIST

Hora Staccato (or Hora Spiccato)

This is a classic of gypsy music. Written originally by Dinicu in 1906, but published most frequently in an arrangement by Heifetz (1932), this transcription for cello is based on the Heifetz version and is simply transcribed down one octave (the original violin key has been maintained). This transposition means that the piece lies one fifth higher on the cello than it does on the violin, therefore at no time will we need the C string. We will however need quite a lot of thumb position as, unlike the violin, we have no E string to help us with the higher passages.

Apart from the octave transposition, the following changes have been made to the Performance Versions:

  • some short trills have been substituted by mordents because, for the ordinary cellist, on these short notes there isn’t enough time to be able to comfortably play a full trill.
  • the flying staccato bowstrokes for which this piece is famous (and named) have been left out, as this bowstroke on the cello is strictly for the hugely talented. We should therefore perhaps rename the piece “Hora Spiccato” !!
  • bars 88-94 are played at violin pitch (without the octave transposition down) to avoid descending into the “grunting range” of the cello for this sparkling passage

The “Easier Version” avoids all the high position passages by transposing them down an octave, but this is still flashy, fast, difficult, virtuoso music, even without the added complication of the high passages. It is not the high passages that cause the principal difficulties of this piece.

Click on the following links to view and print the cello parts. For best results use A4 size paper. The piano part remains unchanged from the violin version and is not available on this site.

Edited Performance Version         Clean Performance Version      Easier Version

Here is a play-along audio piano accompaniment, several of which can be found on YouTube. If we download it, then it can be played at different speeds with many different apps including the excellent Amazing Slowdowner. If we play it directly with the original YouTube video then we can watch the piano score at the same time as we listen to it or play it:

Audio Download