FOR THE CURIOUS CELLIST

Cellofun Repertoire Library Homepage

All of the music in the cellofun Repertoire Library can be downloaded and printed for free. Most of the pieces come with an optional play-along audio accompaniment, often also downloadable. All of the editions are laid out (designed) for printing on A4-size paper. Printing on standard north-american “letter” size paper (wider but shorter than A4) may shrink the music to an uncomfortably small size. Even on A4 paper, the margins are usually very small, so don’t let your printer automatically increase the margin sizes because that also can make the music uncomfortably small. The best margin setting is “no margins”.

The music in this library has been classified according to several different criteria. Every piece can be found somewhere in the following catalogues, according to the search criteria used.

1: COMPOSER/TITLE/GENRE

“Formal” (“Classical”)        “Popular

2: INSTRUMENTAL COMBINATION

Music For One Unaccompanied Cello     Music For One Cello + Accompaniment     Music For Two Or More Cellos

Duos for Cello and Violin     Duos for Cello and Viola     Duos for Cello and Bass

3: GEOGRAPHICAL REGION

        France/Belgium        Germany/Austria       Italy         Spain/Portugal       UK/Ireland

Central, East, and Southeast Europe      Northern Europe

Latin America        North America        Russia/Soviet Republic

4: HISTORICAL PERIOD

(this section does not include “Popular” music)

Renaissance           Baroque            Classical            Romantic            Modern

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BORDER CROSSINGS

A lot of music – especially the very best music – can be quite tricky to classify because it crosses the boundaries between supposedly well-defined categories. The frontiers between “Popular” and “Classical” music, between the different Historical Periods and between the different Geographical Regions are very often quite fuzzy and overlapping. Also, any music can be played by a great variety of Instrumental Combinations. Click on the highlighted links for a more detailed look at these questions of classification.

STOLEN GOODS

Most of the pieces available in this Repertoire Library were not originally written for the cello. They can be considered “stolen treasures”: interesting, spectacular, dramatic, or simply beautiful pieces, transcribed from the repertoire of other instruments (including the voice). Perhaps we could call this transcription idea “musEcology” in the sense that we are making the best of limited (musical) resources (repertoire) by reusing and recycling them in a harmless but very pleasant (and useful) way. Rather than trying to write a new Mozart cello sonata, it is definitely much easier and infinitely more successful to transcribe seventeen of his magnificent violin sonatas. For a detailed explanation of the transcription process, click on the highlighted link.

The few original-for-cello pieces that are found here (notably an extended section dedicated to the Bach Cello Suites) are included because they were either unpublished, unavailable in a playable edition, or because the available editions were considered “improvable”.

FREE OF CHARGE

All of the material available on this website is downloadable for free.

THE CELLO PARTS: TAKE YOUR PICK BETWEEN “LITERAL”, “CLEAN”, “EDITED” AND “EASIER”

Normally, the downloadable (and printable) cello parts here are available in several versions. All of these different versions have the exact same layout in order to make comparisons between them easy. Click on the links for a more detailed description of each version:

  • Literal Transcription: a direct, literal transcription, taken from the most authentic source available (ideally manuscript or Urtext) with all the original bowings and interpretative indications, transposed into the cello-version key, but with no other modifications or additional editing.
  • Edited Performance Version: a version that is adapted for the cello, transposed to a more suitable key if necessary and that includes fingering, bowing, and occasionally dynamic suggestions by cellofun.eu. Here, all changes made to the original source material are designed to please principally our player (and listener) rather than our musicologist (for whom the Literal Transcription is offered).
  • Clean Performance Version: the same identical performance version but now without any bowings, fingerings or articulations. Normally, even the dynamics and expression marks have also been removed to give us a completely clean slate.
  • Easier Performance Version: for most pieces, an easier version is also offered. Most often this involves principally transposing the highest passages down an octave but, occasionally, tricky figures may have their notes or rhythms modified to make them easier. Some pieces even have another “Easiest Version”, which normally will not take the left hand above the Neck Region.

CELLOFUN PERFORMANCE INDICATIONS

In the Edited Versions of the cellofun editions, the following non-standard signs/indications are used. These are purely cellistic instructions which are – like fingerings – designed to help us overcome the technical difficulties of the piece. These are the “tricks of the trade”: our secret knowledge, our magicians’ handbook, the mechanic’s private manual which no non-cellist composer, arranger or editor would know how to use:

1: DOTTED SLURS

These indicate hooked bowings, in which the next bowstroke goes in the same direction as the previous one. The fact that the slur is dotted implies that there is a separation between the notes, which is why there is no need for a dot on either of the notes under this type of slur:

2:  SOLID BRACKETS

These indicate that a fifth (broken or doublestopped) is coming for which the finger must be placed in advance on two strings at the same time (see Capo Fifths). This is an especially useful instruction for situations in which our fifth starts on the higher string and we absolutely must prepare the finger in advance as we will not have time to move the finger later across to the new string:

3: DOTTED BRACKETS

These indicate that we need to keep a finger in contact with the string (not necessarily pressing down), most often because we will be needing it soon but also sometimes in order to provide an anchor or positional reference (usually during an open string):

4:  “x” NOTEHEADS: ANTICIPATORY FINGER PLACEMENTS

All notes that have an “x” notehead are silent (or almost silent). These “notes”, rather than being part of the sounding (played, written) music are inaudible preparatory finger placements that can be extremely useful to help us overcome many technical difficulties. Some of the most common reasons we might use these “silent finger placements” are:

  • to find our new note during a silence. Because we use these notes to find and check our hand position, we will actually need to sound the “x” note, very discreetly, usually with a lefthand pizzicato but also occasionally with an almost inaudible touching of the bow (see “Positional Sense“)
  • as intermediate notes in shifts (see “Intermediate Notes“)
  • in preparation for a coming doublestop (see “Anticipation In Doublestops“)

  • as an indication of where the thumb should be positioned, before we actually need it

HOME PRINTING: PAGE SIZE AND THICKNESS

All of the downloadable/printable music on this website is designed for printing on A4 size paper. My apologies to north-americans, for whom the standard paper size is “letter size” (a little shorter and a little wider). Beware of printing on American-size paper (and at photocopy shops): the music will be reduced in size as the margins are automatically increased. The cellofun.eu editions have very small page margins to allow the music to be as big as possible and anything that makes these margins bigger risks making the music too small for comfortable reading. For this reason, home printing (on A4 paper) may be the best printing option. If the commercial printing option is chosen, then to avoid reducing the music’s size a good option may be to print it onto larger paper and then cut the unused edges off.

Our printing results can also be made more professional by using slightly heavier paper than normal. Normal office paper (80g/m) is just not rigid enough and tends to collapse on the stand, a phenomenon that gets worse with age and humidity. Using even just a slightly heavier paper (100g/m) greatly improves its rigidity and resistance.

DIFFICULTY LEVELS

Some of the pieces in this library are highly virtuosic (Saint Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, for example). Others are not especially difficult. Each piece will ultimately be classified into one of three categories of virtuosity: Low, Medium and High.

PAGETURNS

Nothing is more infuriating than a “performance edition” that cannot be used in performance because of the impossible page-turns. Nowadays, music layout programs make the task of finding intelligent page-turns infinitely simpler than it was in pre-computer times. All the different editions of sheet music available on this website (Original, Edited, Clean, Easier), as well as the piano parts, are designed to be suitable for performance use, in the sense that the page-turns coincide with rests that are sufficiently long to allow the page-turn to be done with relative tranquillity.

The pages, in multi-page pieces, will however need to be taped together. Before doing this, we need to know whether the first page of a piece is a “cover page” (with a page turn at its end) or if on the contrary, the first page needs to be opened out to a double-page at the beginning. To make this clear, at the bottom right corner of those pages that require a page-turn at their end, you will see a “Pageturn” instruction. This is especially important in piano accompaniment parts, as these usually have many more pages (and therefore turns) than our cello parts.

PIANO ACCOMPANIMENT SHEET MUSIC

Some of the “classical” music accompaniments have been recorded on the piano and these audio accompaniments can be downloaded. To play with our own pianist, we will however need to obtain the piano parts. If the piece has not been transposed to a new key, then the piano part is not normally provided on this website. The piano parts for most of the standard classical repertoire can however be downloaded for free from www.imslp.org or otherwise bought from a normal music publisher.

When the transcription is in a different key to the original, two choices are possible:

  • your pianist can play from an original-key piano part but on an electronic piano which has a “transpose” function
  • the transposed piano part can be downloaded from this site (if available).

PRERECORDED AUDIO ACCOMPANIMENTS

With some of the pieces for “One Accompanied Cello”, prerecorded accompaniments (or a link to a website where the accompaniment can be obtained), are available as free downloadable audio files with the sheet music.