Cellofun Repertoire Library: “Popular” Music

The cellofun repertoire library has two separate catalogues: one for “Formal” (“Classical”) and another for “Popular” music. We have used the term “formal music” rather than “classical music” in order to avoid confusion with music of the “Classical Period“.  There are, of course, many pieces for which it is not absolutely clear to which category they belong. These pieces have been classified in both categories. For a discussion about the difference between these two strongly overlapping categories, click on the following link:

“Formal” (“Classical”) or “Popular”: What Are The Differences

In this “Popular” music catalogue, you will find wonderful pieces of “popular” music – jazz, pop, rock, folk (traditional), light classical, bossa nova, reggae, punk, country/bluegrass, gypsy, flamenco, fado, klezmer, irish, tango, ethnic etc –  transcribed for cello as the lead (melody) instrument.

Music is a powerful emotional language through which we can touch the deepest areas of the psyche. “Classical” music is often emotionally more “serious”, “intense” and “heavy” than popular music. For the performer, this high emotional intensity can lead to excessive tension. For this reason, playing “popular” music is normally therapeutic, taking us on an enriching voyage into very different musical and emotional worlds. Here, we can – and MUST – really loosen up.


When playing popular music we need to make some major changes to our mindset and playing style. If we play like “classical” musicians, as though we were interpreting Brahms or Beethoven, we are not going to be very popular. Stephane Grapelli and Yehudi Menuhin playing jazz together provide a lot of material for discussion about this question of what makes the difference between “popular” and “classical” playing styles. This is a large and fascinating subject, with its own dedicated page:

Popular Music: Playing Style, Interpretation, and Techniques


Divisions between styles are often not clear. Some music mixes several styles. For example, is Van Morrison’s “Moondance” jazz, pop, rock, or irish/celtic folk music? Well, it is a bit of all of these, and in cases like this, the pieces (and composer) can be found classified in different style categories at the same time. We have used the following basic categories for “Popular Music”. Click on the links to find sheet music and pre-recorded audio accompaniments.

  1. Jazz
  2.  Pop
  3.  Rock
  4.  Traditional, Folk, and Ethnic
  5.  Light Classical