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The violoncello da spalla was a prominent instrument during the C17 and C18.
It is an instrument which has long deserved attention, and in recent years has been developing and revived to be known to a much wider audience.


Originally from the period around 1650 to 1750, and brought back to fame due to it’s use in Bach’s cello suites – being likely the original size instrument the music was written for.




The violoncello da spalla or cello da spalla is a type of small cello, towards the smallest in the historical cello section of strings.

The da spalla playing position (across the shoulder, supported by a strap), whilst lesser known in modern times is a very comfortable way of holding and supporting the instrument, the option to also play it da gamba is left to the player.


The cello da spalla has been championed by many players for its warm resonance, with a sound like a cross between a viola, cello and bassoon. They have ability to play fast, articulated passages comfortably in the cello range – either as a solo instrument or in a basso continuo role and also in modern and fiddle styles. The instrument was originally 4 or 5 string. The focus came back to this instrument due to Bach’s commissioning of the 5 string version, and the inclusion of 2 of these in his inventory when he died (and no large size cello). It is widely considered that some of Bach’s cello suites may have been written for this instrument, most notable the 6th suite. The 5 string version allows many uncomfortable or unnecessary shifts to be avoided, and transitions made easier.

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Large cello’s have tended to be used over much of the C21 as the belief that the larger cello you play the louder, more voluminous it will be, has grown. However, this is not the case as it is more down to the details of how the instrument is made, but general standardisation has allowed people to have much greater access to the larger sizes of cello.


The instrument commonly has a string length of 425mm, however, the difference in the playing position makes the feel not directly comparable to the feel of a violin or viola string length, it feels SURPRISINGLY smaller.

If you would like to learn more about the cello da spalla CLICK the link below to download my ebook.



Being a professional communicator is one of the hardest jobs in the world.

Music speaks to all of us because of the emotion it can produce, the elated visual stimulation of performances, the raw passion of expression and the fantastical landscapes that can be painted with it.

There are so many elements to creating bold passionate, congruent communication that allow you to create that true connection with other people through music, and that’s really all we’re aiming for.

You have so many emotions to explore and communicate with different moods to audiences, you really want to draw them in toyour story, give them the journey you plan to take them on and create a mental environment for them that you have visualised.

There is a huge difference between the skill of expressing yourself and the skill of getting your message or story across.

YOU may be expressing yourself perfectly – raw and imperfectly perfect – but all that may be lessened by your instrument as IT’S not able to match you and your ideas and add a helping hand rather than make you fight for a response from it – diluting your attention and energy.

Once you start that new journey with an instrument that suits and converses with you, your ability to communicate will only build.

1. TALK TO ME – tell me what you like, if you know or tell me you don’t know what you like
2. WE WILL PLAN – your ideal/dream instrument
3. WE WILL MAKE – the instrument that completes you or you have no liability to keep it

Be a leader and storyteller