string guide



Tuning of the 4 string cellos in Germany, France, Italy and England:
1528 Wittenberg, Germany Agricola: Ein kurtz deudsche Musica bass geige part of a 4 part violin consort
1532 Nürnberg, Germany Hans Gerle: Musica teutsch 4 string cello tuned
1533 Brescia, Italy Lanfrancho: Scintille di Musica 4 string cello tuned
B ’-F-c-g
1556 Lyons, France Jambe de Fer: Epitome musicale 4 string cello tuned
B ’-F-c-g
1592 Venezia, Italy Zacconi: Prattica di musica 4 string cello tuned
B ’-F-c-g
4 string cello tuned
1609 Bologna, Italy A. Banchieri: Conclusioni nel suono del organo 4 string cello tuned
1613 Napoli, Italy P. Cerone: El Melopeo y maestro 4 string cello tuned
B ’-F-c-g
1636 Paris, France M. Mersenne: Harmonie Universelle 4 string cello tuned
B ’-F-c-g
1619 Wolfenbüttel, Germany Praetorius: Syntagma Musicum 4 string cello tuned
4 string cello tuned F-c-g-d
1664 London, England Playford: Introduction to the skills of musicke mentions wirewound gut and silk strings

Comparing the above mentioned treatises and bass lines in written music, we get the following rules for the tuning of the 4 string cello:
Italy: 2 common tuning systems existed at the same time. Monteverdi probably wrote for an instrument having the range of C-G-d-a, where as composers such as Giovanni Valentini (1619) required in their music notes down to the B’, resulting in the tuning B’-F-c-g
Germany: The earliest written proof of the "modern" tuning of C-G-d-a comes from Germany. Two treatises written with a time span of 87 years stating both the same tuning system show how much more common this tuning was in Germany already at that time.
France: The only tuning used in 17th century France was the B’-F-c-g tuning. M. Corette reports (in his Methode theorique et pratique a apprendre le violoncelle from 1741) the introduction of the C-G-d-a tuning only in 1710 to France.
England: Similar to France the B’-F-c-g tuning dominated England until 1725, by when the "new" tuning system C-G-d-a was used (according to J. de la Fond in his New System of Music)

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Edding Quartet, a classical string quartet on period instruments