Skip to Content

Cello: Extending The Limitations

The goal of this project is to explore new horizons of classical, contemporary music composition and the live performance of said horizons. While the instrument, “violoncello”, most commonly referred to as “cello”, is dominantly associated with traditional, acoustic classical music repertoire, this project aims to define that the cello is an instrument capable of performing all styles of music despite any preconceived limitations.

As acoustic guitar has its relative, the electric guitar, the cello also has its alternative relative. Sketches of the electric cello were first conceived in the 1930s with the intentions of making the instrument itself more adaptable, more competitive with the sound and volume of instruments like the electric guitar, and more affordable, to name a few inspirations. Despite how much success electric and/or hybrid instruments may have had making the cello more adaptable in numerous scenarios, the contemporary classical music scene hasn’t seen much progression in the integration of electric cello with contemporary composition and performance.

The primary purpose of this project is to create a new piece of music for solo electric cello and live electronics, with the intentions of breaking the boundaries between genres of music, expanding the repertoire for this instrumentation, and discovering what new compositional techniques and devices can be employed to make the piece accessible to different audiences and performers alike. This project strives to answer the questions: What limit can a cello and its pairing with electronics be taken to; What new compositional devices and techniques can one employ or create to make this piece efficient and logical; How can one take this piece to the concert stage, or another venue, to give a successful and meaningful performance.