Approaches to the Bach Cello Suites: A Handbook for Cellists, by Charles Medlam

CM: Paperback book, 88 pages including multiple facsimile musical examples and illustrations, distributed by Fretwork. £15.00


What does Anna Magdalena mean by the word Violoncello?

Anna Magdalena, in a mixture of Italian and French, entitles her manuscript

Suites a Violoncello Solo senza Basso composées par Sr. J.S.Bach  Maitre de Chapelle.”

(Suites for Violoncello solo without Bass composed by Mr J.S.Bach, Director of Music)


J.G.Walther Preacepta der Musicalishen Composition Leipzig 1708

Violoncello ist ein Italiaenisches einer Violadigamba nicht ungleiches Bass-Instrument,  wird fast tractiret wie eine Violin, neml. es wird mit der lincken Hande theils gehalten, und die Griffe formiert, theils wird es aber wegen der Schwere an des Rockes Knopff gehänget ….Wird gestimmet wie eine Viola. 

(The violoncello is an Italian instrument not unlike the viola da gamba, which is played almost like a violin.  It is supported partly by the left hand, which stops the notes, and partly by being hung from a coat button because of its weight……. It is tuned like the viola.)