Cello front side.png
Cello, front and side view. The endpin at the bottom is retracted or removed for easier storage and transportation, and adjusted for height in accordance to the player.
String instrument
Other namesVioloncello
Hornbostel–Sachs classification321.322-71
(Composite chordophone sounded by a bow)
DevelopedCirca 1660 from bass violin
Playing range
Range cello.png
Related instruments

The cello (/ CHEL-oh; plural cellos or celli) or violoncello (/ CHEL-oh;[1] Italian pronunciation: [vjolonˈtʃɛllo]) is a string instrument. It is played by bowing or plucking its four strings, which are usually tuned in perfect fifths an octave lower than the viola: from low to high, C2, G2, D3 and A3. It is the bass member of the violin family, which also includes the violin, viola and the double bass, which doubles the bass line an octave lower than the cello in much of the orchestral repertoire. After the double bass, it is the second-largest and second lowest (in pitch) bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra. The cello is used as a solo instrument, as well as in chamber music ensembles (e.g., string quartet), string orchestras, as a member of the string section of symphony orchestras, most modern Chinese orchestras, and some types of rock bands.

Music for the cello is generally written in the bass clef, but both tenor clef and treble clef are used for higher-range parts, both in orchestral/chamber music parts and in solo cello works. A person who plays the cello is called a cellist or violoncellist. In a small classical ensemble, such as a string quartet, the cello typically plays the bass part, the lowest-pitched musical line of the piece. In an orchestra of the Baroque era (ca. 1600–1750) and Classical period (ca. 1725–1800), the cello typically plays the bass part, generally doubled an octave lower by the double basses. In Baroque-era music, the cello is often used to play the basso continuo bassline, typically along with a keyboard instrument (e.g., pipe organ or harpsichord) or a fretted, plucked stringed instrument (e.g., lute or theorbo). In such a Baroque performance, the cello player might be joined or replaced by other bass instruments, playing bassoon, double bass, viol or other low-register instruments.


The name cello is derived from the ending of the Italian violoncello,[2] which means "little violone". The violone ("big viol") was the lowest-pitched instrument of the viol family, the group of stringed instruments that went out of fashion around the end of the 17th century in most countries except France, where they survived another half-century before the louder violin family came into greater favour in that country as well. In modern symphony orchestras, it is the second largest stringed instrument (the double bass is the largest). Thus, the name "violoncello" contained both the augmentative "-one" ("big") and the diminutive "-cello" ("little"). By the turn of the 20th century, it had become common to shorten the name to 'cello, with the apostrophe indicating the missing stem.[3] It is now customary to use "cello" without apostrophe as the full designation.[3] Viol is derived from the root viola, which was derived from Medieval Latin vitula, meaning stringed instrument.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Tjello
العربية: تشيلو
asturianu: Violonchelu
azərbaycanca: Violonçel
беларуская: Віяланчэль
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Віялянчэль
български: Виолончело
Boarisch: Stehgeign
bosanski: Violončelo
brezhoneg: Violoñsell
català: Violoncel
Чӑвашла: Виолончель
čeština: Violoncello
Cymraeg: Sielo
dansk: Cello
Deutsch: Violoncello
eesti: Tšello
Ελληνικά: Βιολοντσέλο
español: Violonchelo
Esperanto: Violonĉelo
euskara: Txelo
فارسی: ویولنسل
français: Violoncelle
Frysk: Sello
Gaeilge: Dordveidhil
galego: Violoncello
한국어: 첼로
հայերեն: Թավջութակ
hrvatski: Violončelo
Ilokano: Tselo
Bahasa Indonesia: Cello
íslenska: Selló
italiano: Violoncello
עברית: צ'לו
Basa Jawa: Cello
ქართული: ჩელო
Кыргызча: Виолончель
Latina: Violoncellum
latviešu: Čells
Lëtzebuergesch: Cello
lietuvių: Violončelė
lumbaart: Viulun
magyar: Cselló
македонски: Виолончело
മലയാളം: ചെല്ലോ
مصرى: تشيللو
Bahasa Melayu: Selo
монгол: Морин хийл
Nederlands: Cello
Nedersaksies: Cello
日本語: チェロ
norsk: Cello
norsk nynorsk: Cello
occitan: Violoncèl
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Violonchel
Plattdüütsch: Violoncello
polski: Wiolonczela
português: Violoncelo
română: Violoncel
Runa Simi: Chilu
русский: Виолончель
Seeltersk: Violoncello
Simple English: Cello
slovenčina: Violončelo
slovenščina: Violončelo
کوردی: چێلۆ
српски / srpski: Виолончело
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Violončelo
suomi: Sello
svenska: Cello
Tagalog: Tselo
தமிழ்: செல்லோ
ไทย: เชลโล
Türkçe: Viyolonsel
тыва дыл: Виолончель
українська: Віолончель
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: چوڭ ئىسكىروپكا
Tiếng Việt: Cello
Winaray: Tselo
吴语: 大提琴
ייִדיש: טשעלא
粵語: 大提琴
中文: 大提琴