• WordNet 3.6
    • n violoncello a large stringed instrument; seated player holds it upright while playing
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Violoncello (Mus) A stringed instrument of music; a bass viol of four strings, or a bass violin with long, large strings, giving sounds an octave lower than the viola, or tenor or alto violin.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n violoncello The modern form of the medieval viola da gamba. it is properly a bass violin rather than a small violone, as its name suggests, since its form is that of the violin rather than of the true viol. Its size is about double that of the violin. It began to be popular for concered music early in the seventeenth century, and for solo use about a century later. Its four strings are tuned thus: A, D, G, C (the second below middle C), the third and fourth being silver strings. In playing, the violoncello is rested vertically by means of a wooden peg or standard on the floor between the player's knees. The method of playing is otherwise very similar to that of the violin, including the same special effects. The tone is very sonorous and expressive, combining the advantages of the violin tone with the breadth of a tenor compass. The bow used is similar to that for the violin, but larger. In modern music the violoncello stands next, in importance, among the stringed instruments, to the violin, both as a member of the orchestra and as a solo instrument. Commonly abbreviated cello, 'cello.
    • n violoncello In organ-building, a pedal stop of eight-feet tone, having metal pipes of narrow scale and a very string-like quality.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Violoncello vē-ō-lon-chel′ō or vī-ō-lon-sel′ō a large four-stringed musical instrument of the violin class, the quality of its tone even more sympathetic than that of the violin, held between the knees in playing—it superseded the Viol da gamba in the early part of the 18th century
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
It. violoncello, dim. of violone, a bass viol. See Violone
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
It., dim. of violone, a bass violin; see next word.


In literature:

His father was an accomplished amateur, and played the piano and violoncello with more than ordinary skill.
"The Standard Oratorios" by George P. Upton
Of all instruments the violoncello can yield notes most like such a voice, when the bow is in a master's hand.
"Stradella" by F(rancis) Marion Crawford
The Ta'khay is a stringed instrument of considerable power, and in tone is not unlike a violoncello.
"Chatterbox, 1906" by Various
Fortunately, Landy Perkins, who played the violoncello, and was learning to play the violin, had one, and our orchestra was complete.
"Down South" by Oliver Optic
Two violins and a violoncello.
"The Letters of Charles Dickens" by Charles Dickens
I have likewise seen a dog affected by peculiar notes played on a violoncello.
"Anecdotes of Dogs" by Edward Jesse
With many thanks for kindly remembering an old ex-violoncello player.
"Violin Making" by Walter H. Mayson
His musical talent was remarkable; he played "divinely" on the violoncello.
"Sir William Herschel: His Life and Works" by Edward Singleton Holden
Old Brunken was in the music-room, playing to himself upon the violoncello.
"The First Violin" by Jessie Fothergill
I should have liked to hear you play on the violoncello.
"The Art of Needle-work, from the Earliest Ages, 3rd ed." by Elizabeth Stone
His father was an accomplished amateur, and played the piano and violoncello with more than ordinary skill.
"The Standard Cantatas" by George P. Upton
See, father, just there, between my song and the violoncello solo, he would have come in so well.
"Black Diamonds" by Mór Jókai
The technical capabilities of the double bass are necessarily somewhat more limited than those of the violoncello.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 6" by Various
And now to supper, and then to my violoncello.
"Her Season in Bath" by Emma Marshall
Languidly Margaret unpacked her violoncello; Pauline tuned her violin.
"Plashers Mead" by Compton Mackenzie
Violin or violoncello sonata = for pianoforte, V. or Vc.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Slice 5" by Various
In that scene it is exactly suited to a solo violoncello, and to a solo violoncello Wagner gives it.
"How to Appreciate Music" by Gustav Kobbé
For one room a piano, violin, and violoncello makes a good band.
"The Ladies' Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness" by Florence Hartley
If taken too quickly, the violoncello passages lose their due effect.
"The Life of Johannes Brahms (Vol 2 of 2)" by Florence May
On the cloth are a number of books, some music, and a flute; before the table a globe, and, leaning against that, a violoncello.
"Book-Plates" by William J. Hardy