Playing Pizzicato on the Cello

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 30,321
    Diana from the International School of Music demonstrates how to play Pizzicato on the cello.
    My name is Diana and we're here at the International School of Music in Bethesda, Maryland. In this clip we will be covering pizzicato and some of the note basics in the left hand. So pizzicato or plucking of the string is an excellent way to begin and to also train the left hand before attempting to use the bow.

    So when you pluck the string, you basically want to be about three or four inches from the end of the fingerboard. The objective is to get a resonance sound and you catch the string and then release it. Generally, pizzicato is done with this first finger of the right hand. So when you're going to do pizzicato, you can start with just open strings, working either from the top-down or a bottom-up and mix them up just to gain facility and knowing where each of the strings are even without looking.

    So in going to the left hand, you can start, again, as a review, each of the fingers is numbered starting with the first finger, then the second finger, the third finger, and the fourth finger. And on cello, each of these fingers is a half step apart. When putting them down, you will sometimes skip over a finger due to the distances on the cello.

    But let's start by covering some of the notes in pitch. We'll start with the lowest note and basically which is the open C string. As you put a finger down, the note or the pitch gets higher. So we're going to start at the very bottom and go through to the top C. So we have C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C.

    So if you noticed, basically there are seven letters in the musical alphabet and they repeat over and over from A through G and then again it starts again with A. So in reverse, if you're coming down, the notes of the alphabet will go backwards. So C, B, A, G, F, E, D, C, et cetera.

    And other notes I will go into review a little bit more lately, but basically third finger, notes that are common in the first book. You will be covering mostly notes on the D string and A string and then later adding the C and G. So an important one to learn is F Sharp which is third finger and we'll cover that in the song that we learn later. And third finger on the A string is C Sharp versus second finger which is C Natural.

    So when you're getting started something that might be helpful for beginners is to use masking tape or electrical tape and just cut a small strip of it and put it where each of the notes should be. So again you can use a tuner or a piano to help you figure this out and just put a thin strip across there. The first note on the D string, first finger on the D string would be E. The next you either leave off the second finger tape or you can go to third finger which is F Sharp and then fourth finger is G.

    So that tape will help you in the beginning to know where to put your fingers until your ear is trained pitch wise. Eventually, you'll want to eliminate the tape on the string and just do it by your ear.

    So that's it for this clip. In the next one we will be covering how to learn one song, a basic song, Lightly Row.