Both cello and bass fall under instruments that are from the violin family and they are quite similar in their function overall. However, this does not mean that they do not have any kind of noticeable difference as there is a significant difference in physical appearance in both. However, these differences can be hard to spot when viewed by a non-musician or even a rookie.
We will take a closer look at different aspects of both these instruments to provide you with a better idea to differentiate between these two similar instruments.
Cello Vs Bass Sizes
This is one of the most apparent differences that a person can learn to distinguish between the cello and the bass. Although both of them are two of the biggest instruments of the violin family they still have a considerable amount of difference when it comes to size. The bass is a huge instrument and it stands higher than the height of an average person. It ranges from 6 feet 5 inches to 7 feet 5 inches in height. Cello on the other hand is fairly smaller than the average bass as the biggest of cellos do not exceed 5 feet 6 inches when it comes to height.
Cello Vs Bass : Octaves and Strings
The cello and the bass have some of the longest strings when it comes to instruments of the violin family. Both of these instruments are placed on the ground as it is not a viable option to carry them on the player’s shoulder like a violin while playing. The cello is more compact and therefore its strings are more pulled together than the bass. This makes the cello have a more melodic tone and it allows for a lot more manoeuvrability when it comes to hitting different notes and different depths. On the other hand, the bass has a deeper sound than that of the cello.
Cello Vs Bass: Different tuning methods
The way that both instruments are tuned and the mechanism used for tuning them is different for both. For tuning a cello, you need to go in fifths in an order that takes from the lowest to the highest. The bass is generally tuned by going in fourths. A cello has a better octave range than the bass because of its tuning methods and can go up to five octaves while the bass can only go up to four octaves.
One more difference in both of the instruments is that the metals that stick out from the scrolls of both the instruments are named differently. In cellos, those metals are called tuning pegs and in the bass, they are called tuning machines.
Cello Vs Bass : Physical Differences
We have already established the point that they are quite similar when it comes to appearance and they cannot be easily discerned by a non-musician or a rookie at first glance. However, when you take a closer look, you will know that they have a subtle difference when it comes to the shoulders. The shoulders on bass are more sloped than the cello and it is something that people familiar with instruments of the violin family can easily discern.
Cello Vs Bass : Sound
The sound that both of these products have a noticeable difference when compared to their hardly distinguishable physical structure. The cello is known for producing tones that are richer and more resonant than the violin. This is the reason that upwards of eight cellists are used in a single orchestral band.
Bass, like the name suggests, is capable of producing much deeper sounds than any other instrument of the violin family. Bass is considered a much more important instrument because of the deep notes that it adds to the symphony to back up the whole composition. However, one should always remember that both of these instruments sound best when they work together in a composition.
Notes and Octave
Variations in notes and octaves are some of the most vital factors that differentiate the bass from the cello. Both of these are instruments that are used to hit low notes but the bass can go an octave lower than the cello. You can presumably keep notes of the vibrations of the lowest note of the bass as it can go extremely low. But the cello does provide a sound range that is wider than the bass so both of these instruments have their utility.
Cello Vs Bass : Playing Position
Although they are quite similar in structure and they both are not suitable to be placed on the shoulder, there are some differences in the manner that players opt to play these instruments. The similarity between both of their playing positions is that both of them are heavy instruments and therefore they have to be placed on the ground with the help of a metal pin that is attached to the bottom of the instrument.
Now let us come to the differences in the playing position for both these instruments. The main difference between them is that every cellist sits down while playing the cello as it is neither too light to be carried on your shoulder nor is it too tall that you need to stand in order to play it effectively. Cellists place the instrument in between their knees while being seated.
Bass players on the other hand usually stand up to play the bass as it is not as short as the cello to be played while being seated. However, there are some players who opt to sit on special chairs that are taller than usual and can be used to play the bass comfortably.
The bass and cello are two classic instruments that are often seen in orchestra performances. Both of them are instruments that require a lot of time and dedication to master and are mostly taken up by players at a fairly young age. Despite the similarity in their appearance as well and them being hard to distinguish, we hope that you can effectively distinguish a cello from a bass with the help of the information we have provided above.