Introduction to the String Family Part 2 – Cello, Double Bass, and Harp

The cello is larger than the viola and it makes a deep, warm sound.  The cellist sits while playing.  Although, I do not know how to play the cello, it is my favorite instrument to listen to.

This picture is of Yo Yo Ma.  He is my favorite cellist of all time.  You may have seen and heard him at President Obama’s Inauguration.

You can listen to and watch Yo Yo Ma playing Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85 by Sir Edward Elgar.  (Concerto is pronounced like Con-chair-toe.)  Be sure to watch and listen to all of the other instruments that are accompanying him.  This video also gives you a good look around the entire orchestra as they are playing.


The double bass is the largest instrument in the string family.  The player stands up or sits on a high stool while playing.  Note that the top of the belly of the double bass slopes differently than on the rest of the string instruments we have learned about.

The composer of this next piece of music thought that the double bass sounded a lot like an elephant.  What do you think?

There are some really cute elephant pictures to enjoy on this video. 

I also like to have the students walk around the room like elephants to the music.  They should walk slow and lumbering.

Let’s listen to Camille Saint Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals.

The harp is one of the oldest instruments in the entire orchestra.  The concert harp is about 6 feet tall.  It has the largest range of all instruments in the orchestra.  (A range is distance between how high of a pitch and how low of a pitch an instrument can go.)  Harpists sit and play with both hands and feet.

I found a great video of a young man playing Boldachev’s Toccata on the harp.  He is amazing.


The piano is sometimes considered a string instrument and sometimes a percussion instrument.  It depends on who you ask. I will explain all of this in a later lesson.


If you are new to the Music Adventures Lessons, please click on the graphic below for an introduction and more information.



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