After the discovery of 5 easy pieces for violin beginners, we have some pieces for cello players to share. Even if it’s not easy to find pieces written especially for cellists, there is a lot of adaptations of famous songs originally written for piano or violin available on Metronaut app, so you can also enjoy being the soloist.
The New World Symphony - Largo - by Dvorak
The Symphony No.9 in E Minor, also called the New World Symphony was composed by Antonín Dvořák in 1893. It is one of the most popular symphonies of all times. You can hear it in many movies, video games and commercials. The second movement - largo -, which inspired the popular American song Going home and The Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King’ soundtrack, is a must-learn for cellists. As its name suggests, this movement is really peaceful and slow (Largo is a tempo from 40 to 60), so that the piece is more accessible to beginner cellists. It is set in G Major with a 4/4 time signature. When you feel more confident with this piece, you can play the string quartet version with other string musicians, which makes it really pleasant.
Silent Night by Franz Xaver Gruber
Silent Night is a popular Christmas carol composed by Franz Xaver Gruber in 1818. The song is so famous that it has been translated in 140 different languages, and has been recorded by many singers (including Mariah Carey, Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby) across different music genres. As seen in our last article, the piece is manageable for violin beginners, and for cellists too. The song is set in the key of B flat Major and is very slow, with several short phrases repeated in each verse which facilitates memorization. It is also a good opportunity for cello players to practice long legato phrases.
6 Easy Concert Pieces by Schlemüller (Op.12)
This serie of six concert pieces was composed by Hugo Schlemüller. As a pianist and cellist professor, Schlemüller wrote many pieces for his cello students, including these six pieces with piano accompaniment. They are playable in the first close position throughout and are manageable for students at the end of their first year of practice. It is a little demanding, especially in bowing techniques, but constitutes a great challenge to progress.
« Spring » from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi
The Four Seasons is a group of four violin concerti, each one representing a season, written around 1716-1717 by Antonio Vivaldi. It is the Vivaldi’s best known work and one of the most well-loved baroque works. The Concerto No.1, also called « Spring », is a not-to-be-missed piece for cello beginners, especially the first movement (Allegro). Even if it’s a demanding piece, in order to perfectly communicate the feeling of lightness and bounce of the season, it’s rewarding to master such a well-known piece. Also, vibrato should be used rather sparingly, as a little colouring on the longer notes (the use of vibrato makes this piece appropriate for cellists who've been playing for more than a year rather than early beginners).
Gymnopedies by Satie (adapted for Cello)
Originally, the Gymnopedies are three piano pieces composed by Erik Satie in 1888, considered as important precursors to modern ambient music. Many adaptations for cello with piano were written later. These short, atmospheric pieces are written in 3/4 time, and share the same theme and structure. Gymnopedie I (lent et douloureux in D Major / D Minor) and III (lent et grave, in A Minor) are suitables for cello beginners, notably because they have to be played really slowly.The melodies of each pieces use deliberate dissonances against the harmony, producing a melancholic effect that matches the performance instructions, which are to play each piece "painfully" (douloureux), "sadly" (triste), or "gravely" (grave).
You can find each piece presented here on Metronaut app with sheets adapted for cellists and discover many other easy cello pieces for beginners, such as Jingle Bells or Schubert’s An die Musik. If you feel comfortable, you can also challenge yourself with our intermediate pieces and play the Gounod famous Ave Maria!