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The Endpin

Posted by Gregory and Elizabeth Marsh on

A cello's endpin is an important but often-overlooked part of the instrument.  If you've never given the endpin much thought before, here are some things you might find interesting:

  • The cello has not always had an endpin.  In the Baroque era, the cello was held between the calves rather than supported by an endpin.
  • Adding an endpin to the cello made the cello more resonant, by removing the sound-dampening effect of the calves on the sides of the instrument.  The endpin also transmits sound waves into the floor, as you can see in this video:

  • While endpins typically come straight out of the end of the cello, some cellists prefer to play with a "bent" endpin.  A bent endpin comes out of the cello at an angle (Stahlhammer makes an endpin bent at 25 degrees), changing the angle at which the cello sits while being played.  Some famous 20th-century cellists preferred bent endpins for the quality and power of sound they could produce while playing on a nearly-horizontal cello.  Cellists who are unusually tall, or others who are pregnant, have found that bent endpins can make it easier to play.

  • The endpin can also be useful in securing your instrument inside your cello case.  If the case is slightly too large for your cello, slightly extending the endpin to touch the edge of the case can stabilize your cello and keep it from shifting inside the case.
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