Guest Post: In Liam’s Defense

Why do so many people take an instant dislike to the cello?
It saves time.

My father, reading the recent guest post entitled “In Defense of the Cellists”, began writing a comment defending his son (me).  Eventually it got too long to only span one comment, and I agreed to post it as a guest post.

In reviewing Liam’s introduction to the most recent guest post on why cellos are better than he says they are, I was stuck by his open animosity toward the cello and this launched me into a self examination of my own attitudes and the precarious position in which I find myself.  As some background and in defense of Liam, he finds himself in this position honestly.  He is the second son of a second son, a bassist and a son of a bassist; pianist and grandson of a pianist.  He has an elder brother who plays cello and an uncle who plays cello (his cousin plays bass).  He finds himself annoyed from a combination of an elder brother who knows everything, yet has his own unconfessed limitations, often surrounding the cello.  Though Liam does get along well with his brother, he bristles at the “cello attitude”, such as:  I [think I] can do everything on my cello – I can play high like a violin, I can play low like a bass, I pretend to play jazzy and think I am cool when I do, I play pizzicato like a violinist (little bitty finger tips), but think I am cranking on the strings like Ray Brown.  We bassists do not find it to be some sort of cognitive dissonance that we can declare the cello community as our mortal enemy, yet can and do like and enjoy the company of some individual cellists.  As a fellow bassist with Liam, I fully understand this attitude as I had held the same for many years now.

However the fence I am on is razor thin.   With a son who plays cello it is dangerous to declare his entire section to be my mortal enemy, especially when I must attend all of the concerts and practices and lessons.  If my view came out, I suspect a teacher or two would immediately double their rates.  Familial harmony would be interrupted and I would be a pariah.

In addition, through the training process and the amazing experience that Liam’s brother had in [some unknown state] at the Cello Academy, I began to enjoy the cello, especially when they did the cello jam sessions and 40 cellists in a room, playing some common theme and the power of a great cello section enveloped me.  I believe that I will need to grant Liam some literary license.  Knowing that his writing voice is developing, his creativity is brimming and as a young person, he needs some room to surf through a few different attitudes and ideas, often at different volumes.  Certainly as we grow in life we tend to allow some diversity to enter into our lives.  So now I must recant, make amends with cellists far and wide, if for no other reason than that my economic state is at risk. These days, we need to see our kids as more than our extensions in life, but as our future caregivers.

Leave a comment


  1. The cellists welcome you with open arms. We love you, too. 😛

    • Now you see the problem I have. I’m justified in being less-than-cordial toward cellists. Of course, it’s all in fun– you know that, right?

  2. Charley R

     /  June 25, 2012

    Haha, fantastic post! Personally, I have nothing against cellists, but this defense almost makes me want to pick one up and have a go xD

  3. Erin

     /  June 25, 2012

    Can I just say that all the string instruments in the orchestra are amazing?? But…violins ARE a little bit better than the others. *runs away quickly*

    • Excuse me while I laugh. My opinion of violins is even lower than that of celli… But don’t worry. It’s all in fun anyway.

      • Erin

         /  June 26, 2012

        Ah no, I understand completely why you feel that way. Violinists can be just as obnoxious and arrogant as cellists. Trust me, I know plenty of kids like this. It probably comes from the facts that 1) most people who play a string instrument play violin, and 2) the violins usually carry the melody in an orchestra, so that makes violinists think they’re superior to everyone else (this doesn’t go for the 2nd violins though, because we NEVER get melody). But honestly, I enjoy the sound of the violin the best. But I’m probably being biased. Everyone would say that about the instrument they play.

      • Of course. As I told some other cello fanatic, an orchestra is an orchestra because of the combinations of sounds– not an individual instrument being present. A violin, cello or triangle does not make an orchestra.

  4. shonti

     /  July 2, 2012

    i dont think cellos have an attitude! violins do! they think they are the best and the orchestra cant survive without them! anyone of the instruments can carry the melody! i have done it before and i play the cello!

    • This is exactly the problem. Every instrument thinks they’re the best, whether you’re a violinist, cellist or piccolo. We musicians are conceited. But yes, cellists have an attitude, just as violins have an attitude (I agree with you, by the way).

  5. I…I was looking for a guest post and found this. And I’m laughing way too hard.

    Yes, violinists are conceited, too. So are sopranos and altos and tenors and basses, in choir. I think all musicians are…


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