Scordatura tuning

Retuning the strings. Notated with a verbal instruction to retune, possibly with an additional staff to show new tunings. Retuning takes time and care. Rare, but possible on the cello. Restrict retunings to a tone, preferably flattening.
Scordatura tuning:

Tap instrument

Tapping the body of the instrument with fingers or with the bow. Notated with a verbal instruction, with x-shaped noteheads for extended passages. Tapping the body or the shoulder of the cello with knuckles or palm is acceptable. Using bow or other beaters is NOT!.
Tapping the instrument:

Play behind bridge

Playing the strings between the bridge and the tailpiece. Notated with a verbal instruction, with x-shaped noteheads if necessary. The standard bowing and plucking techniques may be used for this effect.

Play behind bridge:



Bow tailpiece

Bowing the tailpiece. Notated with a verbal instruction. Soft, ghostly sounds.
Bowing the tailpiece:



Intervals smaller than a semitone. Notations vary, but the examples above show a microtonal inflection and a quartertone. Microtones are tricky to pitch, and can easily sound like 'out of tune' playing, particularly if attempted by an entire section at once!

'Silent' fingering

Fingering pitches with the left hand without bowing or plucking the strings. Notated with a verbal instruction. Rarely used. Very quiet. Silent fingering:


The Orchestra: A User's Manual is a free resource and will remain so. It still receives between 8,000 and 16,000 unique visits per month from all over the world. See the testimonials. Thanks to all the donations, I have been able to create this responsive re-design. But the movies and sound clips recorded in 2004 do show their age. I would really like to re-record everything and add many more techniques, especially for solo and ensemble writing. I estimate this will cost around £30,000. If you know a source of such funds, please contact me: a.hugill [at]