"What plays the Cello?"

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Posted by Theo on May 16, 1999 at 05:14:54:

This question keeps going through my mind..

What part of the body actually plays the cello? Is it the brain, or the hands or arms or the back or something else?

Here's an example. Let's say I had Starker's body. That includes his hands, fingers, arms, elbows, shoulders, back, and etc. It excludes his brain though, so what we get is a human being with my brain but Starker's body. Now, with that kind of body, would I actually be able to play as well as he does(or at least come somewhat close to him)? Would anyone be able to play as well as Starker, if they had Starker's body, but not brain?

On the other hand, let's say I had Starker's brain, while I get to keep the rest of my body. In that case, wouldn't I be able to play as great as Starker does, or at least come somewhat close to him?

I feel that it is the brain that does the playing, not other body parts or even the whole body excluding the brain. Individual body parts, such as the hands or fingers etc, can't do anything by themselves. They're just attached to the body and are not the things that actually do the action.

My point is that (I think) playing the cello is all about training your brain, not your body. Through years of playing, you train your brain, which in turn tells individual body parts to act in a certain way that gets a sound out of the cello.

Am I somewhat correct, or is this just another weird thought going through my mind?

Just another thought... I'm taking AT lessons and have realized that relaxing is simply just changing the way you think, not moving your body or anything. Wouldn't it be the same with playing the cello? I mean isn't cello playing all about training your brain, not your fingers(or other body parts)?

Always thinking,

P.S. I've been thinking a lot about Feuermann's playing lately, especially of his bow hold and use of bow. Does anyone know where I could get a couple pictures of him? The only one I found is the one in the ICS(Feuermann thesis). Oh by the way, where is that part that has the notes from the book Feuermann was writing? Couldn't find it in chapter 5.

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