The Amplitude of Cello Extended Techniques and Tendencies of Its Development in the Twentieth–Twenty-First Century

  • Gintarė Kaminskaitė-Rudic
Keywords: extended techniques, concept, cello, classification


In the twentieth century, increasing focus on the parameter of the musical timbre led to numerous experiments with sound producing techniques on different instruments. A need for a generalising concept to describe such a phenomenon started to arise. In the last quarter of the twentieth century, the term of extended techniques was established. It is used widely today despite the fact that there is no fixed definition of what techniques or approaches it includes. Instead, we see interpretational differences by various authors.

We can notice different insights in research done by performers and composers. Non-academic music performers introduce their own unique approaches as well. There are differences in the vocabulary, and the distinction between academic and non-academic musical training is emphasised. Looking at the latest methodological literature, we can assume that intensive experimentation with sound producing methods is taking place in the non-academic field and a new approach to the cello is being established in various musical styles. We also notice that this process is taking place more widely in the US than in Europe where the tradition of classical music is firmly established. The article raises the question of what exactly should be classified as extended techniques and whether the new twenty-first-century multistylistic techniques can be perceived as the next step. It is concluded that different terminology, individual approaches of researchers, and differences in training between academic and non-academic music performers hinder a unified generalisation. The author suggests that the amplitude of the instrument’s possibilities is still expanding, and recently the initiative has been taken over by performers who explore different musical styles.