Ever since a ‘standard’ tuning existed for the violoncello, certain composers have chosen to alter this tuning, a technique known as scordatura, in order to achieve various effects on the sound and technique of the instrument. Current scholarship on scordatura in the cello repertoire focuses primarily on its use in compositions prior to and including Johann Sebastian Bach’s Fifth Suite in C minor and in twentieth century compositions beginning with Zoltán Kodály’s Sonata for solo cello, Op. 8. Little attention has been given to scordatura compositions contemporary with Bach’s Fifth Suite and continuing through the nineteenth century. Moreover, discussions of scordatura across the entire string literature have skewed toward its use to facilitate technique. In doing so, scholars have underplayed the effect of scordatura on the resonance of the instrument. Of the scholarly writings that do address this subject, the discussion is frequently limited to broad references, such as increasing the projection of an instrument or altering its tone. The research stops short of explaining the physics behind these results. The following study aims to provide a more thorough understanding of how altered tuning of the violoncello strings affect the resonance of the instrument, and how this resonance affects the overall aural impression of the composition. It then examines the use of scordatura in two little-known compositions from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and one newly-commissioned work. The dissertation project encompasses five components in total. The first component is a recital of Jacob Klein’s complete Op. 1 sonatas and Eric Malmquist’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, the video of which is accessible in the Digital Repository at the University of Maryland. The second component is the written document. The third and fourth components are modern editions of Jacob Klein’s and Peter Ritter’s compositions, created by the author to facilitate the performance and study of these works. The final component is the score for Eric Malmquist’s work, included with permission from the composer. The scores and the program for the recital are located in the appendices.



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