inter alia: “Hey Richard Armitage, I think your G-string is a bit tight…”

That got your attention didn’t it?!  Nope, this is not a further investigation in to anyone’s underwear preference…

...just a little string instrument humor!

…just a little stringed instrument humor! **

I was listening to my old new favorite collection of music this weekend and remembering how much I love the sound of the cello.   A convenient coincidence I suppose given the Richard Armitage connection, but really, my love of the cello extends back a long way.  Where I grew up, music lessons were (and still are – for now) a part of the public school curriculum, beginning in the 4th grade.  We had our choice of instruments, and I ruled out horns right away  SO   MUCH   SPIT!!  (yeck – leave it to my kid to take up the oboe!)  I was much more attracted to the strings.  I really, really, really wanted to play the cello, but it would have meant hauling it to school on the bus every other day, and that seemed like a daunting prospect since even at 10, I would likely have been playing a full sized instrument.  Violin it was.

I was a proficient violinist.  I suppose that if I had bothered myself to practice more, I could have been more than proficient.  Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda…  In any case, by the time I reached high school,  I had carved out a more or less permanent place as the second chair of the second violin section.  If you know anything about string arrangements, you’ll know that melody is a preciously rare commodity in this section.   Feeling unappreciated (in my 16 year old brain) and seeking greener pastures, I changed over to the viola.  I like the sound of the viola – more mello than the violin, but without the bulk of the cello, but not quite the same.  Not a whole lot of melody to be found here either, but it put me in much closer proximity to the bass instruments (we non treble cleffers had to stick together in that sea of violins) and together we produced the back bone of the ensemble.  The vast majority of the music I encountered was classical.  I love classical music, especially Bach and Mozart, but imagine my surprise when I encountered a cello in a wholly different context.

I mentioned a while back that I had recently rediscovered the music of a band that I loved when I was in college, and that it really took me back.  This band was unique in any number of ways, not the least of which was their integration of the cello in their fusion of funk and rock .

See that guy there?  The one with the bass...yes, the one with the bass and the mohawk...he's also a cellist.

See that guy there? The one with the bass…yes, that’s him on the right too – with the bass and the mohawk…he’s also a cellist.

The bassist for this band, pictured above, is also a classically trained cellist.  The combination of sounds was something that, in the late 80’s and early 90’s, I hadn’t heard before, and I liked it…a lot.  Take a listen to the two tracks here…the cello is prominent in the beginning, but is there throughout, bringing a depth to the sound that an electric bass alone can’t provide.

Big Bang Theory – “So Much More”

Big Bang Theory – “Livin’ in a Dream”

Richard Armitage has said that the cello comes closest of an instrument to sounding like the human voice…listen to this version of Led Zepplin’s Kashmir to hear what he means…

I imagine that Richard Armitage has the potential to be a pretty decent cellist….There are certainly plenty of extremely talented female cellists, but it is no secret that there are a lot of very well known male cellists.  I imagine that some of it has to do with the fact that men simply have larger hands and longer fingers which allows them greater reach over the fingering.  Longer arms can’t hurt in reaching around and gaining really deep bowing strokes either.  Long arms and long fingers Richard Armitage has plenty of!

I wonder if years playing the cello have anything to do with the famously open sitting position?

I wonder if years playing the cello have anything to do with the famously open sitting position?

**Check out a masterful list of music puns here

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27 comments on “inter alia: “Hey Richard Armitage, I think your G-string is a bit tight…”

  1. jazzbaby1 says:

    Lol! A friend of mine is learning cello right now and last week snapped her G string..the Facebook thread about it was pretty naughty. 😉

  2. guylty says:

    Ahhhhh, you are writing from my heart. I love the cello. (It used to be a joke between me and my friends that the ideal man we all aspired to was a cello-playing doctor – sensitive, well-educated, rich *hehe*) Icing on the cake with Mr A. Such an evocative instrument. Makes me cry very easily with its dark tones, literally pulls at my heart strings and gets under my skin.
    Do you know 2Cellos? Love what they are doing with the cello (not for purists!). But at least they are popularising a beautiful instrument. Their cover of “smooth criminal” is really quite something (and reminds me of the shot with the open stance you have quoted up there). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx0xCI1jaUM
    PS: Loved your headline – and yes, totally elicited a very dirty laugh from me *ggg*

    • obscura says:

      *SCORE* 🙂

      There are certain tones of the cello that totally hit me “in the feels”!! I am a total rhythm section girl – all my HS cellist were women, but the dude on the double bass *swoon*, my college BF was a bassist, and I had a major thing for cellist/bassist pictured herein…I suppose that Armitage plays the cello is only fitting!

      I’ve heard of 2Cellos…I will definitely check it out – as you may have guessed, I not exactly a purist 🙂

    • obscura says:

      I just watched the Smooth Criminal vid – fantastic!! Those guys must be really hard on bows and strings 🙂

      • guylty says:

        Yeah, that was my impression. Virtually every video you see of them, their bows are in bits. Very energetic. Quite cute, those two guys, too… And I love how they are popularising the cello.

  3. mujertropical says:

    Reblogged this on My Sort of Bloke and commented:
    Our expert on Ancient Artifacts delights us with a naughty pun.

  4. Perry says:

    Me, too violin starting in the fourth grade but we got promoted to first violin when we got into a higher grade. I was way, way on the end. My father, who was very hard of hearing, kept me company whenever I practiced, but it wasn’t until years later that I learned he made a practice of turning his hearing aid off. I wish I had a chance to change to viola but our instruments were assigned to us at the get go. I wanted the clarinet because it was easier to carry back and forth from school. (We all walked to school). Fun post as always.

    • obscura says:

      I think my parents wished for hearing loss early on…I learned in the Suzuki style…starting with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…playing each note six times. Lovely! I think my switch was facilitated by the lack of violas at the time…we rented out instruments from the school very inexpensively as I recall. At least the violin case would fit in the school bus seat…not so the cello 🙂

      • Perry says:

        LOL we had to buy 3/4 sized violins

        • obscura says:

          I started on a rental 3/4 and then we eventually rented to own a full sized one. I recently gave it to a friend of mine for her son to use…I may need to get it back – he has since quit playing, and MiniMe is showing signs of wanting to take it up (stocking up on earplugs 😉 )

          • Perry says:

            I have no recollection of upgrading to a full size- but maybe. I played until 9th grade. I really sucked.

          • obscura says:

            If you were petite, you might not have. I was at my adult height in 7th grade 🙂 I think the violin can be really unforgiving…it can generate some serious squalling cat sounds!

  5. Reblogged this on crystalchandlyre and commented:
    I just love this.

  6. I love the cello! However, my instrument growing up was the piano–far less portable, unfortunately. Ha!

    And RA’s open leg position? Maybe. However, the man just loves to slouch–give him an ottoman, pull off his shoes, and give him a foot massage. Ha!

  7. katie70 says:

    LOL Poor Son2 had a bit of a problem with his G string in 4th grade, it kept breaking. The poor boy had the mickey taken out of him few times from aunt’s, uncles and older cousins. At the time he didn’t understand what they where saying to him. Violin is what he what to play and also the trumpet. He took two years off the violin and this year gave up the trumpet to go back to the violin. For two years played both. Son3 played the viola for one year.

    We don’t have strings in the school but a great program that lets anyone play even if they can’t pay for lesson’s.

    After years of listening to the violin, I think I like it best. I have always enjoyed listening to the boys practice it is for the hard work of getting them to practice.

    Son2 started off with 1/2 size violin and son3 with 3/4 viola. Son1 played the trumpet and them son2 took it over from him. Me I ever got the chance and someday what to learn to play the piano.

    • obscura says:

      You have a very musical family! It’s great that there is a musical outlet available to them. My daughter is hinting at the violin, but we’ll see…I’d love it if she would take up the guitar – Then I could have my own little Partridge Family 🙂

  8. saraobsessed says:

    Goodness – next thing you know, we’ll be forming the Armitage Orchestra and learning parts for “Misty Mountains” and “I See Fire”! A 7 year sentence playing second violin for me. As I was inherently lazy about practicing, it amazes me how much of that time I spent as first chair. One can tell I played from the finger spread on my left hand. I’m sure I’ve commented elsewhere on my opinion regarding Richard’s sitting posture. I believe he may have been taught to sit this way while he studied the Alexander Technique.

    • obscura says:

      LOL…as luck would have it, there’s an opening in the orchestra for a cellist :). Stretching that fourth finger out were you? (Is it just me, or does string music discussion sound naughty?)

      I missed the Alexander Technique discussion…I looked it up…very interesting! I think it’s also much less of a problem for a man to regularly sit in such a way. I’m guessing that a woman, even in trousers, would cause more of a stir. I have a meeting this AM, I think I’ll do an experiment and see if anyone notices 😉

  9. […] catchphrase can beat the original: “Hey, Richard Armitage, I think your G-string is a bit tight…” (even stranger […]

  10. […] with me.  It sprouted up in college when I followed a band on the leading edge of the local funk-rock fusion scene and the when the funk beat and horns merged together with the heavy metal guitar virtuosity […]

  11. […] is a manip, made by Obscura. Here’s the original post. All images of Armitage pictured with a cello that I am familiar with are manips.] Gibson […]

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