|www.ethanwiner.com - since 1997|
A Cello Rondo - The Video
This video has been viewed more than 1,000,000 times!
Also see my newer video TeleVision, where
you can buy a DVD of both performances.
I thought it would be a fun project to write and record a pop tune using nothing but cellos, then make a video of the performance. The original goal was to keep everything entirely acoustic, with no recording studio effects or other processing. I quickly abandoned that idea to get more variety of sounds, but everything you hear was played entirely on my cello. There are 37 separate cello parts recorded on 23 tracks using 37 plug-in effects. I don't know if I should be embarrassed to admit I spent hundreds of hours on this project, or proud to have paid so much attention to detail. You be the judge.
NOTE: When I uploaded this video to my own web site in 2006, it become so popular that it exceeded my web site's capacity. At one point 9,000 people tried to view it at once, which shut down my entire site for three days! It has now received nearly 2 million views on various video hosting sites including YouTube. Here are the links:
Newer High-Resolution Wide-Screen on YouTube: click HERE
Audio (only) MP3 file: click HERE
(But please see the video first!)
Download the music here
Added November 11, 2011: Just to prove me wrong (below), my friend, expert luthier, and orchestra arranger Bob Spear did what I thought was impossible. He made an arrangement of A Cello Rondo for an orchestra of his unique string instruments, and performed it publicly several times. Here's a video of one recent concert:
A Cello Rondo on YouTube
A lot of people have asked me for the music to my Cello Rondo video, mostly so they could play it live with a group. Unfortunately, it's not practical to play this live for many reasons - it's definitely a "recording studio piece" that requires a lot of studio effects to work. Even though I did play everything more or less as shown in the video, much of what was done is not apparent. For example, a pencil banged on a cello string played in thumb position does not sound as crisp and clean as what I achieved unless you press the string with a finger nail. Try it, you'll see. So it's impossible to actually play those parts as shown. I played much of that one note at a time, then stitched it all together to what you hear in the sound track.
Likewise for the "kick drum" part. That needs a lot of amplification to be audible at all, and severe equalization to sound as it does. The same goes for the pizz parts. Listen carefully to the sound track and you'll hear a "clang" sound more like an electric guitar than a plucked cello. That required severe compression / limiting. The bass track was also heavily processed to get it to sustain as it does. Then there's the distortion effect in a few places, the auto wah-wah on the spicatto near the end, and so forth. Another reason I've been hesitant to make the music available is because I never bothered to make publication quality versions - it was just for my own use, and in some places I added notes in pencil after I typeset the music from the original MIDI file.
Since so many people have asked for the music, I decided it's easier to spend half an hour to clean it up and put it on my site, than keep answering folks over and over that the music is not available and explaining why. So below are links to GIF files of each page. I did not go to the trouble to separate out all the individual sections. That is, the String Duet music has all the parts together on one page, even though I played each part separately when recording. Likewise for the chords and "plink duet" where I used a pencil to whack the strings. There's also no tempo or dynamic markings, or even slurs, just the raw notes!
Click or right-click the links below to view or download each page:
Bass Page 1
Bass Page 2
Bass Page 3
Chords Page 1
Chords Page 2
Leads Page 1
Leads Page 2
High Thumb Position Lead
Since releasing this video I have received hundreds of emails - which I greatly appreciate! - and have seen hundreds of complimentary posts in web forums and blogs. Below is just a small sample. Thanks to everyone for all your wonderful comments.
Wow, I'm very impressed! Aside from the obviously monumental task of creating the music and the video, which is quite an accomplishment, the piece stands on its own as great music - which is an even better accomplishment. I enjoyed it very much, thanks for letting me see it. --Mitch Gallagher
I'm VERY impressed with both the video and the music you wrote. I think it's beautiful. I forwarded it to the Vegas guys and they loved it. Especially the halo around the cat. I keep showing it to everyone. It's genius. --Charles De Montebello
I have just watched your video of "A Cello Rondo" and I felt I had to email you to tell you how much that work of art blew me away. I play the cello, and I also have an interest in video editing, and everything I aspire to can be summed up in what you have produced in that video - it is truly fantastic. --Peter Hartley
I wanted to tell you that I have watched your recording several times and am beyond impressed! I'm not sure which is more impressive, the video, the orchestration, or the piece itself. Just amazing. --Wells Cunningham
Very impressive! Didn't you start playing cello as an adult? That makes it even more impressive. --Jim Aiken
Just saw the video - great sense of humor, outstanding musicianship. I loved the change in clothing for the different parts. FYI, the link was sent to me by Vicky Jenson, director of Shrek, who got it from Johnny "Ethan" Phillips of Star Trek fame. And I'm sending it to your neighbor, Mark Snow, who scored X-files. --Michael A. Levine
Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed "A Cello Rondo." The production was so entertaining that I found myself hitting the replay button as soon as it finished. Bravo! Peter Moshay is a mutual friend and he called it, "one of the most creative pieces of music I've heard in years!" And that's saying something coming from Peter. --Anthony Labate
One of the most creative pieces of music I've heard in years, and sounds fantastic. You have to be very proud of that, it was WELL WORTH ALL OF THE TIME!!!!! You're a genius. I'm sending it to all of my friends right now. --Peter Moshay
Loved the cello video. Very cool. Humorous too. And I thought it sounded really good as well. --Charles Dye
BRAVO! BRAVO! WELL DONE HAMBURGER! That's very cool. --Michael Terry
Your DVD is a BRILLIANT project!!!!! Could you please send me a DVD of it so that I can play it to my strings class? You are very inspiring, Buddy! --Jeffrey McFarland-Johnson
Wow, I'm floored, what a performance!!!! You are sooooo talented! I had to watch and listen to your video 3 times. The Cello Rondo is a fantastic piece. I loved all the tools, effects, nuances, and melody. You are a great composer, musician, director, technician, etc. Yes, there were some very funny parts. Your cat is a real star next to you. You should be in the top charts! Wow, I'm still floored. --Gisela Schenck
I saw your article in SOS magazine and went to check out the Rondo. It's brilliant!!! Real nice piece of music and an innovative concept! I really enjoyed it. --Pat Marafiote
I loved your video, too! Very fun and really well done. --Gideon Freudmann
To say I'm impressed is a great understatement. Its truly amazing what these tools can do in the right hands. Your composition, arrangement, performance, acting, mixing, filming, and video editing is first class. Just awe inspiring to me. I like your cat Bear too. --Bill Thompson
I wanted also to tell you that I enjoyed Rondo immensely. In my opinion, it is absolutely brilliant. All of the different facets were executed to the same high level of excellence. You are a master of your many crafts. The video is awesome, but the sound track is great enough to work alone. I really appreciate the amount of energy you put into taking it from your vision and making it real. --John Madill
I just wanted to write, that's one of the coolest things I've ever seen!!! :-) On top of that, the song is very nice, the musicianship excellent, it's impressive that you got all those different sounds out of one instrument (which is also very creative), and the video was a blast to watch! --Craig Caldwell
WOW! What a wonderful piece of music from conception through execution and video production. I would like to make it available on our school network for teachers to show to their classes. --Kim Ferraro
Your 37 Cellos video is one of the best uses of the internet that I've seen. It's also great music! Way to go! --Brian Warthen
I wanted to add my voice to what I trust is a chorus of thanks and admiration for your wondrous piece. I'm a professional cellist, teacher and writer in L.A., and will forward the link to many colleagues. --Roger Lebow
While I don't normally do this, I was so impressed with your musical video, "A Cello Rondo," that I felt the need to write and let you know how I appreciate your efforts in producing it. My wife has actually asked me to take a short break from listening to it because I've had it looping (I've gotten into the habit through the years of listening to a song over and over again but focusing on a specific instrument or part each time). --Nicholas Hutchind
I am absolutely amazed with your Cello creation. I am a Sr. Director at eBay/PayPal and shared this with many of the senior leaders of the company. I think your creation exemplifies individual achievement. --Matthew Mengerink
I just watched the video you made and it was amazing. I was on the IRC and someone posted the link, many of us enjoyed it at once and everyone praised your work. --Ashley Witt
I have been enjoying your Cello Rondo video for weeks now. I never tire of hearing it or watching you do your thing on the video. The technical ability you demonstrate is astounding, compiling and creating that piece of music. The most amazing thing to me however has nothing to do with the outstanding technical prowess you have. What I wonder is, how does such a nerdy looking guy produce such hip and cool jazz. On a cello no less? Keep it up! --Michael Risner
Your video of the multi-tracked cello tune is the most awesome recording I have ever seen or heard! I cannot imagine any recording musician who has seen it to not be immediately influenced by your innovative ideas and sound. --Mary Z. Cox
I found your site after seeing your wonderful Cello Rondo on Google video. I was surprised to keep unpeeling layer after layer of great accomplishments in many interesting fields. You are an inspiration. --Jeff Miller
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