Hello, and thank you for taking your time to look at this.
Well, to start off, I have always longed to start a stringed instrument, and come Christmas, I finally have my chance, as I plan to ask of my parents this request. At this current moment, I am torn between the cello and the violin. Quite frankly, though, I lean towards the cello because I simply love how it sounds, in contrast to the violin. However, I have but one qualm that keeps me from finalizing my decision, and it is one that my mother strongly shares with me. That is, the sitting position. I am unsure as to how I might word this, but bluntly put, I find it to be unladylike. Thus, I would like to inquire as to whether or not there is an alternative to this.
I hope you understand, and I sincerely apologize if I might have offended anyone.
Thank you for your consideration.
Cellists tend to angle the instrument in various ways, but as far as I know all cellists play with the instrument between their legs, and as far as I know there is no practical alternative.
There a many highly respected professional female cellists in the world, and many more female amateur cellists of fair repute. I advice you and your mother to join the real world and cease attempting to live in a Jane Austin novel.
Dear iAmOK. I do get Your point, but this is the proper way of playing the cello. Maybe it is a bit awkward for You for the first time, but it is kind of similar to riding a horse. It is maybe also not very ladylike, but that is the proper way to do it. You can of course sit on a horses like this, but it is not very adequate for real riding. Well, the case is similar for the cello. Here and here You can see ladies playing the cello while standing. However, believe me, it is not easy to play like this, especially not when You are a beginner. If You think, that You are not able to accept this, and get comfortable with this sitting position, I suggest You to choose viola, that has a closer sound to the cello, and You don't need to face this problem. Alternatively, bass can may also an option, if You feel more comfortable with it, and disregarding its usual purpose in an orchestra, You can play wonderful things on it.
BTW: once I saw a Youtube video about a French band, that consisted of 5 or 6 contrabasses. And there were a very nice videoshot, where one of them just taught His daughter to play the bass. It was wonderful, but I can not find it no matter how hard I try. If any of You have a clue, please help me in that.
Scotch, You were doing fine until you wrote that last sentence. I hope you are ashamed of yourself.
The typo embarasses me, if that's what you mean. I meant to write "I adviSe you...."
As for the content, of course I'm not the slightest bit ashamed. The writer really does need to cease putting on airs--and so do you.
It is true that a lady (as well as our male counterparts) are required to sit in the position the instrument was fabricated for. And, being a female cellist myself, while I realize it may be slightly less-than-ladylike for more sensitive artists to sit with their knees apart, the instrument was crafted in this way with a purpose. The body of the instrument is not made to be held like a violin, and the player is not meant to stand behind it like a double bass. The instrument's size and shape provide the cello with a unique sound, beautiful and mellow, and absolutely calls for the required seated position.
When in the correct position, the instrument will do its absolute best to keep your dignity for you. I mean that literally - it sits in front of your body, covering anything that you may wish to keep ... um, private. Never, ever in my time playing this instrument, have I felt less of a lady due to the way I need to sit to make it sing. It is a classy instrument, and anyone you will have listening to you play will not be concerned with the placement of your knees if they are in the correct position, although that may change if you try to play it unconventionally. That will definitely raise some eyebrows.
It is a matter of personal taste, but not a thing anyone will look down on your for. Trust me, there is no crassness to the violoncello.