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the second largest member of the violin family, rested vertically on the floor between the performer’s knees when being played.
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Historical Examples

noun (pl) -los
(music) a bowed stringed instrument of the violin family. Range: more than four octaves upwards from C below the bass staff. It has four strings, is held between the knees, and has an extendible metal spike at the lower end, which acts as a support Full name violoncello

1857, shortening of violoncello (q.v.).
cello [(chel-oh)]

An instrument in the violin family, known for its rich tone. Among the strings, or stringed instruments, the cello has the second-lowest range, higher only than the bass viol, and it has the lowest part in string quartets. Cellists hold the instrument between their knees to play it. Cello is short for violoncello.

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