Does this sound like you or anyone you know? Calloused hands, a closet full of full skirts and/or ‘comfy’ black pants, referring to people in strange code languages (“I was just thinking about GGP” “I can’t believe how long it’s been since I saw something new on CelloDonna’s page”) or long discussions about disarming the little voice inside your head?

You may have Dementia Violoncellis.

According to recent polling data, 1 in 64 bloggers is affected by this devastating disorder. Knowing the signs is the first step on the road to recovery. If you see yourself in one or more of the following examples, seek help immediately.

One of the common symptoms at onset is an obsession with bow technique, frequently resulting in attempts to do non-cello activities maintaining the grip that finally feels comfortable.


At midpoint, symptoms include a devotion to the “metronome”, which appears to be a relic of ancient times, pre-dating foot tapping and even conductors.

During times of travel, the madness becomes truly apparent as “cellists” consider stowing themselves in the hold of the plane so their instrument can relax in the cabin for transatlantic flight. Vegetarian meal, please.

Sufferers in dry climates may go to extreme measures trying to adequately humidify their instrument.

Female “cellists” sometimes take to hoarding, moving from sale to sale in search of the perfect long black gown or skirt, failing to realize that their cards are maxed and they have 26 long skirts already, which is why their cards are maxed in the first place.

In the final stages, people suffering from Dementia Violoncellis make a dramatic shift into infecting others with their disease, some even deluding themselves into writing how-to books on more efficiently declining into the mania, and encouraging those who were not inoculated as children to step ever deeper into the twisted world of Cello. Watch as they drone on for hours, referencing “Potter” “Popper” and “Starker”, which appear to be hallucinations caused by this terrifying disorder. Observe as the patient goes on at length about pronation.

A rare documented shot of the paralysis this sort of ranting causes. Be careful. Standing too close to an enthusiastic cellist may cause interest or a switch in instruments. Very dangerous.

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26 thoughts on “knowing the signs”

  1. Yep. Esp. when learning extended position. Why is it so much easier to stretch when our hands are not on the fingerboard?

    Wait. I know why. 🙂

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  2. We may rest assured that nobody in my family has been infected with this virus so far. although the younger one has been heard whistling the primary theme to Dvorak’s CC while in the shower, there has been no evidence of further progression. At least he can travel with his music!

    ps. My “big post” is coming – but I need to edit to make sure it is not too revealing. I do need to keep my job, my wife, and my family!

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  3. Ok ..I’m blushing. The cello in the shower – I’ve done. And my tweet over the weekend: “Popper #10”.

    HELP ME!

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  4. Ok, tell me about the Popper. What is it that troubles you? Not hearing the changes (what frequently challenges me when I go at it), the physical stuff? adhering to the fingerings? Let’s work on it!

    PS: That picture is of your cello in your shower. I didn’t want to say anything…. 😀

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  5. Waaaay too funny! Where were you when I needed to know cellists are not all stuffy and stuck up? (Probably not yet born?!!???)

    I spent all those years thinking I just wasn’t dorky enough to be a good cellist…

    …In spite of actually having a college friend(not that nerdy) who studied Popper with Starker and myself being a student of Potter at the time…

    Once I had a strange manifestation of Dementia Violoncellis myself. …with a closet full of black skirts and tons of practicing yet to do, I decided that I should make a new orchestra dress. Mind you, this was the night before the concert!!

    You’ve so inspired me to write more about my cello life too!

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  6. You’ve totally been spying on me when I go clothes shopping, haven’t you? I admit to the black skirt obsession!

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  7. Hooray Susan! (you Mustang Mamma!) What was it like to study with Potter? All technique? Bow tie? Do tell. I hope you write about cello stuff more, although I like your blog just as it is. After my Trojans fell to them, I was really rooting for Sparty and the guys in the Final 4. Same hats, sort of. A sucker for fashion until the end.

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  8. Hilarious. A much needed break. But I know I’m not affected. I have one pair of low maintenance black palazzo pants that I wear over and over and over – in each city.

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  9. I know I’m badly infected. It’s so severe that I’ve infected my husband as well. He wakes me up in the middle of the night practicing vibrato and pizzing on my arm! And he has no musical ability or background whatsoever!

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  10. Is the Cello form of this disorder particularly terrifying? What about the people who suffer from the violin or piano form of this disorder? Are they as bad off?

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  11. This morning I created a (mostly) cello blog and I’m going get serious about cello blogging…how I’m finally growing into my “training”…stay tuned!

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  12. CG: I risk big trouble by commenting on Violinis Impedimentia (more commonly known as Treble Hysteria) and Fortepianomania Aggrandium (Two hand Fever).

    Marisa: I like your fighting spirit. If you ever need a diagnostic evaluation, simply read some of my old posts that are strictly about technique. If you find yourself skimming, then you’re probably ok.

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  13. *nervous laughter*

    ha ha, Tuchman. Very funny.
    🙂
    It could be straight, but never locked. My thumb tends to be curvy, but when I am applying eyeliner in bow grip, all bets are off. Good eye though. You guys should have seen the stuff that didn’t make it onto this post.

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  14. Hilarious!

    I find myself holding my electric razor in a bow grip when I shave. I never used to do that before I played cello.

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  15. Oh gosh, I’m getting worried – I may have caught this! I’ve got my first recital tomorrow night and I’m thinking of buying my first black skirt! And I don’t even look that good in skirts! Argh!!!!
    Brian

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  16. Todd: better than holding your bow in razor position, I suppose. 🙂

    Brian: I like how you say you don’t look *that* good. Priceless. Size 6 in ladies, right?

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  17. Hilarious. Thanks for a much needed laugh.
    I do find myself twiddling with pens during meetings, holding them in a nice flexible bow grip.
    ..and let’s not go into shopping..i’m not much of a shopper and am very wardrobe-challenged.

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  18. Three week later update.

    I see this PA licence plate (they’re up to the H’s now, you see but they are issued in alpha order)

    “GGP-2311” and what do I think?

    I’m afraid the case is terminal.

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  19. License plates…terminal, definately terminal. Speaking of license plates. I don’t want to say my exact plate, but it is a reference to cello suites by Bach. (Matches my cell(o) phone ring and the “Got Cello?” decal on my car.) I’ve had it since November and my colleague just figured it out yesterday. I could have done “Cello”, but that was way tooooo obvious!

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  20. I do worse things with license plates, more related to my terminal case of Aviatia Enthusiastica. I say them like they are tail numbers. So GGP-2311 becomes,

    “Santa Monica tower, this is Golf Golf Papa 2311, southeast runup, ready to go with information Tango”

    Which is really silly, because the numbers usually preceed the letters. It should look like N2311GGP. And as you can see by my inability to stop myself right now, I am totally out of control.

    I think Eleonore Shoenfeld’s license plate said Celline or Celliste if I’m not mistaken.

    Reply

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