top of page
  • Writer's pictureRaffaella Macuz

Cello time part 2

Good morning Raffaella, so, this bow of 74 grams, which is what I liked the most, let's say that it has all the characteristics that I am looking for, I like that it is very balanced, that is, I feel it as if it were part of my arm, I feel it really comfortable, balanced, it sticks very well, it is very clear, very clean, the sound is very nice in that sense, I also like that it is very flexible, that is, if I put my weight the bow responds, it sticks ... the only thing is that already playing it in a more open space, or maybe with a less favorable acoustics, that is, a drier acoustics, or in a larger room like that of the conservatory, the sound is a bit thin, in my opinion, being a light bow, it is a bit obvious that the sound can become a little thin .... So let's say that it does not help my way of playing, my physique, even my cello is a small cello, it is not a very large cello, a Montagnana model, so the sound yes, the sound is a bit thin, I would like to have a rounder sound, fuller, with more substance ...

The second bow, the 76 one, already has a sound that shoots more, I also like this, in my opinion this helps me, it helps my cello, but it starts to lose a little the things that I liked so much of the first bow, it starts to be a little uncomfortable, that is, in the sense it starts to feel a little heavy the tip, and it starts to be a little less flexible, in the middle I feel that if I put my weight, my arm, a little' does not stick like the first, like the 74, and then it becomes a little difficult for me to choose, because if I had to choose I would choose the one of 74 grams, but the question is that the sound, yes I would like to, that is, in the end the sound is the thing, let's say, more important, even if I'm trying to feel more comfortable, more free, but if the sound is not the sound I would like to find, a little it 'already makes me find not to be completely convinced ... I really like the second bow, but I repeat it begins to lose the characteristics of the first bow that I liked, so let's say that my perfect bow is like the first 74 grams with all the characteristics it has, plus a rounder sound and with more substance.

For this reason I had also thought of the 80-gram bows, but I remember that when I tried it the tip still felt a little heavy because it was not, because it was not yet finished, right?, some things were still missing, so I ask you if in the meantime you had finished it, because I remember that the sound had more substance, and maybe for the acoustics where I was trying it was a little too much, but in a less favorable acoustics it could be an option... I was also curious to have your advice, your opinion ...

After a few days Emiliano sends me this voice message, four minutes and twenty seconds, he preferred this mode to present me the result of the numerous tests he carried out, I appreciate the extremely polite and gentle tone, the form, very respectful and of considerable elegance, and the contents, very precise, the result of commitment, dedication, acumen, and great attention ... yes, of course, Maia (76 grams) and Elettra (74 grams) are two different arches, and it is not a question of weight, Emiliano knows, he uses weight only to indicate one or the other, I did not tell him that each of my bows has a name, it is the name that I found for them and that I keep to myself, I don't think it's a good thing that his judgment can be influenced in any way by the resonances that each name has in each of us, necessarily different.

Better to leave the paper blank, as white as possible, so that it is the musician who writes what he finds, and perhaps, later, after he has chosen, later I can tell him the name that I have given them, and that certainly the musician can change to his liking.

Elettra, in his hands and with his cello, not very big, has a clear, precise, clear, clean voice and... yes, lean also pleases me, not slender, since it is not slender, but essential, slender, there is everything, not more and not less, it is docile, inperceptible, it becomes part of the arm and vanishes in the arm while certainly being present.

Would he do the same in other hands and with another cello? Would it still sound thin? Probably not, almost certainly not, I think it would keep the promise of its name , support speed, essentiality, cleanliness, slenderness.

Maia, the mother, has a stronger voice, she has a stronger character than Elettra, her nature is to support the encounter with life, Emiliano says "shoot more"... in the hands of another musician and with another cello would it do the same? Would he shoot more than Elettra? Would it stick less than Elettra's to strings? Probably not, almost certainly not... like Elettra, Maia too would continue to present her nature, to support the encounter with life, in the way and in the sense in which the musician who holds it lives it.

Each musician has and lives his time, his speed, his essentiality, his cleanliness, his slenderness, Elettra supports his time, his speed, his essentiality, his cleanliness, his slenderness.

Each musician meets life in his own way, unique and unrepeatable, never before and never after that way he presented himself on the face of the earth: Maia supports that unique and unrepeatable encounter.

Yes, the other bows that Emiliano had tried had to be completed, I had wanted to do an experiment, and it was fully successful, in the meantime I had completed all the operations, and they were ready, I Ching and Rocky, 80 grams and 81 grams, the weight in grams is not relevant, their character is.

I Ching is the oracle, the one who answers your question impeccably, any of your questions: each musician has and asks his questions, asks questions that only he or only she can ask in that way, I Ching answers precisely those questions, unique, that no one else has asked before and no one else can ever ask in the same way, the differences between one musician and another cannot, must not be eliminated or ignored.

Rocky, the fighter, has a stronger voice, has a stronger character, his nature is not to give answers to the musician's questions, it is to help win: each musician faces adventures, risks, different, unique and unrepeatable comparisons, and Rocky helps to win each alea, each comparison, changing the way and responding to what the musician needs, helping in the course of the adventure that that and only that musician is experiencing, in facing the risks and comparisons that that and only that musician is facing.

Fantasies? Yes, maybe.

Fantasy is an indispensable ingredient, a precious commodity, always and everywhere, even more so when the task is to bring sounds into the world in the way musicians do... it is also fantasy, but it is also the way in which I can faithfully say of what I have found, more and more clearly, over the years, now it is twenty years of daily encounter with the bows and with the musicians.

It is not given to me to know, before the bow is completed, what is its character, what is its nature ... I am a woman, I gave birth to two daughters, I know, I lived the experience of feeling and seeing a new living being grow inside me ... It is even trivial to combine my reading of nature, of the character of the bow, with the unknowable nature and character of the living that human females, and only human females, can conceive and give birth.

Trivial as long as you want, yet it comforts me to find, remember and keep in mind the need for candor, of not knowing before, the commitment to meet life in its unknown and surprising aspects, not to be distracted by the diversity of what is compared to what we desire, too often slipping into disappointment and trying to force what is in our poor schemes, remaining open to the beauty of what simply is, musicians, bows and even daughters.

And so I respond to Emiliano's message, dear Emiliano, thank you for your precious observations, now the bows are ready... we agree that he will come to take the two new bows, he would like to do comparative tests with all four, keep them for a few days, he will take the final exams with one of them, and still can not know which, I decide instantly to consent to his request, however unusual.

We meet the next day, at the railway station, it is a short and light meeting, he must leave almost immediately, he vanishes in an instant, swallowed by a train carriage that will take him to his destination.

A few more days pass, Emiliano lets me know that he has brilliantly passed the exams, we agree to meet, we will talk when we meet, but I already know that he will not keep any of the four arches with him, I am curious to know why, to know the reasons, this story is unusual, it is singular, it had never happened to me before, and I'm sure it will never happen to me again.

We meet again at the train station, he hands me with attention and great delicacy the cases that contain the four bows, we are sitting on a bench, people going, people coming, not a crowd, but there is movement around us, and again it happens that we both find ourselves in a space-time bubble, as had happened at the first meeting, in the very short second one of a few days before, and even now, we are there, but we are no longer there, the rumor of announcements of warnings, trains arriving, trains leaving, attention convoy passage to platform 3 move away from the yellow strip, the conversations of the people around, exactly as if everything had vanished.

And finally Emiliano tells, he tells of I Ching, that is the perfect bow for him, the levity of Elettra, the strength of Maia, more than the strength of Maia, less than the strength of Rocky, devastating ... I Ching was the companion chosen to face the exams, with full success, and I Ching kept, as he could not fail to do, his promise, to answer his question, to the question that only Emiliano could ask.

The oracle has impeccably answered: what you are looking for is not in the cello, in any cello that has ever existed, that still exists, or that will exist in the future, what you seek is not in the arc, in any arc that has ever existed, that still exists or that will exist in the future. Look elsewhere.

There are different ways to understand the meaning of this story, different paths that we can take, different, as they say, prospective focus, my path is this: I am grateful, struck, and happy.

Emiliano, thanks also to my bows, and not only to his undoubted genius and talent, has found an answer that he has been looking for years, small, initial, but decisive: perhaps he would have spent the rest of his years in the vain search for the perfect cello and the perfect bow, capable of bringing into the world the sound that until now he was certain that it should be brought into the world, since it is necessary to bring into the world, it is vital to bring into the world, within the prescribed time, disobedience is punished with death, the death of the unborn child, the death of the generator.

That sound, only and exactly that sound, was, and remains, what must be brought into the world, no one can have the doubt that Emiliano was wrong, that that sound is a mistake, and if he feeds it is in error, he relies on a non-truth, thus exposing himself to the consequences, known and imaginable, of trusting in a non-truth.

Of course I am not allowed to know how it is the sound that Emiliano must generate, not before he has generated it, it is not granted to me, it is not granted to anyone but Emiliano, only to him: when this sound comes into the world, Emiliano will be able to recognize it, and say in jubilation, here it is, this is the sound, to be able to share with others, certainly with me, the evidence of the uniqueness of that sound, its beauty, its enchantment, the fulfillment of a journey that began decades ago and finally completed.

With me remain Maia, Elettra, Rocky and I Ching, for a while longer, they too will leave, and they will have their lives without me, I am proud of them, of each of them, and this is the greatest reward granted to a human.

Emiliano has already begun the new search, I know it, and I am sure that he will find what he still has to look for, not because he wants it, not because he desires it, not to pay stupid homage to something, to someone, living or non-living, but in the name of the best truth that he has long recognized and that brought him to me, and in many places in the world... what better truth?

Everyone has his own answer, mine is, still uncertain and questioning, testify as best he can to his best truth.

I know he will succeed, and I know he will come back to me one day to tell me about his journey, and his success.

Until then, from the depths of my unmendably romantic heart, good luck, Emiliano!

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page