Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MMUS)




The idiomatic development of the cello from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries can be traced through its compositions. When Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, BWV 1008, he wrote for a Baroque instrument that was considerably different from cello which had evolved at the time Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his Sonata for Violoncello and Piano in D Minor. op. 40 in the twentieth century. The physical modifications to the instrument itself, most notably in the tension, created the timbre and brilliance of the modern cello. The unique qualities of the Suites are explored through the Prelude and Sarabande of the Suite II. No other composer prior to Bach had been able to compose such beautiful music with a single line, broken chords, and a few double stops. The Sonata for Violoncello and Piano in D Minor. op. 40 is a hallmark piece of the twentieth century duo sonata literature. It is a virtuoso piece with extre es in register, tempi, and harmony. Like Bach, Shostakovich conceived the cello in a novel way, and expanded the capabilities of the cello repertoire.


A Treatise Presented to the Department of Music and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Music University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1997 Christa A. Speed.