The String Section

10 July 2015

So far, in the orchestral manoeuvres, the woodwind and brass sections have featured and now, it’s the turn of the string section. So many stringy instruments though many are not officially members of the string orchestral arena. Violins, violas, cellos and double basses (along with the occasional harp) are all well beyond my capabilities in terms of musicianship. To be honest, anything involving strings is a step too far.

Luigi Pasquale Cello married Alice Rosina Elliott in Christ Church, Southwark (1902) and may well have created half-sized cellos. Mary Violin married John Pearse in St Mary Soho, Westminster on 23 August 1870 and quite possibility created many other string players of the future. But what about harpists, bass players and guitarists? They aren’t orchestral instruments but have you come across anyone called Banjo or Guitar?

Elias Guitar married on 5 October 1713 at St Dunstan, Stepney but what he did prior or post marriage, heaven alone knows…. Strangely, Harp as a surname is more common than you might think and so there are various interesting records for Harp name bearers. Loudy Cello was baptised over three hundred years ago on 2 October 1672 in Tywardreath, Cornwall and there are plenty – more than a bunch/handful – of individuals named Viola (first name). Would you call your son/daughter, Violin? Thankfully, very few Violins have been located, despite many Violina, Violinda and Violinae appearances in the records of yester-century.

I often wonder about the mentality of people when they name their children. Why would you want to name your child after an orchestral instrument (or indeed, any instrument …. orchestral or not!)?  With surnames, there is little option (for example, when you are called Cello as above) but you can be less creative (less crazy) with the first names surely? Loudy Cello …. that’s a bit ‘far out’!

Do you have any instrumental first names in your family history? Is there any obvious reason why the name is used?

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