Violoncello or bass viol; a similar instrument in construction to the violin, but of a larger size, and having a more powerful effect. An improvement in the violoncello was lately made by Mr. S. A. Forster, of Frith Street, Soho, London, for which that gentleman received an honorary medal from the Society of Arts. The tail-piece of a violoncello is a thin board, usually of ebony, fixed at the end of the instrument, opposite to the pegs, and to which the ends of the strings are tied, or otherwise fastened. Mr. Forster's invention consists, first, in making three longitudinal cuts in the tail-piece, dividing it into four bars, united only at the lower end, sufficiently separated at the other to prevent their touching while in a state of vibration; and attaching the strings one to each of the bars. In each bar are three holes, and the string is to be fastened to whichever of them on trial shall be found to give the most perfect tone. Secondly, the material of the tail-piece, instead of being wood, as usual, is of soft hammered brass; this alloy being found to give freer vibrations than copper, and to be preferable to iron or steel, on account of the metallic quantity of tone which attends the use of these substances.
By the above arrangement, each string being attached to its own bar, the string and bar form a continuous and distinct line, and therefore the vibrations of the different notes interfere less with each other. When the strings are tied to one common tail-piece, the breaking of one puts all the others out of tune; but in Mr. Forster's invention, as each string has its own bar or tail-piece, the breaking of one affects the others in a very slight degree.