Seven Easy Pieces for Beginning Cellists: The Gulls and Me

Seven Easy Pieces for Beginning Cellists

The cover page and first page of this pedagogical book.

A number from one of Bartles' pedagogical cello works. This number is entitled "The Gulls and Me." The entire set of seven pieces was published twice:  once in 1964 in Nashville, TN, under Vanilla Music Publications; and again in 1967 in London, under Boosey and Hawkes.

The book itself contains the following introduction, written by Alfred himself:

“Each of the ‘Seven Easy Pieces For Beginning Cellists’ was originally written for a particular student and later studied by many other beginners on the instrument. They are intended to supplement the limited material available at this level and have been introduced successfully after only a few months of instruction in most cases. All are intended to be played in first position with no shifts or extensions of the left hand. In No. V there is an exception to this when the hand is required to play octave harmonics on the A and D strings.

The pieces encompass the whole two-octave range of first position. (Much of the existing elementary material uses mainly the ‘A’ and ‘D’ strings). In addition they employ five different key and time signatures. Three dynamic levels are required:  the first, mezzo forte (mf) is the normal playing sound. In addition the student must sometimes play softer……piano (p), and louder….forte (f). The latter is used sparingly as a special effect since its overuse in the early stages of study tends to encourage pressing of the bow which is undesirable.

            In general they are arranged in order of difficulty though the teacher may find it more feasible to study No. IV before No. III in some instances. (No. IV is easier to read than No. III, but No. III is easier to play, once the student has learned to read it.) No. V provides the experiences of two against three between the cello and piano as well as an introduction to natural harmonies. No. VI introduces Alle Breve in a manner that is easy for a youngster to understand and count. No. VII uses detache bowing and ends with a passage in double stops which is not difficult since each double stop has an open string.

            The piano parts are written to be played by a pianist equal in development to the cellist so that they can be performed by siblings, classmates, or with parents who have studied a little piano, or for that matter, with the teacher as accompanist.

            I would like to acknowledge my indebtedness to the students to whom the various pieces are dedicated and to the others who have studied them. If something of the interest, patience, and cooperation which they showed has found its way onto these pages then I am sure that other newcomers to the instrument will benefit from it.”