As a solo or orchestra instrument the five string cello is not likely to replace the four string cello. The main reasons for this are the loss of overall sound volume, the difference of sound quality and the different shifting patterns. The latter factor could be overcome through intensive practicing in order to rebuild the traditional shifting system in the high registers. However this effort would be a waste of time when the instrument would be intended to be used for performing classical and romantic music: a five string cello’s sound property compares unfavorably to a four string’s when approaching this kind of music.
The circumstances change completely when approaching works composed for five string instruments. The problem with different shifting patterns becomes non-existent because the fifth string was taken into consideration when those pieces were composed. With the exception of Bach’s BWV 1012 and Schubert’s Arpeggione such pieces can be performed in comfortable positions - the use of the thumb positions is not necessary. A new and rather big repertoire opens itself for the user of a five string cello that is usually not approached by four string cellists because of the extreme technical problems.