The technique I generally use to play an accent on my violin is to press down the bow before executing the note. So that creates the necessary impact. This video demonstrates it well:

This technique works really well with minims or crotchets. but the main problem is with semiquavers or quavers especially when I'm playing short notes consecutively. If I put my mind to pressing down the bow before playing the note I lose track of the rhythm and the impact of the action makes my note longer than it should be. Is there a better alternative in such cases? Or do I have to be content with just applying a slight pressure on the note as I play it?

2 Answers 2


If you want to play faster accents like in semiquavers you need to practice your way there. Starting with this videos technique you need to practice the shown attack there dividing gradually into smaller and faster accents.

In the video you have 1 accent per bow. Practice that first. Then make 2 accents per bow. In this phase you are not trying to be ritmic correct, you should just focus on starting the bow with the right pressure so it "bites" the string, and start the bow from a stopped position.

So the things to keep in mind is: the accents come out of a stopped bow with pressure.

When you are comfortable with 2 accents per bow (stopping the bow between them as long as it needs so you are sure you will get the right attack/accent after), then you are ready to play 3 accents. And then 4 and so on.

Mastering this might actually take you some months of focused training. The more slow and detailed you are in the beginning probably the better you will play later.

After a while you will have a reflex, a bit like vibrato can be a reflex, and the short elegant accents will come out.

On your way there remember:

  • at one point you will be able to play fast. Don't destroy it when its "green", keep practicing always slower than what you can control so you don't loose the technique.
  • the more accents, the shorter bow. If you want to go many accents it will be very little bow.

You can accentuate fast notes in flow by using, well, fast bow speed, making the bow travel a larger distance than other notes. A bit like a stroked rather than thrown spiccato.

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