See this video, about three minutes in, for details:

I'm having difficulty achieving the 'spiccato' sound at sufficient speed, and am looking for tips on the bowing technique that will help me with this. Part of the problem is that my bow is not of very high quality, and is somewhat less 'springy' or 'jumpy' than most. How should I hold and manipulate my bow to better achieve the fast spiccato seen in the video I linked?

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    Thanks. Specifically my question is as I put it: how should I hold and manipulate my bow to better achieve the fast spiccato seen in the video I linked. If there are several possible answers I would accept the most helpful or comprehensive one. If my question is not specific enough, I would be happy to answer any questions. – josh Nov 17 '12 at 21:43
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    The new question you proposed is much better. Try editing your question to the new one. :) – American Luke Nov 17 '12 at 21:46

According to this guy, this type of fast Spiccato should actually be called Sautille:

He gives a good demonstration of how to go about it in that video. Perhaps you should also watch another one of his videos which is related to this:


I believe the name of the stroke you are looking for used in this section of Pezzo is sautille, French for "jumping," or in this case, "jumping bow." There are many schools of thought on how to approach the stroke. Some claim that sautille should be derived from motion of the arm into the wrist, while others say that there should be minimal arm movement and more wrist. In the video above, Mr. Finckel uses only the wrist to generate the bouncing motion. Although I have found this method to work, it has generally been inconsistent for me.

One of my teachers taught me a strange method to go about achieving the stroke that most players use and happened to work really well. Essentially, your arm weight should generate the sound, and your wrist should act as a loose hinge to produce the bounce. In order to achieve this, for a couple of days, let your weight press the bow into the string, sort of like a "heavy detache." Your wrist should not be abnormally tense or loose. After a few days gradually loosen your wrist and your grip on the bow, the bow should want to bounce on its own, hence the "strange." Your wrist should be able to be compared to a pendulum, only going side to side and not forwards or backwards. I would advise to start on open strings to begin, then play various notes, to scales, and finishing on incorporating the stroke into the piece.

Once you have found that you have reached the optimal sound and bounce, you shouldn't jump right in to the Pezzo and expect every note to match up. Instead, warming up with scales playing sautille. Play the "Non-cambio il tempo section (is that the correct name of the section, which by the way does not mean keep the entire piece of the tempo constant, but to not alter the tempo in the middle of that specific section)" slowly at first with the metronome, feeling the weight in your neck and your arm into the string, and only then gradually speeding it up.

Keeping your wrist loose and letting your arm weight generate the rich sound and bounce are the keys to successfully executing the stroke. Remember that sautille is not a task achieved overnight! And remember that if you are unsuccessful the first time, try try try again!

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