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30

It's a fun experience to play with a convex Baroque bow, but if you've ever tried to use it for anything romantic or later, you'll quickly want to get back to the concave Tourte design that everybody has nowadays. The thing with convex bows is that they bounce around like mad. This can work quite well for the elegant-rhythmic dance feel of Baroque and early ...


29

As a bowmaker, I would like to temper these answers a bit. Yes, if you leave a bow under tension too long, it will lose its camber (bend) faster. So that's true: one should get in the habit of loosening the bow. But- one, all bows lose camber eventually, even if they are loosened religiously, unless they meet some other untimely end beforehand, because ...


22

I'd add to Dr. Mayhem's list: You never know when something will interrupt your plans. You might be 20 mins into a planned 1-hour break, and then the doorbell rings, you welcome a friend, ... next thing you know you're going out for lunch and completely forgetting the tensioned bow. By making a habit of loosening the bow every time you get up, you'll ...


15

I would always loosen it off for that one hour break, for two reasons: Over time, tension will eventually damage the bow. Keeping tension on when you don't need to will just shorten the lifespan of the bow. Maybe not by much, but: It is so easy to slacken and then re-tension the bow, that you might as well just get used to doing it.


13

A loose hair won't vibrate the string in any useful way, and it may catch at unwanted moments. Remove it, just as you would a broken hair.


11

The guy who rehairs my bows once advised me that I shouldn't completely pluck out the hair, but to leave a little bit on both ends. This is so that the other hairs don't become loose and fall out. He said it's not generally a problem since most people don't break ridiculous amounts of hair, but it makes it easier to rehair your bow and is best for your bow ...


11

I'm assuming we are talking about natural horse hair and not synthetics. From what I understand, the white hair is finer and preferred by violin and viola players. The black hair is the coarsest and strongest and used almost exclusively in double bass bows. It 'grabs' the string better and is said to give a grittier sound. Here is an article from Strings ...


10

The screw plays several roles: The hair can (and should) be loosened when not playing so that the bow is not constantly subjected to hair tension. It's the same reason some people recommend loosening guitar strings when storing a guitar for a longer period of time, except a guitar neck has the advantage of a stiff metal rod inside it, which the violin bow ...


9

A few years ago I asked this exact question to the archetier who made my bow. According to him, bow weight and flexibility are the things to have in mind when having a bow built. These are the things that make a difference in a bow. Now about it being round or octagonal, it was a purely aesthetic decision. The bow can be heavier or lighter, jumpy or stiff,...


9

An up-bow doesn't have to start at the tip of the bow. It often does, but to get this bar, it can be taken off momentarily, then re-applied, still as an up-bow, for the last note, which will more often be an up, so the downbeat of the next bar can be a downbow.I wonder why the first slur looks printed, while the other two look hand written.


9

You stop the bow just like you would when changing direction and continue just like if you had changed direction: this is not supposed to sound differently from a normal note (and if you made some bowing mistake on the way here, you just resynchronize with the bowing instructions at this point). The phrases here are short enough that you won't need to reset ...


9

Even if you angle the bow quite strongly, the entire breadth of hair does touch the string as soon as you put some pressure on the bow (the outermost hairs will get stretched and give way, i.e. the bow sinks deeper and the other hairs touch the string too. Only at very low pressure, i.e. very low dynamic level, is it really only the outermost hairs that ...


8

Détaché - Simply meaning detached, it implies that each note is played in a separate bow stroke (as oppose to Legato where groups of notes should be smoothly played in the same stroke of the bow.) The bowing should still be smooth without emphasis on the separation - this emphasis would imply a Détaché-lancé bow stroke. Martelé - Hammered. Simply speaking, ...


8

It's definitely not the water that damaged the bow hairs. If it was the water, it probably just wasn't thorough enough, and ended up just making the hair sticky instead. You can wash it in soap water, or better yet, horse hair shampoo. Bow hair is horse hair, after all. Just be sure to wash off the soap/shampoo really really well, or the rosin won't stick. ...


8

For a given instrument (violin, viola, cello, bass is more complicated), the tuning of a fractional size instrument (1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 are commonly seen, 7/8 used to be frequently called "lady's cello") is always the same as the full size instrument. viola is a bit complicated because professionals have different sizes (15', 16', sometimes 17' for ...


6

Yes, you can use a bass bow. Not sure why Tim above said that a cello bow is longer than a violin one - it's the other way round, which is why a cello bow is better than a violin bow for saw playing. Not sure why the person in the 1st answer thinks long notes would be difficult with a shorter bow - most sawists don't bow continuously like violinists - you ...


6

When you draw a bow across the strings, you are imparting energy into the combined physical system of the violin and the bow. What you want is for as much of that energy as possible to be transmitted to the strings, which transmit it to the bridge, which transmit it into the violin and then out to the air. Like anything else, a bow isn't 100% efficient; ...


6

I've done the following on many bows. Never damaged any bow. Water mixed with some detergent, in a mug or bowl. Unscrew and remove the nut. bring the nut near tip. Ask someone to hold the bow stick in one hand and the nut in other hand, so the bow hair hangs like a U. Tricky part: Dip parts of bow hair in the soap-water. Rub the wet bow hair along its ...


6

I would like to point out 2 very inspiring people to me. First is Adrian Anantawan: Second is Casey Driessen: The first case is the one of a least said fantastic violinist that does not have one hand. The second case is a of a bluegrass legend (despite still being quite young) that holds ...


6

If you really want to work on your bowing, do it without involving the left hand. If you are fingering notes, part of your mind will always be thinking about the left hand. By eliminating it, you can learn to handle your bow hand better, and it carries over once you add the left hand back in. The single most useful thing will be to practice long tones. When ...


6

The E string whistle may be caused by many things, usually a technique issue with the bow, but there are some strings that are more likely to whistle. I've found that the gold plated unwound E strings tend to whistle more. D'Addario sells a "non-whistling" aluminum wound string. I've never tried one, but I have found that the wound E strings tend to whistle ...


6

There are only two possible kind of vibrations with a string fixed at both ends: Plucking; the vertical impulse leads to a transversal vibration twisting, leading to a torsional vibration To get the string to twist, rosin is applied to the horse hair so that it can grip the string. You need something soft as an attempt with a stick will show and also some ...


6

If you trace the development of the orchestra, you'll see that there has been a shift toward larger groups in larger spaces between the baroque period and now. A natural consequence of this is that instruments had to adapt to project more sound to fill those spaces up. The modern bow is just one of those adaptations. The concave design can hold significantly ...


5

If you just have one or two, remove it. The best approach is to cut it at the loose bit, then pull the hair away from the rest of the bow and cut it carefully at both ends, right up against the frog and the tip. You can do this many times before the bow needs restrung. Remember, using rosin diligently reduces breakages, thus increasing the lifespan of your ...


5

Usually the three-quarter or other smaller than standard violins are for younger, smaller children. A full sized violin would be way too much for a three or four year old to handle. The bow is appropriately smaller, as well. The spoken lengths of the strings are obviously in proportion, and a child will have to re-adapt when it grows big enough for the next ...


5

3/4 means three quarters size as opposed to full size. The tuning can be the same, but the scale length is different, which means string length and tension (and thickness) are different. So while you use the same techniques, the finger positioning will vary. The reason for these different size instruments is the difference in tonal quality. The resonant ...


5

Essentially, the hair is held in place at both ends of the bow by wooden wedges. To change the hair, you need to gently remove the old wedges and cut new ones, then push the hair back into place under the new wedge. No glue is used at all. The length of the hair doesn't need to be super accurate because the bow is obviously adjusted with the tightening screw....


5

The reports I've heard are: The grooves in the base of the e-bow do not align with bass strings, thus it is more difficult (though not impossible) to get a steady, consistent placement of the bow at the right location over the string. Due to their thickness, it is more difficult for the ebow to activate the strings; thus you are more likely to need to start ...


5

As is often the case with questions about bow direction, it helps to think about the musical phrasing - how would you sing this? That D at the end is an anacrusis, a pickup note that forms part of the next phrase. It makes sense that there should be a slight pause (a "breath") between the end of one phrase and the beginning of the next. To get that "breath" ...


5

Bow tension The most important thing you could do for your bow is to keep it loosened when it is not in use. This is something that every string player must do when putting their bow back in the case after playing. Storage Placement-wise, it is best to leave the bow in the case and occasionally take it out into the sun. If you have a long plastic bag (...


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