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  • #17418 Reply

    Musicloverk
    Participant

    As a child I learned the Russian bow hold, where the bow rests at the second joint of the first finger rather than the first. My teacher was from Latvia and he loved Russian music and apparently style. It appears that you and most violin sites I’ve visited advocate the Franco Belgian bow hold, where the first finger rests more near the first (distal) joint. I don’t seem to have a problem with tension with the Russian hold and seem to get a good tone. I’m wondering if there are other advantages to the hold you teach. When I try to use this hold, my hand tends to slip back to the Russian style when I bow near the tip of the bow. I have very small hands and a short pinkie that barely reaches to the distal joint of the adjacent ring finger, so my pinkie necessarily straightens with either hold when I’m not near the frog.

    #17420 Reply

    Dianne Adkins
    Moderator

    Hi! I’m sure lots of our experts will weigh in on this topic. I just wanted to share a video demonstrating a child, who has small hands, handle the bow without difficulty using the Franco Belgian bow grip. I only watched the first 10 minutes and forgot the topic of this thread, lol. But really, the fingers of the bow hand will stretch slightly when at the very tip of the bow. However I think the primary difference is the approach to the bow. While the Franco Belgian grip leans back toward the pinkie more than the Russian bow grip, it allows for a low elbow, fostering relaxation of the bow arm and the use of weight instead of pressure for tone production. The Franco Belgian grip also rolls the hand back in relation to the bow stick, than the Russian grip. This also enables a low arm, less overall ‘carrying’ of the bow and more ‘lifting’ it from the natural born strength of the bow thumb. I have seen variations of the Russian bow grip that cause the wrist to curl drastically, which is potential for tension. The Russian grip, I think is rarely taught nowadays. I include a good article on the topic and it has good discussion from pro violinists.

    http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=3850

    #17424 Reply

    Laurie Trlak
    Participant

    I was initially taught the Franco=Belgian hold in fourth grade, but in high school my orchestra director taught me the Russian bow hold. After I picked it up again as an adult my teacher re-taught me the Russian bow hold (I had to re learn it), and I have always felt more secure with the Russian hold. With the Franco-Belgian hold I always felt as though I was going to drop my bow. It’s hard to say that one is better than the other; I think they both have advantages and disadvantages. Knowing how well my past teachers have played with the Russian, I can’t say there’s a real downside to it though.

    #17436 Reply

    Musicloverk
    Participant

    Dianne, thank you for the information. I think I may be confused about the difference between the two holds, as my hold looks like the one in the video where the bow is resting near the middle joint of the first finger while most of the instruction I see has it resting near the distal joint except when at the tip. Not sure how much or if I need to attempt to change it since I get a good sound. I’m doing some of the bowing exercises without difficulty.

    #17835 Reply

    Musicloverk
    Participant

    Still trying to sort out if I need to try to change my bow hold and how. I remember when I was a child not long before I quit my teacher encouraging me to curve my pinkie more. It seemed impossible because my pinkie won’t reach the stick without straightening except when very near the frog. I’m realizing that I wasn’t curving it when near the frog, so I’m trying to work on that. Still at the stage where making this change is not improving the sound. If anything, it sounds worse because I hit adjacent strings at times, which I almost never did before.

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Reply To: Bow hold Russian vs Franco Belgian
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