Tagged: seamless bow changes
March 17, 2016 at 6:43 pm #14210
I have been playing for awhile now but I want to know if anyone can tell me how to practice long sustained notes with little or no detectable bow direction change sound, so it sounds like one continuous note that never ends. I remember someone telling me you have to change direction in the middle of a vibrato to mask the bow sound? Are there any tips for getting this sound? Many thanks, PeteMarch 17, 2016 at 10:00 pm #14216
Hi Peteallen, I can give you some things to start thinking about to achieve a seamless bow change. Of course, this has to do with tone production principles in general, which we should examine first. There are three basic aspects of bow function that effect tone. These can also effect the subtlety of the bow change.
First let’s create or select a simple bowing exercise that we can practice with. I always use what is called The Tonalization. I do a variation of this exercise, found in Book II of Suzuki Violin Method. It is as follows in the Key of G Major:
D3, D3, A1, A1 | A3, A3, E2, E2 | E3, E3, E4, E4 | E3, E3, E2, E2 | A3, A3, A4, A4 | A3, A3, A1, A1 | D3, D3
Play each note full bow, slowly, in half notes. The three aspects of tone should be considered as you play. The weight of the bow, the speed, and the placement point of the bow (where the hair touches the string)
In practicing this simple tonalization, make sure the weight of your bow remains the same at all points from frog to tip and in between. The same goes for the speed of the bow, which often changes dramatically just before the turn around at the tip. The point of contact between bow to string, often we think we can play anywhere between the bridge and the fingerboard but this is not the best idea. In truth we must look at the width of the bow hair. Then place the bow one or two ‘widths of the bow hair’ away from the bridge. This is your allowed contact with the string. From frog to tip, no matter what, your bow must not roam closer to the bridge or the fingerboard (unless you are doing it on purpose for a reason) in this exercise.
Using the vibrato to mask the bow change is something, to be honest, Ive never heard about. I think you can get virtually seamless bow changes without consideration of the left hand, if you have good bow control. Even if there is a ‘trick’ using vibrato, it probably assumes that you have full control of the weight, speed and contact point of the bow, keeping these three things always the same from frog to tip.
I hope this helps!March 18, 2016 at 11:52 am #14243
Thanks, DianneMarch 18, 2016 at 3:51 pm #14248
Thank you so much and I will strive to get this technique going.March 18, 2016 at 7:04 pm #14256
Very Welcome!April 15, 2016 at 1:06 pm #14936
I loved reading these tips! I too want to have smooth bow direction changes. I’m a beginner so I have a lot of work to do still to achieve this but I really like this exercise I saw in a video a couple of weeks ago. I’ll try to describe it.
1. Start at the frog
2. At 1/4 of the bow lift the pinky finger
3. At 2/4 lift the third finger
4. At 3/4 lift the middle finger
5. At the top put down the middle finger
6. At 3/4 put down the third finger
7. At 2/4 put down the pinky finger
8. At 1/4 lift the index finger
9. At the frog put down the index finger
10. Repeat the entire process
While doing this you should make the lifting and putting fingers as inaudible as possible. It’s a great exercise to feel how each finger participates in the bowing process. Sometimes when I do this exercise I almost can’t hear the bow change at the frog so I think this is really a great exercise to learn and feel how to smoothly change bow directions. Hope it’s helpful.April 17, 2016 at 7:09 pm #14995
This is a good help