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Bowing Solutions for Orange Mountains

August 22, 2012 at 12:12 AM

In a blog titled "Sectional" Emily Grossman (violist, Kenai Penninsula Orchestra) comments about the good efforts of Michael (principal viola) and herself to mark bowings into the part for a divertimento by Mozart. Respondents remark about regimentation (absence of democracy)and the inadequacy of publisher editors (and concertmasters, I add)to solve problems in the inner voices. Viola is particularly problematic: often it follws cello/bass, but at other times the bowing goes along with second violins.

Pedagogy has tended to be authoritative and dogmatic about bowing layout. One learns, for Mendelssohn's violin concerto, the bowings of Schradieck or Oistrakh (Igor), or the teacher, handing her/his part to a student, says: "Here's my part -- copy the bowings." ... fingerings too, of course. Another pathway to regimentation has been the Suzuki teacher's over-reliance on the editing of Suzuki materials.

There are signs of change! In the current "Back to School" issue of "The American String Teacher" the full page ad by Henle Verlag lists their new items for violin, viola, or cello with piano -- printed "with marked and unmarked string parts" (One wishes the ad credited the editors).

For my studio teaching, I have recently completed three "study-editions" that endeaver to teach principles of bowing layout. For each there is didactic material, bowings marked by way of example, and unmarked areas of the composition for the student to complete. As yet unpublished, the first of these is titled: "Renaissance Polypony / A Platform / for Teaching / Principles / of / Bowing Layout / Based on a 1598 Bicinium by Giovanni Gastoldi / Scored for Violin and Viola." If registered members of send me an Email request (through my website, )I would be happy to share the 1MB file-proof.

Especially, I would be happy to hear from the Kenai Penninsula people. On about June 21 in 1963(!) if I remember correctly, I played a trio concert at a restaurant-bar-resort on the spit at Homer. I will never forget the orange glow of a sun still shining on the snow-covered mountains as we finished the concert!

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