“Go to” pieces for bow testing
I’d be interested to hear which pieces people regularly use when testing out a new bow. What do you find really puts the bow through it’s paces, and quickly gives you a feel of what the bow can and can’t do?
It's better not to go to pieces when trying out bows.
When I tested bows I used a "routine" comprised of snippets of various things to cover the various bow strokes and the full range of the instrument. I used the same routine on all the bows; it was quite brief.
"It's better not to go to pieces when trying out bows."
Raphael Klayman has a whole routine that he shared earlier. https://rkviolin.com/bow_comparison.rtf
My routine is a lot like Scott's.
For slow legato sections, I use the Swan by Saint-Saens.
In addition to Scott's and Lydia's lists; check that the tip plate is exactly parallel to the frog, the stick should be straight both loose and tight, and no wobble, perfect fit of the frog. Sevcik Op. 3, 40 variations has a condensed variety of bounced techniques.
Nice one, Madeye!!
Don't forget something very soft, to see if you get the proper focus of tone. The end of the first movement of the Beethoven is helpful for comparisons, especially if you can get someone to listen to it a few rooms away.
Too often I hear clients start off with sautillé and off string acrobatics. I think its the wrong approach to getting a first test, as the musician is getting used to it and may dismiss something they aren't used to. I've seen it happen where I told a client to try one again after it was dismissed and it was the one they ended up acquiring out of several dozen bows.
Thomas, you're right in that one must get used to a different bow. Bows can initially feel "unplayable" compared to what we are currently playing on, and thus we make the mistake of buying the same bow over and over. We probably do it with violins as well--constantly reverting to what we are comfortable with.
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