Good violin or good bow? what is more important?
the famous violinist Viotti (1755-1824)once stated: “The violin, that is the bow”
The violin is often considered as most important for the quality of music and often in the focus of discussions.
The violin bow, on the other hand, appears to be rather neglected (for example, "for 150 EUR you get a good bow", etc.)
The bow is at least a major contributor to tone production and articulation ... (not to mention special baroque bows in historical / authentic performance practice)
What is your point of view on this topic?
"The violin bow, on the other hand, appears to be rather neglected (for example, "for 150 EUR you get a good bow", etc.)"
Depends I suppose. A good bow on a not so good violin will bring the best out of the instrument, but the best remains limited by the instrument itself. Therefore depending on the quality of the instrument you are starting with, the answer to your question will vary. I for one prefer a $400 bow with a $5000 instrument than the reverse! A $7000 bow on a $5000 instrument might be a good option for its handling characteristics however.
Dollar for dollar, you will get better return on sound/playability by improving the quality of the bow than by improving the quality of the violin.
If I only found that contemporary bow. I am looking so long now!
I think a good violin is more important, though a good bow that functions well is a necessity.
Neither is more important imo. They can both limit each other or play together very well. Only having one of both really good wont help.
A good bow makes a real difference, especially with less-expensive instruments.
Yes, both are important. You need a bow that can do everything if possible, AND have a good legato sound. Maybe they also change when you change just one. You get a new "better" fiddle and the bow doesn't suit it, even though everything plays quite well. I used to think the bow was much less important, but now I think it is very important, after all the bow is the sound.
I've heard very good musicians who play on terrible instruments, so IMHO if technical ability is your goal, the bow will be more of a limiting factor (especially if not used with an optimal combination of responsive strings and rosin.)
I agree with Lydia that a good carbon fiber like a JonPaul Avanti, while not making the most beautiful sound (more high frequencies than a wood bow would produce, although switching to gut strings [Passione] helped me mitigate this), will handle well enough to help you transform your bowing after several months of practicing with a better tool.
agreed, depending on your ability, a good quality carbon fiber bow will get you something that is technically capable.
I do know of violinists who change bows during recordings sessions - literally during any short rest - and also soloists in concertos sometimes go on with say, two bows. I think this plays to their neurosis, and I'n not in favour personally. Next they will be taking on two violins and three bows.
Are you sure Viotti was talking about the physical bow, instead of bow technique? Once the left hand technique is mature, the bow technique makes all the difference.
Two bows in one piece, Well, I have seen/heard soloists switch instruments in orchestral work for either scordatura or register to better match violino piccolo or other such high instruments.
Hmm, yet to find that good bow for 750€. I did play a few okish ones in this price range but usually I can easily find a better one doubling the money.
Lydia- Do you feel that better CF bows will allow for 100% of the playability that the higher priced wooden bows have?
You can. I did see Tetzlaff with a Cadenza Gold doing some showoff in the showroom of Arcus (I was lucky to see him testing bows). Holymoly!!!
Thanks Marc. If you get the playability of a high end wood bow with minor sound tradeoff at a small fraction of the cost, I can see why CF is so popular.
I have tried an Arcus S9 (at $9k) that I would have considered highly competitive in terms of playability with other high-quality antique bows in that price range (that would get you makers like Morizot, for instance). It actually sounded excellent, as well.
As most of the times I agree with you, Lydia. There are bows with better handling, but you can play every reportoire on the good CF ones.
I was in the market for a bow recently and bought a gold mounted bow by Emmanuel Begin. As some say, you play the bow, not the violin. Of course it helps if the soundbox (violin) is nice. I agree you get more bang for your buck by upgrading the bow.
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