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How to Play Multiple Staccato Notes on One Bow

Zlata Brouwer

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Published: September 11, 2014 at 5:13 PM [UTC]

In this Violin Lounge TV episode I answer a question from one of our viewers:
Dear Zlata,

I have trouble playing pieces where there are multiple staccatos in a row. My bow usually ends up jumpy and I find myself tensing up a lot. I am confused about the motion used to perform staccato. May you please demonstrate how to do a proper staccato and any other advice that you may have.

Thanks in advance,

In your question lies already a hint to the answer. You write you tense up a lot. This means you are doing too much work! You can do a lot less. This motion is really small. In the video I perform it in slow motion.

In staccato you don’t want the bow to jump like in saltando for example. The contact of the bow on the string has to remain intact.

You just tap your index finger a little bit while keeping your hand in the same position and hold. It’s a little like you are pinching someone.

I barely move when performing a flying staccato. You shouldn’t get in the way of the bow too much :).

Imagine that the bow is part of your index finger... like you have a very long index finger. 

Make the motion very small and light, otherwise the sound and mainly the stops will be scratchy.

When you are doing this you will see the spring system of your bow in action.

Most of the times in violin playing when something is wrong, you should do less instead of more.

Make sure that you don’t lift the bow, because this will make it jump while you do this exercise. Keep the weight of your arm on the bow. Keep the bow on the string. Just move your index finger.

I hope this will help you. The way I explain this is very simple and efficient while giving a good sound.

However... there are a thousand ways to explain this and there aren't two teachers who explain this in exact the same way.

Just do what works for you. I hope I have delivered a contribution to your experiments.

Is this useful to you? Please let me know in the comments below!



PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!

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