Printer-friendly version
Drew Lecher

The Long & Short of it… SameSameSameSame

November 14, 2008 at 7:19 PM

Slow Bows / Fast Notes

Long Bows/Short Bows

Try Quarter = 60 and/or use 8th = 120 (my preference)

Vary tempo for ease starting slower, as needed. Play note values of Whole, Dotted-half, Half, 8ths, 16ths and 32nds (optional/advanced). With the Whole note use the whole bow—every millimeter of hair.

Maintain: Same bow speed, Same resonance, Same point of contact, Same quantity of hair, Same string, Same length of vibrating string (i.e., open string or keeping the same note).

Do faster notes (not bows) in all areas of the bow.

Reverse the progression—depending on the direction of the stroke the changes of rhythm can begin with either Down-bow or Up-bow. Again, you must not change bow speed and the tonal quality must be maintained.

Good, now change the string and/or note.

Prescription: Minimum of one set per day. Do until sound is healthy.

Have at it—


Author of

Violin Technique: The Manual, How to master…

Viola Technique: The Manual, How to master…

From al ku
Posted via on November 15, 2008 at 9:31 PM

prof, i noticed that my downbowing, from the frog down, tends to be a little faster, so your musical tai chi  is the right medicine:)    thanks


From Drew Lecher
Posted via on November 16, 2008 at 10:18 PM

Hi Al,

It helps resist the old gravitational pull… 

From Helen Martin
Posted via on November 16, 2008 at 11:00 PM

What about Walking the Bow a la Paul Rolland?


From Drew Lecher
Posted via on November 17, 2008 at 1:00 AM

Hi Helen,

"What about Walking the Bow a la Paul Rolland?"

Do you mean the thumb and fingers walking along the bow—that's a good finger, thumb and hand developer for flexibility.

By the way, I tried checking your site as you had mentioned the Sample page? dealing with solfege a few days ago, but I could not get it to open. I was looking forward to reading it.

From Ray Randall
Posted via on November 17, 2008 at 4:57 PM

Hi, Drew,

 I think I'm a little dense today and cant quite picture what you're getting at here. My fault, not yours. Are you saying play faster and faster keeping the same bow speed? This morning I can't understand the concept here. Knowing you it's a good one and invaluable.

Many thanks,


From Drew Lecher
Posted via on November 18, 2008 at 1:19 AM

Hi Ray,

"Are you saying play faster and faster keeping the same bow speed?"

Yes:-) and thanks. 

From Stephen Brivati
Posted via on November 18, 2008 at 1:54 AM


Drew, thanks for anotehr very interesting and helpful blog.  

I think it takes us into a very interesting area.  Somehow we begin to associate playing fatser with a faster bow speed and once one gets into the realm of the rapid its a tremendous cause of tension I think.    Does this,  you think, stem ipart from thetendency to try and play the fatser passage swith the focus on the bow rather than letting the action of the left hand lead and the bow follow/react?



From Drew Lecher
Posted via on November 18, 2008 at 4:13 AM

Thanks Buri,

Yes, the player so often speeds up the passage without taking into consideration the quantity of bow. If we keep using the same amount of bow instead of the same touch and tone we hit the point of diminishing returns tonally, and by then are usually exponentially increasing the tension in the bow arm and throughout the whole body, for that matter.

The study is a demonstration of maintaining the tonal quality no matter what the speed of notes or style of bow stroke.

Of course, we do vary the bow quantity and inflexions, etc., to bring out and enhance the musical line in our interpretation. But it is so good to hear the simple purity of sound and pitch, tone & tune, after which we can then hear with tremendous clarity the effect of the musical inflections and dynamics.

In my previous blog of a Weighty Matter the bow arm should become virtually weightless and the hinges—shoulder, elbow and wrist each filled with a can of WD-40—well lubricated to the point of offering no resistance to the bow stroke. This is to be true whether the passage is brought down to ppp or fff.

Hope this adds a degree of clarity.


This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine