One of the challenges of the bow is how to create a smooth bow change at the frog, when going from up- to down-bow.
There are two different philosophies and practices when it comes to bow changes at the frog: one either "cushions" the change from up to down with a motion in the fingers, or one can simply keep the fingers the same while changing direction.
I haven't actually seen names given to these different approaches, but I'm going to give them names here so we can talk about them and do a vote! If you know terms for these, please feel free to share in the comments.
Bow change with cushioning fingers:
In this bow change, the wrist moves from an upward motion to a downward motion, with the fingers actively curving, "cushioning" the change from up to down. The hand and fingers move in a motion that is a lot like the bristles of a paint brush, when the paint brush changes directions. To some people this comes naturally but most often it is a motion that is taught
Bow change with neutral fingers:
Isaac Stern once described the change from up to down at the frog as: "You go up, you go down!" In other words, you simply change directions, without really changing the shape of the fingers, hand and wrist. The idea here is that one does not need the extra motion of "cushioning" the change and can in fact make a smoother transition without that extra motion.
As for me, my teachers really worked on getting my fingers to cushion the bow change at the frog. It's a motion that was not automatic for me in the beginning, but by now it feels very natural. I would say I do considerable cushioning with the fingers at the frog -- the change of direction comes with a noticeable change in my hand.
What do you do with your right wrist, hand and fingers when changing bow direction at the frog? If you use a cushioning motion with your fingers, did this come naturally, or did you have to work on it? Please participate in the vote and then share what you do to create a smooth bow change at the frog, and how you learned that. Or, if you are still struggling with it, please share the struggle! :)
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