interesting discussion came up this week on the Violinist.com discussion board, about where to place the thumb on the bow. Do you place it actually on the thumb leather, or below it, on the stick, in the little notch between the frog and the leather?An
I was taught to place my thumb "in the notch" - that is, on the stick and between the edge of the frog and the leather. It's also what I teach students. Interestingly, though, a few posters contended that "most famous soloists" put the thumb straight on the leather. Of course, this would be difficult to see, but I'd be interested in which violinists place the thumb this way, and also the school of thought for putting the thumb on the leather.
One reason to "put it in the notch" is that the leather keeps your thumb from migrating up the stick (Here's an interesting video on that.) Having that contact with the edge of the frog also ensures that whatever movement the fingers are doing, the hand basically stays at the frog.
Putting the thumb straight on the leather would give the hand a slightly higher placement, but depending on how grippy and thick your leather is, it could still serve the function of keeping your thumb near the frog.
The thumb leather also protects the wood of the bow. This rings true for me, considering the fact that the edge of my thumb munches right through the leather every year and a half! What would happen to the stick, without that leather?
I also like the feel of that leather, so when I get it replaced, I always ask my luthier to cut me a leather that is about two inches long, rather than the typical inch or so. That way, my index finger gets to rest on it, too! (I don't actually know anyone else who does that!)
So where do you put your thumb, and why? Is it "in the notch," or on the leather? Is it just what you've always done, or have you given it more thought? What are your thoughts on the function of the "thumb leather"? Please participate in the vote and share your thoughts.
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