Up-bow (and down-bow) staccato is one of those tricky bow strokes that seems to come naturally to some, and is nearly impossible for others.
It's when you have a string of staccato notes all going the same direction, most commonly up-bow, but also down-bow on occasion. It seems to work best in the upper half of the bow, and it requires a delicate balance of bow pressure and motion in the hand, wrist and arm.
You can find up-bow staccato pretty early in violin studies, for example in the "Gavotte" by Becker in Suzuki Book 3. There are also many etudes that address up-bow staccato, such as Kreutzer No. 4:
And then there is the kind of staccato that appears in very advanced studies and virtuoso works: Paganini Caprice No. 15; Wieniawski's Concerto No. 2, to name just a few.
How do you do this stroke? Well, in just a little more than one minute, Ray Chen teaches us how to do up-bow staccato, starting with a tremolo:
So easy, right? Well...
There are actually a number of different pedagogical approaches to up-bow staccato. For example, there is the (apocryphal?) method that Eugene Ysaye used on his student Josef Gingold: just him place the bow at the tip and then scare the bejeezus out of him!
There is also the camp that advises tensing the bow arm and just kind of going for it, another that advises using the wrist, twitching the fingers, etc.
What is your experience with up-bow (and down-bow) staccato? Do you find it to be relatively natural stroke for you? If you'd had to do some experimenting, what methods have you tried, to achieve it? What works best? Are there certain passages you dread/avoid/do differently, because of this stroke? Are there methods that you feel don't really work well? Please participate in the vote, then share your thoughts.
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