Orchestral bowings?

March 22, 2007 at 05:08 PM · Hi! Does anyone know a website that offers orchestral bowing suggestions/fingerings???

Replies (24)

March 22, 2007 at 07:12 PM · I have never heard of any website such as this. Though a good concertmaster of your orchestra should provide bowings. He/she has the power to make them up and provide them. So any Suggestions might be incorrect for your particular situation.

March 22, 2007 at 08:14 PM · maybe s smith is a concertmaster...

March 22, 2007 at 08:27 PM · Greetings,

there is a very sound book on orchestral bowings by Elizabeth Green . Ubfortunatley it is rtaher hard to get. I waited along time for it to turn up on Amazon wish list or whatever. Fingering is really a mattger of individula taste and tehcnique.

The concertmaster has some responsibility to avoid fingerings that are based on individual quirks such as going up the g string all the time when not necessary.



March 23, 2007 at 01:21 AM · Buri-Did you finally get a copy of the Elizabeth Green book? I saw on amazon.com that there were two copies available from various affliliated merchants, but the cheapest one was $220!!!

March 23, 2007 at 03:47 AM · Greetings,

I got mine five years ago after a one year wait. I paid I think about 70 dollars for it. Its a good volume but it isnoT -that- great. Cheers,


March 24, 2007 at 01:27 AM · The latest edition of the Strad magazine has an article in it that seems to be advocating a free-for-all approach to orchestral bowings. I didn't realise that unified bowings within a string section was such a recently created tradition.

I imagine that there would be an enormous resistance to change within orchestras regarding this point. Are there any current professional orchestras that allow string players to use an individual approach to bowings?

March 24, 2007 at 02:46 AM · Go to astaweb.com

Click on "Resources" Then on "Publications Brochure." You will find the Elizabeth Green book there for the non-members price of $21.45. you will also find "manual of Orchestral Bowing" by Charles Gigante for $28.55.

March 24, 2007 at 02:50 AM · It might be an interesting doctoral dissertation for a DMA student to compile current bowings from different major orchestras for major orchestral excerpts and compare and contrast. That way, at least for the short term aspiring orchestral artists could have a clue about the style of each orchestra.

Fingerings are a different matter and should be up to what works best for the individual. I was amused recently when I sent a copy of a practice method I have for Don Juan to Emanuel Borok who is concertmaster of Dallas Symphony that he commented about one passage in which I have indicated several alternate fingerings, "I thought I was the only one who knows that (secret) fingering."

March 24, 2007 at 03:28 AM · and what are these secret fingerings? I'd like to know.

March 24, 2007 at 03:05 PM · Apparently, the Berlin Phil use 'free bowing' from time to time. Orchestras I've played with haven't been fans of it - it makes it harder to see if the section's really together.

March 25, 2007 at 04:06 AM · Marty,

The point of my comment about fingerings is that there actually are no secret fingerings. One must find a fingering that works best for you. I just found it amusing that a concertmaster thought he was the only person to have thought of one.

March 25, 2007 at 06:25 AM · Ormandy's Philadelphia Orchestra was pretty famous for their seamless string sound, which was i think partially due to freeform bowing.

March 25, 2007 at 11:31 PM · Philadelphia Orchestra bows in unison, at least a few times I have seen. Their string playing is beautiful. Gil Shaham was here a few weeks ago playing Mozart #5. To me the unfortunate soloist didn't stand out in the sound quality. When the Orchestra took the music over from the soloist, it sounded so good that it was as if the soloist and the orchestra were somehow interchanged.


March 26, 2007 at 03:00 AM · Dr. Berg,

You got my hopes up. I guess this means I need to keep practicing it.

March 26, 2007 at 05:25 AM · Elizabeth Green's book "Orchestral Bowings and Routines" is superb, and I use it all the time in my string classes to help students create a repertory of approaches to music they haven't played before with respect to bowing.

I bought a couple copies a few years ago from ASTA for $20, but it came as a spiral bound set of poor-quality photocopies with a green construction paper cover. :(

I for one would love to see a publisher acquire the rights to this excellent book and put it into circulation again, re-typeset with new engraving for the musical examples!

September 30, 2016 at 01:32 AM · Yes, ovationpress.com has some... it's been some years since original person posted the question... perhaps others have been found since then. ??

September 30, 2016 at 01:51 AM · The New York Philharmonic archive is a treasure trove.


September 30, 2016 at 06:12 AM · The NYP archive is awesome.

The College Orchestra Directors Association has bowed parts on their website. You'll need a membership to see them. Quality varies.

October 2, 2016 at 09:49 PM · Mary Ellen: Thanks for the NY Phil suggestion. This will be a great resource for our courses in orchestral excerpts at Baylor U. Bruce

October 2, 2016 at 11:41 PM · You're very welcome!

October 3, 2016 at 05:12 PM · Looking back on old posts, I didn't realize that the Elizabeth Green book was so rare and expensive. I've had my copy for many years - the 2nd edition, revised and enlarged, 15th printing, 1983. it was published by Campus Publishers, Ann Arbor MI. (Oddly enough, my edition has a green cover!) It's a good basic book with a lot of discussion as well as examples.

Here's something else I'd recommend: "The Orchestral Violinist" Books I and II by Rodney Friend. It's shorter on discussion but much longer in excerpt quotes. His bowing suggestions are marked in red and he also has lots of fingerings. A very good resource published by Boosey & Hawkes.

October 3, 2016 at 05:15 PM · But surely all orchestral bowing's are rubbish?! (signed by a certain LT)

October 3, 2016 at 09:12 PM · The Elizabeth Green book is readily available on Amazon now. Less than $20 when I bought it recently.

October 4, 2016 at 02:02 AM · Peter, can we have like one day off from that crap?

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