This scooping motion: what does it mean?

June 1, 2007 at 07:54 PM · grabbing notes at bow beginnings with a sort of scooping motion.... What does that mean to you. I've been working with this since starting to play again and can feel myself having better contact and control over like beginning volume and texture of notes, but was curious about like how much and how pronounced the motion is. I also would like to know your thoughts on the same on whole bows v. like quick detache measures... Again though, I'm most interested at this point I think in discussing how pronounced this 'grabbing of the note' should be and maybe should the arching continue through the entire bow stroke or just as a technique for grabbing the note....

Replies (54)

June 2, 2007 at 04:35 AM · Greetings,

not sur eif I udnerstand the question, but basically you can start a note in a number of ways. The bow can be a dead weight on the string and at the moment of playing it simply moves. This will provide quite a marked attack. However, since one is moving from a stationary position the sound can be a little dead. This deadness is more pronounced on lower instruments such as cello. Anotehr way is to have the bow moving in a slight curve and the have it on the string at the moment just before soudn is required. This takes a higher level of timing. After that the options are infinite because the angle of attack can be varied from almost vertical to virtuall no sense of curve at all. This area assumes some significanc ein discussing how to play thre epart chords for example. Some players suggest the bow moves straight others, such as Ricci suggest that the curve of the bows movement is the mirror image of the curve of the bridge.

Cheers,

Buri

June 2, 2007 at 09:59 AM · Don't know if this answers your question at all as it is hard to imagine exactly what you are describing without actually seeing it, but you may be interested to know that Sarah Chang sometimes starts pieces with a couple of sort of practice scooping movements before putting the bow on the string. She is the only professional violinist I have ever seen doing this, but it sort of reminds me of golf players taking a practice shot before hitting the ball. In any case, in the practice room at least it cannot be a bad idea. You should work on being able to make the sound that you want with the minimum necessary amount of movement, though. This is very difficult and something that I think most violinists struggle with for their whole lives.

June 2, 2007 at 02:58 PM · Are you referring to the colle bow stroke?

June 2, 2007 at 07:57 PM · I often refer to scooping out a note but this does not involve an attack or accent at the beginning.This is the shape of the note as a note should never be flat and opaque but is rounded.I ask pupils to imagine stroking a cat or drawing a smile on their string.This leads on to the sensibility of bow pressure on the string in order to create colour and pupils can discover this by trying out various pressure points starting with the index finger but also leading in with the elbow.

June 2, 2007 at 10:52 PM · I don't think this is a beginner's question at all. I like what's been said. I agree with Janet. When you're working on this issue, you're looking for color in your sound. It might help to think of your bow in three separate parts: the attack, the sustain and the release. As an example of how differently those parts of the bow can be used, listen to the first note of the Bruch concerto played by four or five different artists. Some of them accent the attack, others give a sweet (light) attack, wait and build towards the sustain. Some let the sound practically die near the end of the sustain, and others will sustain the intense sound through until the second note on the release. Try a few things yourself. I think you might enjoy working on this first note of the Bruch Concerto to help you develop a "round" sound--it's just an open G.

June 2, 2007 at 09:12 PM · First thank you for your responses. No, I'm not talking about colle Emily.... (But I do see how this might--using my colle exercises-- be a good way to train my forearm in this respect)

I tend to keep a very straight bow, almost like a perfect crosshair in relation to the elbow position and particular string being played. I was told the general bowing motion is more of a reverse arching rather than a straight 90' across the string, again in relation to the elbow.

Buri's remark suggested flexiblity in this thinking and other's, I think Kimberlee's because of the way I half-formed the question thought I was talking about grabbing the note's edge, which I sort of was but was also thinking about the entire bowing motion.

Janet's comment reminded me of what I learned from watching Calvin Sieb's Loure videos and working with shaping a note, but I was trying to get specifically I think at the amount and degree to which this reverse arching across long bows and short (half/quarter) bows was pronounced.

If one draws a reverse arch at the point of contact at the crosshair of a bow's contact point, then this is what I'm trying to get at... So the bowing motion would follow the path of that arch making a sort of upside down 'c'.... And the question is how much I think.

Kimberlee, generally I increase bow pressure with my index finger when pulling a note and feed moreso any needed bow pressure with my forearm, always trying to maintain a very light bow hold--no gripping, no over-manipulating--almost like a passive extension of my forearm.

Finally, I was told by not one but two teachers, to work on this arching motion....????

June 2, 2007 at 09:55 PM · Albert,

I think I know what you are refering too. In this kind of attack the bow gradually sinks into the string. There are two aspects to it. First, the bow should be in motion in a pendular or half-moon shape. The bow should have horizontal motion as it contact with the string and gradually sinks in. Only weight is involved not pressure of the index. In fact, the bow hold should relax as the bow contact and gets into balance on the string which enables this kind of shofter attack.

Hope this helps...

Cheers!

June 2, 2007 at 10:57 PM · Yep, Christian, that's what I was thinking too.

June 3, 2007 at 01:55 AM · Thanks--I'm envisioning the weight only, and the arching as I write. I think the most helpful point is your remark about weight only Christian; and, the pieces as Buri remarked can hopefully half-way competently fall into place. I'll be using Wohlfahrt No.s 1, 2 and 4 to work on this initially.

I think No. 4 will be most useful (op45) in bringing this towards a more mixed mode, but 1 and 2 slowly to get better arching first.

Along with a couple issues (better relaxed right wrist, and driving home the weight from the forearm) this seems an excellent time to really really focus on the arching bowing.

Again, thanks Christian, Kimberlee, everyone for your help. I'm moving slowly back towards my program and these things will allow me to regroup solidly I think.

June 3, 2007 at 03:52 AM · Albert, thanks for the recognition. It's nice to be noticed. I really think you'll find the mechanics will come more easily and naturally if you'll come at the issue with the sound you're trying to create solidly in your mind first. That is why I mentioned listening to four or five different artists play the first note of the Bruch. You could learn a lot about the way bowing shades a note by doing that. A few artists play it with the "scooped" out bowing you're talking about to begin that concerto. There are many mechanical ways to produce that effect. Let the sound guide, mechanics will follow. (I think Auer would agree) Or, do the mechanics and maybe you'll discover the sound you're looking for in the process! Well, I guess it works both ways . . . whatever you do, have fun.

June 3, 2007 at 03:49 AM · I'm in love with violin Kimberlee. No--thank you you see!. Seriously.. Al

June 3, 2007 at 12:11 PM · Hi,

Albert and Kimerberlee - thanks and all my best!

Cheers!

June 3, 2007 at 03:44 PM · This is falling in place nicely--thank you all so much. See blog.

June 3, 2007 at 08:00 PM · Great discussion and thank you Albert, for starting this thread.

Kimberlee, have you been listening to my playing lately? I mean, what you’ve said about Bruch’s first note is exactly what I need to hear at this point. I’ve got 9 different versions (Heifetz, Menuhin, Rici, Zukerman, ASM, Sonnenberg, Midori, Chung and Bell) of it and didn’t really pay attention to this first note until I read your post. You are absolutely right that they started it all very differently!

I’ve just had a new fantastic teacher and she told me to start this first note on G as though I was already playing. It was so simple but immediately worked for me. After that, like you and Buri said, the options are infinite, but you just got to have the sound in your head and then try to get it out of the violin, some day. Thank you guys!

June 4, 2007 at 01:48 AM · My pleasure Yixi. Tonight, since I jammed heavily earlier will be in quest of Bruch. The note shaping mentioned along with Buri's comments about flexibility are sort of variations on this theme in my mind. The heart of the matter in my mind, is mostly focused on general bowing--as in like simple detache and perhaps more poignant in like a simple Wohlfahrt etude (as mentioned).

Whoever commented (I think in Laurie's blog) on pulling and pushing a note is part of this theme also, with arching considered. This is what I was doing when I was throwing myself into Witch's Dance earlier and broke a hair. The tonality was awesome though... And the little detache runs were 'electric'! I eventually had to follow Perlman's advice in Laurie's blog and keep myself still!.

So besides this, I also worked with the arching, pulling and pushing, and note shaping on open strings, simple scales and so forth today beyond my manic moment hanging out with Emil and Mimi.

Tonight, I'll also review this thread a couple times to get everyone's inputs complied. Thanks again.

June 4, 2007 at 02:59 AM · We are talking about Bruch 1st mvmt?

June 4, 2007 at 03:09 AM · Yes, in G minor, the very first note of the 1st mvt -- open G string.

June 4, 2007 at 03:26 AM · Cool--I'm on my third rendition... 56k--slow!!!!. Tks.

June 4, 2007 at 04:03 AM · After watching the following:

Kyung Wha Chung

Menhuin

Sarundiansky

unknown (user on youtube)

Alicelizard (user on youtube)

I saw both the quality I was looking at, as well as the absence of the same in one case I think. I also discovered independently that the same treatment can hold true for the long whole notes on Air on G String done in D. f# on E...

The Air example particularly seems true when doing the pressure release technique along with a wide vibrato at beat 3 of 4 on the first f# for a seamless bow change (VMC). But again, the overall question is how perpendicular to the crosshair is actually what I saw in the Bruch as a very light arching.

I know I'm grinding the bone into dust on this, but I think herein is alot of my room for improvement in basic bow control for me--or at least that is what I'm telling myself. And if it proves, or whatever level the flexiblity Buri mentioned applies, it could not possibly hurt to understand the subtle distinctions in a pefectly level perpendicular and a gentle arching. And ultimately I think a richer tonality.

The lady with the username Alicelizard on Youtube, had a lot of rich texture it seemed, contrasted maybe to Menhuin's perfect fluidity a little down into the piece. And there was also a coolness in seeing who is throwing the bow in one measure v. gently asserting the note--little things like that. But overall, even with different colors and shadings, I also sensed some sort of average consistency in overall treatment that for whatever reason I noticed.

In looking at all this, my thinking goes: along with bow speed, sp-control, shaping notes variously in many contexts--especially pulling and pushing a note, and finally feeding bow pressure with the forearm, makes the arching motion or spooning a note like a little spice in richness/texture of notes.

And now, I've played the first few notes of Bruch.

June 4, 2007 at 04:46 PM · Good. The Bruch is a good ride. I learned that one in college. For me, this discovery of how my bow relates to the smallest details of sound is pivotal. If you're talented enough, it comes instinctively. But, even if you are talented, you still fall into ruts, weaknesses, habits. Then it is crucial to listen to those habits in order to get out of yourself and create something new.

So, while I think being able to produce a "round" quality sound is very important, it is only one kind of sound. If one produces that scooped out bowing (the one explained best by Christian) exclusively, you produce "music to get seasick to". The best artists can control the "inflections" at will, as it serves their inner voice. If you get the right recording of Heifetz playing the Sibelius (sorry, I can't remember which one right now), you'll notice he takes the opening icily cold, like waking up alone in new fallen snow. There's no way he could produce that kind of sound with scooped out bowing. That color came from another use of bow.

Once you learn this technique, be careful not to make it a habit. You could end up with false accents all over the place. And there you go. More ramblings from the village idiot.

June 4, 2007 at 07:38 PM · Thanks Kimberlee--I have so much to do before approaching Bruch, I was just messing around in the spirit of this discussion. I'm already overpushing myself on a Bach Sarabande(playing beyond my ability).

Nonetheless, this discussion has clearly brought several issues into my mind and playing in a doing v. knowing sense--a very good thing I think.

I heard you clearly about the over-doing the arching, and noticed a clear difference between Alicelizard's and Menhuin's approach. Ultimately I think/guess one would want to have such excellent control as to turn it on and off according to the circumstance (like a piano v. orchestra accompaniment). I also doubt that many really get to the level of sophistication unless it's like a Perlman or something. I simply 'have' to improve towards basic competency--which brings me back down to earth and the spirit with which we began....

Thanks a bunch.... al, 'who is still about 5 vids behind from Laurie's trip to NY' justice

June 4, 2007 at 10:27 PM · More like, turn it on and off depending on the shape of your phrase (not just the circumstance). And I'm shutting up now.

June 5, 2007 at 02:10 AM · It's the '''explitive'''thing. I watched Laurie's Simon Fischer snippet, and he explained this 'exactly'.

"If you can see it, it's too much".... Nonetheless, the cat example by Fischer, and my earlier comment my arm weight being a passive extension of the bow is now crystal clear.... My arm-weight 'should not' be a passive extension of the overall bowing motion all said and done--arching considered.

Also, this thread and the many considerations about shading a note, scooping a note, shaping a phrase as Kimberlee drove home beautifully, are now mine--mine--mine at least in words and understanding.

There is a strange phenomena in my world such as when I'm ready to understand something in most any arena, the "Field of Dreams" factor seems to kick in. "Build it, they will come".

Finally (and I'm shutting up too), thank you all again for what feels like a true masterclass in what has turned out to be several areas.

June 5, 2007 at 02:50 AM · I have very much enjoyed reading this thread. I am just a beginner, round about three months into lessons, but nonetheless it has become quite apparent what terrific potential resides in proper use of the bow arm. As a classical guitarist I learned how the left hand finds the notes, but the right brings out their color, and this is even more true of the violin. The bow is a marvelous invention, no less so than the violin itself, if you ask me. Thanks for all who took the time to respond to Al's inquiry, and Al, thanks for posting this thread.

June 5, 2007 at 03:00 AM · Chris, once you get down the road a piece, try interpreting Segovia's Bach BVW997 to violin--it's awesome... I'm playing it around 100bpm/.25, though I need to get a copy of Segovia doing it to verify my speed.

I had to transpose it to E to get the lowest g# in there; and, it's a wonderful wonderful live exercise in shifting both at the end of the 1st theme as well as making one think after the DC going into the 2nd.

Finally, as a classical guitarist, you will find it an excellent challenge interpreting the detached phrases for treatment on violin--or so I think. And--if I can achieve it, anyone can--Lord's willin, it will be this adult beginner's signature Bruch.

Thank you for your kind remarks.

June 5, 2007 at 03:49 AM · Albert,

Andres Segovia did Bach's Chaconne kind justice, did he not? I have studied Segovia's transcription of the Chaconne at length, and Segovia transcribed this one well. I also have a couple of other classical guitar transcriptions of the Chaconne, one by Abel Carlevaro, and another by one I cannot recall.

However, it was Segovia that led me to Bach's Chaconne in the first place, and this experience has in turn led me to the violin. I am ever so grateful as this event has changed my life. Why it took me so long, 37 years, to really discover the violin, I will never know. I have a lot of lost time to win back. My dream as a violinist is to one day be allowed the privilege of playing Bach's Chaconne, and in so doing give a worthy effort. The Chaconne is a love song, really, a love song encompassing the whole of the human range of emotion. For me personally, it is a love song to my Lord and Savior as, musically-speaking, nothing else comes quite as close to expressing this love.

I wish you well on your journey of discovery, violin in hand. Us late bloomers have to stick together, you know. However, we have the gift of perspective, of having experienced many ups and downs in this thing called "life". It affords us many opportunities to bring to bear the expression of life in our efforts with the violin, and is this not what music is all about?

Take care and have a good evening.

Chris

June 5, 2007 at 04:24 AM · Greetings,

if Albert takes care he doesn`t have a good evening,

Cheers,

Buri

June 5, 2007 at 04:14 AM · How cool is that!... Leave it to me to get the horse and cart turned around... My friend taught me the Sarabande in college on guitar using TAB, and when I started putting it on violin I thought how wonderful it sounds, as if a fish finding the water for the first time.

I shall treat this as I did the little theme from Rachmaninov as a child, and make it my own for a long long time before seeking official interpretations....

I feel like you do about violin, having played every instrument imaginable, excelling on piano and a little on guitar. Violin is like a beautiful girl or something to me. And being an especially shy person, my tentativeness is fully present as well.

One of the smartest things I've ever done was during my first notes on violin affirmed that this one is for me and playing only music I love. So ten years from now when I'm known as the Legatomeister, I'll simply grin.

Though I love little intense things that are achievable, and will likely go there to some extent, I keep getting hung up on gushy over the top romantic stuff. I play Air on G String every single day for my mind's ministry, and only hope that I never outgrow this sensibility even if I could ever learn Bruch well.

I have the same question about why now as you do, and feel sure there isn't a non-romantic answer. Were it just another of my hobbies, I could mark it up to my ever growing tenets, but it's much much more than that for me too. I'm simply not really use to profound epiphany type events in life, even though I melt a piano when I'm on and fully realize what the stream of musical consciousness is really s'pose to mean (see Perlman's remarks in Laurie's blog) I remain pretty much at a loss in some respects.

Though I know (even myself) that all adult beginners will only reach a certain level, I also know that when 'true' musicians bring it from the heart, that A440 resonates in the greatest mysteries of life. So for other adult beginners I would only advise--always always always, only play things first achievable, and second from the heart. The same holds true I think for the epiphany club.

And as a musician, like my remarks concerning Calvin Sieb's passing, there is no six year old criteria determining when, where or how one starts giving back to the musical stream of consciousness. And this, is the closest to romantic interpretations of the question: why now, that I can approach.

Play on! al

June 5, 2007 at 04:49 AM · When Mr. Brivati types a completely clean sentence, I want to practice more!. Though tonight, I can't.

June 5, 2007 at 05:00 AM · "always always always, only play things first achievable, and second from the heart."

What do yo mean by "achievable" Albert? How do you know something is unachievable unless you've tried very very hard, depite all the scepticism and failures?

June 5, 2007 at 05:24 AM · I believe that everyone knows music; and, good music. Good music, beautiful music, does not have to be, or in my mind should not be compromised by programs and methods for adult students--especially for ones who have a love for violin beyond perhaps just hobbiests, even maybe musical hobbiests..

Further, you know me better than to suggest lack of work ethic. ROFLMAO==A in this case being arse. I also think that within most people's natural repetoire are many of the skills necessary to music to learn by, and along with hard work think adults deserve to step outside the box and mess around with this principle.

Finally, above suggests failure as part of the program, as does Mimi Zweig.

June 5, 2007 at 03:34 PM · Albert, I think we misunderstood each again. I would never question your work ethic and you should know that. I asked the question because I've just gone through a few months of doing something that I didn't think was achievable but once again the whole experience just have reminded me one more time that I should never limiting myself at somthing seemingly cannot be done. Had I listened to my initial inner whine, I would have missed all the emotional and technical 'mountains and valleys' that I'm so glad I visited. And I've learned that if a piece is something worth achieving and if I have set my heart on it at this moment, I should never tell myself that it is not achievable until I have given it a very decent chance. Whether a piece is at your level or not, it's not so black and white just as to say it's not so easy to say whether Plato or Kant is too hard for a 1st year undergrad. It depends on how much the student wants to learn, how well a teacher can teacher her and to what extent the student can get out of these great books.

I certainly don't think my own love for violin as a hobbiest. Violin made my difficult teen age life okay but violin now brings out the entire new dimension in my life that I can honestly say without which life may not be worth living, not that I don't have a beautiful life already. I think you know what I mean. So when it comes to questions about what approach one takes, I'm getting personal because the stake is so high. I guess the same applies to you.

In short, I'm asking you the question because I've struggled this issue recenly myself, and it would be the last thing for me to do to ask you a question to suggest that you are lacking of hardwork or something. I'm sorry if I gave you this wrong impression.

I also forgot that you were talking about beginners but I had a different reader/audience in mind -- my mistake again.

June 5, 2007 at 11:06 PM · "Though I know (even myself) that all adult beginners will only reach a certain level..."

Albert, I try not to think as such, and rather consider that each of us will reach a certain level of ability based upon determination, intelligent application, time and that most elusive ingredient of all, talent. In the end, the goal of all with respect to the violin should be a certain level of personal satisfaction, of being able to express one's self to the point of getting out at least a part of that which by no other means would have an opportunity to be made know. We've all got it on the inside, at least to some extent, and getting it out is what it is all about, is it not? And, I personally know of no greater vehicle than the violin. This may seem odd as the violin is considered one of the more difficult instruments upon which to realize good progress, but I believe that it is for this very reason one can do so much violin in hand. The degree to which the violin presents obstacles is the degree to which it gives forth fruit as each obstacle is conquered.

June 5, 2007 at 11:09 PM · Albert,

In short, I guess what I mean by the above is that I'd rather not have another tell me how good a violinist I can expect to one day become. I'd rather leave that to my own doing. Not that I thought you were doing so, but one hears all the time about how we who started late cannot really expect to amount to much in the world of the violin. It is as though everyone seems to be saying "Well, you may you sit at our feet and marvel at the beauty of the instrument when played well, but of course you may never join us at this table. You may have the crumbs that fall from such, the remnant of those truly skilled, but you may never savour the delicacy of the main course as set before we who have risen to a height you will never know." Skill, yes I suppose, but a gift alone such is not. The gift is for whomever the Giver so chooses, and the gift is borne of the desire of the heart. So, to have the desire is to have the gift, which only needs time to be known...known to you, that is. All others need not matter so much unless of course the gift, your yearnings, draw you in such a manner. True music does need an audience, but oftentimes and audience of one is sufficient, however we are never truly alone. Think about it.

Does all of this make sense? Likely not as I am not so good with words. I try to make my way with the instrument, all the while mindful of where I am led by the heart that brought me into the land of the violin in the beginning. I believe that as long as I do so I cannot go too wrong.

Have a good evening once again, and if that does not mean taking care as Buri suggests, so be it. Ha!

Chris

June 6, 2007 at 01:27 AM · Chris, I feel much as you do I think--yes it makes perfect sense. What is happening is that there are two distinct genre's of violinist. One is on the formal must start by 7 track, and everyone else is 'more or less' somewhere else; and, adult beginners are simply only taken seriously after being crushed by can't--which you probably agree is pretty ridiculous.

So my accepted limitations only say I didn't start violin at 7, nothing more nothing less. Giving credence to the reality that the Hilary Hahn's and Milsteins are fairly rare, we adult students don't hear alot about the all so rand in the back chairs of the symphony, though every once in awhile we are kindly directed towards community ensembles.

So yes your perspective makes perfect sense. And finding encouragement, only after being duly enculturated by the can't club, one who discovers violin as an adult still has to navigate the slippery slope towards competency on this tough instrument. Basically, I feel nobody gave me my love for the instrument, and nobody will take it either--my sometimes aching left wrist tries routinely.

Time to practice. al

June 6, 2007 at 02:07 AM · Albert,

My aching left wrist tries as well, but I with prudence negotiate a settlement, and my wrist allows me to move on. In reality, though, my wrist is trying to teach me a lesson, and I am more than willing to listen as I must.

It is a slippery slope, yes it is. Young and agile ones may negotiate some portions of this slope with more deft ease, but true grit alone will see us through. I find I struggle with growth in this area or that, and then at last I pick up the violin again and it is as if I have been doing what I struggled to just the night before my whole life. It is then that my mind has finally made the requisite connection. For some, the super-gifted Milsteins, et al, this simply happens with greater ease and more frequently. And for the real super-stars, Heifetz of course comes to mind here, such ability was known from the beginning. Well, at least that is what the inside of the CD jackets would have one think. They still work, and hard, but make progress by leaps and bounds as opposed to the small steps with which most aspiring violinists are accustomed.

Chris

June 6, 2007 at 02:32 AM · I hear ya... I'm finding frequent breaks help. I just did my scales and arpeggios, (about 20 minutes), and am breaking for 10.... Also, one of my fundamental glitches is trending towards the side when playing, which was corrected in a lesson and I still struggle with, though with some satisfactory results--the point being, it helps with the wrist not to be contorted.

June 6, 2007 at 03:30 AM · Albert,

I see from your profile that you have been taking lessons for a few years now. It has only been a few months for me, but a good few months. I had a lot of initial success and my teacher was putting a number of books in front of me trying to find the best fit, and most lessons as of late have involved the playing of duets, her on the viola and me on the violin. I think she is trying to develop a stronger sense of timing as this is the one area in which I probably need the most work, foundationally-speaking. Of course, I need a lot of work in all areas, but always having been a soloist of sorts with the classical guitar, and piano when quite young, I am not as accustomed to playing with another.

But, it has been a very good first few months, and now I can feel myself settling into the real work and the long effort. It is a worthy effort. We never truly arrive, but we all the while try.

Chris

June 6, 2007 at 04:09 AM · Greetings,

Chris, am enjoying your postings. Just thought i`d split hairs with you for a second.

You said:

>For some, the super-gifted Milsteins, et al, this simply happens with greater ease and more frequently. And for the real super-stars, Heifetz of course comes to mind here, such ability was known from the beginning

For me , Milstein easily had the same degree of talent that Heifetz had. Erick Friedmann who studied extensively with hoth suggested that Milstein was superior to Heifetz in some areas. Unfortunately he never specified which...

Each more successful in some areas more than others but definitly not to be separated as more or less.

Now you have been `Buried,`

Cheers,

Buri

June 6, 2007 at 04:03 AM · I'm about 2yrs 3mos in now.... I mostly did solo work also, on piano and agree it's an adjustment. But when you get it, you got it?... Yep...

I was just playing along a little while ago with Suzuki CD's and that part is starting to come together pretty well.

The basics, especially bowing, seem never ending. You will likely find shifting and southpaw articulation fairly easy because of guitar. One of the best pieces of advice I've received is that one 'never arrives' with bowing.

Also, as I just mentioned to someone, violin is an unforgiving instrument and requires 101% focus, so learning that early, in my mind anyway, is a big part of the big picture. I use to mindlessly play for a couple hours at an Officer's Club every Sunday for brunch, and still find the focus required for violin like a third hand or something compared to piano or even guitar.

One example might be using the sounding point effectively. You know of course how to use the fingerboard end, the middle, and the bridge end on guitar to achieve mellow, loud and crisp on guitar. With violin, it's much more complicated (but probably not overly so after a couple more years) to effectively use the not three but five sounding points.

Then add in the dynamics of bow speed/pressure, hair angle and volume while holding the girl in a supposedly relaxed contortion--and well, you get the picture.

Then she sings a few bars, and at least for me, I gotta hear some more!.

June 6, 2007 at 12:57 PM · Buri,

Getting "Buried" is a good thing! I have always enjoyed the playing of Milstein more so than Heifetz because his slight (very slight!) lack of perfection lends more emotion to his work. This is how I react to the playing of these two men. The playing of Heifetz, at least on the several CD's I have of him, is always crisp and perfect, but maybe a little too perfect for my taste. To watch the two men play is intersting as well as Nathan Milstein seems to show more effort, or seems to be working harder, than Jascha Heifetz, not that such may really be the case. When Jascha Heifetz plays he gives the impression of being a very, very disiplined artist, and somewhat mechanical. Of course, both of these men were obviously very disiplined, and both had extreme talent. For now, Nathan Milstein is my role model with respect to the violin. I also like the sound of his Strad more so than the sound of Hieftez's Guarnerius, player notwithstanding. The Strad has a more dramatic, nasal tone, whereas the Guarnerius is more polished. I know that Hiefetz also played a Strad for a time and in some of my recordings he is obviously playing a different violin than his Guarnerius, and from the sound of it I cannot help but think it was his Strad. I do not doubt there were other violins used in recordings from time to time as well. I do love listening to my CD's, but I also very much enjoy watching and listening to these great players and others on youtube, and do so quite often.

Albert, I am beginning to learn of that which speak first-hand. The bow that sets this instrument so far apart from the classical (or Spanish) guitar is going to forevermore push me to become a better player. Perfection will always be just beyond my grasp, no matter how good a violininst I may one day become.

Have a good day all.

Chris

June 17, 2007 at 03:46 PM · Summary: Wikipeak v.1

...bow attacks and thinking ahead though, not directly related to the actual arching question here, is very closely part of overall bowing and not totally disconnected from the discussion.

...arching is about both shaping a note, and maintaining a rich tone (legato)--stroking a cat.

... think of your bow in three separate parts: the attack, the sustain and the release--think Bruch Gm--1st note comparisons.

...(SHAPING):In this kind of attack the bow gradually sinks into the string. There are two aspects to it. First, the bow should be in motion in a pendular or half-moon shape. The bow should have horizontal motion as it contact with the string and gradually sinks in. Only weight is involved not pressure of the index. In fact, the bow hold should relax as the bow contact and gets into balance on the string which enables this kind of shofter attack.

...From Simon Fischer: the general bow, is an unnoticable reverse-arching motion that cannot be seen, but felt in the bow("if it can be seen, it's too much"). (also from AC and MB I think). This arching is also present when more formal note shaping is present(see Christian's comment). I'm discovering this also on general detache (quick ones) patterns, as well as long legato strokes. When one truly truly masters this, I would think it could even be slightly present in colle based martele in the upper half, but that will take a long time.

June 18, 2007 at 01:40 PM · Hi,

Albert - I would say that this kind of motion can be used at the frog and for certain kinds of off the string strokes. However, in a détaché or during long bow, I would avoid this as it will create false accents because of the change in weight balance. It is often better to keep the weight the same on on-the-string strokes to have a smooth bow change. If one wishes an accent, bow speed is probably a better and more effective solution in most cases.

Cheers!

June 18, 2007 at 04:54 PM · Thanks Christian. I know the discussion became a couple different ones, but I was actually trying to get at the very very very subtle motion of the bow in general--in creating an arch at the point of tangency with the string rather than a perfect perpendicular. Bow pressure wasn't under consideration.

With that said, I also took away from the discussion another way to 'dig-in' for more accent, per your remarks and others, as well as a better understanding of the bow regions in an implied sense I think. This came from following up this discussion with learning better about colle based martele in the upper half. I hope this makes sense--I haven't so far. ;)... al

June 18, 2007 at 05:25 PM · Al, it makes perfect sense. I just wanted to give additional insight into how to decided on the right stroke for different colours. Simply expanding on the idea and its various applications. In the end though, the more you have the more you can find a good way of expressing effeciently and in a good light what is in the music.

Cheers!

June 18, 2007 at 07:09 PM · Exactly Christian.... And thanks.... I think the entire conversation might have been speed, pressure, advanced general bowing characteristics (the arching), and accents with pressure as part of note shaping.

It is actually your remarks and a couple others, that are allowing me to get a little more color in various situations when called for (Lully's Gavotte comes to mind, as does the little Witch's Dance Paganini piece).

There is a single low A (whole note)on the G string that also comes to mind, where it calls for both a strong martele and vibrato in a little Sarabande I'm working on that benefited immediately from all this as a more direct example.

On the general layer of the note, I'm doing the arching, with a little more emphasis using pressure and in the spirit of your remarks magnifying the arching as nearly an accent to really make the note jump out there. It sounds really good, at least to me.

Finally, with only a little over a year formal lessons, all of these subtle bowing dynamics, as you notice, I'm having to work through a little piece by a little piece. So be it. Thanks again.

al

p.s. I use the word pressure interchangeably with weight. I rarely use index for feeding weight period--a little point I picked up awhile back and have tried to be loyal to, given my limited abilities at this point.

June 18, 2007 at 08:21 PM · I have faith you will get this, Al (not immediately--step by step as you said). You're right, this is advanced bow technique. If you knew how many people quit the violin struggling to control their bow this well, you would fully comprehend my compliment. I think you really listen to the sound you're making, and are becoming aware of the sound you want to make. That's the fastest way towards improvement, imho.

June 18, 2007 at 08:52 PM · Hi Al,

Believe me, what you are doing is remarkable - rarely do people get concerned with, or understand subtles of bowing after only a year of playing! Kudos! Little by little is normal at any stage whether tackling little piece by little piece, or passage by passage in a larger work!

Cheers!

June 18, 2007 at 09:00 PM · Thanks Kimberlee, Christian. I'm not spayshul though... I have a very developed ear for treatment on piano, that's all... One of my absolutely most-favorite things to do is to sit down at a baby-grand with nobody around and allow that layer of myself to have free reign (been playing since 6).

My favorite pieces to allow this so, are the slow movement from the Pathetique Sonata, Air on G String, and my version of a theme from Rachmaninov as well as various classic Rock including some older standards. When it's on, it's on, when it's not, it's not.

Getting the pieces in place to allow my violin to be similarly outfitted as a medium therefore, allows me to hear what other's bows are creating if not doing it--a somewhat frustrating reality. While I can accept that some days it just isn't there--I've lived that reality too long to expect consistent quality 'every time', those times when it would be drive me nutty--and I didn't have far to go. ;).

And then there's those times when I learn the first concept of something and linger there too long (martele -w- colle), just focusing on the martele. So what may have seemed like an advance question was really just something very basic--that turned into a masterclass? And of course I'm very thankful it did, and you all helped.

Finally, the scooping concept detached from the general light subtle arching at the crosshair, became a masterclass on bow pressure in it's upper level meanings--a very good motivator to continue my bow pressures exercises with renewed purpose--and now much more focus. Again, thanks. al

June 18, 2007 at 09:50 PM · Summary: Wikipeak v.2

...bow attacks and thinking ahead though, not directly related to the actual arching question here, is very closely part of overall bowing and not totally disconnected from the discussion.

...general arching is about both shaping a note, and maintaining a rich tone (legato)--stroking a cat.

... think of your bow in three separate parts: the attack, the sustain and the release--think Bruch Gm--1st note comparisons.

...(SHAPING-arching for accent):In this kind of attack the bow gradually sinks into the string. There are two aspects to it. First, the bow should be in motion in a pendular or half-moon shape. The bow should have horizontal motion as it contact with the string and gradually sinks in. Only weight is involved not pressure of the index. In fact, the bow hold should relax as the bow contact and gets into balance on the string which enables this kind of shofter attack.

...From Simon Fischer: the general bow, is an unnoticable reverse-arching motion that cannot be seen, but felt in the bow("if it can be seen, it's too much"). (also from AC and MB I think). This arching is also present when more formal note shaping is present(see Christian's comment). I'm discovering this also on general detache (quick ones) patterns, as well as long legato strokes. When one truly truly masters this, I would think it could even be slightly present in colle based martele in the upper half, but that will take a long time.

...on longer notes (legato, whole bows) ensure accents (arching for accent) are minimized unless truly called for. There may be interpretive times when this effect is called for, and God only knows you'll find them, but learn to pull a straight gently unnoticed arched bow first.

...use existing bow-pressure exercises to further this, both in general as well as on the lower half for accent.

...now is a good time to Milstein your bow hold for sounding point control as you continue.

June 18, 2007 at 10:49 PM · Does anyone incorporate a "figure of eight" bow stroke in their playing?

To describe what I mean, imagine you are playing the open strings - D A D A D A etc, starting on a down bow, and slurring each pair of D A (ie. 2 notes to a bow). You'll notice that you draw a figure of eight with your hand. If you now keep the same movement, but play on only one string, this is what I'm referring to.

I think that this bow stroke not only feels natural, but has the element of "stroking the string" that has been referred to above, and also makes for smooth circular bow changes. It also ensures good contact with the string during bow changes.

June 19, 2007 at 01:17 AM · Hi,

Actually the figure 8 originates not in the right hand, but the fore-arm, as it opens on the downbow and closes on the up-bow. For some, this also includes a motion from the violin, but that is something else. Either way, this is independant from the vertical motion implied in the stroking mentioned above. The figure 8 belongs to the horinzontal movement of the bow more than anything else.

Cheers!

June 19, 2007 at 02:08 AM · Confused... Are we talking about the way the wrist raises as one approaches the frog and levels at the other end's suplination?

June 20, 2007 at 06:22 PM · Summary: Wikipeak v.2a

...bow attacks and thinking ahead though, not directly related to the actual arching question here, is very closely part of overall bowing and not totally disconnected from the discussion.

...general arching is about both shaping a note, and maintaining a rich tone (legato)--stroking a cat.

... think of your bow in three separate parts: the attack, the sustain and the release--think Bruch Gm--1st note comparisons.

...(SHAPING-arching for accent):In this kind of attack the bow gradually sinks into the string. There are two aspects to it. First, the bow should be in motion in a pendular or half-moon shape. The bow should have horizontal motion as it contact with the string and gradually sinks in. Only weight is involved not pressure of the index. In fact, the bow hold should relax as the bow contact and gets into balance on the string which enables this kind of shofter attack.

...From Simon Fischer: the general bow, is an unnoticable reverse-arching motion that cannot be seen, but felt in the bow("if it can be seen, it's too much"). (also from AC and MB I think). This arching is also present when more formal note shaping is present(see Christian's comment). I'm discovering this also on general detache (quick ones) patterns, as well as long legato strokes. When one truly truly masters this, I would think it could even be slightly present in colle based martele in the upper half, but that will take a long time.

...on longer notes (legato, whole bows) ensure accents (arching for accent) are minimized unless truly called for. There may be interpretive times when this effect is called for, and God only knows you'll find them, but learn to pull a straight gently unnoticed arched bow first.

...use existing bow-pressure exercises to further this, both in general as well as on the lower half for accent.

...now is a good time to Milstein your bow hold for sounding point control as you continue.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

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