The mechanics of the right arm during violin bowing could fill many a thesis - one of the biggest challenges is not just to learn the motions but to integrate all the pieces into one effective whole. I'm sure that most here, like me, have looked at videos of the greats trying to find The Clue. And also like me have been stymies by the conclusion that they don't seem to be doing anything special! Of course doing nothing special doesn't work at all!
I was watching this video of Sarah Chang playing Sarasate's Carmen fantasy when the photographer, I'm sure entirely accidentally, filmed her bow arm along the axis of her upper arm: thus, you could see her forearm and hand motion unobscured by the up-down action of the bow itself. This view ws maintained for a delicious 34 whole seconds (7.28-8.02) and was, at least for me, transformative.
There are two main points that I notice (I'm sure others will see more). The first is that there is a small up-down action of the upper arm (hinging on the shoulder - which stays down) like the action of a bird wing. This I have been taught but its nice to see it in action.
The other action is much more dramatic: the hand curls at the wrist when the bow is at the frog and straightens at the tip. The consequence of this is that the bow is flat on the string while at the tip but on its R edge at the frog. Again I have heard of this as an outcome but have never seen it executed - Sarah does it so naturally and with such a relaxed hand it is easy to see why she would seem to be doing nothing in a more usual side-view.
Perhaps this is old had to many of you - but as a teaching and demonstration shot I think it quite a collectors piece.
Incidentally, the performance is delightful. Although she is a little OTT in the first few bars she settles down to give a spirited, emotive and compelling performance that captures not only the vast audience (I don't know where this was shot - NY central park??) but creates a unique relationship with the conductor - none other than Placido Domingo (who, though looking a bit uncomfortable with the baton does a stellar job).
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