Changing Bow Smoothly At The Frog

June 12, 2004 at 05:06 AM · I am being taught the contemporary style of this and I cannot seem to learn it correctly...I got bad habits from a prior teacher and any sources on how to mentally learn this better would be appreciated thanks!

Replies (34)

June 12, 2004 at 12:44 PM · Greetings,

I have no idea what the contemporary style is but I strongly belive that Galamian resolved this issue with great clarity and economy in his highly expensibe book on violin playing. He said, roughly, you can change bow with the fingers, wrist , arm, shoulder, leg, dried prunes or any combination of above.

The primary factor is BOW SPEED. You slow down very slightly a millisecond before the change and perhaps lighetn the pressure a little and then the new bow continues at the same slow speed, not fatser.

Now it may be that an excessive action of the wrist or fingers is -causing a change in speed- and the teahcer is ascking you to change with another part of your body to avoid this, but whatever is being asked, the primary pupose remains a question of speed. If you hang on to this idea through thick and thin you will not go wrong.

One helpful way to focus on this is to imagine that your forearm , hand and the frg of the bow are all one single unit fused togther so they all move togtehr at -the same speed-



June 12, 2004 at 04:11 PM · I would say changing the bow at the frog is tricky if anyone here has played baseball playing at the frog is much like hitting an inside and high fastball. The right hand is held up a little more and everything is more tense whereas at the tip it is very easy to change the bow you hardly need to do anything to make a good bow change at the point. I think for you it would be good now that we have all of these videos to watch Stern, Heifetz, or Milstein and see how they changed the bow. They were players I think with very good bow changes.

June 13, 2004 at 04:47 AM · When I was working on changing the bow at the frog, I used scales. Slow scales to start off with. I would do them slowly until I could not hear any sound with the change of my bow. Make sure that you are not picking the bow up in any way, that it stays connected throughout the change. Use halfbows, whole bows etc. Then when you can do that, go on to explore all the different types of articulations done at the frog. Try not to analyze your hand too much. Just do what comes natural to get the sound and fluidity that you seek. Make sure that your bow hold is one which can support the weight of the bow at all points of contact. Hold you bow straight out from you and, like a see-saw, use your pinky and thumb and other fingers to turn the bow up, then down, without moving your hand or wrist. If you have this flexibiliy in your fingers, you should be fine. Another trick is to try long bows removing each of the fingers from your bow hold. Play with just your thumb and pinky or first finger for instance. This is very uncomfortable, but teaches you where the weight is in your stroke and where you need to be placing your resistance with each finger for whatever part of the bow, especially near the frog. Hope this helps and is good advice and not just a bunch of rambling on my part!!!


June 13, 2004 at 06:02 AM · Watch Oistrakh.


June 14, 2004 at 01:42 AM · also things like dont 3 or rode 8 with 6 notes to a bow are good for adding string crossings to the mix.

June 14, 2004 at 01:55 AM · Open strings, frog changes, follow a variety of timings, at crotchet beats.

say from 40 up to 120.

in increments of 10 or so.

I've found it helpful to also take up martial arts with a wielded weapon.

I use the katana.

The taught concept of one arm with bow/sword. Is an important lesson that can be learnt from other aspects of traning.

June 14, 2004 at 02:02 AM · Greetigs,

Sum I diagnose extreme prune deficiency and advise you to seek help.



June 14, 2004 at 02:09 AM · Buri, there are alternatives to any local grocery store or pharmacy. I've found they work wonders...Then again. I love them prunes. Prune juice is a staple item...goes down like thick milk! MMMMmmmm.


June 14, 2004 at 02:20 AM · Nope, not prunes, I'm positively too sensitive. Would be on a potty after every prune i take.

And as for the katana, I don't use it on people. Yet.

Much less to speak on a music forums, about love woes?

June 15, 2004 at 05:09 AM · Does the bow hold affect the way the bow changes are made?

Seems like while ELman, Heifetz and Milstein all studied under Auer, they all used a different style with the bow.

June 15, 2004 at 05:21 AM · That's because Auer, in his book "Violin Playing As I Teach It", said that bow hold is highly individual because each person has differently shaped arms, muscles and fingers.

June 15, 2004 at 05:38 AM · ahhhh, so i am enlightened.

Then again, is it entierly wrong to force the change of a bowhold of a student? While the new hold IS more comfortable, It does take time to get used to it.

June 15, 2004 at 06:06 AM · a student, i can tell you that my bowing hand never feels comfortable, i dont know if that's a good thing or bad thing...but i constantly change grips trying to find the most comfortable one, my hand also cramps often...not good =/..i would like my teacher to offer advice, but he seems to make it worse...haha

June 15, 2004 at 07:01 AM · Greetings,

it might help you to get a copy of Basics by Simon Fischer and just work through the prelimiary exericses o se what helps you.

In the meantime there are two you might try:

1) Draw a slow down/up bow and as you are doinbg it bend and straighten the thumb ten times or so. Obviously this is veyr unnatural but it should help you see wht you are/are not doing with the thumb.

2) Do the same slow bow strokes and roll the bow using only your fiongers so that the stick goes towards your nose and then away from your nose and towards oyur nose many times.

Take care you are doing this with the fingers as opposed to the wrist,



June 15, 2004 at 08:11 AM · watch Zukerman for the perfect horizontal figure 8. Won't work for everyone, but he's got it down.

June 15, 2004 at 09:24 AM · Is there a video you can recommend?

June 15, 2004 at 11:13 AM · Greetings,

I have always like 'Madison.' But I have to watch it with the lights out so my wife can"t see me crying,



June 15, 2004 at 03:03 PM · Aww, how cute. But I meant a video of Zukerman that displayed his lovely bow arm.

June 15, 2004 at 03:24 PM · i was taught to turn my wrist very slightly toward myself, but still feel the weight of the bow.

June 15, 2004 at 03:55 PM · lol

June 15, 2004 at 05:03 PM · Soona, I like how you described that...that's the feeling/motion I go for as well.

June 15, 2004 at 08:03 PM · I recommend watching "Mozart by the Masters" which shows Zukerman playing the Adagio by Mozart. Also, watching him play viola is good, because all the movements are the same, just exaggerated.

June 15, 2004 at 11:35 PM · I used to have this problem too but I changed my teacher and this problem is pretty much solved. Try moving from and with your whole arm instead of just the elbow and wrist. Not to say that these should be motionless but keep the main movement from the shoulder and the rest should follow. When I started doing this my bow changes were alot smoother and I had no more sudden jerks.

June 16, 2004 at 12:50 AM · There are ways of executing a smooth heel change using the fingers, but it's pretty hard to describe and would be easy to misinterpret without a demo. We had a thread going on it a while back - I think it was called 'that bowing thing'; check out the archives.

June 16, 2004 at 01:30 AM · Greetings,

yes we did. Sort of...

The fingers as toool for chanigin bow is not generally recommend. It is a dead end road. Teh fingers have to be supple and relaxed but however much you work at it if you try to excute a change @with the fingers@ you are going to get agulp. All this debate is subsumes under the question of bow speed. IE don`t speed up! The fingers are the part of the anatomy that will almost invariably cause a slight speed up,



June 16, 2004 at 01:51 AM · When I said 'using' I meant as a wheel within the wheel; didn't we agree that the elasticity of the fingers cushions the heel change?

June 16, 2004 at 03:05 AM · Greetings,

not sure. I think my wheels are dropping off,



June 16, 2004 at 03:09 AM · A wheel within a wheel...sounds like a visualization from my hippy days.

June 16, 2004 at 03:20 AM · Reminds me of that song, The Windmills Of Your Mind: 'Like a circle in a circle, like a wheel within a wheel...'

June 16, 2004 at 03:35 AM · `..a prune within a prune...`

June 16, 2004 at 04:33 AM · Ugh, Sue, you have given me an ear worm!

June 16, 2004 at 06:59 AM · Greetings,

didn`t the Bard say soemthing about `we fat ourselves to fat the worm.`?

In the meantime, if you are having troubling changing frogs I suggest you consulot Hans Christian Anderson -there is a wealth of material to be found there.



June 17, 2004 at 03:29 AM · A guide to the common amphinians would help too... if the problem is just frogs.

June 17, 2004 at 06:26 AM · I haven't been on in a few days. You guys are talking about some of the thins that my teacher advocates. SHe is really big on the figure 8 style...someone mentioned Zukerman does it well? She also said that she really appreciates Mischa Elman's bowhold. The basic concept she is trying to teach me is, that your fingers must go ahead of your wrist at the frog. I can do this, but I feel like when i draw a downbow, it is jerky and obvious that I have changed the bow. Thankyou all for your lovely advice you have already given, perhaps now if you wish to continue with the tips feel free, but if not, thanks so much!

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