Sounding Point--Please Define

July 25, 2004 at 02:49 AM · I have read some of the discussions about bowing and tone production that use this term. I am not familiar with it (none of my teachers have ever used it)--could someone please define it for me? Thanks. Nick.

Replies (5)

July 25, 2004 at 03:32 PM · Nick, the sounding point is that point on the string between the bridge and the fingerboard where the instrument responds most readily and most resonantly. It's the point of greatest resistance (of string against bow) balanced ideally with the point of greatest "give" (where the string depresses most easily. Think of it as the "sweet spot" of a baseball bat, or the exact center of a trampoline.

July 25, 2004 at 10:56 PM · Emil described the sounding point very accurately.

You probably know that is not only about how you hold your bow, the movement of your right arm, or the pression you put on the bow (I don´t like very much to use the word pression, I rather think on weight), but it is also about where is your bow moving on the strings.

That´s where the sounding point comes in our discussion. You will notice that a high number of violinist moves they bow all over between the bridge and the fingerboard (some of them even over the fingerboard)...I cannot said that this is incorrect because I saw many of them having really good sound, but I certainly agree that sound can be improved if the bow can move all over the four strings when passing through the same "contact point" or "sounding point".

Also notice that it is not incorrect playing in other contact points, because you´ll find that your tone color may vary according of where your bow is placed closer or farther of the fingerboard or the bridge, and that´s another tool when performing...But many teachers will agree that the mastery of the sounding point is fundamental for the developpement of a clear sound and important part of your bow technique.


July 26, 2004 at 04:40 AM · Thanks for the explanations. I thought it might be something like that. That's been my main focus in my practice this summer. Are there any special exercises to help locating the sounding point and improving on it?

July 26, 2004 at 11:05 AM · Just to share my experience: My teacher taught me that I should bow from root to tip in a "moon" shape to keep the bow playing on the middle point between bridge and fingerboard (of course near the bridge can have a brighter sound), but I think to bow straight all the way to the tip should be good enough.

July 27, 2004 at 10:30 PM · Thanks for the tip. I'll give it a try.

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