bowing with the fingers

February 12, 2018, 11:30 AM · my current violin teacher hasn't adequately explained a lot of bowing techniques to me, leaving me very confused about a few things. in fact, I'm not even sure bowing with the fingers is the correct term for it. my teacher says I'm doing these things correctly, but I still have lots of questions

1. is colle bowing when you bow with just moving your fingers/wrist?
2. is it possible to do tremolo with just moving your fingers or wrist?
3. what's the difference between spicatto and sautille and do those both require bowing with the fingers?

Replies (9)

Edited: February 12, 2018, 11:48 AM · Actually Vivien's new video shows you just how to do this. I suggest you watch that and try what she shows, it's very clear.

The relevant section starts at 3:45

February 12, 2018, 1:04 PM · 1. Yes
2. yes
3. In spiccato the bow leaves the string. In sautille, the bow actually maintains contact with the string but SOUNDS like it's jumping off. The motion for sautille is that the bow describes a slight see-saw motion about the string, catching it each direction, which is because the finger action is actually more vertical. Watch videos of those who have perfected a very fast sautille and you'll see very compact up-down motion of the fingers/wrist system instead of the more horizontal motion of a slower stroke.
February 12, 2018, 3:38 PM · What Scott Cole says!

I find a finger-only stroke is just to unlock the fingers, not to play real music: finger motions are usually integrated into hand motions - which often get an invsible impulse from the forearm, which get its own from...etc, etc...

February 12, 2018, 8:12 PM · My teacher tells me to practice this very thing and it is quite literally the hardest thing I've ever done relating to playing an instrument.
February 13, 2018, 7:58 AM · regarding question 2, tremelo with the fingers only would be really contrived. allowing the wrist to move as well, definitely yes, like Scott already said.
Edited: February 13, 2018, 2:45 PM · "My teacher tells me to practice this very thing and it is quite literally the hardest thing I've ever done relating to playing an instrument."

Yes, mastering the finger motion isn't easy. There has to be a methodology involved to get from point A--mastering the collé stroke in separate up and down motions, combining them, integrating them into the legato stroke, then the brush stroke, then to point B: sautille.

Mastering difficult techniques is like climbing Half Dome: you can either struggle up the sheer face, or simply walk around the back and up gradually. A teacher should guide you up the gentle back route, not the sheer front.

Edited: February 13, 2018, 9:41 AM · For those of us on the eastern side of The Pond, the equivalent climb would be Croagh Patrick (St Patrick's Mount) in Co. Mayo, Ireland. The hard climb here is actually a very steep and often treacherous walk, sometimes on hands and knees for some; and the easy "climb" is an easy low gradient track a few miles long on the other side of the mount. I'm not going to say which I've done!
February 17, 2018, 8:43 AM · The basic hand shape often has a curved pinky (on top of the stick), and a curved thumb.
Then we can extend and contract fingers and thumb at will,

I suggest two motions, using a small orange or juggling ball:
- lifting an lowering the ball by elongating an extending the fingers and thumb;
- rotating the ball to left anf right without moving hand or wrist.
Then we have the necessary multi-dimensional flexibilty.

February 21, 2018, 11:28 AM · May I add that those whose basic hold has a straight thumb, often more behind the stick than under it, may find the finger stroke more difficult.

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