Am I being taught Martelé Bowing the wrong way?
I was recently introduced to Martelé bowing technique and this is where I have been the most confused since I started learning the violin.
The internet, the many numerous videos on Youtube would describe the action of this technique as follows: 'Apply pressure and press the bow into the string for a fraction of a second then releasing it'. This is supposed to produce a rather strong sound compared to legato for example. Lets use the video below as a reference point for what I think ought to be the correct technique:
Now my problem is this: My teacher has taught me Martele technique in a different way. She asks me to 'Hold the bow by the hair(as compared to the normal convention of holding it by the stick and grip) and press the hair into the stick.'
I found this extremely odd and nowhere have I found anything to support this method. As much as I dislike doubting my teacher, I do not want to learn the wrong technique.
I'm sure you all can perfectly address my concern!
Thanks in advance!
If your teacher is suggesting you hold the bow by the hair, then I suggest you get a new teacher.
I've never heard of that either.
I am going to guess that it is an exercise to aid in learning to do the Martele and not the actual stroke. Are you sure this is how they teach it?
Are you sure you understood your teacher correctly? Hold the bow by the hair? I have never heard of such a thing. Touching the hair under any circumstances is a terrible idea.
No, that is not correct at all! In fact, for a Martele' stroke, there really isn't a difference in the way the hand holds the stick.
I can’t even picture what that would be. If you held the bow by the hairs, you’d be playing with the stick on the strings (I.e. up-side down!), that makes no sense. Perhaps you (or your teacher) mean something else.
Thanks a lot for your responses!
Most definitely incorrect.
Got it! Thanks a lot Mary and everyone else. Will keep this mind as I progress further. Cheers!
Hmmmm, it may be that she's trying to get your hand to do something specific, and that this isn't the end goal she has in mind.
Erik, seriously, what could possibly be gained by instructing the student to move his thumb over to press against the hair? I'm at a loss with this one.
Lol, hard to say Mary, but I still think there's a real possibility that there's more to know here.
Dorian Fu: I agree with you - the non standard grip seems to work best for dance music. I once experimented & tried an absolutely new grip. I swear I would get blasted by a shotgun by the look of my fellow violinists as I was struggling a grip using my toes.
I suggest you have your teacher demonstrate that, so that you can be sure the words that you are hearing match the intended action.
"It was common performance practice in 17th century to have the thumb under the bow hair (as well as under the frog later on as described by Corette.)" (Dorian Fu)
I think it's likely that what the teacher is using is an intermediate step--just a pedagogical device. Perhaps the teacher wants the OP to feel the bite of the hair. Whatever the case, changing the grip like that in the course of normal playing would be an impossibility.
The reason to avoid touching the bow hair is so that oils from your skin don't get on the hair, making the bow slick there and attracting dirt.
You would be touching literally half an inch of hair from the frog, which is a spot we never use anyway, so I think we're all good...
I agree with Scott: I think it's a trick to awaken the right sensations.
Thank you all for the responses!
Devansh, may I make a suggestion:
Hi All i am new but hoping for some advice. I just bought an expensive pernumbucco german bow. Feels great and sounds great. I noticed though the thumb leather is quite long and for my small hands this means my index finger doesnt ever touch the silver winding. Is this an issue and should I have bought a bow with a shorter thumb leather? Or is it all up to personal preference? I suppose mu question is am i missing out on anything in using a bow where my index finger remains completely on the thumb leather?
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