Where did the Collé stroke originate

October 10, 2018, 10:08 PM · I'm trying to trace the evolution of Collé and ways in which the terminology changed for a music project? Such as how Collé was done in the past.

Could anyone give a bit of background on its history or link me to a couple of sources to point me in the right direction?

For now I have an article by Kurt Sassmannshaus and this source below

Replies (12)

October 11, 2018, 8:40 AM · Hi Wayne,

Here's a discussion on colle from a while back:

I haven't done any thorough research on its history, but as I mentioned at the bottom of that thread, I could only trace the term back to Galamian. I was surprised not to find it in Capet or any of his predecessors in the Franco-Belgian or French schools. I think the desire for a very incisive articulation or attack is relatively new. But you do see it in Soviet school playing (e.g. Oistrakh) and since Galamian spent his formative years in the Soviet School, colle may have its origins there. Szeryng didn't like extremely crisp, sharp attacks (can't recall the source for that,) and he was strongly influenced by the French school.

October 11, 2018, 9:34 AM · Thank you, all of this information was very helpful.
October 11, 2018, 6:04 PM · I'm a little puzzled. Capet in his treatise promotes the collé stroke as a good way to "energise" the bow stroke in preparation for other staccato strokes, including sautillé or spiccato. Maybe he doesn't use the word "collé": I'll have to check in my (French) copy.
October 12, 2018, 8:30 AM · Have you found anything yet, Adrian? I leafed through the English edition and I came up short again. The closest thing I could find was the word 'pinch', and of course martele. In retrospect I'm not too surprised, as Capet doesn't seem very concerned with physical motion involved in playing.

Wayne, let us know what you discover in your project.

October 12, 2018, 10:39 AM · The owners of Lassie invented the Collie Stroke.
Edited: October 12, 2018, 11:12 AM · There's an interesting book by Kelley M. Johnson, Lucien Capet and Superior Bowing Technique: History and Comparison, which I bought a while back and haven't yet read. In it she says:

Many of Capet's innovative teaching practices have been absorbed into the pedagogical mainstream. ... For example, the origin of Collé bowing belongs to Capet rather than Galamian.
[p. 3]

The next subsection of Rebounding Bow Strokes deals with the Collé stroke, which is a finger stroke found only in Galamian and Fischer's texts under this appellation and in Capet's text as a preparation for the Spiccato and the the Jeté strokes. The Collé/Jeté bowing is played in the lowest part of the bow near the frog and is essentially a very short stroke where each stroke is placed on the string and at the moment of the stroke, the bow pinches the string and lifts off at the same time. After each lifted articulation, the bow returns to the string to the same place in the bow for each articulation. Fischer... wrote, "Galamian described this stroke as 'pizzicato' with the bow." This stroke has a very high correlation with the Capet text despite the differing exercise titles. All three authors use this stroke for preparation for the Spiccato.
[p. 155]

But, on p. 61, Capet writes:

144. The Jeté bow stroke, is a kind of perpetual retake of the bow. This bow stroke may be either biting or light, it is done in a division near the middle and sometimes a little nearer the tip. [e.g. Mendelssohn concerto]

Under "The Spiccato", p. 59, he writes:

140. The Spiccato is a version of the Sautillé. It is a biting bow stroke with which one cannot exceed a certain tempo; it consists of lifting and placing the bow between each note. The Jeté bow stroke bears a great deal of resemblance to the Spiccato except that it is done completely in down bow or completely up bow.

So, I think we can conclude Capet's Spiccato = Collé stroke, though he doesn't get into the motions involved (collé finger motion.) And Galamian may have indeed coined the term Collé.

Here's another discussion from a while back, https://www.violinist.com/discussion/archive/28835/, where I suggested the terminology got all messed up as French terms and ideas were translated into English.

October 12, 2018, 1:56 PM · I think this question is actually two questions: First where does the stroke come from? and second where does the stroke's name come from?

All this is complicated by the wildly inconsistent use of terminology in this area (or just generally in music), not just between languages but within the same language and indeed from one violin teacher to the next.

October 12, 2018, 5:16 PM · If it is Franco-Belgian, would that be a border colle?
October 13, 2018, 1:10 AM · The dissertation can be found in the internet:

Lucien Capet: comparisons and connections to contemporary violin bowing technique
Kelley Marie Johnson


You can download it for free.

October 13, 2018, 9:00 AM · Ha! Thanks for pointing that out Eva. I now realize that I downloaded the dissertation first, glanced at it, and bought the book later. The book has been edited, but content seems to be the same.
October 13, 2018, 9:21 AM · Edward your joke was a real dog.
Edited: October 14, 2018, 2:53 PM · Ha! I have just found my copy of Capet's original French treatise, with a page of notes I made (30 years ago!) to compare the various bowstrokes mentioned by Capet, Flesch and Galamian.

Capet's is a mine of wisdom and insight, and will be my bed-time re-reading for the next few weeks!

I have not (yet?) found the term "collé", which seems to belong to Galamian, but he is certainly keen on a clear, on-the-string start to all staccato strokes, including spiccato.

Spiccato, sautillé, ricochet etc. seem to be described or derived differently by different authors, as the above posts alrerdy suggest.

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