Down Bow Staccato

May 18, 2019, 10:55 PM · Hmmm....

I have heard in a couple places about up bow staccato, and people stated that down bow should be learned first.

Down bow staccato really is a pain for me too. Any ideas here?

Replies (18)

May 19, 2019, 9:53 AM · Set the bow firmly on the string. Tilt it towards you. Pull. Gravity helps keep the bow in the string and it's much easier than the up-bow staccato.
Edited: May 19, 2019, 10:45 AM · Good advice, however, it keeps going upbow a little bit after each staccato note. How to I fix this?
Edited: May 19, 2019, 11:01 AM · You have too much tension in your right hand. Pull with a lot of force very suddenly, but then release and let the bow come to a stop on its own—the weight of your arm will make sure of it.

Practise this very slowly first.

May 19, 2019, 3:30 PM · Not to be a shameless self-promoter but here's some downbow staccato. :)

May 19, 2019, 4:27 PM · You use that silly two-finger twitch method that guy tried to charge $50 or whatever for.

Fun trick, I guess. But I dare you to use that live for Paganini!

May 20, 2019, 12:03 PM · That's really impressive Nate.
May 20, 2019, 12:06 PM · Thank you Kypros! :)
Edited: May 20, 2019, 12:24 PM · I’ve always wondered how much of down bow staccato is in the bow vs the hand. I have a really fast up bow, but I can’t do down bow to save my life.
May 20, 2019, 5:23 PM · Nate Robinson

How did you even manage to do that?

May 22, 2019, 6:47 PM · Marty Dalton

How do you do your up bow staccato?

Edited: May 22, 2019, 9:45 PM · I recommend googling "Hora Staccato." Among others you will find Jascha Heifetz and Elizabeth Pitcairn displaying great flying staccato both up- and down-bow. You will notice that even the "mighty Heifetz" made a major change in the way he placed his fingers on the bow to create down-bow staccato. You might have to watch a few times because the cinematographer was not going for the "how" so much as the "what." But it might be worth it - if you find it works for you.

By the way, if you are in audio-audience rather than a visual one, you will find that the effect sounds just as effective with stroke--per-note bowing, for example by the ensemble I Salonisti in their video "Orient Express." (It was a VHS, Hora Staccato does not seem to be on the CD version and a DVD does not seem to be available.)

May 23, 2019, 12:00 AM · There's famous passage in Wieniawski's first concerto ))
May 24, 2019, 9:20 PM · I change my hand position, and it make it more comfortable, but the speed feels so impossible.
May 27, 2019, 3:25 PM · Any more ideas?
June 3, 2019, 11:54 AM · Alright everybody, thank you for all your suggestions.

I can’t do it.

This technique has defeated me.

I am a pro violinist, but not “Jascha Heifetz” pro.

This is beyond my abilities.

Sad thing is, me NEPHEW can do it.


Well, I guess staccato really is born.

I wish staccato was passed down to me. I wish.

June 3, 2019, 1:14 PM · Wait, what? This is a weird post. How do you become a pro without up-bow staccato, down-bow staccato, or even tremolo?
June 5, 2019, 10:10 PM · Well, I am serious when I say this, but most violin pros can’t even play staccato. Like Milstein, Oistrakah, and D. Garrett.

I do have a tremolo! But it is slower than molasses. Like 140 bpm sixteenth notes slow.

June 5, 2019, 10:40 PM · When I asked my teacher how to do it he just told me use your nose. At first I was like what in the world does that mean? It means sniff your own way. What he meant by this is that up bow or down bow staccato is something you have to find out how to do yourself. The way Heifetz did may not be the way you can do it. Same thing for Christian Li or Ray Chen. You have to just try different positions and such with your arm, wrist, what have you in order to get it. My advice would be instead of looking up tutorials, try just watching videos of people playing pieces that have staccato in them. And when you do this pay attention to how that person is doing it. The way I sort of got it was by copying what a man named Antal Zalai while he was playing Paganini Caprice no 15 (the piece I was trying to learn staccato for). He tilts his bow away from him and lifted his pinky off the bow while also tilting his hand to the right. It's easier to see if you watch the video but while weird it works really well for him.
So in short watch people doing it, not teaching it.

Hope that helps you.

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