Shredded hairs during a long passage

August 25, 2019, 4:10 PM · Okay, I found myself in an embarrassing situation last night. I was playing Slavonic Rhapsody and broke a bow hair (and later a second) in the middle of a very long passage. So there I was, playing a gypsy-style piece in the concertmaster seat with two banners blowing in the wind. I yanked them off as soon as I got a couple beats of rest, but that was a few minutes later.

Is there a more professional way to handle this?

Replies (6)

August 25, 2019, 4:19 PM · If you watch like solo people, they seem to wait until the whole piece/movement is finished (from my perspective). So I think what you did is fine
Edited: August 25, 2019, 5:29 PM · Ummm... Embarrassing? Most people I know (snobs and casual listeners alike) inexplicably seem to be wildly impressed when violinists break bow hairs. Makes us look like rockstars.

In fact, I'm positive Joshua Bell's luthier intentionally puts too little hair on his bow so that they break faster during concerts.

August 25, 2019, 8:14 PM · I know a great pro violinist (a chamber musician) who breaks a lot of bow hairs. He just pulls them off when he can, no big deal. Anyone who's been to a violin concert before has seen it. They're not scandalized.
August 26, 2019, 8:06 AM · Do the flying hairs irritate or distract you? I find them most off-putting but maybe that's one of the many arts a violinist has to acquire!
August 26, 2019, 8:06 AM · Do the flying hairs irritate or distract you? I find them most off-putting but maybe that's one of the many arts a violinist has to acquire!
August 26, 2019, 8:35 AM · Elise, flying hairs are also "dangerous" in the sense that, when you play high up the fingerboard, the risk is real that the loose hair gets stopped between your finger and the string, with disastrous results. So, to answer the question, break them off nicely as soon as you get the chance.


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