How would you control a violin (or cello) bow in a zero-gravity environment such as a space station, and what could we learn from this?
I wouldn’t do anything different except perhaps make a greater effort to play closer to the string (in fact that’s not a bad idea for playing on Earth) Maybe a few weeks playing would helpful. I imagine I would have trouble with movement (not sure if the force of the bow would move me move more in space than the earth; I imagine it would).
I would expect to lose the spiccatto; It needs gravity to bounce.
Without any doubt, rotational sections were invented in starships (2001.. Interstellar...) for the purpose of playing violins !
My first thought is to try holding it a little further up the stick so the force of my arm would apply more evenly to the entire length of the stick. I would probably also have to try finding a way to push up a little on the violin neck to "meet" the bow.
It seems like bowing would in general be much more difficult and that ricochet would be pretty much impossible, but maybe I haven't fully thought it through.
And flying staccato might be harder. Anybody ready for a trip to the space station to try out? (not me, I get motion sickness. As my mother used to say, I'll stay here and watch).
Rosin, and more specifically rosin dust floating around the cabin, might be more of a problem in space.
To try all this, we could suspend both violin and bow from the ceiling on elastics, at the right height to just walk in an play.
"In space no-one can hear you practise the violin."
Andy Victor hinted at the answer: Just channel your inner cellist.
Playing the violin in zero gravity raises problems beyond that of controlling the bow. The more I think about it the more interesting things become.
I believe bowing would not be your main concern. The way we hold the violin relies on gravity, the whole setup and the technique are designed to keep the violin from falling down. With no gravity it is just as likely to float up though. You d've to reposition your left hand to prevent the neck sliding out upward. Your chin on the chinrest combined with gravity keeps your violin from sliding down your shoulder but not if gravity is all of a sudden AWOL. There are problems to solve before you even take up the bow.