baroque bow advice?
I am wondering if I can get some tips on how to buy a baroque bow... I am not a musician and want to buy it for my 13yo kid as a birthday present. The kid is playing at the "advanced" level (lots of Bach recently). Should I look in the particular price range? Going over $200 will be very difficult. I am thinking about finding it on Amazon as I don't know other sources.
Do I need to be concerned with the wood (snake, Brazil,..)? Any advice is much appreciated!
If you are in the US, Shar music currently has one on sale for $149. They would probably let you try it out.
I am in Canada but my friend will buy it in the US and bring it to me. Unfortunately, trying/exchanging/returning is not possible.
In my experience, baroque bows aren't that complicated as modern bows. Go for snake wood, since it is an authentic choice. Ironwood would also be okay. Bows were also made from ipe, larch an various different woods endemic in the northern hemisphere.
I'm confident that Shar sells a good bow for the money.
I am not, its a $30 bow sold for $150
Actually, related question:
I am not sure if I can post a link to amazon but I see one of the bows there ($97) that says in description "extended edition 74.5cm Snakewood Stick Baroque Violin Bow Master Level Well Balanced)
Some of the less expensive Baroque bows sold online have concave sticks (like regular bows) instead of convex sticks...watch out!
And none of these bows are really snakewood, or Pernambuco, they're all Chinese equivalents.
Indeed, it seems $97 dollar one is concave - thank you, I did not know if you can still market them as baroque. Then the best choice is still the one at Shar music? Viola or violin?
On March 23, 2018 there was a post similar to this with relevant advice.
See this discussion:
what about Vio Music#709 Old German Baroque Style Beautiful Snakewood on Amazon for $109? Does it look like it is convex? Sorry for so many questions and thank you!
Here is the one I saw: https://www.violinist.com/discussion/thread.cfm?page=1337
Here's one for $30 including shipping, but may take a month to get there, outward camber
Here's another one, $50, outward camber, but the snakewood pattern looks painted on
Strongly recommend you consult with your child’s violin teacher.
Many if not most violin teachers wouldn't have a clue about baroque bows.
Mary Ellen makes a good point about consulting with the teacher, regardless of whether the teacher is experienced with the use of a baroque bow. The teacher might ask you not to do this as it could be a distraction to what they are trying to teach your child at the moment. I can well imagine that a student whose right hand is not too secure would not benefit from the physical confusion of practicing with two entirely different bows.
Thank you Lyndon and Paul!!!
Mich - for a modern setup, and generally in the modern conception of 'baroque' technique, yes the swells come from bow speed changes. There are a few bow demonstrations and tutorials by active pro baroque players dotted about Youtube--from these you or your son can assemble an idea. There may be others of value but once you get outside this narrow range the proportion of misinformation goes up dramatically.
Mich, for being a non-musician you understand violin-playing very well. Sorry about my poor humor but it's been one of those days already. At least I spared you my usual recommendation of sawing a couple of inches off the fingerboard.
I think the 'pear shaped' notes is a reference to the messa di voce. This is the gentle shape of a small crescendo and diminuendo on a long note. It was often labelled an ugly term 'baroque bulge' by some modern players; and in fairness some first generation baroque players did perhaps over exaggerate this.
Yes, Paul hit on what I was thinking by saying that the parent should consult with the teacher. I can think of numerous students in my career where the ill-timed gift of a Baroque bow could have potentially interfered with right hand development.
I (Devils advocate) think a Baroque bow is a great adjunct to learning to bow, as it is much more versatile than the conventional bow...it is lighter and more maneuverable. I wish I had gotten one much earlier in my playing life!! Now have three... go for it!
Son's teacher is the top player and he likes to play with a baroque bow sometimes. Thank you James for the link to Tartini's letter. His Devil's trills will be rediscovered now once the new bow arrives :) I decided to go for a $50 bow :) - it can always be improved later. In general, are professional baroque bows cheaper than Tourte models?
YES! Almost half the price for US makers...
Indeed. The price range of the six baroque bows I purchased from their maker during the last 2 years (three of them went to professional performers so I'll have to reorder another viola model as soon as my financial situation will allow...) was €1000-1200. For similar quality for a modern model you should expect to pay at least three times as much. Don't ask me why. A bowmaker might know.
One factor for sure is that pernambuco is an endangered species and worldwide demand for quality pernambuco is high. While snakewood (and not even to talk about all the other options) is less sought after.