Shaking Upper half long down bow

September 7, 2023, 7:04 AM · I've been playing since 2009 mostly by watching videos and reading books and have scoured the internet for a solution to this issue. I have gone a long way in violin but can't seem to figure out this seemingly simple issue but I think I have finally cracked it hence my excitement in making this post and unearthing (AGAIN) this eternal discussion of shaking long down bows.

What I think is starting to work for me is abandoning the 'correct' forms and techniques. I try to go by the book when I can but too much of sticking to it may have caused me to be inflexible when I know for a fact that the contact point on the bow changes as we move up and down.

I try to play flat bow as much as I can but tilting the stick slightly towards the bridge (which I never heard of) while approaching the tip has felt so relaxing to my hand. My hand is like opening a bottle of water or rotating clockwise as it down bows. It felt good as I still kept full contact with my middle and ring finger on the frog without 'trying', it simply naturally stayed there when I tilted the stick slightly to the bridge. While I have felt that it weakens my tone as I can no longer dig into the string as much as before, I felt the benefit exponentially outweighs the downside.

And I think I finally understand what "Weight of the hand" means, The rotation of my hands seems to apply a natural pronation which in effect causes the 'weight of the hand' to be applied to the bow whereas before I try to apply the pronation while my hand is on top of the bow but because of the rotation, my hand is now on the side of the bow. I feel my hand is like hanging on the edge of a cliff and the bow is the cliff whereas before I try to apply the weight by pressing my feet into the soil.

Another thing is trying to keep a straight bow, especially at the tip, I've seen pro players don't always keep a straight bow at the tip, most of them move their hand to the side slightly rather than their front. That left me wondering if I just have a long arm hence why I don't have to do that or if I now have to do that as it felt relaxing. My straight bowing is not the greatest but I can speed up while keeping it straight.

Again I have never heard of most of these but these are my observations. Has anyone had the same experience? I think this is purely experimental so I'm trying to get opinions before I retrain myself.

Replies (3)

Edited: September 7, 2023, 7:20 AM · Do what works for you!

If, as you progress you find that the way you hold and use the bow restricts your progress you can experiment with variations in your technique.

Your observation about many "pros" tipping off the bow at the end of a long downbow stroke is certainly correct, but there is also the observation that moving the tip of the bow a little further from the bridge can quiet the change of bow direction on very long notes. I've never been able to determine if they do that because their arms are short or because they really want to.

Finding a live teacher or other experienced violinists to play with might show you some "new tricks."

Edited: September 7, 2023, 9:36 AM · This is an area that I think can be a combination of effects of a particular bow and a particular player. I have some bows that "shake" and some bows that don't when I use them. I think you may be trying to compensate for an equipment problem.

I don't think that rotating the bow to slant the stick toward the bridge is a good solution as it should be unnecessary with a good bow. I'd suggest trying some other bows.

September 7, 2023, 9:03 AM · Agree with Andrew -- now's the time for a live teacher, if you can find one in your area, or maybe a more advanced local violinist who'd be willing to take a close look at your bowing technique. Nothing beats a hands-on teacher.

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