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Hi Beth, I am unsure have to tell when a note in a music piece should be and up or down bow. I do I learn to do this?

4 Responses
Posted: July 19, 2011
Last Comment: July 22, 2011

Posted: July 22, 2011
Thanks for all the advice. It has been very useful. kind regards Sharon

Beth Blackerby
Posted: July 19, 2011
Thanks for sharing tips Tricia, and Jack. I just want to add that as a loose and general rule, and especially pieces in 4/4, 2/2 or 2/4, downbeats (the first beat of a measure)are usually down bows. There is a natural emphasis on downbeats, and the weight and gravity of a down bow is most natural.

So for instance, if the piece starts with an upbeat, then we usually use an up bow so that the down beat is on a down bow. Also, if you end a phrase on a down bow, and the next phrase begins on the next down beat, then, like Tricia mentions, you do a "retake."

I often write in additional "reminder" bowings. For one, if I'm practicing a passage in the middle of a phrase, it's convenient to have frequent bow markings so you can quickly know which bow to start on.

Posted: July 19, 2011
Hi Sharon:

This is what I do, which is similar to Jack.

On the first measure, start with a down bow as long as there are no printed mark or indication for an up bow.

Then as Jack told you, it will help you a lot to mark with a pencil the rest of the piece, alternating down, up, down. I do this all the time.

Especial care should be given to the slurred or legato as well as the tie notes. This should be mark as one bow stroke, either up or down, which ever is the turn.

Some times in the middle of the piece, you will find a printed mark, telling you which way you should draw the bow. If it does not agreed with the direction in turn, then you do the “retake” by gently lifting the bow from the strings and accommodating the bow right back on the string ready to bow as indicated. Sometimes you will see a mark like semicolon on top between of the two notes where you need to do the “retake”.

Best of luck!


Posted: July 19, 2011
Thanks, Jack. I will try your suggestion.