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Dianne
Tim's comment about sounding point in Cayla's thread got me thinking about the different sounding points (in general) across strings. When playing on the middle sounding point, I bow closer to the bridge on the higher strings and further from the bridge on the lower strings. This can change, as one can bow very heavily nearer the bridge on the G string in 1st position as well, but in general I remember my teacher directing my bow at an angle when I was first starting out. Is this mentioned in the tutorials? I watched the sounding point tutorials but didn't see it. It might just be a generalization for beginners, and then we can branch out from there.
Dianne
10 Responses
Posted: June 14, 2019
Last Comment: June 16, 2019
Replies

Dianne
Posted: June 16, 2019
And then I remember, my 2nd teacher from Julliard taught me this curved bowing, saying it shouldn't be 'seen', so yes, subtle. I forgot all @ this. With the exaggerated form in the video, it gives a good place to start, as I wouldn't feel it so obviously: the tracking, the friction; and be then able to work it down to subtle from there, so I am glad for video demonstration.

Dianne
Posted: June 16, 2019
Very nice! I tried this angled bowing shown at 22 sec. in the video. If felt like I was 'in' the winding of the string, and it was much easier to control sounding point. I didn't even need to think about it, as it took care of itself to stay at the same spot. However, it was as Mr. Perlman said, I needed to find the sweet spot for that string only to get it to work. There was also a slight click at the beginning of each bow stroke. With a less exaggerated angled bowing, maybe that is what Mr. Perlman is teaching, because there was also more texture to the sound than just a straight bow. I'm going to work on this next (less exaggerated), however, if I ever put up a video with this, my colleagues may direct me to the straight bowing series. With a just straight bow, the sound was clear and pure, but had more of a floating feeling as compared to the angled bowing. What I thought was in the string was not as much. And it did skip when I was just off a little once in a while, as maintaining straight bowing seemed to require more effort or concentration than angled. Michael and Barb, thank you so much for putting up this information!

Michael Baumgardner
Posted: June 16, 2019
To add a bit of clarification, Perlman shows a microscopic picture of the bow hairs and he says that the hair grabs the string better at a slight angle on the down and up bow compared to a perfectly perpendicular bow - of course, he is talking about very slight angles here.  To quote him directly (showing the hairs and rosin on the hairs):  "If you look at the hairs under the microscope you will see little hairs sticking out with rosin... those are things that grab the sound.  The bow will grab the sound better if the bow is at a slight angle (away from perpendicular)."  Honestly, I have no idea if this is true or not, but... it is Itzhak Perlman so one does take notice!

Elke Meier
Posted: June 16, 2019
How interesting, Barb! I am not sure though that I fully agree. If the bow engages the string not at a 90 degree angle it will be harder to get the string to vibrate, because the bow tends to slip at a different angle. I think that just as the wrist and the elbow have to compensate for the shoulder joint at the tip to get the bow straight, so the wrist has to (and can) compensate at the frog to keep the bow straight. But maybe how your teacher does it is part of the Russian bow hold specifics - I would not know. 

Dianne
Posted: June 16, 2019
Angled Bowing
In this video, the sounding point stays (mostly) the same, but the angled bowing brings the bow toward the bridge in either direction, thus maintaining the sounding point. This could be the reason for angled bowing. But I'm not sure how this makes the sound better than just bowing a straight bow at that sounding point. It might have to do with swells, or colors, being produced in the sound with the angled bowing. I'm going to try this tomorrow and compare.

Barbara Habel
Posted: June 15, 2019
Sorry I mean 1:46 onwards. But the video starts at the right place anyway.

Barbara Habel
Posted: June 15, 2019
This discussion includes members-only video content

Dear Dianne and Michael

Regarding bowing straight:

Watch this video I made of my Russian teacher who learned this for the violin at College in Germany from a Professor of cello.

From 2.46 min onwards.

Elke you might like to watch the whole video. Let me know what you think Elke.



Dianne
Posted: June 15, 2019
Wow, thanks for sharing that! It took me a long time to bow straight and I only taper at the tip if I'm working on that. I do daily bowing exercises frog to tip, single strings and DS, and sometimes I do notice that exactly straight sometimes seems to cause the bow to skate. I'll have to reread what you wrote and really think about this..

Thanks Barb, I have the tone DVD luckily, already and it's been a long time since I watched it pen and pad in hand. Good idea!


Michael Baumgardner
Posted: June 15, 2019
Dianne, I think how you describe it is how Simon Fischer suggests in Tone.  There is an interesting discussion on this topic in Itzhak Perlman's Masterclass series.  He has some really interesting insights.  He talks a bit about sounding points.  Basically, he suggests each string has a sweet spot not far from the middle and you need to find where it is.  Basically, he says forget trying to move to different sounding points - play in the middle  The sound gets muddled if you move away.  He says just control the volume with speed and pressure.  Another thing I found interesting is he says "don't try to bow at a right angle to the strings because it is not really possible and more importantly it will not produce the best sound" - he describes how the bow motion is in fact a figure 8 (Beth also talks about this in a video) and more importantly the bow must go up and down at an angle to produce the best sound.  In other words the bow arm motion is not trying to keep the bow at a right angle to the strings because that is not the best sound.  It was pretty interesting to hear this opinions on these videos.  I mean, as far as credibility it's Itzhak Perlman!!  

Barbara Habel
Posted: June 14, 2019
Dear Dianne

Simon Fischerīs DVD on "tone production" mentions the angle at bowing too. He gives exercises for it. He teaches a lot about sounding point. If you have some spare money to spend I would suggest you buy his DVDs. Itīs 2 DVDs and about 4 hours of playing.