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Figuring up and down bows
old/original sheet music
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roklock
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December 2, 2014 - 8:38 pm
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Hello,

Not sure if this is the right location for this question...

I am new to the violin, two full months now, and gathering up some pieces I want to learn.  Only issue is trying to figure up and down bows, especially for Scottish style.  Do you just alternate?  The link is to Fear A'Bhata (The Boatman), it shows slurs and ties but bow direction??

From my lessons I would start with an up bow and just alternate, is this correct?  If not what is recommended?

http://www.8notes.com/scores/4457.asp

Thanks,

Steve

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augustoad
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December 2, 2014 - 8:44 pm
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Hey roklock, 

When I'm playing I usually go with what sounds better; most times all I do is alternate the bowings. 

Now, I'm pretty sure it's not always facultative and some songs strongly suggest that you follow a specific bowing, but with that song I suppose you can go with the flow.

Skype: augustoad Email: augustoaguieiras@hotmail.com Phone number/whatsapp: +55 42 9861-4084. I'd be happy to talk anything fiddle-related to anyone! :)

 

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1stimestar
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December 3, 2014 - 1:59 am
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Yes for this you would start with an upbow then just alternate except of course for the slurs.  

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

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augustoad
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December 3, 2014 - 4:07 am
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@1stimestar , I usually start with down bows.. I figure you've been playing for longer than I have, so is there "right or wrong" regarding the initial bowstroke being up or down?

Skype: augustoad Email: augustoaguieiras@hotmail.com Phone number/whatsapp: +55 42 9861-4084. I'd be happy to talk anything fiddle-related to anyone! :)

 

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iBud
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December 3, 2014 - 11:33 am
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Aloha @roklock,

The first measure is not a full measure.  In other words, in 3/4 time, there are three beats to each measure with a quarter note representing each beat.  Take a look again at the first note.  There is only one beat in that measure, so it is called a "pick up" measure.  That single beat is called a "pick up" beat.  From what I've gathered on this site, and others, the pick up beat is most always an up bow, with each succeeding note using alternate bowing, with the exception of slurred notes.  In the case of slurs, all notes connect by the slur are on the same stroke.  Of course, I've only been playing since 1 September, so you should consult others with more experience.

Keep-Calm-and-Fiddle-On-small-2.jpg

 

 

 

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ElisaDalViolin
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I agree with iBud. In others words, being the first note one beat and the second two, it's easier for you to sustain and accentuate that second note with a down bow. So I would do it this way smile

 
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augustoad
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December 3, 2014 - 6:04 pm
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oh, I didn' know about pick up beats. Thank you guys!

Skype: augustoad Email: augustoaguieiras@hotmail.com Phone number/whatsapp: +55 42 9861-4084. I'd be happy to talk anything fiddle-related to anyone! :)

 

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1stimestar
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December 4, 2014 - 12:54 am
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iBud said
Aloha @roklock,

The first measure is not a full measure.  In other words, in 3/4 time, there are three beats to each measure with a quarter note representing each beat.  Take a look again at the first note.  There is only one beat in that measure, so it is called a "pick up" measure.  That single beat is called a "pick up" beat.  From what I've gathered on this site, and others, the pick up beat is most always an up bow, with each succeeding note using alternate bowing, with the exception of slurred notes.  In the case of slurs, all notes connect by the slur are on the same stroke.  Of course, I've only been playing since 1 September, so you should consult others with more experience.

iBud said
Aloha @roklock,

The first measure is not a full measure.  In other words, in 3/4 time, there are three beats to each measure with a quarter note representing each beat.  Take a look again at the first note.  There is only one beat in that measure, so it is called a "pick up" measure.  That single beat is called a "pick up" beat.  From what I've gathered on this site, and others, the pick up beat is most always an up bow, with each succeeding note using alternate bowing, with the exception of slurred notes.  In the case of slurs, all notes connect by the slur are on the same stroke.  Of course, I've only been playing since 1 September, so you should consult others with more experience.

Sorry I'm just now seeing your second question but iBud answered it.  Yes, it's a pick up note so you would start it with an upbow.  

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

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BillyG
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December 4, 2014 - 3:17 am
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I had to ask a question about this as well, because it's something I haven't REALLY paid much attention to - this was specific to the bow direction change on the current Xmas project.   

It was well explained by FM himself - my "reasoned question" is here - http://fiddlerman.com/forum/ch.....-2/#p64501

and Pierre's response is a couple of posts further on - http://fiddlerman.com/forum/ch.....-2/#p64522

....  and indeed I was doing much as he suggested, slurring 1/8th notes where no slurring was indicated - BUT - the other point that escaped me was the occurrence of two consecutive up-bows  - and now I understand it ( but still find it hard break my current bowing habit ) -

  The only places he has indicated bow direction in the score extract on these pages are the up-bows on the last note of bars 2, 4 and 7 - which is precisely where the "expected" bow-change-direction is NOT where you might expect it....  hmm like instead of playing D, U, D  - we are instructed to play D, U, U - leading of course to the "expected" Down bow on the first note of the next bar.....

  For an easy tune, it taught me more than I expected!   

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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roklock
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December 5, 2014 - 5:47 pm
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Thanks for all of the responses...and confirmation of my thoughts.

Bill, I did get confused as to two up bows side by side.  On the pieces I am trying to learn there aren't any bow marks at all let alone telling me to bow up twice in a row.

So, on measures that aren't ending on an up bow you would switch to two up bows so you begin the next measure in a down bow?

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BillyG
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December 6, 2014 - 10:43 am
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...hmmm as to that - well - I'll try to help although I don't know enough about this really - my response was specific to "something I learned from Pierre in response to my question"...  I rather *suspect* that there are differing situations where the "accented" beat, or rhythm, or note, is not necessarily the first note in a bar- and that may be more to do with the style of music played - but I don't know enough about it yet to say really - these are just my thoughts / feelings about it...  nothing more.

From where I stand, I suppose I would look at it like this - in the absence of bowing indications, I would at first assume that the first note in a bar would be a down - but - as I say - it probably depends on the style (and time signature amongst other things) of music being played - I just do not know if that is a "hard and fast" rule - and I rather suspect it is not.  (ready to stand corrected! LOL)

I have an absolutely HORRID habit to break - I accent on an up-bow - it was just what "came naturally to me" simply because I was picking out tunes on the fiddle before I even started to seek advice on playing or joined fiddlerman !   So my bow movements are often "in reverse" to almost everyone else (apart from my unintentional slurring mistakes - which makes it even worse! LOL and TY again for that @Fiddlerman )

But yes to answer your question (finally) - in THIS SPECIFIC CASE in the example given from the FM Xmas score - the indication is that the three 1/4 notes in the bar - which are separate, and not slurred, "suggest" that the bow changes direction on each note - and WOULD be played separately as a D U D  sequence - but - they have to become D U U to get an accented DOWN on the first note of the next bar..... and I guess you have to "read ahead" and notice the indicated "Down" to figure what the score-writer intends you to do.  That is, you are given a very specific indication of a Down-bow on the first note of the next bar....  so you ought to finish the current bar on a up, up - so - hmmm indeed....

(but, hey.... I just accent notes regardless of where they appear on sheet - I just try to do what "kinda sounds right" - so you can tell I'm still working on it and have a LONG way to go! - so I'm definitely not the best person to ask - but it helps to share our problems, for sure....)

Fiddle on !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Fiddlerman
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December 6, 2014 - 10:39 pm
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The best way to bow is musically. For this to be successful your technique needs to allow for anything goes before it's feasible. One of the most common ways to bow a pick-up is (as you guys spoke of above) to use an up bow. A pick-up is usually played softer than the first beat (down beat) of the following measure.  The musical way to play the down beat is usually with a bit of emphasis but there are exceptions to the rule. A good test to see what is musical is to sing it first and try different options. Don't leave slurs out of the equation. The example that roklock linked us to could use some slurs as well. I took a screen shot and edited some bowings using photoshop real quick so it looks like c#@p but I believe you guys can make it out just the same:

Screen-Shot-2014-12-06-at-10.22.27-PM.pngImage Enlarger

 

Can you guys figure out why I would use those slurs? Just my opinion by the way. :)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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BillyG
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December 7, 2014 - 6:39 am
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I've taken the opportunity to markup @Fiddlerman 's score as shown with bar numbers - easier for my analysis ! LOL - here

FM-bowing-tips.jpgImage Enlarger

 OK, to try to answer FM's question ( feels like an exam! LOL ) - 

Bar 17 - the question of FM's added slur - well, we're in the "right" situation to start the bar on a Down bow. 

WITHOUT the slur added by Pierre, we would play (and I'll look ahead) D U - leading to a Down for 3 beats in bar 18 and an Up for 3+2 beats (slurred B across bars 19 and 20)

But with the added slur, we would play - bar 17 Down, across the two slurred notes, U for 3 beats on bar 18, and a Down for the long, sustained, 5 beat slur across 19 and 20.  And, being a down, we're starting from the frog end, there will be greater weight and attack, with the volume (although not indicated) dying off, diminuendo-style - also - it's the end of the singer's sentence - And THAT'S the give-away for the Up indication on the second note of bar 20.    

The added slur in bar 24, leads to the same situation at the very end of the piece - in bars 26 and 27 we've got that same, long, sustained 5-beat slurred "single note" - starting off on the accented down, and tailing off - as it probably would be voiced by a vocalist.

Anyway, that's my answer !  LOL

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I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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roklock
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December 7, 2014 - 7:58 pm
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Bill & Fiddlerman,

I paid just enough attention in school to read music.  I have retained zero music theory knowledge so will have to research this for a while to offer any feedback. 

Bill at least you had could come up with something which seems as plausible to me.

I am definitely going to save this thread to a word document once it comes to an end for to pull out for review as I find other pieces to learn.

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Fiddlerman
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December 7, 2014 - 9:31 pm
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Perfect Bill. :)
You get an A ;)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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BillyG
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Woo-Hoo !!!! LOL 

@Fiddlerman - seriously though, thanks for setting the question !   Especially since the piece has an "odd" (like 3/4 etc) time sig it - what it tells me is this - "Bill, there is actually no hard and fast rule that says thou shalt always play the first note in the bar as a down-bow".   It also tells me that an individual's playing (in the absence of bowing instructions) is a matter of personal interpretation (or possibly copying existing performances).  And where there are instructions, that is how the composer, or arranger, WANTS it to be played in which case - "Fiddler, don't improvise, just do what you're told !!!!!"   Cool.

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Fiddlerman
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December 8, 2014 - 12:42 pm
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Even when there are instructions, they are basically just suggestions. I usually have my own better ideas. LOL

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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BillyG
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Yup @Fiddlerman - thanks again -  your "question" was well appreciated by me, and it made me think outside my own "playing envelope" which is pretty small and limited at the moment - I doubt if I could fit a Xmas card into it !!!!

And, sure - I really do "get what you said there" - it is as if the bowing suggestions are just THAT - suggestions - and it is almost as if these "suggestions" are in some way de-coupled from the actual score - like it is a "separate thing to think about" - and in some cases if you REALLY WANT TO FOLLOW THEM- then my guess is that, unless you are a "pro" or at least somewhat more competent than myself - most folks would "probably do their own thing" and "wing it" - maybe still extracting "expression" even on the "wrong" bowing direction if you follow me....

I just wish I could "do that" (i.e make my bowing follow such instructions/suggestions) - but I am working on the whole sheet-reading thing and trying to correct my "up-bow-accent"...  (yes, it is an issue for me because of the way I came in to fiddle playing - I "dig-in on an up-bow" (when I feel it needed) and get a strong accent - NOTHING as subtle as the "proper way of doing it" though)... it is something I need to correct... and this thread has enlightened me...

I understand that such instructions are - oh -I'm looking for a word - well - are "optional/suggested/at the player's discretion" and so on - although if present do "suggest" this is the way the arranger would prefer it to be played...  quite subtle stuff, really (for me at my level)

LOL - cheers FM - thanks again for the help/feedback

100% well cool - nothing rocks like fiddlerman.com - without the OP's @roklock question and FM's feedback - I wouldn't have "got this at all" ....  thank you guys !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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coolpinkone
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Great thread!!! I followed along and enjoyed learning and seeing the replies.  Thanks everyone.  Theory made fun!!!

xo

Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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