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Bow Pressure, how much?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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AnnyJ
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January 6, 2016 - 11:48 pm
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I have  a question about how much bow pressure do you use when playing? I've been basically only letting the weight of the bow make the sound so far.

I've sounded tinny on my first violin and more or less blamed it on the instrument (because it was very cheap). I have another cheap one that I've been playing for a couple of month and still tinny, so I figured it's got to be me, not the instrument.

Last week I decided to try to apply more pressure, it sounded richer, but immediately broke a bow hair, so it could have been correct.

Just how much do you push? dunno  I'm tired of sounding like a tin can with strings on it.  (I unfortunately don't have a teacher, there are none around here)

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. Johann S.Bach

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cdennyb
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January 7, 2016 - 12:44 am
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You will find in your journey of playing the violin that accuracy in fingering the notes is only 1/2 of the whole package. The remaining 1/2 is all about bowing.

Pressure, angle (tipping), tension of the hair, speed of bowing across the string, and a few others are what you will learn about.

Pressure is a totally variable thing, softer play and play that requires a less 'harsh' reaction of the string calls for light pressure, and many times you will need to apply a very light initially and then increase quickly and then drop off the pressure again at the end of the bow stroke.

Although there is no set answer for your question, you will find as you continue to experiment with the sound volume and clarity of the tone and the beauty of the note as it affects the next is completely in the hands of the violinist, literally.

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Mark
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January 8, 2016 - 7:33 am
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AnnyJ,

I believe this is a issue most people struggle with me included you read let the violin take the weight of the bow arm I had a hard time visualizing that concept until I saw a video demonstrating it while this is not that video, I cant find it, this one doe's a pretty good job demonstrating the weight applied from the bow to the violin.

Then this one explains the concept of the circle bowing for better tone production better than I've seen, even though I do not believe she calls it circle bowing same concept.

 

Mark

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 9, 2016 - 7:48 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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AnnyJ said
...........Last week I decided to try to apply more pressure, it sounded richer, but immediately broke a bow hair, so it could have been correct..........

There are times where I broke a hair every minute and sometimes several at once.
I used to re-hair my bow every 6 weeks when working professionally. Depending on how powerful you play (dynamics are great but learn to vary) you can easily break hairs. It's considered wear and tear. 🙂 I don't think I've ever played a practice session without breaking at least one hair, except when the hairs are new.

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

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AnnyJ
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January 10, 2016 - 10:40 pm
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Thank you, CdeenyB, Mark1 and Fiddlerman.   This is going to be a long journey, no going back now though :-). In a sense it's become more than just a hobby.

Thank you very much for the videos Mark1, there are a lot of pointers especially in the second one, I've had several  'aha' moments. I hope I can manage to put them into practice.

I really wish I had taken the lessons, when I had the chance.

 

Fiddlerman said 
There are times where I broke a hair every minute and sometimes several at once.

Oh goodness, I better get a bow hair stash. At least my current bow is self-rehairable, makes it that much easier and cheaper.

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. Johann S.Bach

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MrVian2323
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July 31, 2016 - 3:46 pm
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Hey there! This is a great topic! when it comes to bow pressure you really need to keep your hand relaxed. You need to use your bow in order to have constant pressure. You need to find a way in order to maintain a constant strong pressure that is able to produce the sound that you need. A lot of amateurs lack in terms of pressure so it is always good to add in extra pressure in the beginning, at least until you learn how much pressure you can handle - because if you add too much pressure you begin to feel tired quite fast. 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 1, 2016 - 8:34 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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I feel as bow pressure and speed should be experimented with very much in the beginning of your learning journey. It's very hard to describe how much pressure and speed you need but by testing varying pressures you will notice which sound the best determined by the quality sound that you get.

In other words, you need to be your own teacher no matter who you listen to or study with. By experimenting you will discover what works the best.

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

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coolpinkone
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August 2, 2016 - 4:07 pm
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Good topic.

Bow pressure hasn't seemed to be my problem... but years later I believe I still struggle with bow speed. 

One of these days I need to get up some nerve and post some critique in regard to bow speed.

My journey is rich.. slower than most.  But slowly and surely I make progress with the violin.

I still play everyday.   I still struggle with practice over playing.  I have been faithful to old songs... I believe I need a little bump and a bit of challenge and I will overcome some issues I continue to have with the violin..(too many to note here..)

🙂

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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cdennyb
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August 3, 2016 - 8:35 pm
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Your method of holding the bow will greatly impact YOUR pressure that is naturally imparted on the strings. Also, the weight of the bow, the material type, the quality (new or old and worn) of the hair, the amount and type of rosin,...all impact that pressure or 'downward force'. You will find that as you progress in your learning and comfort level of playing tunes you know and play by heart, the pressure comes as a function of your eagerness to make a particular passage louder than another.

As time goes on, with assistance from your teacher or from your learning in general, you will answer that question yourself.thumbs-up

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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