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Bowing techmique
Bowing techmique
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Selflearnerviolinist
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August 15, 2016 - 4:17 am
Member Since: August 15, 2016
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Hey guys! This is my first post here. A little bit of background, I am 26 years old and I have just started learning Violin(3 weeks). I could not find any teacher near my area so started to learn on my own. My aim Is not to become a great musician but want to play it for my own fun and peace but at the same time correcting all the techniques I can. I know it's difficult to learn Violin without a teacher but I am giving my best. I am learning from couple of books and videos online. My question is regarding the bowing technique. I have seen that in many videos violinist have a tilted bow near the frog and as they go up near the tip they put the full bow. What I have observed is its partly because of the hand movement while keeping your elbow straight. My question is shall I go with this technique in the starting only or is something for advance level. Or is it even necessary to do something like this. Waiting for your reply. Happy violining!!!

violin

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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August 15, 2016 - 8:02 am
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Welcome to the forum, @Selflearnerviolinist !

I'm only a couple of years into playing - but also a self-learner - so don't read too-much into what I say here.

What I found was that initially I simply spent time "managing a straight-bow" - largely hair all flat on strings and not having the darned thing wander all over the place.

People are different of course, and some "see/feel/hear" things more readily than others - the first thing I noticed was the extra weight on long bow strokes close to the frog.  Oh - and I STARTED with full bow strokes - I read varying approaches to this - like only using the middle 1/3rd to start with - but that's not how I went about it.

With the extra weight close-up to the frog if you're trying to play something slow, and soft, it's easy to get "scratchy sounds" close to the frog.  That's where ( from my own learning perspective ) you can do three things - (1) use the pinkie to press down more, lightening the downward pressure on the strings (still flat bow).  (2) tilt the bow so less hair is in contact with the strings. (3) do both !

It is almost like "bow-control" is a second-instrument - that demands its very own study from what's going on with the left-hand.  There are a huge number of subtle techniques - not just to do with pulling the hair across the strings - but also in terms of developing certain rhythms and so on.

Others, with a more formal learning background may be able to give you more specific guidance - I am just telling it "as I saw it" LOL and probably don't express myself particularly well or use the appropriate terminology....

Best of luck with your journey !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

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

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damfino
oHIo, USA
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August 16, 2016 - 8:38 am
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Welcome to the forum, @Selflearnerviolinist 🙂 I think Billy did a good job of explaining it... it's all about weight distribution if you are trying to keep the same volume/sound for the whole bow. The frog end is heavier, the tip is lighter, so it's all to compensate and keep an even pressure.

Have fun with your journey! 

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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BillyG
Far North-west Scotland
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August 16, 2016 - 9:52 am
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damfino said ...
....... it's all about weight distribution if you are trying to keep the same volume/sound for the whole bow. The frog end is heavier, the tip is lighter, so it's all to compensate and keep an even pressure.

  Which brings to mind an exercise I used to do - and should perhaps return to from time to time - and that was to repeatedly draw full-bows across different open-strings and attempt to repeatedly do this - take 5 seconds, then 10, seconds, then 20 seconds and eventually 30 seconds for a full bow-stroke, whilst maintaining as even and consistent tone production as possible.   The 30-second test is quite difficult as the motion is so slow, and muscle-control is so finely tuned, it's easy to come to a halt on the string....!

  What I learnt from this exercise, especially once you start going slower, in the 10 - 20 second strokes is that you have a LOT of time to watch the bow, figure out how your right hand, fingers, wrist, fore-arm, elbow and shoulder are all working together whilst moving and really think about what's happening as you "correct" the bow to keep it "in the lane" and extract a consistent and steady tone from the instrument.  

Do this exercise on ALL open strings (to experience the shoulder movement as you repeat the exercise, moving down from the E to the G) - and do nothing with the left hand.

It certainly taught me a lot ( may not have made me a better player, but I started to really understand the issues and arm-mechanics involved in bow-control ! )
 

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

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

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 18, 2016 - 11:21 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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@Selflearnerviolinist

Welcome to the forum, very happy to have you here. To begin with, you should not think about angling the bow or not. Just concentrate on learning to properly hold the bow and drawing the bow as straight as possible in relation to the bridge from frog to tip. Possibly in sections. Frog to middle, middle to tip, frog to tip..... etc.

As far as the angle is concerned, while it's true that you can use the edge of the hair for a more "shock absorber" type reaction, it's also more natural for your hand to turn slightly inward towards the frog and as you extend your arm the wrist straightens out.

Look forward to hearing your update.

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

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Selflearnerviolinist
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August 22, 2016 - 1:52 pm
Member Since: August 15, 2016
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Thanks a lot guys! Really appreciate your help here. I wouod definitely incorporate these into my practice session.

I have a follow up question for you.

How would i know that how much a beat is supposed to be long while playing violin. All the books mentions about the beat but there is not much clarity how long it should be, like one beat - one second bowing ?

Appeciate your help.

Happy Violing.

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Charles
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August 24, 2016 - 11:02 am
Member Since: June 7, 2016
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A beat is simply a way to keep time during the song. How many there are per minute depends on the song. For the current group project (Game of Thrones), for example, it's in 12/8 time. If you used eighth notes as a beat, and played at the tempo you usually hear it, it'd be about 180 BPM.  If you keep time with dotted quarter notes, there are four beats to a measure, and it's 60 BPM. As long as you play your stuff in time with whatever else is going on, it doesn't matter what you use.

For practice of various kinds (like the one you mentioned), get a metronome app for your phone (assuming you have a reasonably modern smartphone.)  If that's not an option, Fiddlerman has one on this site: http://fiddlerman.com/fiddle-l.....tronome/  Set the stuff at the top for the number of beats per minute, and use the clicks to give you the beat. They're more rare these days, but they still sell physical metronomes, too.

For practice, too slow is better than too fast. If you practice at a faster tempo than you can handle, you'll practice in many mistakes (some of which you may not even know are there because they went by so fast.)  If you practice slowly enough that it's easy, you're building muscle memory for doing it right, and speed will come on its own.  Each day, try a beat or two per minute faster than before, and if that's easy, keep it. If it's hard enough that you make mistakes, slow back down.  If it's so easy that it's boring, it's time to speed it up some.

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Selflearnerviolinist
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August 25, 2016 - 11:59 am
Member Since: August 15, 2016
Forum Posts: 5
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Charles said
A beat is simply a way to keep time during the song. How many there are per minute depends on the song. For the current group project (Game of Thrones), for example, it's in 12/8 time. If you used eighth notes as a beat, and played at the tempo you usually hear it, it'd be about 180 BPM.  If you keep time with dotted quarter notes, there are four beats to a measure, and it's 60 BPM. As long as you play your stuff in time with whatever else is going on, it doesn't matter what you use.

For practice of various kinds (like the one you mentioned), get a metronome app for your phone (assuming you have a reasonably modern smartphone.)  If that's not an option, Fiddlerman has one on this site: http://fiddlerman.com/fiddle-l.....tronome/  Set the stuff at the top for the number of beats per minute, and use the clicks to give you the beat. They're more rare these days, but they still sell physical metronomes, too.

For practice, too slow is better than too fast. If you practice at a faster tempo than you can handle, you'll practice in many mistakes (some of which you may not even know are there because they went by so fast.)  If you practice slowly enough that it's easy, you're building muscle memory for doing it right, and speed will come on its own.  Each day, try a beat or two per minute faster than before, and if that's easy, keep it. If it's hard enough that you make mistakes, slow back down.  If it's so easy that it's boring, it's time to speed it up some.  

Thanks Charles for detailed explanation. Appreciate it.

 

Happy Violining

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Mark
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August 25, 2016 - 7:25 pm
Member Since: September 30, 2014
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Selflearnerviolinist,

Welcome to the forum, have fun with the violin. Fiddlerman has several good videos to help you get started with Bowing and timing as was mentioned in an earlier post.  

 

Mark

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