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Why hold the bow "Franco-Belgian" style for classical (not fiddle)?
A question of body mechanics and why this was determined to be the most 'functional' way to hold a bow for classical music.
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August 25, 2016 - 2:46 pm
Member Since: August 23, 2016
Forum Posts: 4
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Hey all again. I hope nobody minds answering what is most likely a very novice question, but one that I couldn't find a clear answer for online. That is, why is the Franco-Belgian style considered most functional for classical music?

As I practice it, it is very difficult to maintain properly, along with a curved thumb and quickly fatigues my right hand. However, playing as the "little kid" style with the thumb underneath the frog, its much much easier for me. Also, mechanically, under the frog seems to have the advantage, as you have greater leverage over the pitch, yaw, and roll of the bow than in the traditional Franco-Belgian style. So, my real question is, "why is it considered bad to play with your thumb under the frog in classical music, not the fiddle style"? Is there an advanced technique that I haven't learned yet that requires the thumb in the traditional style?

I know other forum topics state that TUF hold is superior for most in fiddle playing but they say classical artists roll their eyes at it. It's not just a traditional elitist thing is it?


August 25, 2016 - 9:27 pm
Member Since: September 30, 2014
Forum Posts: 702
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The bow hold is a personal endeavor, greats of the past used the Russian bow hold like Auer, Heafitz, Milstine there's the French school of the bow hold, Galamin hold which is similar to the Franco Belgium Pearlman and Zoucerman who both studied with Galamin have similar but slightly different bow grips Mark O'Conner uses thumb under the frog and I see no issues with his Bowing.  They say the Franco Belgium is a more flexible grip easier to do the many different types of bowings that classical violinist are call upon to do in there reprotires. Find one that works for you that allows you to play all the types of bowing you want to do and work on refining it.

That's my two cents.



Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

Fort Lauderdale
August 26, 2016 - 10:30 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 14229

Asa a general rule, you begin with the most popular, proven technique and can experiment afterwards. What works for most may not necessarily be the best for you.

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

August 26, 2016 - 4:41 pm
Member Since: August 23, 2016
Forum Posts: 4
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Thanks for the responses! I generally don't want to waste time learning an inadequate method if masters of the craft who have studied and practicing violining for all their life say there's a more tried and true method. However, your responses seem to be the reasonable answer I was hoping for. Thanks again 🙂

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