Bowing Straight

Sit on the floor and extend your violin arm straight out, putting your hand on their knee. Rub your arm with your bow hand from elbow to wrist, as if you are soaping your arm, in rhythm to Suzuki’s Twinkle Twinkle Little Star variations A, B, C & D. This exercise teaches you to move the bow arm from the elbow.

On the violin string, use a Sharpie to draw a thick line for where the bow is supposed to go. The Sharpie mark rubbs off of the string within a week (if you practice!) and forces you to bow straight consciously.


Bowing Terminology:

BOW STROKES: On the String*

Collé Collé means glued. It is a very short stroke, and begins with the bow lightly contacting the string with a distinct and short, sharp pinch. The bow is then lifted to prepare for the next stroke. The resulting sound was described by Galamian as being similar to pizzicato with the bow. Although collé usually has no articulation markings, dots are sometimes used.
detache Détaché Détaché indicates smooth, separate bow strokes should be used for each note (it does not mean detached or disconnected). Notes are of equal value, and are produced with an even, seamless stroke with no variation in pressure.
detache lance Détaché lancé Détaché lancé is a variation of the détaché bow stroke. A slightly separated bow stroke is used to gently articulate the notes with an unaccented, distinct break between each note. It is often used in combination with the louré or porté stroke to perform several separated notes in the same bow.
legato Legato Legato indicates the notes should be smoothly connected, played either in one or several bows (slurs are often used with the legato bow stroke).
loure Louré Louré strokes are a short series of gently pulsed legato notes executed in one bow stroke (it is also known as portato). A slight swelling at the beginning of the note should be applied, followed by a gradual lightening of the sound. Strokes are distinctly separate, yet unaccented, and the expressive swell is produced by applying pressure and speed to the bow at the beginning of the note. Although a slur and horizontal dashes are generally used to indicate this effect, dots with slurs are occasionally used.
martele Martelé Martelé is a French term meaning hammered. Each note is percussive, and commences with a sharp accent or “pinch” at the beginning of the note, followed by a quick release. Before the bow is set in motion, the index finger applies this “pinch” or “bite” for articulation. Martelé may be notated in more than one way: with dots, hammer heads or accents.
stacatto Staccato Staccato indicates the bow should remain on the string to play shortened and detached notes, distinctly separate from successive notes. Staccato is sometimes used with slurs (slurred staccato) for a series of short, stopped notes played in the same up or down bow (many violinists perform slurred staccato as a series of slurred martelé strokes).


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