SHORT RHYTHMS IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE BOW
One game for extending the bow stroke is to play the ta-ka-ta-ka rhythm in different parts of the bow - the frog, the middle, and the tip. Another game to help extend the bow stroke is called “bow wandering.” In this game the student plays short bow strokes, gradually working from the frog to the tip and back again.
BOW LIFTS AND CIRCLES WITH HALF BOW STROKES
To develop a quality tone, students must set the bow properly before beginning the bow stroke, play with even bow speed and weight, and release weight at the end of the bow stroke.
From middle to tip, the first finger adds additional weight to compensate for the lightness of the bow. From middle to frog the pinkie adds weight.
Two useful bow strokes for learning about the role of the fingers in the bow hand are down bow from middle to tip, with a sustain, or slight crescendo, and upbow from middle to frog. From middle to tip the index finger must add weight into the stick of the bow to compensate for the lightness of the bow. From middle to frog the pinkie must add weight to balance the heaviness of the bow.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE DETACHÉ BOW STROKE
The basic on the string bow stroke is called detaché. As students progress, and begin to extend the bow stroke, the key to developing the detaché bow stroke is to keep the bow parallel to the bridge as the student moves the bow from the frog to the tip of the bow. A bow stroke that does not move parallel to the bridge will not produce a full and resonant tone. The bow stroke should be extended gradually so the student can develop a feel for the motions described below.
The basic on the string bow stroke involves the following motions:
1) The shoulder joint is flexible. The elbow opens to an increased angle as the bow moves from frog to tip (downbow). When the bow is at approximately the middle, the elbow will be at a 90 degree angle. As the bow moves from tip to frog (upbow) the angle of the elbow decreases, as shown in this video.
2) The wrist will pronate as the bow moves from frog to tip, and supinate as the bow moves from tip to frog.
3) The fingers flex as the bow moves from frog to tip. The 2nd joints on the fingers (the knuckles) are the least bent (Kansas) when the bow is at the tip and the most bent (Colorado) when the bow is at the frog.
Notice that the upper arm is relaxed, but moves only slightly. If the student moves the upper arm without involving the elbow, wrist, or finger hinges, the bow will not remain parallel to the bridge.
The fingers must be curved and flexible. The fingers must stay in one contact point with the bow and flex, not move to a new position on the bow. Holding the bow must be accomplished with the least amount of squeeze on the bow. As Suzuki said, "Hold the bow tightly, but lightly." The movie above contains demonstrations of short bow strokes in different parts of the bow, bow wandering, half bows with lift and circle, and demonstrates the characteristics of a full bow stroke.
DETACHÉ BOW STROKE FOR VIOLIN AND VIOLA