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monian

Notation For Bow Strokes

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Hi everyone, How are various bow strokes like spiccato and ricochet indicated in sheet music? Are these strokes even indicated or does the performer just add them? I'm composing stuff for strings and would like some help. Thank you.

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Well, there's the howto play, but not howto notate.

 

They're all notated the same - with a small dot above (or below) the note.  Unfortunately, as it's the same notation for all (including staccato), the player often has to choose which type of bounce-bowing to use.  Mostly it's based on speed, spicatto is slower than sautille, which is slower than ricochet.

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I think nowdays you use the dots and if played in a bow group the bowing you want, then you write on top of the stave  "on string " or "off string." Pretty much removes any ambiguity.

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Just a couple of examples that came to mind.

 

Kreutzer #4: this edition shows two staccato symbols.

 

& Kreutzer #10: and two 'alternative' articulations here.

 

The Wieniawski Polonaise #2 is generally played as a 'flying staccato' 

 

In the Paganini Caprices interesting to see his originally script in #15 and a modern edition.

 

A conclusion might be that unless specified by composer or editor, the notation can be vague? 

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Post 7 ex. A illustrates the problem. Is it on string or off? Obviously the first figure of each example is played on separate bows, the slurred ex. on one bow. I think ex. A is the only one that could be played on or off. The notation 'on/off string' would clarify.

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In post 8 second example I notice the 'ad lib.'. I wonder if that means it could be played on or off. As an exercise I would imagine both ways for practice.

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Those are four bowing variations to some étude, but I do not recognize the étude. The first three seem identical, so there must be some textual instruction to distinguish them. The last one uses the tenuto mark, which is a "stretched" note, but with a space between the notes, not really a staccato but clearly on the string.

What étude is it?

Sorry, I just made it up for illustrative purposes...........  :D

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Is sautellé not the same as spiccato?  At http://www.theviolinsite.com/lessons/sautille.html it looks the same to me.  Am I missing something?

 

Sautillé is a type of spiccato (off-the-string) stroke.  It is achieved with a very short stroke at the balance point by using the natural buoyancy of the stick.  Generally, I when I use the word spiccato to describe a bow stroke, I mean for there to be an intention in the hand; spiccato is when one is trying to bounce.  Sautillé is without effort.  As Renée suggests, it happens at a particular speed.

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It seems off the string can mean two things:  sautillé is sometimes described as a bouncing stick with the hair never leaving the string.  That is, a faster alternative to spiccato.  I think that's what you mean, Stephen?

 

In post 7, exx. B and C, we get two forms of the "vertical dash".  Does any composer or editor really distinguish between those two symbols?  I think of them as meaning off the string.  Fischer, in his ed. of Sevcik's Op. 3 Variations (sort of a bible for this stuff), defines the vertical dash as "jeté, spiccato or saltando".  He defines the dot as "staccato or martellato'.

 

A useful symbol not mentioned here so far is the bracket used by Sevcik to indicate at what point exactly in a passage the bow is to be lifted, or first lifted.

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It seems off the string can mean two things:  sautillé is sometimes described as a bouncing stick with the hair never leaving the string.  That is, a faster alternative to spiccato.  I think that's what you mean, Stephen?

 

Hmm... as the stroke moves from detaché to sautillé, there is a point when the stick is bouncing but the hair is not leaving the string.  This stroke has some characteristics of sautillé, but I believe a true sautillé is an off-the-string stroke.  Yes, the hair leaves the string.  A little bit.  It's like skipping as opposed to jumping.

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Hi everyone, How are various bow strokes like spiccato and ricochet indicated in sheet music? Are these strokes even indicated or does the performer just add them? I'm composing stuff for strings and would like some help. Thank you.

They are indicated in the music.  But -- the only reasonable way to approach your problem is to first decide what articulation effect you want, and then ask string players how to notate that.  Speaking as an experienced orchestra player.  I can add don't be concerned with bowings or notating bowings because they are worked out by section leaders or editors.  You are only concerned with special articulation effects. 

 

An interesting thing to realize is that if the bowings never get indicated, as is more often than not the case, players because of their similar training will  use the same or almost same bowings.  In the same way, a whooole lot of playing in orchestra is a kind of broad spicatto, which isn't explicitly indicated anywhere.

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