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Keeping the Same Bow Grip at the Tip


tchaikovsgay
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~this is all based on a basic stroke without the use of collé~

Update 29/6: I'm able to bow having the tip of the ring finger stay on frog eye with flat hair when bowing at the tip with a straight bow now; on G string it's a bit of a stretch, but I've found if I intentionally relax by right arm, it is possible (if my arms are a little bit shorter than it probably won't be possible...)

Hi. The tip of my ring finger touches the eye of the frog in my bow grip.

When I play at the frog and in the middle, there's no problem to keep the tip of my ring finger on the eye of the frog, but, if I do so towards the extreme tip, my bow hair will tilt outwards (my teacher pointed that out)

I want to keep the tip of my ring finger on the eye of the frog, as it provides more security, but tilting the bow hair outwards (even in the context of a straight bow) is visually unsatisfying and loses sound. I need to fix it.

P.S. I've practiced in front of the mirror every day but I still can't figure out why...

-the angle of the elbow stays the same

-the elbow is pushed forward when playing towards the tip and the frog, keeping the bow parallel to the bridge with the bending of wrist

-if I use collé (straightening my fingers towards the tip), the bow hair will not tilt outwards, the bow will still be straight, but the tip of my ring finger loses contact with the eye of the frog

Thank you

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1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

Sometimes( definitely not always... on second though, maybe always as well.)it’s best to allow the result to define the process. Get the result you want, and then analyze what you have done to get that result. If you are content with the result, you have your process.

good advice!

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My teacher taught  me to rotate my hand as I approach the tip, as though turning a doorknob counterclockwise, to keep the bow hair flat. At the frog, pretend you are turning the doorknob clockwise. This has helped me; maybe it will work for you.

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As you will know (if nothing else, by watching videos of good players), bow hand finger flexibility is important.  So why would you want to avoid colle'?  I know that some pedagogues like Kurt Sassmannshaus have advocated a 'single' bow hold, without variation, regardless of bowing position of style.  Which would support your desire to keep the ring finger always touching the eye.  But I think you will see much bow-grip variation in today's great players, even some fingers leaving the bow altogether during certain strokes.  Perlman is a notorious example!  Good luck.

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On 6/27/2020 at 8:01 PM, PhilipKT said:

Sometimes( definitely not always... on second though, maybe always as well.)it’s best to allow the result to define the process. Get the result you want, and then analyze what you have done to get that result. If you are content with the result, you have your process.

I see what you mean, sometimes analyzing before practicing makes thing overly complciated

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14 minutes ago, violinsRus said:

As you will know (if nothing else, by watching videos of good players), bow hand finger flexibility is important.  So why would you want to avoid colle'?  I know that some pedagogues like Kurt Sassmannshaus have advocated a 'single' bow hold, without variation, regardless of bowing position of style.  Which would support your desire to keep the ring finger always touching the eye.  But I think you will see much bow-grip variation in today's great players, even some fingers leaving the bow altogether during certain strokes.  Perlman is a notorious example!  Good luck.

I'm trying to polish the basic motion first before adding collé; I was reading this book by Galamian that mentioned the fingers are for fine adjustments, but the larger joints (elbow and wrist) are for the basic motions.

So, I came to a conclusion that I have to keep the bow straight, using flat hair and bow grip unchanged throughout bowing from frog to the tip (vice versa) on all strings without the help of collé first.

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6 hours ago, tchaikovsgay said:

I'm trying to polish the basic motion first before adding collé

To be fair, I played at an amateur level for 40 years before adding colle'!  I'm still an amateur and always will be, but I cannot imagine going back to my previous stiff-fingered bowing.  That, and a much better bow, were the epiphany that took me up to the next level.  I encourage you to explore that.

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4 hours ago, Andres Sender said:

Just to make sure, you see now that you misunderstood the passage, right?  That the fingers are for fine adjustments doesn't mean you ought to be able to do the whole job without them.

The paragraph writes 'In reading the following discussion it is a good idea to keep in mind that the finger motions are used for the smaller, more delicate adjustments and that the hand and arm come into play as the broad and less sensitive effects are desired.' (Galamian, 1962)

From my understanding, according to Galamian, when 'more sensitive effects' are desired, finger motions (collé) are used. I'm guessing an example would be in a legato passage that requires the use of a whole bow.

For being able to play with whole bow with flat hair and an unchanged bow grip without the help of collé, I don't mean I wouldn't add collé into my whole bow when playing pieces; it's just I want to ensure I'm doing the basic motions correctly (like playing in tune before adding vibrato, being able to play a martelé without adding collé into it); of course, different people learn in a different way, but for me, I really like to break everything down into the simplest motion and figure out I'm doing the right thing in every 'level' first, so I can analyze what element I'm adding into each bow stroke to narrow the scope when fixing technical issues. (Just my opinion)

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4 hours ago, violinsRus said:

To be fair, I played at an amateur level for 40 years before adding colle'!  I'm still an amateur and always will be, but I cannot imagine going back to my previous stiff-fingered bowing.  That, and a much better bow, were the epiphany that took me up to the next level.  I encourage you to explore that.

Yes I've fortunately got a French bow that I like before the coronavirus outbreak! However, my playing is not quite there yet to match its $$$.

My next goal would be to save up for an Italian violin, but it'll take quite a while and I'll be graduated by then, which is a pity I probably won't have as much time as I have now for practicing.

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23 hours ago, tchaikovsgay said:

I'm trying to polish the basic motion first before adding collé; I was reading this book by Galamian that mentioned the fingers are for fine adjustments, but the larger joints (elbow and wrist) are for the basic motions.

So, I came to a conclusion that I have to keep the bow straight, using flat hair and bow grip unchanged throughout bowing from frog to the tip (vice versa) on all strings without the help of collé first.

My teacher in college had me purchase a wrist/thumb brace to achieve this.

And then, later, when I was working on the fast movement of Hindemith 11/5, she had me grip the bow with a fist instead of a bowhold and called it caveman bowhold.  It forces you to internalize patterns into the arm. Different issue since you don't need to go to the tip, but using physical tricks (like removing collé when practicing your détaché)  are often very helpful.

You think very methodically about your form and technique.  I hope you are spending as much time thinking about how to improve your ear and style.

------

As usual, you bring up an interesting question.  I agree with PhilipKT.

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3 hours ago, Stephen Fine said:

And then, later, when I was working on the fast movement of Hindemith 11/5, she had me grip the bow with a fist instead of a bowhold and called it caveman bowhold.  It forces you to internalize patterns into the arm

This is a fascinating concept. Can you go into a little bit more detail?

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12 hours ago, Stephen Fine said:

My teacher in college had me purchase a wrist/thumb brace to achieve this.

And then, later, when I was working on the fast movement of Hindemith 11/5, she had me grip the bow with a fist instead of a bowhold and called it caveman bowhold.  It forces you to internalize patterns into the arm. Different issue since you don't need to go to the tip, but using physical tricks (like removing collé when practicing your détaché)  are often very helpful.

You think very methodically about your form and technique.  I hope you are spending as much time thinking about how to improve your ear and style.

------

As usual, you bring up an interesting question.  I agree with PhilipKT.

Thank you. I try to maintain a good posture and find the best playing mechanisms so I can play efficiently according to the ergonomics of the human body and the physics of the violin.

I do find my intonation improved quite a lot since adding all types of double stops in my 'scales hour', but for musical styles I need more experience in listening to (not only reading about) different composers to figure out how to play their pieces with suitable styles respectively.

Thanks for saying my questions are interesting: that makes me feel it's worth it to think about all the little things in violin playing and music in general; sometimes I do question if I am overthinking or making things too complicated (as I'd violin playing isn't complex enough) but I do think masters like Heifetz and Hahn would spent a lot time to think about problems they encounter? Obviously for their level the problems will be even harder to solve?

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On 6/30/2020 at 9:46 PM, tchaikovsgay said:

I do think masters like Heifetz and Hahn would spent a lot time to think about problems they encounter? Obviously for their level the problems will be even harder to solve?

I don't think so.

I think they started so much younger than you did that it's much more internalized.  I doubt Hahn or Heifetz spend much time "thinking" at all.

I described watching HH's practice in another thread.  It's quite physical, the mental seems hardly separated... the focus in her mind is so directly connected to her hands.

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