increasing tempo of detache without leaving the string


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Hi all,

Bow control is so important, yet so challenging!   I find that the violin bow wants to naturally bounce as the tempo of a run or scale increases, and there are places where I don't want that to happen.  There must be some helpful hints for how to increase the tempo of smooth detache bowing without the bowing becoming spiccato.  I know it helps to use the upper half of the bow, and avoid the balance point, but are there other hints?

Thanks in advance.

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Well yes, that is true.  It is fairly simple to do tremolo on one note without the bow leaving the string.  But when increasing the speed of a passage, involving string crossings etc, I seem to easily transition to more spiccato.  Oh well, it something for me to work on.   

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In the Kievman book (Practicing the Viola, Mentally & Physically), he describes "fast detache" as coming from a wrist motion "as if you were playing a series of down bows", with forearm parallel to the floor, wrist flat, and the bow angled slightly to the string - not flat hair on the string. The exercise for this is then to play quarter note, 2-octave arpeggios with 4 16th per quarter, up and down in 1st position to you can work on smooth string crossings, "as fast as possible" while avoiding bouncing. He recommends practicing it at the tip, in the middle, and at the frog. I work on the frog area the most because it is the most difficult. 

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Very cool, thank you.  This exercise is extremely helpful and I will use it.  Frog is definitely the hardest to keep from bouncing.

A few variations I stumbled on include doing 6 fast notes instead of 4, which gives a bit more time for the strokes to stabilize after a string crossing.  And starting each group of 4 with an up-bow.  That sure changes the feeling, and seems to encourage smooth bowing.  Provided there is some finger flexibility.  Fun stuff.

thanks again.

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