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Explain benefits of the Galamian bow hold


Yankee Fiddler
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I noticed on "The Art of Violin" that some of the players had their first finger stuck out away from the bow when they were playing.

Vieuxtemps mentioned in another post something about the extended first finger in the Galamian bow hold.

I was wondering what would be the advantage of this bow hold? What would be the disadvantage? Is this bow hold used much these days? I can't remember seeing it before.

What else is different about this bow hold, other than the extended first finger?

Thanks!

Yankee Fiddler

[This message has been edited by Yankee Fiddler (edited 12-08-2001).]

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Try it and we'll compare notes on the differences in sound and feel.

I remember Thibaud extending his forefinger, though in some pictures (the Marsick commemoration w/ Flesch and Enescu) his fingers are pretty close together. Make sure you try both the "old" and "new" ways. "Old" would be like Thibaud's Franco-Belgian hold: fingers rather close together, hand pronating, pinky leaning and almost straight yet relaxed, forefinger touching stick between 1st and 2nd joint, and then extend the 1st finger farther than its natural position. "New" (what I'd call a "Galamian bow hold") would be with the same 1st finger contact point, a little more space between the fingers, and a round pinky. You can extend the first finger even more to match Thibaud and those kids in the Galamian videos. There are variations in holding the bow "deeper" in the hand, pronating, etc.

Exaggerate the extension of the 1st finger if you're missing any notable differences, but don't hurt yourself. There's a reason no one past their student days plays with a hyper-extended 1st finger most of the time.

[This message has been edited by vieuxtemps (edited 12-09-2001).]

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I used to have a grip like this, but I changed it to a Russian grip because I couldn't play a true pianissimo without crunching either my strings or my right hand.

I like to have a straight line from my first knuckle all the way to my hand. When I want to lift the bow off the string (e.g. Paganini Violin Concerto 3rd movement), I can do it easier with a secure Russian grip than a Galamian grip.

Also, my right hand used to sweat on stage (no longer). When that happened, I'd "naturally" revert to a Russian grip even though that's not how I was originally trained. Only after going through Kreutzer with massive struggles did I realize that the Russian grip was the one that fit my hand.

Then I went to see Rosand and he taught me how to flex-extend my fingers to exact minute bow changes. The Russian grip he had and I used was able to accomplish that quite naturally.

I also like to be able to bow evenly (Kreutzer) without doing the elliptical pFp bowing from end to end. For this to happen, I need a "straight hand" (see 2nd paragraph).

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Stick rests in the crook of the 2nd joint in the forefinger, causing your hand/arm to pronate quite a bit. Your pinky probably won't touch the stick much.

Take a look at pictures of Heifetz, Elman, or Milstein. Heifetz should be the easiest to find. The Bruch #1-Scottish Fantasy-Vieuxtemps #5 CD with a white background has a picture of Heifetz playing, if memory serves me as well as this Jolt Cola does (research paper due in 9 hours). It's also a great CD.

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quote:

Originally posted by Yankee Fiddler:

I noticed on "The Art of Violin" that some of the players had their first finger stuck out away from the bow when they were playing.

Vieuxtemps mentioned in another post something about the extended first finger in the Galamian bow hold.

I was wondering what would be the advantage of this bow hold? What would be the disadvantage? Is this bow hold used much these days? I can't remember seeing it before.

What else is different about this bow hold, other than the extended first finger?

Thanks!

Yankee Fiddler

[This message has been edited by Yankee Fiddler (edited 12-08-2001).]

I have a large hand and long fingers. I find that the Galamian bow hold serves me VERY well. The extended first finger keeps the wrist flat (not the dead swan look of so many beginners) and helps keep the elbow in line. It gives me more control over the bow and a really great dig when I need it. I don't have much of a problem with it when I need "pp" or "lift".

In my last lesson, my professor was watching me do upbow stacatto and he all of a sudden started chuckling. He said that in all the years since he studied with Galamian, he had never seen anyone other than him (Galamian) take the middle finger off the bow during up-bow stacatto. I've always done it and never thought anything of it.

roman

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quote:

Originally posted by Andrew Victor:

Katz, If you are ever fortunate enough to see a film of Heifetz performing Hora Staccato, you will notice that he totally changes his hold for the downbow staccato strokes.

I was dissappointed to see that segment IS NOT in "The Art of the Violin" although two films that contain it are excerpted therein.

Andy

Andy is right. To properly execute an up-bow or down-bow stacatto, one must remove the fingers that inhibit the stutter. (I think it's different for each person)

roman

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quote:

Originally posted by KillinKatz:

If one bow hold is best for one thing, and another hold is best for something else, has anyone been known to change bow holds during a performance?

Pretty much everyone who is known does that.

Staccato is a good example since executing it varies from bow arm to bow arm. "The Art of Violin" and "Heifetz/Piatigorsky" are good videos to watch, as Andrew Victor mentioned.

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