A BASIC BOW STROKE
Weight, Angle, Speed, Placement: The balancing of these variables in combination results in the highest levels of artistic expression. Learning to control these variables while executing the movements of the left hand is the ultimate technical challenge that is presented to the string player.
Keep the bow parallel to the bridge, or "perpendicular to the string". Pull and push the bow between the frog to the tip. A bow stroke that does not move parallel to the bridge will not produce a full and resonant tone. If the bow is too close to the fingerboard, or too close to the bridge produce a poor tone. The bow has to move parallel to the bridge. The bow is moving at different speed. Bow pressure is adjusted. The amount of hair contacting the string is continuously changing.
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.
The wrist will pronate as the bow moves from frog to tip, and supinate as the bow moves from tip to frog.
The fingers flex as the bow moves from frog to tip. Notice that the upper arm is relaxed, but moves only slightly. If the player moves the upper arm without involving the elbow, wrist, or finger hinges, the bow will not remain parallel to the bridge. The fingers are curved and flexible while staying in one contact point with the bow. "Hold the bow tightly, but lightly." (Suzuki)
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