Joseph Mendoes - cello expert

How to study Dotzauer Etude No. 4 - Bow Distrbution

Improve your bow technique with this video on famous cello studies

In this video, Prof. Mendoes tackles bow distribution on the cello by using the useful Etude No. 4 by Dotzauer as the basis for this video.

Released on October 4, 2017

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Video Transcription

Hello, this is Joseph Mendoes with another video for Today I want to talk a little bit about bow distribution. I'm going to use Dotzauer Etude number 4 in order to talk about it. The fourth etude in the common Dotzauer volume 1 book that we all use is really good at illustrating the basic issues with bow distribution because of its bowing pattern. It starts off with one short note, followed by a three-note slur and then three more short notes.

Now, all the short notes, presumably, are supposed to be played pretty close to the frog. That's where mostly, you know, mostly we play these kinds of short off the string notes the way it's indicated. So, how are we going to stay at the frog when we have that three note slur that's going to take a little bit more bow? Well, we have to use a faster bow on the first note, and then a slower bow on the next three. Basically, we need to space out the bow, so that when we play that first note, we've maybe used half the bow so that we have enough bow for the next three notes on the up bow. So, there's one note, obviously, and then three notes, right? So, we need a slower bow as well on that up bow, faster bow on the down bow and then a slower bow on the up bow. This is what it looks like, here just real quick, I'll play a section of this Etude.


So, as you can see, I'm using a significantly more amount of bow on that first note, right? In order to make sure that I have enough room for those three notes on the up bow. Now, there's another factor to this too. And maybe you'll notice in my playthrough that there was a subtle, a very subtle difference between where I put the bow on the first note, which was a little closer to the fingerboard, and then on the three notes on the up bow, I was a little closer to the bridge. This was to make it a little bit easier for me to control the sound, right? Because when we're using a slower bow, we need to be a little closer to the bridge, when we're using a faster bow we need to be a little closer to the fingerboard. Okay?

So, how I do that, how I did that at least, I think, is, on the down bow, you'll notice that I angle the bow slightly. Here I'm exaggerating so you can see. I'll angle the bow slightly so that I'm now starting on that up bow, a little bit closer to the bridge than when I started. By angling, I mean this, by the way. So, when I angle the bow a little bit this way, you'll notice that the bow travels closer to the bridge. Well if I do that, right at the beginning, then I'm going to end up a little closer, and then be able to use that slower bow for those next three notes.

So, yeah, so, you know, this is one of those Etudes where a little bit of slow practice will do you some good just to kind of analyze these motions first. And, you know, before you speed it up, the final tempo's not that fast, so you probably won't even have that much difference in your practice versus playing tempo. The other things to look for in this, obviously, are every single time you have that bowing pattern, but also, there's quite a few times you notice in the amount that I played there, there was one measure of separate notes completely. Well, whenever you have separate notes, you can also work on those up bow, down bow, accents that are really important to stay equal.

So, there's a lot of things to work on with the bow here, but mainly, it's that pattern that keeps showing up, that you'll see it throughout the Etude. Short bow, sorry, a short note followed by a three-note slur that basically needs to use an equal amount of bow. So, I hope that was somewhat clear, and I hope you enjoy practicing this Etude. I enjoyed teaching the Dotzauer Etude. It's very much...they're very instructive. Even as a professional, I take a look at them once in a while, just to make sure that everything is working okay in my playing. So, I definitely recommend them, not all of them, but most of them to any of you who are looking to work on a particular technique, specific technique.

So, yeah, so if you have any comments or questions, please leave them on the VSM site. Don't leave them on YouTube, I will not be answering them because I cannot. I have no access to that. I have access to the VSM website comments, so please leave your comments there. Also, I'll remind you that I do teach online lessons, so you can contact me for that if you'd like through my website. Also, check out my YouTube channel, which should have maybe six videos up by now. So, yeah, so that's it. This has been Joseph Mendoes for
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