Lora Staples - beginning violin and fiddle expert

Tilt or Not Tilt the Bow?

A simple answer to an often-asked question.

In this video, Lora helps you understand if the bow should be tilted or not tilted while playing.

Released on March 5, 2014

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Andrew * VSM MEMBER * on March 9, 2014 @3:15 am PST
Yes, true that you do not tilt the bow internally, but what I found out is that when you play feeling that you tilt the bow internally, you always play with the hair of the bow very flat and allows a big surface contact with the string resulting to a very big tone. So, when you want to play with power, try tilting the bow internally (feeling of of), and you will be playing with the hair very flat.
Lora * VSM MEMBER * on March 10, 2014 @8:16 am PST
I like that suggestion, Andrew! Thanks!
Simone * VSM MEMBER * on March 7, 2014 @2:54 am PST
Dear Lora, the treatise from Galeazzi is in italian, hope you can read it as well. Here is the link for the 1817 edition.
Lora * VSM MEMBER * on March 7, 2014 @3:29 pm PST
I wonder if it has been translated.....I would not be surprised if it had been translated into English. If it has not.....hmmm.....that sounds like a very noteworthy graduate project for a translation degree....I'm going to look into that!
Tosh * VSM MEMBER * on March 6, 2014 @2:54 pm PST
That tilt is certainly not an optical illusion...have also seen it on video and telecasts with the camera being positioned in various places so that one can clearly see what is happening...the bow is usually fairly taut...and the sound is often mezzo forte and/or forte, not piannissimo and/or transparent sounding etc. etc. as you have referred to.
Lora * VSM MEMBER * on March 7, 2014 @3:27 pm PST
Yes, I know. I was sort of joking about the illusion. I have seen it too.

Still, I don't think I would teach a beginner to start using that technique too soon. It seems like a technique that is employed at the highest artistic level, except for the special effects I have already mentioned.
Locus Adam on March 5, 2014 @1:29 pm PST
thanks for clarification that doubted me for quite a while.
Tosh * VSM MEMBER * on March 5, 2014 @12:30 pm PST
I have noticed many great virtuosos tilt the bow towards the finger board while playing legato and lyrical passages. They tilt the whole length of the bow. I think they do so in order to get a certain lyrical tone quality.
Lora * VSM MEMBER * on March 6, 2014 @11:21 am PST
Yes Tosh, I have heard that argument before, and I have seen what you are talking about. I was never taught to specifically tilt the bow throughout a lyrical passage.

I wonder if that "tilt" is an optical illusion?

Or, maybe certain lyrical passages qualifies as one of those "special effects" I mentioned in the video.

Special effects would include: transparent sound, piannissimo, flautando, sul tasto, and maybe we can add to that list "passages where a very special lyrical quality is desired". :-)
Simone * VSM MEMBER * on March 5, 2014 @3:48 am PST
Very interesting, I mean the logic to manage the bow close to the frog. Maybe you know that Francesco Galeazzi in his treatise of early 19th century also recommended to tilt the bow to achieve a good start of the sound.
Lora * VSM MEMBER * on March 6, 2014 @11:17 am PST
Yes, mainly at the frog. Tilting the bow at the frog helps give a balanced, clean start to the bow stroke.
I have not read that treatise! I will have to look into it!
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