Some Tips for Attaining that Glorious Sound that Made you fall in Love with the Violin

Our violin instructor, Rachel Sliker, submitted this awesome blog about using your bow to attain various sounds:

“People love the violin for it’s smooth, melodious tone. Many decide to learn the violin simply because they love how it sounds. However, beginner violin students are often quickly dismayed by the screeching sounds that seem to be the only thing they can get out of the instrument. But do not despair. Here are some bowing tips to help you understand a little more about violin tone.

There are three bowing elements that affect the tone. Experiment with all of these with an objective attitude. Notice what kind of sound you produce, and try not to label them as “bad” or “good.” Just notice.

1) Placement of the bow between the bridge and the fingerboard (or “sounding Point”)- Playing the bow near the bridge produces a bright, loud and sometimes harsh tone. Playing it near the fingerboard produces a mellow and soft tone. Playing the bow halfway between produces a sweet and full-bodied sound. The bow must be pulled across the strings parallel to the bridge or else it will drift between the different sounding points and create a scratchy tone.
2)The weight of the bow- Weight is delivered into the bow through your index finger. Try not to press down, but to use the natural weight of your arm.
3) The speed of the bow- This is how fast or slowly the bow hairs are drawn across the string. A slow speed paired with lighter bow weight is softer, and a faster speed paired with more weight is louder.

The key to a beautiful tone is a proper balance between the three elements above. When you are experimenting, notice when something sounds particularly good and try to replicate it again and again. Most importantly, do not be dismayed by “bad” or scratchy sounds. No one can expect instant gratification, so try to enjoy the process. Take time, and keep it simple. Take five minutes a day on just one note while you experiment with the different bowing elements, and after a few weeks you begin to notice a significant change in the sounds that you will be able to create!”

To contact Rachel or to gain more valuable information about the violin, please call 303-543-3777 or e-mail thelessonstudio@comcast.net.

Rachel

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