String techniques

This research is what I have undertaken to understand more fully the various techniques that can be applied to the string instruments of the orchestra:

Arco String Technique
The term ‘arco’ means that the instrument should be played with the bow; if no indication is marked, players automatically play ‘arco’.
There are two main motions of the bow: up-bow and down-bow:

Upbeats are usually played with an up-bow and downbeats played with a down-bow.
Louder music passages need more bow changes because they use more of the bow.

On-the-string articulations:
All long notes are played on the string; the bow will change direction for each new note. For more than one note per stroke, you notate a slur to show how many notes should be played within each bow (when loud, fewer notes are possible because the bow needs to move faster. When soft, more notes are possible along with more changes and the speed of the bow can give good colour).

Detache:
detached or separate bows alternate between up and down-bows every note:

Published on 2 Nov 2012
David LePage introduces essential violin techniques courtesy of The Hidersine Company, Barnes & Mullins and the European String Teachers Association.

Placement is where the bow is placed on the strings.
Sul ponticello / sul pont: placing the bow on the strings over the bridge at the bottom of the strings.

Published on 5 Nov 2012
The Hidersine Company UK presents David LePage and essential Violin Techniques.
More Technique Videos and a great range of bowed instrument products can be found at http://www.hidersine.com

Sul tasto: placing the bow on the fingerboard at the top of the strings.

Published on 5 Nov 2012
The Hidersine Company UK presents David LePage and essential Violin Techniques.
More Technique Videos and a great range of bowed instrument products can be found at http://www.hidersine.com

These are two extremes; with different speed and pressure, these give notes a unique sound.

Legato bowing: indicated with a slur over the notes & played with a single bow-stroke:

Uploaded on 20 Dec 2011
http://www.violintutorpro.com, http://www.facebook.com/violintutorpro
http://www.superiorviolins.com

Portato (loure): a series of notes within a single bow-stroke, each with a slight separation or push:

Published on 5 Nov 2012
The Hidersine Company UK presents David LePage and essential Violin Techniques.
More Technique Videos and a great range of bowed instrument products can be found at http://www.hidersine.com

Martele: Meaning ‘hammered’, this is an on-the-string staccato which requires the bow begin and remain on the string with clean separation between the notes:

Published on 5 Nov 2012
The Hidersine Company UK presents David LePage and essential Violin Techniques.

Off-the-String Articulations
Spiccato: or ‘off-the-string’ staccato, this requires the bow to bounce naturally off the string to achieve a fast and very light staccato effect; the choice is made by the performer between martele or spiccato if not specified by the composer:

Published on 5 Nov 2012
The Hidersine Company UK presents David LePage and essential Violin Techniques.

Jete (richoet bowing): the bow needs to be dropped or thrown down against the string, bouncing naturally and very quickly.  Used with multiple or repeated notes. The word ‘jete’ us used:

Published on 5 Nov 2012
The Hidersine Company UK presents David LePage and essential Violin Techniques.

Bowed Tremolos
These can be measured or unmeasured. Both require rapid bowing.
Measured tremolos: indicate a specific number of repeated notes. A slash (/) through a note stem (or above the note) means the player must perform half the value of the written note.
Unmeasured tremolo: only indicated with slashes and at faster speeds, the result will be an unmeasured tremolo.
Heavy tremolo: the instruction at the frog or al tallone is used to indicate the use of the lower third of the bow is required (nearest the hand).
Light tremolo: the instruction at the tip or punta d’arco is used to indicate the tremolo should be played with the tip of the bow.
Fingered tremolos: These are considered unmeasured and slurred and require alternating between two notes on same string; they also need intervals larger than a second because this would be classed as a trill.

General Notes:
String terms mean one thing to the players but another in notation.
Staccato refers to length of note; it doesn’t necessarily mean to play the staccato bow stroke!
If you want ‘off the string’ mark it staccato (with dots or the word ‘stacc’, the latter is tidier).
If you want heavy off the string, mark music ‘stacc. e marc’ (staccato and marcato).

Labelling bow direction & bow position; 99% time labelling bow direction & position is not needed. Generally, if a phrase starts on a weak ‘upbeat’, it will play on an up-bow. If it starts on a strong beat, it will play on a down-bow.
Long notes @ pp start on an up-bow.
Quiet tremolos are played at the tip of the bow.
ff stabs are played at the frog of the bow (near the hand) for more control & pressure.

Reference:
(As noted above alongside each video) plus-
Davies, T. (2013). Guide to a Good Bow Job – string bowing techniques explained. Available: http://www.timusic.net/2013/03/guide-to-a-good-bow-job/#.Vysk1U1IjVI. Last accessed 23/02/2016

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