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Bow Speed & Pressure for the Violin

Learn about bow speed and pressure for the violin from musician Julie Artzt Becker in this Howcast video.


So,now we can talk about bow speed and bow pressure. It's very important to practice the different kinds of speeds. It also is important to relate them to different note lengths. In other words, if you're playing a half note, which is two beats, then your bow is going to go slower than if you're playing a quarter note, which is only one beat. So, you need to be able to control your bow accordingly depending on what rhythm you're playing.

I'm going to put the metronome on at 60. That's my favorite practice tempo, especially for open strings. I'm going to show you a half note, and it needs to be divided very evenly.

One, two. One, two. One, two. One, two.

Now, that bow speed is slower than the bow speed I'm going to do for a quarter note, which is only one beat. Here's the quarter note.

So, your bow has to move faster in order to play the quarter note than it does to play the half note. Sometimes, you only get half a bow to play a half note and then you have to use even less bow speed.

Here's the quarter note.

So,it's important to divide it evenly so that the speed works well. Now, the other thing we were going to talk about as well is the pressure. The bow pressure has to be adjusted, whether you're at the frog of the bow or the tip of the bow, and it also depends on the music. If you playing something soft a then you have to play with light fingers. If you're playing something loud then you increase the pressure with the right-hand fingers.

So, let's say I'm playing a scale and I'm going to play it nice and strong, and so I need to press a little bit.

So, I used a lot of pressure to get that sound. Now, if I wanted to play something softly, I could play the scale again and release the pressure a little bit from the hand.

So, it's really about how much weight you're putting down on your index finger and how much are you pressing down with it, and it depends on the piece. It depends on what you're trying to work on. That's a little bit about bow pressure and bow speed.

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