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What Are Different Bow Strikes on the Violin?

Learn about different bow strikes from musician Julie Artzt Becker in this Howcast video.


There's lots of different bow strokes when you play the violin. There's legato, there's staccato, there's sautille, there's martele ; I'll explain some of them.

Here's legato strokes. I'll do it in a scale so you can really see.

That's just really smooth bow changes. You're going from a down bow to an up bow with no real stop.

You can do the same thing but with detache strokes, it's called.

That's smooth bows with a slight separation. That's what detache is.

There's also martele stokes. You catch the string and then you release it.

Then there is staccato.

Here's sautille. It's faster and it's not as controlled.

The way that you play a staccato stroke, you're controlling your bow arm like this. You're sort of keeping your arm in the air and the rest of the weight of your hand goes does down and up, down and up, and you're using your fingers and your wrist to control it.

Now, sautille is's around the same stroke but it's going so much faster that you're not really controlling it. You set it up, the arm, and then the hand just does it really fast by itself.

Those are some of the strokes you could actually see in a simple song, some of these strokes.

That was a combination of staccato and martele. Listen again. Here's the staccato part.
Here's the martele part.

Because I caught the string. Catch, release.

Catch, release.

Catch, release.

Now here comes legato.

All the varying strokes is what makes playing the violin so versatile and beautiful, and you have to perfect each one.

That is an introduction to different kinds of bow strokes on the violin.

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