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Bowing and intonation

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Dave Irwin, Jun 1, 2002.

  1. Inconsistency in my bowing really seems to affect
    my intonation. (I can keep my LH finger in the same place and the intonation changes as I bow)
    Is there somthing I can pay attention to bowing wise to keep the intonation steady?

  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Bow speed plays a part in intonation / pitch.
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Long tones, everyday.
  4. No gut strings but I should note the problem is much more obvious in a closed position vs an open string.

    For the sake of argument, I am not using vibrato.

  5. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    While Pacman and Jason are correct in the abstract, what you're saying strongly suggests the problem is in your left hand.

    Long, slow scales develop intonation (and strength).
  6. I was thinking it could be a left hand problem too unless...
    When I bow the open string I can concentrate on the bowing because I'm not thinking about the LH.
    It could be that when fingering a note, I am not paying close enough attention to the bowing.

    Or perhaps a combination of both.

    I don't currently have a teacher but have had some good ones in the past. Most of the fundementals mentioned on the board, I have learned in my head if not my fingers.

    Maybe I should try the long tone excercises using fingered notes rather than open strings.

  7. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Actually, it's not a bad thing to have one or two open strings in your long slow scale execise: it gives you a reference tone. Are your fingered notes as clean as the open string notes? That's the goal.
  8. The fingered tones are not as clean as the open.
    The fingered tones are the ones at issue.

    I should have said maybe I should practice the long tones with fingered notes as well as open strings.
    I didn't mean instead of...
    Sorry for any confusion
  9. Betsy


    Dec 30, 2004
    I have a question related to long tones and bow speed: when I play *very* slowly (like at crawl speed), I find that I have to weight my whole right arm much more to get a healthy sound across the bow, and bow closer to the bridge. I'm trying not to press against the string because I find that doing so kind of strangles the sound. Am I on track here? I'm using my ear as a guide (and I always practice in front of a mirror and sometimes use a recorder).

    I'm wondering if anyone has more pointers on long tones at a crawl, as I find them to be a very good exercise (frustrating at first because they unveil a lot of bad technique!).

  10. Assuming you want to keep the volume equal, if you are slowing your bow down drastically, this greatly reduces the friction created. Therefore to compensate you must increase bow pressure, this will increase the friction created.

    Now, there is a limit to how much you can increase bow pressure on a given string, before you get the choking or crunching you refer to. This varies both with the tension of the string and the position of the bow relative to the end of the fingerboard and the bridge.

    My teacher tought me that the slower I needed to bow (longer notes at slower tempos) the closer to the bridge I needed to place the bow, and the more pressure I needed to use (assuming I wanted to keep the volume the same). Being closer to the bridge, allowed me to use more bow pressure, without getting a string crunch.
  11. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Are you using a metronome? I can set mine up so I get a different sound at the top of the bar to mark it. Its lowest setting is 40bpm, and for some months now I've been using 40bpm quarter notes for long tone arco practice. I'll move to half notes soon so I can go slower. My teacher has a story of a roommate practically standing on top of his bridge at 20bpm quarters.

    I like to hear the nome and the top of the bar marked because it's a useful reference in gauging bow speed. You can see where your bow is at beat 1, beat 3, etc. (for what that's worth.) I also use the nome to work on making the transition from up to down bow (and vicey versey, of course) as seamless as possible. My nome also has lights to simulate the back and forth of an old nome; this helps when you're trying to do stuff a little before or a little behind the beat.
  12. Betsy


    Dec 30, 2004
    Yes, I always use a metronome, but it's a very old-fashioned one. Yours has some interesting features.

    My teacher had me working at 60 originally, but I've dropped to 50 for quarters, half-notes, whole, and wholes held for two measures (youch....that's what really gets me for the reasons stated by another post today - the lack of friction). All of the feedback here is really helpful, thanks.
  13. Betsy


    Dec 30, 2004
    What you've posted is really interesting because I've just started doing something similar (not as organized; I liked the way you've arranged the sets) because it seemed like a good step up from just bowing the written exercises that I'm working with. I've also been working with the idea of a rubber band.

    I am amazed at the dynamics I'm learning by bowing more experimentally. I've actually dropped to 40 on the metronome and that is helping even more because I have to be all ears.

    I'm crunching at this point on my first note in a series. (I think that my arm is weighted incorrectly when I first start to bow; the weighting corrects itself just after.)

    I am working with about five or six books on arco technique and trying to combine what works best for me (I'm just shy of 5', with a half-size bass, so there's a lot of experimenting that I need to do, but I'm amazed at the results so far.
  14. its a moving target. what works just right with the bow for one pitch/position, will be almost certainly need compensation when you move to a different note.

    for working on the relationship between bowing (position, speed, pressure, etc) and pitch/intonation, nothing beats vomit
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    Primary TB Assistant

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    Dec 3, 2020

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