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Topic: Up or Down bow? That is the question...

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  1. #1

    Up or Down bow? That is the question...

    Hello everyone,

    I'd like to know if there are rules to determine if the bow must be used up or down? Where can I get this information?

    Best regards,

    Fred.
    There is no spoon.

  2. #2

    Re: Up or Down bow? That is the question...

    Hi Fred, while I have no formal music training, I will post what I do in my practice.

    If the phrase is to be accented you should use a down bow.
    Interestingly, I have Garritan Orchestral Strings which is an old library no longer available, and there are many articulations to choose from. There is the option in many of them to alternate between up and down bows.

    Since it is older technology, it works kinda funny.
    When you hit "play" on your sequencer, the notes start to play, but they don't always start with a down bow, for instance, if I started at the beginning of a piece with 4/4 time, and stopped on an odd note, (1 or 3) the next time I start the piece, GOS would indeed produce a down bow sample. If I stopped during an even note (2 or 4) GOS would produce an up bow. I say all that to say this....

    I don't believe there are any laws or rules, but there probably is some "known" goofy mathematical equation that is used to dictate what direction the bow should be at any given time.

    It all depends on what sounds best. It is very evident to me after listening to phrases, whether the bow direction is correct, if it isn't, it raises the hair on my neck.

    Dan

  3. #3

    Re: Up or Down bow? That is the question...

    First, I am NOT a violin player.

    Up- and downbow is a feature a composer and/or performer has to determine/set out the articulation. It is completely owned by the composer, as the performer sets out the real bowing (because composers aren't mostly the performers and sometimes they write out impossible things).




    Bar 1: Natural accents because of the downbows at the beginning of each beat. The velocity is always a bit higher than for those marked with upbown (that v-sign).

    Bar 2: Legato with an accent on the first note of the split beat. Also give the velocity a tiny extra jump at rendering time. The legato can be accomplished by [CC#64-on] just after the beginning of the first note and [CC#64-off] before the ending of the second note. Make it noticeable!

    Bar 3: An attack (downbow) follwed by upbow under legato, give you the impression that the player withdraws his original aggressiveness to a more smoother follow up, but the second half of that bar starts again with downbow (and legato) followed by upbow(legato). It is like hahahaha

    Bar 4: a usual start of lyrical sequence, the intro of a great melody.

    Bar 5: The downbow on the two beats dies out in the legato coupled second note with a follow up (lovely) by the 4th beat.

    Bar 6: Nice attacks, gives a certain rhythm to this piece (fierce,soft,soft, fierce.....in the picture I forgot to draw a second upbow on chord 6.

    About bar 5 once more: sometimes and that is completely up to the performer (wanted interpretation), there can be a bow change on the second note so that note three has a downbow (instead of the upbow now).
    Can you hear that bowchange? Yes, but a pro violinst tries to avoid that with a special wrist technique. Don't bother about this, in a section of players you will never hear this (because player A does it right and player B is just a bit lazy and sets in that change a bit too late... up to player 12,13.....)

    And DPDAN there isn't any goofy mathematical thingie to determine this. It is just the composer - violinist - conductor - the "musical context", .....etc

    Hope this makes sense and that it is the truth (as a NON violinst spoke)

    Raymond

  4. #4

    Re: Up or Down bow? That is the question...

    Oops, I did it again. Picture too wide. @$%^&*((!!!!!

    Sorry,

    Raymond

  5. #5

    Re: Up or Down bow? That is the question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond62
    DPDAN there isn't any goofy mathematical thingie to determine this.
    That was my intended sarcasm Raymond.

    I was poking fun of people who always want a methodical reason behind everything musical.

  6. #6

    Re: Up or Down bow? That is the question...

    This forum has enough mathematicians, who knows when somebody comes up with a formulae.



    Ray

  7. #7

    Re: Up or Down bow? That is the question...

    I'm a string player! I'm not quite sure what you mean, but I'm gonna assume it refers to how you start a phrase... (?) The down bow is more natural on downbeats. A phrase should start with an upbow if the phrase starts with a pick-up. If this doesn't really answer your question, ask away!

    Also, there are no real rules, it's just a matter of what's natural and comfortable.
    string quartet (ˈstriŋ kwȯr-ˈtet) n. a good violinist, a bad violinist, an ex-violinist, and someone who hates violinists, all getting together to complain about composers

  8. #8

    Re: Up or Down bow? That is the question...

    Quote Originally Posted by boulifb View Post
    Hello everyone,
    I'd like to know if there are rules to determine if the bow must be used up or down? Where can I get this information?
    Best regards,
    Fred.
    Hi Fred,

    Another non-string player here! I have found it useful to watch DVDs of orchestras playing good music (like Beethoven/Berlin Phil) and follow along with the score. Can learn tons this way, and after a while, you get the feeling yourself for what makes sense. Amazing how they the string players usually all tend to play same way, so not so random methinks.
    Richard
    Hong Kong
    ---------------
    Sonar 8PE, EWQLSO, GPO4, M-tron, Omnisphere, & VSM.
    Fantom XR and Radias modules.

  9. #9

    Re: Up or Down bow? That is the question...

    Quote Originally Posted by DanielB View Post
    I'm a string player! I'm not quite sure what you mean, but I'm gonna assume it refers to how you start a phrase... (?) The down bow is more natural on downbeats. A phrase should start with an upbow if the phrase starts with a pick-up. If this doesn't really answer your question, ask away!

    Also, there are no real rules, it's just a matter of what's natural and comfortable.
    Daniel, thanks for this simple, logical answer. It's the only thing that makes sense to me, up bow for a pick-up, otherwise down bow to start, and then off you go.

    I'll add that I feel sometimes people fret an undue amount about what bowing is going on in their MIDI emulations. The difference in an ensemble setting can be so subtle as to not even be heard.

    Randy B.

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