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Topic: Question to violinists

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  1. #1

    Question to violinists

    How is this type of bowing called? For me it sounds like the player bowes this "sideways", that is (I think) with at least as possible hairs on the string (the bow a bit tilted). It has a name or is it just super "pp"?

    Link (wave form and very soft)

    Raymond

  2. #2

    Re: Question to violinists

    col legno? With the wood. Produces a creepy, soft sound.
    Arthur J. Michaels
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  3. #3

    Re: Question to violinists

    Quote Originally Posted by gogreen1 View Post
    col legno? With the wood. Produces a creepy, soft sound.
    Don't think so. It is Kswitched in EWQL solo violin as Exp P. I've heard this before in some concerto, but which one remains the question.

    Nevertheless, much obliged,

    Raymond

  4. #4

    Re: Question to violinists

    This is an example of sul ponticello - on the bridge. It gives an eerie ethereal sound that is soft. The other extended bow techniques are below:


    • sul ponticello: on the bridge; i.e., in string playing, an indication to bow (or sometimes to pluck) very near to thebridge, producing a characteristic glassy sound, which emphasizes the higher harmonics at the expense of thefundamental; the opposite of sul tasto
    • sul tasto: on the fingerboard; i.e., in string playing, an indication to bow (or sometimes to pluck) over thefingerboard; the opposite of sul ponticello. Playing over the fingerboard produces a warmer, gentler tone.
    • ordinario, or ord. (It.): in bowed string music, an indication to discontinue extended techniques such as sul ponticello, sul tasto or col legno, and return to normal playing. The same as "naturale".
    • col legno: with the wood; i.e., the strings (for example, of a violin) are to be struck with the wood of the bow, making a percussive sound; also battuta col legno: beaten with the wood
    col legno means to hit the string with the wood side of the bow, a different effect; one which many players do not like for the concern of damage to an expensive bow.

    I hope this helps.

    Bill
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

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  5. #5

    Re: Question to violinists

    1) it sounds like simple non-vibrato to me.
    in a soft dynamic, non-vibrato would sound relatively close to this.

    2) it is rare to bow "sul ponticello" without doing a tremolo at the same time. the effect isn't convincing.
    NEAR the bridge is another matter. it is normal for a string player to move the bow nearer and further from bridge/fingerboard in the course of playing for expressive reasons.

    3) "col legno" can be either "col legno battuto" (striking the string with the wood of the bow, the more common, and more "useful" of the two methods of performing "col legno") or "col legno tratto" (drawing the wood of the bow across the strings.. honestly, a completely pointless exercise in mime... the sound is next to impossible to hear.)

    Yes players hate doing "col legno" because it does damage their bows. Bows can cost upward of $30,000.
    If you are going to write "col legno", place a lengthy pause before and after the "col legno" passage.
    Why?
    Because this gives the performers time to change bows!
    Many string players carry a cheap spare bow exactly for doing "col legno".
    But the music has to have sufficient pause before and after to let the player change back to their other bow.

    4) Another effect that might give the result you have in your sample is "flautando".
    The bow is drawn rapidly, but very lightly, across the string.

  6. #6

    Re: Question to violinists

    Quote Originally Posted by qccowboy View Post
    2) it is rare to bow "sul ponticello" without doing a tremolo at the same time. the effect isn't convincing.
    NEAR the bridge is another matter. it is normal for a string player to move the bow nearer and further from bridge/fingerboard in the course of playing for expressive reasons.
    I hate to disagree here, but I have used this technique often (sul ponticello) with no tremolo. It is very effective. Of course, from a sound bite it is difficult to tell. Just want to make it clear that sul tasto and sul ponticello are very effective without the use of tremolo. It may have been the traditional use, but contemporary composers go for the sound effect. I play violin and I understand the technique.

    I also disagree with the col legno tratto. Yes it is soft, but if you have a soft passage and have few instruments playing, it can effectively add to the harmonic reinforcement of the sound. I have used that technique in my Master Thesis composition where the strings (all of them) did col legno tratto with the woodwinds playing softly. But, it is a soft and only reinforcing sound.

    Yes, strings don't like to do this, that's why I pass out wooden dowels. But, with the advent of carbon fiber bows, there is no need to give a 'lengthy' rest for the strings to exchange the bow.

    Just pointing out a 21st century point of view.

    Best regards,
    Bill
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  7. #7

    Re: Question to violinists

    I play viola, and most string players I know don't LIKE using "carbon fiber" bows.
    that is why they have expensive bows that SOUND good.

    you have your experience, I have mine, along with all the symphony players with whom I have worked.

    by the way, I didn't say that sul tasto was not used with tremolo. you should read carefully what I did write.

    however, all of this is neither here nor there.
    The OP's question was regarding a sample from some library.

    my opinion is that it was either meant to be a senza vibrato sample (despite the heavy vibrato at the very end of the posted example), or a flautando effect.

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