Belknap Practicing System
violin
Bow Arm Violin Exercises

Exercise Index












Detaché

Detache is french for separate bows, not to be confused with the english "detached" - with space between the notes.

From Kruetzer Etudes No. 2

Exercise #1 - Play in the lower half (from the very frog to the exact middle)

Exercise #2 - Play in the exact upper half (from the exact middle to the tip)

detache music

Learning Concepts

  • Helps build a consistent and confident sound
  • Improves projection
  • Improves control of the entire bow, especially at the very frog and tip

Detaché Instructions
1.Play as loud as possible.
a.Bow next to the bridge (Control the "Sounding Point").
b.Keep the bow straight
c.Keep bow hair flat
d.Use the entire upper or lower half of the bow.
e. Use leverage and a heavy arm to add weight to the bow, not finger pressure.
2.Use the proper muscles and bones in the right sequence or order of motion (see below) to go up bow and down bow - always leading with the elbow and dragging the wrist and fingers in both directions (up and down).

 

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Detaché #1 - Lower

Detaché #2 - Upper

Detaché (bottom view)

 

Order of motion & leverage
is used to add pressure to the bow by turning the bones of the forearm (the Ulnas and Radius) in or out versus squeezing between the thumb and the first finger of the right hand and pressing to get the sound out. If you set the hand, always staying flexible in the wrist and fingers, and turn the two bones of the forearm into the string (counterclockwise) there is less pressure pushed onto the top of the violin and the top plate of the violin is allowed to vibrate more. On the down bow a big sound is accomplished by using a combination of leverage and arm weight. On the up bow we are fighting gravity and leading with the elbow and using leverage not arm weight. Pulling the bow this way allows you a fullness of sound not possible by just squeezing or pressing.


The proper order of motion would be, starting at the tip, deltoid muscle used to raise the elbow while dragging the wrist, fingers and bow, as you go up bow. For the down bow use gravity-heavy arm and the biceps and deltoid to lower the elbow while dragging the wrist, fingers, and bow, as you go down bow.

3 sound issues to work on with Detaché:
1. Weight
2. Bow speed
3. Sounding Point

An exercise can be used to work on each of these sound issues.
Play with a heavy bow for half the bow heavy and half the bow light.
Then 3 times heavy and light.
Then 4 times all the way to 8 times heave and light.
Do that with bow speed and sounding point and you are on your way to controlling each of these sound issues.

3 magical bow things:
1. Dragging the bow - leading with deltoid (arm) and dragging flexible fingers.
2. The sideways bow circle - down and out, up and in a clockwise stirring to keep the sounding point close to the bridge without pressing to keep it there.
3. Suponate (at the frog) and Pronate (at the tip)

Another great exercise for bow control is Kreutzer Etude #13 at the frog or tip.

Try Sibelius run up the g string at the frog.
Or Bach E Major Partita string crossing section in the Preludio at the frog!!!

 


Collé

Collé is French for glued or sticky. Kruetzer No. 7

Slow with no metronome and away from the bridge.
1. Play a small but powerful
"T" consonant at the tip.
a. Start at the very tip and throw the bow up bow with the biceps (about 4 inches).
2. Do the same down bow at the frog.
a. Use triceps to throw the bow down bow (again about 4 inches).
3. Start with open strings until you get the motion right

 

 

colle music

Learning Concepts

  • Improves projection, articulation, and clarity.
  • Provides the building blocks for Martelé.

 

Collé Instructions
1. The fingers should be straight at the tip ready to be thrown up bow.
2. The fingers should be round (especially the pinky) when being thrown down bow at the frog.
a. Prepare the hand to be thrown in either direction.
3. Always imitate the hard consonant sound of the "T".

 

video Watch Video of Collé

Collé (bottom view)

 

 

 

 

 


Martellé

Martelé is French for hammered (with a hammer).
Kreutzer Etudes No. 7

Slow with no metronome and away from the bridge.
1. Starting at the tip, using the upper half, throw the bow up bow going exactly to the middle of the bow. The sound should be exactly the same as collé ("T") just louder because you are using the entire upper half.
a. Throw the bow up bow with the biceps.
2. Do the same down bow starting exactly in the middle of the bow.
a. Use triceps to throw the bow down bow.

 

martelle music

Learning Concepts

  • Improves projection, articulation, and clarity.

Martellé Instructions
1. The fingers should be straight at the tip ready to be thrown up bow.
2. The fingers should be round (especially the pinky) when being thrown down bow at the frog.
a. Prepare the hand to be thrown in either direction.
3. Always imitate the hard consonant sound of the "T".
4. The down bow is a Martelé stroke.

 

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Martellé Upper

Martellé Lower

Martellé (bottom view)

 

 


Staccato

Staccato is Italian for articulated distinctly, with a separation between notes.
you could also use wieniawski concerto No. 2, Hora Staccato by Dinicu-Heifetz.

= 40-152

1. Start slowly with a nice "pop" or collé sound at the beginning of each up bow stroke.
2. Build up your speed faster every day and track your progress daily in the Practice Journal.

 

staccato music

Learning Concepts

  • Improves control over the entire bow
  • Prepares you for pieces that use staccato.

 

Instructions
1. Pull to the tip on each down bow stroke. Until you are at top speeds above 120.
2. Listen to the last two notes of each group of up bows.
3. For the up bow staccato use straight fingers or the "up bow grip".
4. For the down bow staccato use round fingers or the "down bow grip".
5. For speed, try moving up bow while you are doing tremolo.

 

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Staccato

 

 

 

 

 


Sautillé

Sautillé is french for jumping. Kruetzer Etudes No. 2
You could also use pagan perpetual motion, sinding suite, pagan caprice No. 5, and many others

= 144

1. Repeat each note 8 times
2. Find the "sweet spot" where the bow bounces by itself.
a. this bow stroke sounds off but is really on the sting. The stick bounces but the hair never leaves the string.
3. Your hand has to be thrown by the big muscles (biceps and triceps).
4. If it is not working try these three ways to fix it.
a. Hold the bow with the index and ring finger (and the thumb) and throw the bow.
b. Lower your shoulder and raise the elbow slightly, 3-4 inches.
c. make sure your motion is up and down and not sideways.
d. you may be in the wrong spot for the speed you are attempting. Try changing the speed or the spot of the bow.

 

sautille music  

 

Sautillé Instructions
1.Start on the string in the middle of the bow.
2. Keep bow hair flat.
3. Let the hand be floppy thrown by the biceps and triceps.
4. Find the "sweet spot" by moving the bow up or down by 1/2 inch segments.
5. Work on getting a consistent sound and then for endurance.
6. Elbow higher and wrist lower.

 

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Sautillé

Sautillé (bottom view)

 

 

 

 

 


Ricochét

Ricochét is French for skipping a rock. Not to be confused with the English version of bouncing off things.
You could also use Pagan Caprice No. 1, Mendelssohn Concerto and many others

 

ricochet music

Learning Concepts

  • Helps you feel the vibration of the stick that helps you get a bigger, freer sound.
  • More effective spiccato and sautillé and eventually ricochet.

 

Instructions
1. Drop/throw the bow in the middle from about 4 inches high and let it bounce.
2. Lift pinky and ring finger and drop/throw the bow on an open string while going down bow.
3. Press with index finger for about 6 bounces then pivot hand and lift index finger while putting the ring and pinky fingers back on the bow.
4. Let the bow bounce by itself as much as possible to the tip.
5. Don't try to control the bounce of the bow.
6. Keep the bow hair flat.

 

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Ricochét

Sautillé (bottom view)

 

 

 

 

 


Chords
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You could also use Pagan Caprice #24, Kreisler Preludium Allegro or many others.
violin chords  

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Chords (bottom view)