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Decisive Bowing

Posted by fiddlepogo on Monday, January 19, 2015

I was just practicing, warming up for an afternoon senior gig (giglet might be a better term!).

In the last year I've been doing more and more of that beat-leading, measure-line crossing  Tommy's Lick stuff.  I'm finding in fitting in more and more places.  While technically it's a pattern, in terms of my previous bowing choices, it's breaking me out of previous bowing tendencies, and has put my bowing choices more "up in the air".  All the other bowing options (patterns) tended to start with a downstroke ON the downbeat.

And I was noticing something in the process of deciding whether to lead the beat or not... I was making a certain kind of mistake.   And it hit me what was going on.

On a guitar, the mass of the flatpick is so small, that you can delay decisions about which way to pick and which note to pick, and speed will help you "pull the fat out of the fire".

With a bow, you've got the considerably larger mass of the bow to contend with.   The kind of mistake that was happening was delaying a bowing decision until the last second, then when I made the decision, having to change the direction of the mass of the bow was causing the notes to fall late.

The kind of music you are playing may play a role.   A kind of floaty phrasing wouldn't be so critical in terms of timing.   A tight rhythmic groove for dance music would be more critical.

Basically it boils down to that to make the timing of the direction change come out right, the decision (subconscious or conscious) to change directions has to be triggered a little farther in advance than you would with a flatpick.

Patterns do have an implication for this.... a pattern makes a lot of those decisions for you.

However, it also has implications for directionally free bowing, say when improvising, I think you have to get accustomed to this timing difference.

TUF may have implications too.  Since it seems to allow a quicker attack, it may help the bow behave more like a flatpick as far as timing.

Short bow strokes may help- if the bow isn't traveling fast when the decision is made to turn it around, the process of stopping the bows travel in one direction and accelerating it in another isn't going to take as long.

I was going to start a thread with it, but thought better of it.  It could trigger a bowing debate, and I'm not up for that right now!

4 comments on “Decisive Bowing”

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 @12:10:50 AM

Not up for a bowing debate! Why you currish, clay-brained canker blossom!

fiddlepogo Says:
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 @11:29:27 AM

Why, if I didn't know you were such a kidder, I'd be mortally insulted!
Canker blossom, indeed!!!

fiddlepogo Says:
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 @11:31:04 AM

Clay brained, on the other hand.... THAT's a good description of how I've been feeling lately, and why I'm not up for a bowing debate right now!!!!

Rene Says:
Saturday, January 24, 2015 @2:27:36 PM

Giglett...I always thought that was a bunch of teenage girls at a slumber party.

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