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Oct 1, 2022 - 12:49:09 PM

Quincy

Belgium

500 posts since 1/16/2021

I think I start to feel why an old time bow hold can help for making progress as to playing fast and danceable, holding it higher up on the bow seems the right hold for when you really want to fly over the notes, I have the impression I can never be this accurate when playing fast with a classical bow hold. It seems to be more forgiving to hold the bow higher up when you decide to speed things up.

Something tells me: just do it, make the change to this bow hold NOW, drop the classical hold you were taught and you will make faster progress.

I tried it out with Maggots in the sheep hide, I struggle more when holding it the classical way if I want to play it in a decent tempo. When cutting off between 1/4th an 1/3rd off the bow, it seems a lot easier and it seems to me this is also fun.

How many old time fiddlers (percentage?) will hold the bow higher up? Do YOU? How much do you cut off?

Edited by - Quincy on 10/01/2022 12:52:20

Oct 1, 2022 - 1:07:56 PM
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2289 posts since 8/27/2008

This is an interesting question. I have often wondered how and why people who choke up started doing that. Another major option, the one I use, is Thumb under the frog, or TUF. Have you tried that?

Oct 1, 2022 - 1:11:35 PM

Quincy

Belgium

500 posts since 1/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood

This is an interesting question. I have often wondered how and why people who choke up started doing that. Another major option, the one I use, is Thumb under the frog, or TUF. Have you tried that?


Actually no, I never tried it, I always thought this was for absolute beginners who struggle putting their thumb on the right place.

Oct 1, 2022 - 1:19:18 PM
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35 posts since 9/22/2021

There's a lot of reasons some choose to choke up on the bow, but at least in my experience, I don't think it's actually necessary for any particular reason. I'm sure this is subject to debate but I believe it's entirely possible to obtain whatever qualities desired by choking up with fully developed bowing technique and gripping at/near the frog. But then again, I've been putting 25 years into my bowing!

Oct 1, 2022 - 1:25:06 PM

Quincy

Belgium

500 posts since 1/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by mtnfidil

There's a lot of reasons some choose to choke up on the bow, but at least in my experience, I don't think it's actually necessary for any particular reason. I'm sure this is subject to debate but I believe it's entirely possible to obtain whatever qualities desired by choking up with fully developed bowing technique and gripping at/near the frog. But then again, I've been putting 25 years into my bowing!


Yes, I am looking for a fast way to learn how to speed up my tempo, I admit :-D I need to keep up with a band now hehe. It's no fun for the banjo if I start playing too slow , at least that's what I assume.

Maybe hold the bow higher up when in a jam session, but keep on working on my classical grip bowing is the best way to go for me...

Edited by - Quincy on 10/01/2022 13:26:26

Oct 1, 2022 - 1:32:52 PM
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Old Scratch

Canada

1063 posts since 6/22/2016

Everything with fiddling seems to be a trade-off; what you'll gain one way, you'll lose another. I've kept trying various positions re: bow and fiddle over my many years of fiddling, in order to correct perceived problems, or just to get different effects. I think I've finally settled on a choked hold, about a third of the way up the bow, I suppose. I play with short bow strokes - what I recently learned here is sometimes called 'jigging the bow' - the choked hold probably wouldn't work so well otherwise. All I can say, really, is that it works for me, but you are likely to hear detailed explanations of why it's a bad idea. I've seen lots of old-timers who choked the bow - but probably more who didn't. You have to find what works best for you. My own style is very close to this guy's - but he's better:  https://bowingdownhome.ca/islandora/object/bdh%3A408 (sound files below; videos at bottom).

Edited by - Old Scratch on 10/01/2022 13:34:06

Oct 1, 2022 - 1:40:43 PM
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gapbob

USA

856 posts since 4/20/2008

Holding the bow higher up on the stick is an easier way to play since you don’t have to work to control the bow pressure. When you play violin or fiddle, you need to maintain a constant pressure throughout the stroke or it’ll sound wonky, whisper-y or scratchy.

So those who hold the bow up the stick are holding it close to the point of balance and reducing the amount of weight (or pressure) the bow is putting on the string.

It takes away a lot of things that you might want to do, like play waltzes and other slow tunes with long notes in them, or to vary volume. I am sure, though, that just about any hold can be used to do the things you want, it’s just a question of how difficult they are to achieve.

Oct 1, 2022 - 1:42:07 PM
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Quincy

Belgium

500 posts since 1/16/2021

Great link Old Scratch and a very interesting site! I love this 'Old Peter' style <3 Thank you for your answer!

Oct 1, 2022 - 1:50 PM
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2289 posts since 8/27/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Quincy
quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood

This is an interesting question. I have often wondered how and why people who choke up started doing that. Another major option, the one I use, is Thumb under the frog, or TUF. Have you tried that?


Actually no, I never tried it, I always thought this was for absolute beginners who struggle putting their thumb on the right place.


Many highly respected fiddlers play that way. The advantage, in my opinion, is it might provide some similar benefit as choking up on the stick. The TUF hold lets your fingers spread to where the fulcrum, the thumb, is lower and therefore provides easier leverage in either direction for controlling the bow.

Oct 1, 2022 - 2:18:54 PM
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2817 posts since 10/22/2007

I only choke up if I'm sitting on a very low stool. Otherwise I use T.U.F.
Honestly, I don't care what anyone does, nor am I willing to change.

Oct 1, 2022 - 2:29:29 PM
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13888 posts since 9/23/2009

Well I jsut wrote up this big ol thing...then tried to insert a photo, but got onto an ad, and then when I tried to x out the ad, the whole FHO left...lol...so I lost that...and so everybody's lucky day today...lol. Anyhow...in a nutshell I said in OT or BG fiddling we are all free to find the way that works for us...and also another thing to remember is as our fiddling years and experience progress along, we are free to keep what we do the same or make changes as we go. So...best wishes for your new bow hold...choking up works for lots of great fiddlers. I use the ol' TUF that has been mentioned a few times here...I'll try once again to insert the photo...but I may never return if it happens like it just did a minute ago.


Oct 1, 2022 - 4:25:03 PM
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6015 posts since 9/26/2008

Sometimes choking up on the bow helps compensate for a poorly balanced bow (construction of the bow). I used to choke up about 1/3 and then I got a better bow. I don't hold the bow strictly AT the frog a with a classical grip, I often just use a couple of fingers and the thumb on the stick just at the thumb pad, and occasionally I'll drift a couple of inches up the stick. When I notice this I always consciously work my hand back towards the frog.

One thing I've noticed from your videos, Anja, is you use very long strokes of the bow, which is not necessarily bad at times, but the extra distance of bow travel will naturally slow you down if you're playing at dance speed. Choking up forces one to use less bow.

Oct 1, 2022 - 5:19:26 PM

Quincy

Belgium

500 posts since 1/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood
quote:
Originally posted by Quincy
quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood

This is an interesting question. I have often wondered how and why people who choke up started doing that. Another major option, the one I use, is Thumb under the frog, or TUF. Have you tried that?


Actually no, I never tried it, I always thought this was for absolute beginners who struggle putting their thumb on the right place.


Many highly respected fiddlers play that way. The advantage, in my opinion, is it might provide some similar benefit as choking up on the stick. The TUF hold lets your fingers spread to where the fulcrum, the thumb, is lower and therefore provides easier leverage in either direction for controlling the bow.


Yes sorry I didn't mean anything bad wth it, I just thought it was a phase, mùust have see this somewhere in a video. And now that I read groundhogpeggy uses TUF I'm about to try to get used to this hold also :-) Maybe I want to know all different kinds of ways!

Oct 1, 2022 - 5:22:55 PM
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DougD

USA

10869 posts since 12/2/2007
Online Now

Here's how I hold the bow, but you should do whatever works best for you. I didn't use to have any trouble playing fast, but I don't stay in shape so much these days. As we used to say in the old days (naively I suppose) "Do what feels good."


Edited by - DougD on 10/01/2022 17:24:44

Oct 1, 2022 - 5:24:42 PM
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Quincy

Belgium

500 posts since 1/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Well I jsut wrote up this big ol thing...then tried to insert a photo, but got onto an ad, and then when I tried to x out the ad, the whole FHO left...lol...so I lost that...and so everybody's lucky day today...lol. Anyhow...in a nutshell I said in OT or BG fiddling we are all free to find the way that works for us...and also another thing to remember is as our fiddling years and experience progress along, we are free to keep what we do the same or make changes as we go. So...best wishes for your new bow hold...choking up works for lots of great fiddlers. I use the ol' TUF that has been mentioned a few times here...I'll try once again to insert the photo...but I may never return if it happens like it just did a minute ago.


Thanks for the picture, very clear this way!

I think this whole freedom is what suits me most. I need to get rid of the last pieces of classical dust on my clothes :p I'll turn 44 next week, so let's say it took me about 44 years to realize I am really totally free to do as I wish.

Oct 1, 2022 - 5:44:03 PM
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Quincy

Belgium

500 posts since 1/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

Sometimes choking up on the bow helps compensate for a poorly balanced bow (construction of the bow). I used to choke up about 1/3 and then I got a better bow. I don't hold the bow strictly AT the frog a with a classical grip, I often just use a couple of fingers and the thumb on the stick just at the thumb pad, and occasionally I'll drift a couple of inches up the stick. When I notice this I always consciously work my hand back towards the frog.

One thing I've noticed from your videos, Anja, is you use very long strokes of the bow, which is not necessarily bad at times, but the extra distance of bow travel will naturally slow you down if you're playing at dance speed. Choking up forces one to use less bow.


Thank you for your observation on my bowing (really helpful) and your choking up side notes. I tried this using only a couple of fingers and choking... and playing more at the tip the same time (my own input after realizing I mainly play middle part of the bow), although it's night and I have a heavy metal mute on, I could clearly hear something old timey this time!! WOOHOO!!!

I don't want to sound Marc O'Connor, nothing against this man , his version of Midnight on water is so beautiful, but he really sounds like a classically schooled player. I want to sound strictly fiddle. That has been my goal from the start on.

Additionally I like the idea that up here that would really make me a great exception on all of these rules- rules -very strict rules - everywhere in our classical "elite" education system. I love to be out-standing.

A rebel like me has something to prove up here ;-)

Oct 1, 2022 - 5:53:32 PM

Quincy

Belgium

500 posts since 1/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by Quincy
quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood
quote:
Originally posted by Quincy
quote:
Originally posted by Brian Wood

This is an interesting question. I have often wondered how and why people who choke up started doing that. Another major option, the one I use, is Thumb under the frog, or TUF. Have you tried that?


Actually no, I never tried it, I always thought this was for absolute beginners who struggle putting their thumb on the right place.


Many highly respected fiddlers play that way. The advantage, in my opinion, is it might provide some similar benefit as choking up on the stick. The TUF hold lets your fingers spread to where the fulcrum, the thumb, is lower and therefore provides easier leverage in either direction for controlling the bow.


Yes sorry I didn't mean anything bad with it, I just thought it was a phase, must have seen this somewhere in a video. And now that I read groundhogpeggy uses TUF I'm about to try to get used to this hold also :-) Maybe I want to know all different kinds of ways!

 


Oct 1, 2022 - 6:02:06 PM
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Old Scratch

Canada

1063 posts since 6/22/2016

In a way, I really like the TUF grip - which I think I learned about on this forum, and decided to give it a try, out of curiosity - but I also like to play near the tip, and find that a strain with TUF after awhile - and I like to play medleys that go on and on till I step on the cat or the dinner bell rings, so it has to be comfortable ... !

Oct 1, 2022 - 6:09:08 PM
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13888 posts since 9/23/2009

Probably the bottom line IS exactly what is comfortable for what you are playing and for now. Sometimes we experiment and change...sometimes we find one way that just works forever...whatever works, whenever it works.

Oct 1, 2022 - 6:26:52 PM

Quincy

Belgium

500 posts since 1/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Probably the bottom line IS exactly what is comfortable for what you are playing and for now. Sometimes we experiment and change...sometimes we find one way that just works forever...whatever works, whenever it works.


Whatever works whenever it works... I'll carry this one with me!

Oct 1, 2022 - 6:38:11 PM
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DougD

USA

10869 posts since 12/2/2007
Online Now

Who knows, maybe someday you'll prefer French toast to waffles! Of course English muffins for breakfast will still be off limits since Britain left the EU.

Edited by - DougD on 10/01/2022 18:39:02

Oct 1, 2022 - 6:51:19 PM
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Quincy

Belgium

500 posts since 1/16/2021

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

Who knows, maybe someday you'll prefer French toast to waffles! Of course English muffins will still be off limits since Britain left the EU.


Hahahaha :-D This has me laughing out loud, it would be an act of rebellion here in Europe I'd say.

Oct 1, 2022 - 7:07:45 PM
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JonD

USA

115 posts since 2/12/2021

I'm not sure how much bow hold has to do with speed.... What I'm learning (for Irish tunes) is, that to play faster I need to take shorter bow strokes and use the wrist more; slur more; and also use flexible fingers to drop the bow for rapid string changes. All this take the bulk of the arm motion out of the equation and saves a lot of moving mass. But it's a complex equation (and I was never great at math)!
Anja, you are either up very early or else burning the midnight oil!

Oct 1, 2022 - 8:08:04 PM
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905 posts since 1/25/2008

It is good to experiment. I did the choke for a year or so and the TUF; but they are just diverissments. Now I'm using the regular.

The choke is harder for me to use on waltzes, the TUF does not seem to allow enough control on anything.

Oct 1, 2022 - 8:18:44 PM

6015 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by JonD

I'm not sure how much bow hold has to do with speed.... What I'm learning (for Irish tunes) is, that to play faster I need to take shorter bow strokes and use the wrist more; slur more; and also use flexible fingers to drop the bow for rapid string changes. All this take the bulk of the arm motion out of the equation and saves a lot of moving mass. But it's a complex equation (and I was never great at math)!
Anja, you are either up very early or else burning the midnight oil!


Exactly and well said. Long strokes slow you down, hence choking up limits the amount of usable bow and forces one to use shorter strokes which can lead to... faster playing. 

Oct 1, 2022 - 8:33:56 PM
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907 posts since 3/1/2020

The “choked up” bow hold is one that dates back to the baroque era. Even then, there were several approaches to the bow hold. Moving the right hand higher up the stick changes the balance and weight distribution of the bow. It can allow for light and quick strokes, which is useful if you play fast runs of un-slurred notes. In fact, you can feel this effect even without changing the bow hold by simply using a baroque bow, which is generally shorter.

The technology of the bow tightening mechanism had a lot to do with the hold in the early days of the violin bow. Before bows had screws, there were clip-on frogs. If the hair was not the correct length, the player had to adjust by pressing the hair down at the frog end to increase hair tension. Once the screw and eyelet system was developed, it was possible to vary the hold more. As Tourte came out with the design for the modern bow, it became possible to make longer, sustained bow strokes. The development in bow technology went hand in hand with the progression of violin technique. As the demands of the bow hand became greater, the bow hold became much more standardized to three principal disciplines, then eventually to two. The Russian and Franco-Belgian holds allow a wider range of bow strokes (flying staccato and martele are near impossible with the hand higher on the stick). Many bow strokes require a modulation of pressure, and the balance point of the bow becomes very important in accomplishing them.

When I was first studying baroque violin music, I experimented quite a lot with different bow holds of the period. Each had its merits. The biggest downside to holding farther up the stick is the loss of usable bow for longer notes.

Good modern bows are carefully made to place the balance point at an exact spot in relation to the thumb projection of the frog. Balance is actually more important than weight, which is why a heavier bow can feel nimble and light under the fingers if it’s balanced well. Moving the hand to a different spot completely changes the way the bow works.

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