6 Basic Beginner Bow Strokes you Learn on the Violin | Violin Lounge TV #457
Most common violin bowing techniques with practice tips, examples, symbols and free sheet music:
Learn 6 different bowing techniques on the violin
Are you overwhelmed by all the bowing terms and symbols?
In this video I teach you the 6 basic beginner bow strokes you should learn on the violin with some repertoire tips to study them.
If you master these 6, you can play most violin pieces AND you’ll easily learn all the other bowing techniques as they are derived from them.
Scroll down for free sheet music downloads of all the pieces and etudes I mention in the video.
Detaché: default violin bow stroke
Detaché means unattached. You play the notes in their full length and play one bow stroke per note. You could see this as default bowing. In the sheet music you see no particular symbol for detaché.
Staccato violin bow stroke
Some learn staccato even before detaché. You play the notes about half their length and stop the bow at the bow changes. It’s like you play detaché and pause yourself. You can apply it to Wohlfahrt etudes (download below) and even to twinkle twinkel variations in Suzuki book 1.
Martelé violin bow stroke
Martelé sounds a little similar to staccato, but in martelé you make a clear accent at the beginning of the bow stroke. You catch the string, release it at the beginning of the bow stroke and let the bow travel. A great piece to practice these accents is the Indian Concertino by Perlman (free download below).
Legato violin bow stroke
If you see a slur above the notes, this means that you play those notes on one bow stroke. It’s important to keep bowing smoothly and to articulate clearly with your left hand fingers. A great piece to practice this is Rieding concerto op 35.
Portato or Louré violin bow stroke
Just as in legato bowing technique, in portato (or French: Louré) you play the notes under the slur on one bow stroke. However in portato the notes are separated by a little stop, an index finger accent and/or a vibrato accent.
You come across portato in ‘My heart will go on’ (click here for my tutorial) and the third movement of Küchler op 11 (see below).
Spiccato violin bow stroke
This is the first off the string violin bowing technique that you learn. Also it’s the first semi-passive bow technique: you use the natural bounce of the bow and your fingers follow. In the video above I explain two ways to practice this: from letting the bow bounce and from a put-down spiccato or collé.
A great piece to practice spiccato and all the other bow techniques I covered here is the Concertino in the style of Mozart by Millies (free download below).
The best place on the bow to do spiccato depends on the speed, but generally is a bit above the balance point of the bow:
Free sheet music downloads
Easy concertos in the first position:
The Küchler concertino is a great piece for detaché. Rieding is good for legato. Perlman’s Indian concertino is good for martelé accents. Millies is great for spiccato and combining al bow techniques once you’ve mastered them in scales, etudes and exercises.
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Hi! I'm Zlata
Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.
Easy violin etude books:
Learn more about violin bowing techniques:
Learn the Parlando bowing technique on the violin and learn all about the difference between that and portato.
Are you a bowing technique nerd like me? Watch this video with 24 different violin bowing techniques with examples and symbols.
Looking to learn more about smooth bowing and an effective violin bow hold? Watch this video with bow technique close up and slow motion.