Hooked Bowing, Portato or Broken Slurs on the Violin | Violin Lounge TV #332

by | Oct 30, 2019 | Bowing Technique | 7 comments

In this video I explain the one bowing technique known as hooked bowing, portato or slurs and how to do it in a smooth and easy way:

Hooked Bowing, Portato or Broken Slurs …

You’ve probably heard it referred to all three ways in various books or by violin teachers but it is actually all the same bowing technique!

Listen to my example from Music of the Night in this video

and watch the full tutorial on Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera right here.

In portato it’s important you make it VERY simple. So no accents or fancy stuff. Just keep your bow still for a moment. I don’t do anything special with my hand.

You also want to make sure your bow speed is the same, so you get an equal sound.

So why would I do this?

Portato can be super handy to slur notes without sounding slurred. You might want to end down bow somewhere, but you keep ending up up bow. With portato you can solve this.

It’s also important to note a portato is a slur with two lines above or below the notes. A slur with two dots above the notes is most of the times flying staccato (however it can differ per piece of sheet music and musical context).

Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.

I hope you found this explanation helpful!

Do you have questions?

Just post them in the comments below!


  1. Fernando

    Thank you for the explanation.

    As a beginner I finally am managing the first notes, but my bowing is still as novice as can be.

    Cheers for the vids, even though some are still a bit above my level, I’m sure one day I’ll come back again to advance some more.

    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Yes, the bow technique is perhaps one of the most difficult (and most important!) aspects of violin playing. Check out my free beginner course right here and my tutorials in bow technique right here. Hope that useful to you, Fernando, keep me up to date about your progress and questions you might have in the comments!

  2. Stewart

    Dear Zlata,

    Thank you for (as usual) a beautifully and simply explained presentation.
    I take it that a slurred staccato (same note) would be in effect result in shorter notes (compared to portato) and hence longer gap; would this be correct ?

    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      I’m glad it’s helpful, Stewart. Yes, in staccato you catch the string just as in martelé. You make an accent.

  3. Baronice

    Hlo Zlata.Thanks for this video.I don’t have any sheet music with hooked bowing,but i’ll get Music of the night.Regards

      • Baronice

        Thank you Zlata.I’ll be waiting


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