How Much Pressure to Use in Violin or Viola Playing?
Violin or viola playing (and especially violin) is learning to do less instead of to do more.
How to get more with less on the violin or viola
Today we are going to talk about a question that lots of violinists have: how much pressure should you use in your bowing to make a nice full sound? I always answer this question with: you should not use pressure you should always use weight. Because the weight of your arm is far enough to produce all the sound that you need. Actually you must have the idea that you are kind of hanging in the bow and that with playing soft you have to lift your bow and playing loud, you can relax your arm and use the weight of your arm to create a nice and full sound. I will show you the difference, if I play a little something and I use pressure so I really push the bow down into the string, then it sounds really forced [plays]. I don’t get the maximum volume by the way, because I am muting it by the tension and the pressure and the stiffness of the bow is muting the sound. And that is not the sound you want to have. You want to have a sound that is free, that is released. You should not force the sound out of your violin you should release the sound. You shouldn’t use muscle power, you should use the weight of your arm. And just relax your arm! Then you will have more: [plays]. Then you hear that the sounds can resonate, that the notes can flow through each other and of course it is better for your own way of playing. You can do more complex things when you are relaxed then if you are tensed. So you can do more complex things, you get a beautiful tone, you do not get pain easily because you are relaxed. So the answer to pressure is actually no pressure but just release the sound and also releaser your arm. Use the weight of the relaxation of your arm, that is enough and that can fill a concert hall!
I hope that I have given you an answer. Most of the time with violin playing when you have a problem it doesn’t mean you need to do more, it means that you have to do less.
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