How to learn ricochet on the violin | Violin Lounge TV #530

by | Sep 27, 2023 | Bowing Technique | 2 comments

Learn all about ricochet violin bowing technique with examples, sheet music notation and exercises:

Ricochet is a violin bow stroke where to bow bounces on it’s own

After one initial impulse of dropping the bow on the string, the bow bounces two to twenty times on one bow stroke. Ricochet is usually done on the down bow and is one of the most passive bowing techniques.

Sheet music notation for ricochet

violin bowing techniques - ricochetUsually ricochet is indicated in the sheet music by dots above or below the notes and a slur. However, lots of times there is no indication in the sheet music and it’s a matter of performance tradition that you’d know when to do the ricochet bow stroke.

Examples of ricochet bowing

Ricochet is a very impressive bow technique. We see it in the Ronde des Lutins by Bazzini, the third movement of Paganini’s violin concerto no 1 and in orchestra repertoire in the well known William Tell overture by Rossini. All these examples are shown in the video above.

Why should you practice ricochet on the violin?

Even if you don’t have ricochet bowing in your repertoire, it’s extremely useful to practice it at all levels of violin playing. It teaches you to have a relaxed bow hold and let the bow bounce. You will get to know the natural bounce of the bow, which is useful for learning other jumping bowing techniques like spiccato, sautillé and jumping arpeggios.

Hi! I'm Zlata

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

Ricochet exercises on the violin

How to learn ricochet bowing

Start with holding your violin bow in loose fist. Practice with dropping the bow on the string and letting the bow bounce. Don’t control each jump, but let the bow do it’s work. Move your arm sideways a bit.

The next step is to drop the bow in the bow hold. You might tense up here, so work on relaxing your bow hold.

The last step is to catch the bow after a fixed number of jumps. Start with two, then three and so on. Catching the bow means lifting it and changing direction, so you get several ricochet bounces on the down bow and then one up bow.

Learn more violin bow strokes

Do you want to know every possible bowing technique on the violin? Watch this video with 102 violin bowing techniques.

The basis for all bowing techniques is to bow smoothly. This video lesson will help you with that.

A proper and relaxed violin bow hold will help a lot improving your bowing technique and sound. Read this article.

Take bowing technique lessons with Zlata

Join my Violin Bowing Bootcamp to build a great basic technique, make a beautiful sound and learn the most common bow strokes.


  1. Dale Mark

    Thank you Zlata on an easy to follow and intensely practical lesson. Many years ago my violin teacher introduced ricochet bowing to me but that was before I decided to join the Navy, so I never linked it to any practical music I was working on. Those aboard my second ship wanted me to play bluegrass in their combo.

    I do really see how this will help my reacquainting myself with spiccato and help with my sautillé bowing. This will be a good warm up for when I practice spiccato. What is so important is a deep focusing on unlearning bad habits and replacing them methodically thank you so much.

    • Zlata

      You’re welcome 🙂


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *