How to Play Multiple Staccato Notes on One Bow

by | Sep 11, 2014 | Bowing Technique | 8 comments

In this Violin Lounge TV episode I answer a question from one of our viewers:

Dear Zlata,

I have trouble playing pieces where there are multiple staccatos in a row. My bow usually ends up jumpy and I find myself tensing up a lot. I am confused about the motion used to perform staccato. May you please demonstrate how to do a proper staccato and any other advice that you may have.

Thanks in advance,

In your question lies already a hint to the answer. You write you tense up a lot. This means you are doing too much work! You can do a lot less. This motion is really small. In the video I perform it in slow motion.

In staccato you don’t want the bow to jump like in saltando for example. The contact of the bow on the string has to remain intact.

You just tap your index finger a little bit while keeping your hand in the same position and hold. It’s a little like you are pinching someone.

I barely move when performing a flying staccato. You shouldn’t get in the way of the bow too much :).

Imagine that the bow is part of your index finger… like you have a very long index finger. 

Make the motion very small and light, otherwise the sound and mainly the stops will be scratchy.

When you are doing this you will see the spring system of your bow in action.

Most of the times in violin playing when something is wrong, you should do less instead of more.

Make sure that you don’t lift the bow, because this will make it jump while you do this exercise. Keep the weight of your arm on the bow. Keep the bow on the string. Just move your index finger.

I hope this will help you. The way I explain this is very simple and efficient while giving a good sound.

However… there are a thousand ways to explain this and there aren’t two teachers who explain this in exact the same way.

Just do what works for you. I hope I have delivered a contribution to your experiments.

Is this useful to you? Please let me know in the comments below!



PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!

Hi! I'm Zlata

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

First practice vibrato in the third or fourth position

In this way you have support from the violin and it’s easier to move your wrist. You can do the exercises with a metronome in different tempi, so you can get control over the tempo and adjust your vibrato to the note and the piece you are playing.

When the exercise goes well, move to the first position.

Let me know in the comments how this video helped you improve your vibrato!


  1. Angel Williams

    Thank you so much for your help! I really love your videos they’re very good for developing a good foundation and improving that foundation. They really help me a lot!

  2. Moe

    I love your song tutorials, l have learned to play ave Marie & violin concerto Mendelssohn, thank you

  3. Rty Euzch

    Yeah! This video is great! But however, I have trouble getting it to go faster. I am stuck at the speed of 82 bpm sixteenth notes.
    Any bright ideas to make it faster?

    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      How long have you been practicing this? Do you do daily exercises or are there days that you don’t practice? Have you tried analyzing the movement slow motion and tried to make it as small as possible, perhaps just a pinch with your index finger? Let me know, so I can help you further.

      • Rty Euzch

        I actually do practice daily exercises. I practice every single day after I come home from work; I practice for 2 hours total a day. However, I do not know how people can possibly play this stroke so fast.

        Is the motion about pushing down the index finger, or is it that collé pinching?

      • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

        How does the schedule you use to speed up look like? The BPM and the steps you speed it up with? You can do it with just your index finger. Make the movement as small as possible, not a complete collé motion.

        This is as far as I can help you in the comments. I can’t see you play, so I can’t give personal coaching.

        If you want my personal guidance and video exchange, this is something I only offer my private students at

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