How to Smoothly Switch between Strings with your Violin Bow?

by | Jul 20, 2013 | Bowing Technique | 5 comments

“Since I just found you yesterday, I don’t know if you’ve covered this “problem” for me a beginner… 

My question is about bowing: When I practice scales or a song and I switch from G, D, A or E , I wind up with sounds I believe sound like a double stop. 

It happens most on the D and A string. 

How do I conquer this, aside from much practice…? 

Is there a way of holding my arm (elbow) when switching between strings? 

Thank you so much…”

Here is how to smoothly switch between strings with your violin bow…

First you need to know the basics about bowing and switching strings.

You bow with your lower arm. It’s like opening a door. Remember… no fighting! 😉

You switch strings with your upper arm… chicken tonight! 😀

You don’t bow and switch at the same time, because you will hear double stops. It means that you bow on two strings at the same time and you will hear both strings at the same time.

The two movements (bowing and switching) are separate movements. Lots of beginners use their lower AND upper arm with bowing as well as string switching.

TIP: Separate these movements… not in a rigid stiff way, but in a relaxed fluent way.

TIP: Challenge yourself to make the string switch movement as small as possible and be surprised how small the motion can be. You don’t need much motion to switch strings.

Why are A and D most difficult? They are between other strings. On the G and E string you have much more space to be sloppy ;).

Make your string switch as small as possible… you will be surprised how small the motion is!

 

Hi! I'm Zlata

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

TIP: Prepare with your bow to the direction of your string switch. This makes your string switch even smaller and more subtle.

Assignment

You can’t do something fast if you can’t do it slow. Practice with stops at a string switch.

Bow… Stop… String switch… Stop… Bow etc

You can do this in a scale, in a song or in a free improvisation. You need to pick something easy, maybe just open strings. You need to be able to focus on the string switch and not be distracted be a difficult piece.

If it goes very well… try to make the stops smaller and smaller and smaller… until there is no hearable stop anymore.

Don’t expect results in just one day… making your string switches smooth can take some time.

Please let me know if this helps you and share your experiences in the comments below.

Thank you for watching Violin Lounge TV!

Love,

Zlata

PS: Do you have questions for me on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to info@violinlounge.com

5 Comments

  1. Cathy

    Thanks for the helpful video. The term in English is usually string crossing not switching – but it makes perfect sense just as it is! I look forward to seeing more of your blogs. Cathy

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata

      Thanks for your comment, Cathy! Good to hear that the video is helpful to you. If you have a question you’d like to be answered by me in a video, just ask me :).

      Reply
  2. Keke

    Constructive criticism: I sugsegt you play more smoothly, linking the notes together and making the time between switching from up-bow to down-bow as short as possible. I would also work on shifting and vibrato, (Some of the higher notes sounded a teeny bit flat) Otherwise you did great! I love this anime and Ginger is my favorite character ^.^

    Reply
  3. Joe

    Thank you for this very helpful video. Your explanations are very clear and systematic. Don’t worry if you don’t always find the exact English word for something – it still works!

    Reply
    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Thank you for the compliment, Joe! 🙂 I hope to keep improving my English in the future.

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [Video] Left Hand Technique in String Crossings | Violin Lounge TV #253 - Violin Lounge - […] How to Smoothly Switch between Strings with your Violin Bow? […]
  2. How to Move your Left Arm when Crossing Strings | Violin Lounge TV #228 - Violin Lounge - […] How to Smoothly Switch between Strings with your Violin Bow? […]

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