Written by Antoinette van Spaandonk   
Sunday, 06 February 2005
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Ways of bowing

There are a lot of ways of bowing. What I find difficult sometimes is playing with an attitude. That is: letting your cello speak its voice and make the sound it is supposed to make. Let me explain. My cello has a beautiful, full sound which sounds quite loud. But when I'm insecure the sound doesn't come out. What happens? My bowing changes. I'm not letting my bow touch the strings well enough. The more the bow 'hangs' in the strings the more sound you get and the less scratchy it sounds.

On the other hand, if the bow hardly touches the strings you almost proceduce no sound at all. Which is an advantage while playing in the group and you are not able to play all the notes (my solution: fake some or don't play them at all).

These are two ways to effect your sound.

But there are a lot of things you can do to effect the sound: like playing vibrato, playing spiccato (bouncing on and off the strings), playing pizzicato (plucking your strings).


At the moment I'm learning how to play vibrato. This means you move your finger somewhat so the tone changes a bit.The movement feels like your rubbing your strings with your finger but while doing this you stay in the same spot. This improves the tone of the note and makes the cello really speak out.


Pizzicato is plucking the strings with your fingers. So you will not need your bow for doing this. The sound of the cello is not as loud as when you are bowing. It gives a jazzy feel to the music. You can pluck with the top of your fingers (which gives a soft sound) and with a greater part of your fingers. If you do the latter the sound will become more powerfull and richer.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 10 September 2005 )
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