Making Matters: Making transitional bows

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In 2021 bow maker Markus Laine was commissioned to make 15 transitional bows to be used by a single chamber orchestra. What were the challenges – and what change did it make to the sound?

In November 2021 I received a call from Tomas Djupsjöbacka, cellist and principal conductor of the Vaasa City Orchestra (VCO) in Finland. He shared his vision of recreating the orchestral sound of the Classical period (c.1730 to 1820) by marrying modern stringed instruments with Classical or transitional bows. These bows lack the power of modern bows but the sound produced is expressive, more flexible and certainly different. Would playing modern instruments with transitional bows create an orchestral sound closer to the Classical period? Making the transitional bows for the orchestra would certainly be a challenging project, but one I eagerly accepted…

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