Behind the Curve: the evolution of the bow

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 13.37.25

The evolution of the bow is inextricably tied up with the needs of the player, and the changing face of society. Paolo Sarri examines the development of the ‘ancient’ and ‘modern’ curves of the bow stick, dispelling a number of myths along the way

In its history, the violin bow has gone through a long and convoluted development which has been discussed and disputed over the years. As with all evolutionary processes, the gradual changes were driven by functionality and resources rather than aesthetic concerns; and the story depends greatly on the requirements of the players and the materials available as well as, later, the simplicity of the methods of building them. is article will examine, in particular, the development of the curve of the bow stick, which through the ages made a huge di erence to the lives of players and makers alike…

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe 

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.


* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.