Making Matters: In search of the ‘missing link’


Stefan Hersh examines a Tourte-school bow that might provide a connection between the master bow maker’s conventional style and the earlier Cramer-head bows

The bows of François Xavier Tourte (1747–1835) have been admired for their unsurpassed beauty and utility for over two centuries. Tourte’s legacy goes further still: he is credited with having established a set of standards for the bow that endure to this day. F.X. Tourte himself was illiterate and little is known of the process by which he arrived at those standards. The subject has mostly been one of conjecture and anecdotal history.


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