The way of holding a bow is a topic of endless discussion. Here is what seven influential string players of the past had to say about it

sarasate

A young Pablo de Sarasate

The following extracts are from the articles ’String players should bow with individual fingers rather than the whole hand’ from November 2004 and ’The evolution of violin bow hold’ from February 2003

’The fingers must feel rooted to the bow as though they are part of the stick. The grip of the fingers on the bow is always a clinging one, firm but not tense’ - Demetrius Dounis

’One must have a hand of iron and an arm of cotton’ - Pablo de Sarasate

’Every finger on the frog plays, not merely holds, the bow’ - Lev Aronson

’The changing pressure of the fingers on the stick depends on what the music demands in either lightness or power’ - Joseph Fuchs

’The artistic satisfaction is in direct proportion to the development of the sensibility of every finger on the stick’ - Lucien Capet

’Various finger pressures should be used on the bow to determine at exactly what parts these subtle pressures should be applied’ - Isaac Stern

’A slight stiffening of the fingers on the bow results in a more metallic or sharper sound’ - Ivan Galamian

 

Read: String players should bow with individual fingers rather than the whole hand

Read: 9 ways to develop a flexible bow hold

Read: 5 tips from Isabelle van Keulen on achieving a relaxed bow hold