How to play with a flexible bowing arm by cellist Gary Hoffman

Gary Hoffman

The American musician explains how he developed a supple and varied bow arm motion, guided by his ear and musical instinct

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János Starker, with whom I studied, introduced me to his concept of the bow-arm action, which he refers to as the ‘basic legato rule’. Starting with a down bow at the frog, you draw the entire arm out in one motion until you reach the middle, when the forearm opens out as the bow continues to the tip.

On the up bow at the tip the forearm closes again and from the middle to the frog the entire arm works as a unit. Observe as the forearm opens on the down bow. In the second half of the bow the upper arm opens and rises, and consequently the bow stays straight to the tip...

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