Going Baroque

  1. Mandoviol
    So we were talking about baroque bows today in my music class, and I was wondering if anyone here has played with them. I've often thought it would be interesting to work with one, perhaps even for some of the really old fiddle tunes. Any thoughts for using baroque bows in fiddle music?
  2. Jim Garber
    Jim Garber
    I have never used one but Shar does sell an inexpensive Baroque bow. I would think that these were intended for gut strings and might be odd with the violin strings of today.
  3. farmerjones
    The first thing i do if i find a bow i like is undress it. No wrap. No grip.
    I like that kind of balence point. Are Baroque bows typically naked like that?
    I like it!

    I've always wanted a "rustic" bow. Something more akin to a tree limb than a bow. It could be a bear to play, but to me, that quad or triple-stop sound, sounds ancient.
  4. billkilpatrick
    what's the difference, please?
  5. Mandoviol

    This is a pretty good image of what bow styles have looked like through the ages. The top one is a baroque bow, the middle is a classical bow, and the bottom one is a modern bow. You can see that there is definitely more of a convex "bow-like" shape in the baroque design as opposed to the concave shape of modern bows.

    From what I've heard re baroque bows, they're somewhat softer, but you would think that, being shorter, they'd be pretty good for fast pieces.

    Of course, baroque bows didn't all look like the top one. You have ones like this glorious German monstrosity for cello (and they made these for violins, too):

  6. billkilpatrick
    thanks for that - purely for aesthetics, i think the baroque bow wins.
  7. Margriet
    I use to play with a baroque bow and I like it a lot. I play baroque music, but I wonder often why in folk music it is not used. It is lighter and you can easier let the bow jump. However it is a different way of bowing technique, which suits me and that is personal.... For fast notes and accents it is great, perhaps you find it too light for slow airs.
    Baroque bows like on the picture (the first) have two types: one you can tense and loosen and one that is fixed. ( I hope you understand my english). The fixed one is suited for earlier music and even a bit shorter.
    In january I had a baroque workshop, where the violinist explained things about them and you could also try. She said that you CAN play everything with all the bows, but some things are simply easier with a certain bow.
    So I would say: it is worth trying. Start the experiment and see if you like it.
  8. farmerjones
    please talk to me about the sappling in the lower picture.
    Is the hair simply knotted or is it swedged like a modern bow?
  9. Margriet
    by chance I discovered this.
    about a workshop fiddling and baroque. Seems interesting, too far for me.....
  10. billkilpatrick
    mine arrived a couple of days ago - it's become my beau. lighter, more responsive, slight tonal difference - really beautiful.
  11. Margriet
    I am curious to your experiences, Bill. You will find - by experimenting - the differences in tone at the different places of the bow. The sound is a bit like the shape of the bow: at the frog it is heavier and at the tip lighter. You will find the place where you can easily do detaché and where you can let jump the bow.
    There is so much to discover: where you go more into the string, where you slightly loosen, if it is up stroke or down, how fast or how slowly you can and the affect on the tone. My teacher always let me find the best sound in my viola and what I can do for it.
    Much pleasure and keep in touch !

    p.s. When doing this I get more aware and this has affects also the way I play the mandolin.
  12. Mandoviol
    You'll have to do a journal about working with the Baroque bow, Bill. It will be interesting to see what the differences are like between the Modern French and the Baroque styles. Keep us posted!
  13. billkilpatrick
    it's lighter then the modern bow - 450gms as opposed to 600gms (on the kitchen scale) and 7.5cm shorter (length of horse hair.) as i said, i found it lighter and more responsive. my bowing is getting better - slowly-slowly - but i'm in no position to offer an informed comparison twixt the two. i bought the cheapest available on ebay from an american based, chinese importer - with postage it was less than $50.00 ... you can hardly go wrong at that price and it's BE-u-tiful! on fiddler's hideout someone said the advantages of really expensive bows can only be appreciated by advanced players. i'm sure that's true. i'd probably notice a difference - i can hear it in the two bows i have - but not an improved performance or effectiveness.

    ...g'wan try one - i'm a beginner! - you tell me!
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