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The score on the music desk

1770 Leopold Widhalm violin

When playing a note, you can either run your bow from bottom (frog) to top (tip) or visa versa, from top to bottom. The first motion is known as a down bow, the latter, an up bow. Because of the weighted nature of a violin or cello bow, down bow is usually a stronger gesture and up bow, more delicate and less assertive. In a way, the sounds that result resemble the strong and weak syllables or feet in a poem. Is THIS the FACE that LAUNCHED a THOUSand SHIPS? The caps get down bows. The string section leaders have to go over each phrase and make sure each violinist, violist and cellist is accentuating in the same way, speaking with the same balance. The coordination of the bow movements is much more than visual neatness and this applies across the board from Mahler’s 7th to Suzuki’s Twinkle! #

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