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Sautillé Bowing

Master the art of Sautillé bowing

Mastering the bowing technique of sautillé on the violin or viola is easier than it looks if you have the right techniques. Sautillé (literally, jumping or hopping) relies on the spring-like qualities of the bow and a free right-arm technique.

Learning to do sautillé like a pro revolves around three things:

  • Finding the sweet spot on your bow where it will jump more readily
  • Developing the flexibility and subtle control necessary in the right wrist and arm
  • Co-ordinating left hand fingers with the bouncing bow

Sautillé is not a thrown stroke like spiccato but relies on a combination of the friction between the bow hair and the string and flex resistance of the bow stick. Sautillé occurs most naturally just above the mid-point of the bow. To find this point, start with the bow hair flat on the string and play one very short note repeated rapidly in the upper half of the bow. Gradually move towards the middle of the bow until you find the place where the bow will bounce quite readily.

The right hand thumb, first and third fingers function as subtle guiding/controlling forces allowing the bow to bounce naturally. There needs to be enough pressure in the first finger to initiate the bounce but too much will suppress the spring of the bow. The third finger acts as a kind of counter balance to the first finger.

As you become more at ease with getting the bow jumping, try different speeds and start adding in the left hand. Scales are great for practising sautillé and of course there are plenty of studies dedicated to this type of bowing practice.

Pro-Am strings offers this free online class to all advanced violin and viola students as the perfect opportunity to master the art of sautillé bowing.

Henriette de Vrijer, your online violin/viola teacher will offer some special techniques for gaining real confidence with sautillé bowing. The friendly welcoming online violin/viola family will put you at your ease and your bow will be jumping for joy in no time at all. Take this special opportunity to register for your free online violin class and sign up for an online consultation as well.

This post was written by Stylus writer, a former professional violinist/ violist who has taken his gift for phrasing and tone into the world of words. You can learn more about his work at http://styluswriter.com/

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