How to hold the Violin and Bow

Now the bow must be gotten ready. Tighten it by turning the screw and not too much. The stick must never be arched upwards.

A good bow is an absolute necessity otherwise you will bet very little satisfaction. Now rosin must be put on the bow-hair and if a new bow, the rosin must be scraped and then the bow drawn through it repeatedly.

To learn to hold the bow correctly, lay it on a table, place the thumb between the stick and bow-hair near the frog and the fingertips against the opposite side of the stick. Practice this picking up frequently and not in a constrained manner.

To all beginners on violin it appears as if every position were awkward but time and patience soon changes this opinion.

The next step will be to get the instrument ready for use, to tune it or rather to try to do so. The second illustration on the right shows how the instrument is held while tuning up the lower strings. It must of course be taken up to draw the bow over the strings.

The last staff of the illustrated sheet shows the notes to which the strings of the violin are tuned.

It is self-understood that the pupil has a pitch-pipe which gives the four notes. If not, we will send one on receipt of 25 cents. If you have access to a piano or organ, the pitch-pipe is not absolutely needed.

Do not expect to be able to tune in a week; it may take you several. If you get no satisfaction after a few minutes, just stretch the strings until they offer a certain resistance and then simply learn to draw the bow over the strings and try to produce a good tone and devote a few minutes daily to tuning. This is all that you should do the first week.

Beware of stretching the strings too much or you will break many.

You have nothing to do with the fingers of the left hand. Simply learn to hold the instrument.

Before turning the pegs, you should push the bridge a little backward against the tailpiece. If you forget to do this, the pressure of the strings will draw it forward. It may snap over and break. The bridge must be placed on the violin in the middle of the f-holes.

Compare your position with the illustrations by consulting a mirror.

Draw the bow over the strings parallel to the bridge as the illustration shows. Do not press harshly on the bow but produce the sound by setting the strings into vibration, by drawing the bow-hair over them. There must be sufficient rosin to feel that the bow "bites".

Do not be over anxious. Go slowly but sure.

Use a short part in the middle of the bow at first and gradually more of it until you can draw the whole bow easily over the string and go back. The right hand must be well arched, sufficient to use only the outer edge of the bow-hair. By a gentle pressure enough of the hair will touch the string to produce a good tone.


© 2003 R. Fingerson
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