Introduction to Reflex Bowings

Reflex or rebound bowings have an active and a passive component. Engaging the passive reaction allows the stroke to work at greater speed. For instance sautillé (which uses a passive reaction) has a faster speed limit than spiccato (which needs a separate action for each stroke).

We find passive, reflex reactions in many situations away from the violin, such as:

Bouncing a ball (you actively push the ball down and it bounces back of its own accord).
A drum roll, where the drumstick is actively thrown onto the drum and rebounds.

Some passive, reflex reactions on the violin are:

Sautillé stroke. The down-bow is active and the up-bow is passive.
Hook stroke. You activate the small note and release or rebound into the long note. As Mimi Zweig says, "Work on the little note and get the big one for nothing." (See
Vibrato. The first part of the cycle is active (a movement of the finger), followed by a passive return of the finger to the original position.
Ricochet. The initial impulse of dropping or hitting the bow onto the string gives the energy for the remaining notes in the ricochet unit. For instance, in the cadenza from Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto the beginning of every down-bow gives the energy for the remaining seven notes.


Resources - Bibliography
for by Mimi Zweig (Bow Strokes Link, Viotti Stroke)
Resources - Repertoire

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