Introduction to Ricochet


"A series of two or more slurred and, characteristically, very fast bounces, usually performed in the upper-half of the bow. The bow is dropped or struck upon the string in such a way that the initial impetus and natural elasticity of the bow gives rise to a spontaneous series of successive bounces."
From J.Berman, B.Jackson & K.Sarch, Dictionary of Bowing and Pizzicato Terms
"Rebounding bow: two or more notes per bow, the bow rebounds between each note during the same bow as a result of the initial attack."
From R.Gerle, The Art of Practising the Violin

When playing ricochet the amount of bow and place in the bow depends on the tempo. The slower the tempo the lower in the bow, the faster the tempo the higher in the bow. If you need to slow the stroke down, use more bow. You can use your first finger to help control tempo. If you increase pressure the stroke will speed up, if you take off the first finger the stroke will slow down.
A soft and open bow hold
Ricochet is vulnerable to gripping too strongly with the bow hand. Set the bow bouncing and experiment by gripping with the bow hand to see how it immediately stops the bounce.

Each component of a passage should be comfortable in its own right

Add the left hand and string-crossing variables one by one.
Re-energize the stroke
As the bouncing begins to dissipate, re-energize the stroke with a downward flick of the right hand, especially with the base joints and the wrist.


Resources - Bibliography
Definitions reprinted with permission from American String Teachers Association and Stainer and Bell Ltd.

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