up or down?the origins of the down-stroke
REVERSING THE BOWING TECHNIQUE OF THE VIOLONCELLO,
A RESEARCH PROJECT BY MARIANNE DUMAS
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In October 2014, because of the similarity between the bass viol and the cello, I tried to reverse the technique of the violoncello in the Bach Cello Suites. During this experiment, I instantaneously felt a better response from the instrument and by consequence, more resonance. This experience led me to start a research about the origins, the setup, and the bowing technique of the violoncello in order to understand the influence of the bow-hold and the bow strokes on the sound of the instrument, as well as understanding the origins of the "down stroke".
TWO RULES for the violoncello before 1752
GIVE A STROKE toward THE SOUNDBOARD
The movement of the arm follows the order of the strings, toward the instrument, using the natural weight of the arm, without adding pressure on the string for the bowed instuments.
Then, on a cello it coincides with
"The cello is similar to a violin because of its 4 strings and the tuning in fifths but but it is held the contrary way of the violin. This results on the opposition of the order of the strings. For that reason, the bowing technique should be opposite as well."
" There are two ways to hold bowed string instruments. One is like the basse viol, it is also how we hold the bass violins, contrabasses, and other big instruments.
The other way is to hold the instrument the same way we hold the violin and all the instruments no longer than the arm.
There is a general rule, one plays down bow what we play we play up bow on the others. Therefore, on a bass viol and a bass violin, we play up bow on the long ones , and the opposite on the violins and other instruments held the violin way.
The reason of this difference is that the strength for the basses is on the up bow and that on the violin it is on the down bow, because of the way the instruments are held."
THE VIOLONCELLO, influenced by the BASS VIOL AND THE VIOLIN
CELLO & VIOLIN
- Members of the same family
- Tuning is in fifths.
CELLO & VIOLA DA GAMBA
- size, register, posture
- Instruments of the contino.
- About the shape: there were (and still are) viola da gamba with violin shapes.
my conclusions on the topic
Have we chosen the best bowing technique, bow-hold and set up for the cello and its evolution?
To illustrate this publication and research, I recorded the Six Bach Cello Suites applying mostly the same bowing motion of the viols, following my analysis of the manuscript copies of the Suites.
More TO COME... (END OF OCTOBER 2018)
CHAPTER II THE EVOLUTION OF THE CELLO
FROM 1600 TIL 1800
Cello methods 1764-1840
Cello methods after 1840
Understanding what led me to this project
Choosing to reverse the bowing technique in the Baroque repertoire was the result of this research.
PART 1 :THE CELLIST
- the mind
PART 2 THE CELLO
- 4 Strings cello: Daniel König, Leipzig
- 5 strings cello: Johannes Löscher, Köln
- Strings: Valentin Oelmüller, Potsdam
Bow: Hans Reiners, Berlin