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When Does Your Pinky Leave the Bow?

Zlata Brouwer

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Published: February 19, 2015 at 8:22 AM [UTC]

You might hear all the time that your pinky should remain on the bow all the time... nicely curved.

However... when you look at performers playing, you see the bow hold changing in every bow stroke and you see them playing with the pinky off the bow.

In this video I would like to clarify a couple of things about if the pinky should be on the bow and when not.

First you need to know what function your pinky has in bowing and when you need it and when you don’t. Sometimes your pinky can even get in the way of smooth bowing.

You need your pinky when you play at the frog to smoothen your bow changes.

At the extreme tip you might want to lift your pinky a little bit, because you don’t really need it at that point. Some people can’t even bow straight to the extreme tip with their pinky on the bow. Choose to lift your pinky instead of bowing skew.

In saltando you use the natural jump of your bow and you don’t want your bow hand to get in the way of this natural movement. Lifting your pinky can make the bow jump more naturally.

I hope you now understand that your bow hold is not a rigid thing, but a constant motion. Whether you have your pinky on the bow depends on the music you play and the function the pinky has in this.

Is this video helpful to you? Please let me know in the comments below! If you like it, share it with your friends!



PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!

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