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Thread: Col legno battuto

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    Senior Member kg4fxg's Avatar
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    Default Col legno battuto

    Bowing techniques.....

    Does anyone have any favorite bowing techniques like col legno battuto? This is where the back of the bow is used to strike the strings. This is heard in Mahler's Symphony No. 2 in the first movement.

    There are many other bowing techniques....

    Col legno tratto - drawing back of bow ac-cross the strings. You can google bowing techniques to see many of them if you do not play a stringed instrument.

    Do you like them? Can you identify the technique if used in a piece? So what piece uses an interesting technique that you like or has caught your attention? Or, maybe it is a technique used in a piece on a different instrument not in the strings. No restrictions here.

    Berlioz Witches Dance uses this technique in Symphonie Fantastique.
    No, it's a Bb. It looks wrong and it sounds wrong, but it's right - Vaughan Williams.

    Bill Carter, CPA

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    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    I seem to remember hearing about a passage from Crumb's Black Angels in which the quartet are asked to bow "backwards", ie, with their bow at the top of the fingerboard and fingering the notes at the bottom. This has to be the weirdest bowing technique I've ever heard of.

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    Senior Member kg4fxg's Avatar
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    Default Crumb

    Oh yeah, I remember that now....

    I almost bought that piece, maybe I should just jump right into it. I don't know why I held back. That what I like about this board, it exposes me to more than mainstream classical. If I don't like something that must mean I have not listened to it enough?

    SUL TASTO = The bow is played lightly over the fingerboard, creating a hazy sound.


    Black Angels is primarily written (in unusual and very detailed notation) for (in Crumb's words) "electric string quartet." Though generally played by amplified acoustic instruments, the work is occasionally performed on specially constructed electronic string instruments. The music uses the extremes of the instruments' registers as well as extended techniques such as bowing on the fingerboard above the fingers and tapping the strings with thimbles. At certain points in the music, the players are even required to make sounds with their mouths and to speak.
    Each of the string players is also assigned a set of instruments to play throughout the piece. Some of the equipment requires specific preparation, such as the crystal glasses, which are tuned with different amounts of water.
    No, it's a Bb. It looks wrong and it sounds wrong, but it's right - Vaughan Williams.

    Bill Carter, CPA

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kg4fxg View Post
    I almost bought that piece, maybe I should just jump right into it. I don't know why I held back. That what I like about this board, it exposes me to more than mainstream classical. If I don't like something that must mean I have not listened to it enough?
    I implore you to preview it first, if you haven't already. It gives me the willies, and I am not faint of heart.

    Welcome back, by the way!

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    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    Sul ponticello is nice. Bow is right next to the bridge, making a harsher sound.

    But by and large I find myself preferring regular bowing technique over the fancier types. Yes, call me old-fashioned, but I know normal bowing more than all this col legno stuff, you know? so it sounds and feels more normal to me.
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Senior Member kg4fxg's Avatar
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    Default Bowing

    Thanks Weston,

    There were some other pieces by Crumb that I found, well lets just say interesting. So many composers to explore, not enough time to comprehend it all.

    Nothing wrong with old fashioned bowing either, I have really come to appreciate the violin and cello more and more.
    No, it's a Bb. It looks wrong and it sounds wrong, but it's right - Vaughan Williams.

    Bill Carter, CPA

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    Junior Member PicklePepperPiper's Avatar
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    Classic example -

    Ricochet* + William Tell = merriment for orchestra and conducter who have to somehow get it in time.

    *(bow literally is thrown down on the string and bounces wildly)

    Sul ponticello is a lovely effect when the entire string section does it.

    Most "unusual" bow techniques sway me over if they're done with 100% conviction by every player.

    -PPP

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    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weston View Post
    I implore you to preview it first, if you haven't already. It gives me the willies, and I am not faint of heart.

    Welcome back, by the way!
    Parts of it are difficult to listen to, but the section with the unusual bowing technique is actually quite nice. It is very ethereal sounding.

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