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Three Styles of Bowing (Week 2)


Level:        Book One


Purpose:   To learn about three bowing styles -  Martelé,  Détaché,  and  Slow.


Notes:       This lesson works well when spread out over three or four classes.

       Suggestions for the teacher’s verbal presentation are in italics.

       Definitions of the bow strokes are included so that the goal of the activities is clear.


Set-up:     (1) Play through Allegro from Suzuki Volume One

                  (2) "There are three styles of bowing in this piece:

- Martelé 

- Détaché

- Slow

       (3) Give a brief demonstration of each.

       (4) "We are going to add style to Allegro by learning to do these bow strokes."



ActivitiesWeek Two - Détaché

Détaché indicates that smooth, separate bow strokes should be used for each note. Notes are of equal value and are produced with an even, seamless stroke with no variation in pressure. The feeling is like rubbing or polishing the string.


(1)   Rubbing

  • Have students get out their rosin and apply it to their bows in short fast strokes

  • “This is how we rub the string when we play détaché”


(2)   Sinking Not Pressing – The Hanging Arm

  • Have students pair up with parent

  • The parent holds a scarf in two places creating a hammock

  • The student holds on in the middle of the scarf with the bow hand, releasing the weight of the arm

  • The parent lets go of one side of the scarf so that the student’s relaxed arm falls down by his side

  • Repeat this activity with the bow. The student drapes his hand over the frog, while the parent holds the bow in the middle and at the adjusting screw

  • The parent releases the frog end of the bow, allowing the hand to fall off

  • “When we play détaché, we sink our arm weight into the string rather than press”


(3)   Pass the Détaché

  • Take turns playing the détaché stroke

  • Work for a weighty, even stroke, with no variation in pressure


(4)   Twinkle, Variation E

  • Play together, listening to the weighty sound of the détaché


(5)   The Détaché Bow Stroke in Allegro

  • Have students play the 8th note sections, while you play everything else

© 2018 CAM Publications

"I've never known a musician who regretted being one. Whatever deceptions life may have in store for you, music itself is not going to let you down."  - Virgil Thomson

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