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3 Easy Steps to Making Beautiful Sound on Stringed Instruments

There are many ways to create sound on an instrument. Take a violin for example – dynamics, phrasing, mood and articulation are only a few of the many descriptive techniques in creating sound. Surprisingly, the secret to beautiful sound lies in the art of drawing the bow across the strings to  produce endless manipulations of sound, texture, and expression. With three simple steps, I will teach you the secret to producing a sound that fits perfectly with what you envision. You will be able to make a fuller and richer tone, which will also help you in developing your own personal “voice.”

The first step in producing a beautiful tone is making sure that your bow is straight. The bow should remain perfectly stable as it is drawn across the strings, and it should be done in as straight a line as possible. The best way to ensure that your bow is in a straight line is by practicing in front of a mirror. This not only helps you notice minor details in your bow arm, but it also helps you recognize and build upon any noticeable mistakes.

The second step in producing a rich and expressful tone is to measure the amount of pressure you use while practicing. Taking the time to experiment with the amount of pressure the bow arm uses to draw itself across the string is ideal when aiming to achieve a beautiful sound. A simple exercise to find the right amount of pressure is to play on an open string with varying amounts of pressure. When the tone sounds relatively undistorted, then you know that the amount of pressure is right.

The last and final step in perfecting a beautiful tone is to know your sounding points. The sounding points are the points on the string between the bridge and the fingerboard where the instrument responds most readily and most resonantly. The section in between is where you can get the best results when experimenting with sounding points. A helpful exercise is to drag the bow on different parts of the string and find which one sounds best to you. By placing your bow and drawing a sound at every spot, you will be able to get the tone you are aiming for. This process will help you determine your instrument’s “sweet spot”, and will ultimately help you produce and master your ideal tone.

Producing a rich and warm tone can be achieved using these three simple steps. A straight bow, the right amount of pressure, and use of the sounding points can transform your sound into the beautiful tone you envision.