Gerle, Robert: The Art of Bowing Practice
Robert Gerle follows up his guide to successful violin practice with a penetrating study of the art of bowing. Matching artistic problems with technical solutions, he shows how phrasing, tone-production and interpretation may be improved by attention to the fundamental art of the bow.
The big plus to this book is that it is very easy to read. Unburdened by laborious and wordy descriptions of intricate muscular movements, and liberally illustrated with musical examples, it is both an easy reference book and an enjoyable ‘read’ from cover to cover. Structured in two parts, (1) basic bow technique and (2) applied bow technique, the book aims to give a broad overview of the basics of bowing and physical movements, and then applies this to passages from pieces involving a detailed bow technique, always stressing that the musical result is paramount.
The purpose of this book is to point the way to a more expressive bow technique, and to the more meaningful, varied and individual interpretations that such a technique can accomplish. Several interesting ideas stand out: for example, his bowing ‘graphs’ for analysing the amount of bow used and how to adjust; bowing on a set of kitchen scales to ensure a steady arm weight for good tone; and the importance of an awareness of the larger muscles on both sides of the body, such as the chest, ribcage, shoulders and spine, when producing a good tone.
Margaret Scourse, arco — Magazine of the European String Teachers Association